Woods wins sixth straight PGA Tour event


CHANDLER'S CROSS, England -- Good news for the rest of golf:
Tiger Woods is going on vacation.

A streak that began 10 weeks ago on the sun-baked links of
Hoylake reached six straight PGA Tour victories on rain-drenched
fairways north of London when Woods went wire-to-wire in the
American Express Championship, making him the first player in tour
history to win at least eight times in three seasons.

Threatened only by the weather that twice delayed the
inevitable, Woods closed with a 4-under 67 for an eight-shot
victory over Adam Scott and Ian Poulter.

"He's dominating the game," Scott said. "It's not the first
time he's done it, either."

The trophy in hand, Woods had one foot in a courtesy car that
was ready to take him away when he took a few questions from the
BBC. After playing seven times in the last nine weeks, he was eager
to get home to Florida.

"I'm getting away for a little bit," Woods said. "As far as
golf, I've had enough of it for a while."

This might have been his most dominating performance since the
streak began at the British Open in July, and not just because the
eight-shot victory was his largest margin since winning by 11 at
the 2003 Bay Hill Invitational.

Woods had such control over his game that he was third in
driving distance and fifth in driving accuracy, missing only 12
fairways all week. And during one stretch, he hit 36 consecutive
greens in regulation, a streak that ended when his approach on the
12th hole drifted left and into a bunker for his only bogey of the
final round.

One other streak ended on the last hole of the tournament -- it
was the first time all week he failed to make eagle on the 567-yard
closing hole at The Grove. His chip from just short of the green
scooted by the cup and stopped a few feet away for a tap-in birdie
that put him at 23-under 261.

"This was a fun week," he said. "I hit the ball really well --
all 72 holes, really. It's fun when you can control your golf ball
that well."

In a week remembered for the death of Byron Nelson, it rekindled
curiosity whether Lord Byron's record in 1945 of 11 consecutive
victories really is untouchable.

Woods wasn't ready to touch that one -- yet.

"It's still a long way away," he said with a laugh. "If you
look at it, I'm barely halfway. What he did was absolutely
remarkable, and I'm just thrilled that I've been able to win six in
a row twice. That to me is a pretty neat accomplishment in

Woods won the final four PGA Tour events in 1999 and his first
two starts in 2000 to match Ben Hogan (1948) for the second-longest
winning streak on the PGA Tour.

He passed Nelson, Hogan, Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer with his
third PGA Tour season of at least eight victories. Woods won eight
times in 1999 and nine times in 2000.

And he has at least one tournament left -- the Tour Championship.

Woods probably won't decide until the last minute whether to
play Disney in three weeks. Skipping that tournament, which has
never been his favorite, would leave him one round short of being
eligible for the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average.

Asked how much that award meant, Woods replied, "Not much."

"I've had a good year," he said. "But if you don't play
enough rounds, you don't play enough rounds."

He might come up short because of missing the cut at the U.S.
Open for the first time in a major. That was his first tournament
back since his father died of cancer in May, and Woods has been
nearly unstoppable since then.

The only two tournaments he didn't win was the Western Open (a
tie for second) and the World Match Play Championship two weeks ago
at Wentworth, a European Tour event that does not count toward his
PGA Tour streak.

Woods successfully defended his title for the fifth time this
year, and he is 10-of-15 in World Golf Championships that are
stroke play.

He won at The Grove the first two days by opening with rounds of
63-64 to build a five-shot lead, and never giving anyone else much
hope. The closest anyone got to him on a dreary afternoon in this
village north of London was Jim Furyk, his Ryder Cup partner.

Furyk got within five shots through five holes and was at 15
under when his approach to the sixth buried in lush grass on the
side of a hill. The entire group searched for the ball, and it was
located only because Ian Poulter inadvertently stepped on it. By
rule, Furyk had to drop the ball in the same spot without penalty
because of the outside interference.

Furyk then told rules official Mike Shea he was taking a
one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie because he would not have
been able to play it had the group found the ball without Poulter
stepping on it. He went back to the fairway and got up-and-down for

"I just felt like it was definitely taking advantage of the
situation," Furyk said. "Ian did me a favor by finding the ball.
Stepping on it probably was the only way we were going to get it.
All that went through my mind, and I felt like I did the right

Furyk closed with a 69 and finished fourth at 270.

Woods improved to 38-3 when he has at least a share of the lead
going into the last round, and he has never lost when leading by
more than one. Any thoughts about a collapse ended early, when
Woods hit a long iron from 225 yards on the par-5 second that
dropped softly over a bunker and stopped 3 feet away.

In one of his rare mistakes, Woods hit the putt too hard and it
lipped out, making him settle for birdie.

The person carrying the scoreboard got confused and posted 20
under next to Brett Quigley's name, which came as a shock to some
of the fans pressed behind the ropes down the third fairway. Those
who had been following Woods all week knew better.

"He's obviously at a comfort level with his swing," Scott
said. "He's phenomenal. We're all up against it. I've got to start
playing in the events he doesn't play in, that's for sure."

The next couple of weeks might be a good time to play.