Woods wins 13th WCG title in 24 tries
MIAMI -- Tiger Woods felt stiffness in his neck from a bad night of sleep on his boat.
WGC-CA Championship scores Woods
1. Woods (-10)
2. Wetterich (-8)
T-3. Allenby (-6)
T-3. Ogilvy (-6)
T-3. Garcia (-6)
• Complete scores
For the first time in 3½ years, he couldn't break par when he had entered Sunday with the lead. And he played so cautiously on the final hole of the CA Championship that the outcome was in doubt for as long as it took a 50-foot par putt to settle a few feet from the cup.
In his eyes, it was an ideal way to prepare for the Masters.
"You can't have any better way -- getting a 'W' right before you go," Woods said after a two-shot victory over Brett Wetterich.
Forget the details and consider the big picture.
He was so dominant at Doral that he didn't have to break par. He built such a commanding lead on a warm, blustery afternoon that the smartest play was to hit 3-iron off the tee, 8-iron to lay up and wedge some 50 feet beyond the cup on the demanding 18th hole.
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"It looked easy to him out there today," Wetterich said.
Woods said it was a struggle, but he got the momentum he wanted heading into the first major of the year. He won his 31st straight PGA Tour event when leading going into the last round, never letting anyone closer than four shots until the final three holes.
He closed with a 1-over 73, only the sixth time in his career he has won by shooting over par in the last round.
"I figured if I shot under par, it would be over," he said. "Didn't quite get it done, but ended up winning, anyways.''
And everyone knew it.
"If he's not already, he's getting pretty close to being the best golfer of all time," U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy said. "It's fun watching. He's just a better player.''
They can move this World Golf Championship around country and continents, change its name and stick it in a different spot on the calendar. It doesn't matter. Woods still seems to wind up with the trophy.
Woods won this event for the sixth time, more than any other tournament. And while the others are held on courses he owns, Woods is believed to be the first player to win a tournament six times on six courses -- in Spain, Ireland, Atlanta, San Francisco, London and Miami, the latter on a Blue Monster course where he has won the last three years.
"I love this golf course," he said. "And when it was decided that we were going to come here, I just through that this was a wonderful opportunity for me to win the championship.''
Elias SaysRobert Allenby shot a final-round 67 to rally from 21st place to a tie for third in the WGC-CA Championship. It was Allenby's sixth top-10 finish this season -- the highest total on the PGA Tour -- and his 34th top-10 placing since his last tournament victory in 2001. Elias Says
He finished at 10-under 278 and earned $1.35 million for his second victory of the year, and 56th of his career.
"He's good on Bermuda, good in wind, good in no wind, he's good on bent grass. He's just a good player," Ogilvy said.
Woods won for the 13th time in 24 starts in the World Golf Championships, and he's 11-of-16 when the WGCs are stroke play.
He kept everyone at least four shots from the lead until Wetterich made birdie on the 16th to get within three. Wetterich had birdie putts of 10 feet and 8 feet on the last two holes, but missed them both.
"That's not good enough if you want to try to beat Tiger,'' Wetterich said.
Equipped with a three-shot lead on the 18th, Woods went conservative for one of the few times in his career. He hit 3-iron off the tee on the 465-yard closing hole, laid up with an 8-iron and took the water out of play -- way out of play -- with a wedge 50 feet above the hole.
A three-putt double bogey and a Wetterich birdie would have meant a playoff.
Woods, however, found the perfect pace down to tap-in range, and Wetterich's birdie putt, which he left short, was meaningless. Wetterich closed with a 71.
Robert Allenby ran off six birdies in his first 14 holes and his 5-under 67 was the best score of the final round, the only drama was to see would finish second. Allenby wound up in a tie for third at 6-under 282 with Ogilvy (70) and Sergio Garcia (70), the only player to break par all for days at Doral.
Garcia bristled when asked if he was embarrassed by spitting into the cup after missing a putt on Saturday.
"I apologized already," he said. "Are you embarrassed that I didn't spit today, that you didn't have anything better to ask me? Next.''
Woods' victory comes one week after he took two double bogeys and a triple bogey on his back nine at Bay Hill, and some players wondered whether those scars would be fresh.
He is 31-1 when leading on the PGA Tour going into the final round, the loss coming in 1996 Quad City Classic when he was 20 and playing his third tournament as a professional.
He led by four shots Sunday, and Woods immediately stretched it with an 18-foot birdie on the opening hole.
But he shoved a 5-foot par putt on the third, then rapped a 50-foot birdie attempt on the next hole some 10 feet past the cup. Wetterich made his 35-footer for birdie, but Woods poured in his par putt.
After another bogey on the sixth, Woods' approach on No. 7 caught the face of the bunker. He blasted out to 5 feet and again saved par to keep rolling toward victory. Consecutive birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 10th gave him his largest lead of the round at six, and by then it was matter of finishing the tournament.
"I didn't see anyone catching Tiger," Allenby said. "When he's in front, he's a hard man to beat.''
The CA Championship is the fifth tournament that Woods has won at least three times in a row, and he has won more times at this tournament than any other in golf.
Woods has won 27.5 percent of his tournaments, an astounding rate that even got the savvy Ogilvy doing some quick math.
"He only wins 30 percent of the time he tees it up," Ogilvy said. "I probably only play 13 or 14 tournaments that he plays in a year. I've got seven or eight chances he's not going to win. It's kind of inspiring.''
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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