Woods watches after his tee shot on the third hole during
the final round of the BMW Championship golf tournament in
, on Sunday.
LEMONT, Ill. - Tiger Woods' only way
out was a 3-iron through a 20-foot wide corridor of fans and 30-foot
high canopy of trees. For his next shot, he had to hook a 9-iron
around another big tree and try to bounce it up a ramp onto the
After all that, he wound up with
Walking off the ninth green with his
lead still at seven shots, Woods shrugged his shoulders and smiled
as if nothing could go wrong.
Hardly anything did at the BMW
All it took was one big week to end a
month of frustration for the world's No. 1 player.
One day after his course-record 62
gave him a seven-shot lead, Woods made sure no one else had a chance
Sunday at Cog Hill, where he closed with a 3-under 68 for an
eight-shot victory over Jim Furyk and Marc Leishman.
The victory was his sixth of the year
and assured Woods of the No. 1 seed for the final tournament of the
It was his first victory since he
blew a two-shot lead last month in the final round of the PGA
Championship. His most recent chance at winning came at Liberty
National two weeks ago, where he missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the
last hole to get into a playoff.
"To play as well as I have of
late and not get the Ws has been a little bit frustrating, no doubt,
because I've been so close," he said. "It's just been a
matter of making a couple of putts here and there, and I would have
won the tournaments. And lo and behold, boom! I hit the ball just as
well, just as consistent this week, and I made a few putts. And
that's how it happens."
Woods finished at 19-under 265 to win
for the fifth time at Cog Hill. It was his 10th career PGA Tour
victory by at least eight shots.
Not that Cog Hill was devoid of
"It felt like we had a
tournament within a tournament," Furyk said after his 66.
"Tiger was seven ahead. He was kind of running away. It was
kind of a tournament for second place."
It turned out to be much more.
As Woods cruised around Cog Hill in
his familiar red shirt, a dozen players behind him were scrambling
to move high enough in the FedEx Cup standings for a shot at the $10
million prize at the Tour Championship, or simply to be part of the
30-man finale at East Lake.
Furyk's runner-up finish moved him up
15 spots to No. 3, meaning he can win the FedEx Cup with a victory
at the Tour Championship.
Leishman, a rookie from Australia who
closed with a 69, only advanced to the third round of playoffs at
Cog Hill by making an eagle putt on his final hole last week at the
TPC Boston. Now he's headed to the Tour Championship for an outside
shot at $10 million, and is assured of making his first trip to the
"It was an awesome day for
me," he said.
Most compelling, however, was the
battle for the 30th and final spot.
The heartbreaker belonged to Brandt
Snedeker, who needed only a bogey on the 18th hole to get into the
Tour Championship. After missing a 12-footer for par, he watched in
shock as his 3-foot bogey putt caught the left lip of the cup.
Snedeker was so stunned that he missed the next two putts from
tap-in range and took triple bogey.
"I can't believe I did
this," Snedeker said. "I just made a mess of it."
That allowed John Senden to capture
the 30th spot by less than a half-point over Ian Poulter, and both
tried to throw it away.
Senden had 90 yards to the par-5 15th
and chunked his wedge so badly that it traveled only 50 yards. Two
holes later, he hit a bunker shot over the green and into the water
to make double bogey. Because of Snedeker's blunder, however, Senden
is going to East Lake.
He finished 0.46 points ahead of
Poulter, who hit his approach into the water on the 18th hole.
Far easier to compute was Woods
He finished at 19-under 265 for his
71st career victory, leaving two short of Jack Nicklaus for second
on the PGA Tour's career list. Woods also tied Sam Snead with his
sixth season of at least six victories.
"It's one of my best
years," Woods said, alluding to his return from missing eight
months with knee surgery.
Woods won for the first time since
his aura was slightly tarnished at the PGA Championship, where he
lost a lead in the final round for the first time since he was a
20-year-old rookie. Y.E. Yang rallied from two shots behind to beat
him at Hazeltine, ending Woods' streak of never losing a major with
at least a share of the lead.
No way he was about to lose this one
— not at Cog Hill, and not the way he was hitting shots and making
Cog Hill became the fourth course
where Woods has won at least five times. He has won seven times at
Torrey Pines and Firestone, and six times at Bay Hill.
Now comes the hard part.
Woods' sixth victory likely sewed up
another PGA Tour player of the year award — no one else has won
more than three times this year. And while he has a 1,504-point lead
over Steve Stricker, the points are reset for the Tour Championship.
As the No. 1 seed, Woods will have
2,500 points, with Stricker at 2,250. The rest of the top five are
Furyk, Zach Johnson and Heath Slocum. All of them can win the FedEx
Cup with a victory at East Lake. Everyone else will need some help.