Over the last four days of golf, Tiger Woods was in a groove. A Tiger Woods groove.
You remember those.
Woods dominated the WGC Cadillac Championship with a string of stats so remarkable that they’re starting to make people whisper that, finally, the old Tiger Woods is back. The victory was Woods’s 76th in a PGA event and brings him ever closer to Sam Snead’s record 82. Snead was 45 when he won his 76th; Woods is 37, for what that’s worth. For the 72-hole event at Doral, Woods needed only 100 putts in his two-shot victory over Steve Stricker.
Now the No. 1 ranking in the world is tantalizingly close, with Woods, presently No. 2, playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill from March 21-24 and Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked player, struggling mightily.
And the Masters is only a month away, with Woods still stuck at 14 major titles.
It’s a great spot to be in and, as he acknowledged, Woods is in debt to Stricker, who helped him tweak his posture on putts. Woods made 27 birdies this week, one short of his personal best. “Thank you to Steve for the putting lesson,” Woods said after winning. “It was one of those weeks where I felt pretty good about how I was playing, made a few putts and got it rolling.”
Stricker, who is playing a part-time schedule, finished second for the second time in three starts and shot a 68 Sunday. “At times you kick yourself,” Stricker joked about his putting lessons. “He’s a good friend. We talk a lot about putting. It’s good to see him playing well.”
Woods finished with a 19-under 269 in winning this tournament for the seventh time. The win was his fifth in his last 19 starts and you know he’s back because the “get in the hole” guy is there for every tee shot.