Woods continues amazing World Championship run
Tiger Woods notched up win number 77 of his professional career even with a real mixed bag of a final round in Miami last night.
In his final competitive tune-up for the US Masters, Woods, four ahead overnight, shot a closing 73 to clinch victory in the CA World Championship for the third successive year and sixth time in eight attempts.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington shot a final round of 71 to finish tied for 19th on one under par.
Six months after taking the title by eight at The Grove near Watford, the world number one this time won by only two from fellow American Brett Wetterich, but in truth it was far easier than that.
Since the World Golf Championship series started in 1999, Woods has now won 14 of the 26 he has played. Nobody else has won more than two.
It was also his third successive victory on Doral's Blue Monster course.
He was out in 35 with three birdies and two bogeys and six clear after he became the only player all day to find the green in two at the par-five 10th.
That two-putt birdie was followed by another three-putt bogey, however, and he dropped another shot on the 13th when he missed from seven feet.
Playing partner Wetterich shot himself in the foot by having bogey sixes at both the first and 12th, but when he birdied the 15th and 16th he did bring the gap down to three.
With the 18th such a dangerous hole he could have made things really interesting by holing a 10-footer at the 17th, but missed it.
As a result Woods was able to take an iron off the final tee and gave no thought to going for the green in two on the par four. But even then there was a chance of a three-stroke swing when Wetterich fired his second to eight feet.
Woods third was long and finished in a similar spot from which Mark Calcavecchia had earlier putted into the lake.
But Woods judged the pace much better and even with a bogey he was home and dry when Wetterich left his birdie attempt short.
With a 70 Sergio Garcia climbed into a tie for third on six under with Australians Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby, whose 67 was the low round of the day, while Swede Niclas Fasth and England's Paul Casey were one stroke further back.
Casey began the week under the weather and with a round of 76, so his comeback keeps his Masters hopes high.
"I'm making lots of birdies," he said. "I've just got to eliminate the mistakes."
Garcia is starting to look more confident even though he still has not won for more than 18 months.
"Pretty good overall," he said of a performance which included chipping in on the 15th just after playing partner Fasth had done the same.
Following his Saturday round Garcia had been questioned about spitting into one of the holes after he had three-putted.
"I just missed the putt and I wasn't too happy," he told a television reporter. "Don't worry, it did go in the middle and wasn't going to affect anyone else. If it did, I would have wiped it off."
Newspaper journalists tried to follow up, but Garcia responded: "I just said it. I'm not going to repeat it."
As if it is not hard enough for his rivals already, Woods now has Roger Federer helping him become an even better golfer.
On Saturday night Woods went to see the Swiss star win his latest match at nearby Key Biscayne, Federer having watched him practise last Wednesday.
Their friendship started last September and Woods says there is more for him to learn from Federer than there is from another of his great buddies, basketball legend Michael Jordan.
"I think we can understand each other for what we go through," said golf's world number one of the tennis world number one.
"The difference between myself and Jordan and myself and Roger is that Roger and I play individual sports, so there's common ground there that I didn't have with Jordan.
"It's still phenomenal to watch. It's neat and intriguing for me to talk to him and see what he thinks on certain situations, and we pick each other's brain a little bit.
"I think it's just the dedication it takes. People don't realise how hard you have to work off the court and off the course to achieve the levels that we've been able to achieve - it's a lot harder than people think.
"Once he's on the court we have the same competitive fire. He's a lot more mellow than I am leading into the event.
"I'm pretty fired up and ready to go. I can't wait to get out there and mix it up with the guys. He's just a little more low-key.
"I remember at the (tennis) US Open that, I think it was like 15 minutes or something like that before he goes on the court, and he has not had his ankles taped yet. He's just talking to me.
"I'm like 'Hey, go'. I pushed him out the door and just said 'Go'. But once he gets on the court though it's a totally different deal."