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Tiger is back _ at least for now
He made one last birdie for good measure, a 9-iron into the 18th green that was played by a guy who looked as though he had won here before. It caught the ridge at the back of the green and rolled down to just inside 10 feet, giving him a 5-under 67 and a two-shot win.
It was his fifth win at Muirfield Village, the fifth golf course on which he has won at least five times. And it was the 73rd win of his PGA Tour career, tying him with Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host who was there, as always, to greet Woods when he came off the 18th green.
“He had to rub it in my face here, didn’t he?” Nicklaus later said with a laugh.
“I don’t think under the circumstances I’ve ever seen a better shot,” Nicklaus said.
The last time Woods won the Memorial was in 2009, when he also rallied from a four-shot deficit on the final day with a 65. It was his second win of the year, and the U.S. Open was two weeks away at Bethpage Black, where Woods had won wire-to-wire seven years earlier. Woods had 14 majors, as he does now.
“I suspect No. 15 will come for Tiger Woods in about two weeks,” Nicklaus said at the trophy presentation. “If he drives the ball this way, and plays this way, I’m sure it will. And if not, it will surprise me greatly.”
That year was full of so many surprises.
Woods won every tournament he played before the majors, and failed to win any of them. By the end of the year, his problems were off the golf course and he hasn’t seriously challenged in the final hour of another major since then.
He won at Bay Hill, and then had his worst performance ever at the Masters as a pro when he tied for 40th.
Woods never broke par the last time the U.S. Open was played at The Olympic Club in 1998, though he was in the middle of changing his swing. He played the golf course last Tuesday and found it to be difficult, which it is. It is short by U.S. Open standards, though it plays long.
If nothing else, Olympic served as the perfect tuneup for Muirfield Village.
“Last week I did some good things, good work at home, and really got comfortable with the things that Sean (Foley) and I have been working on the last few tournaments and months,” Woods said. “As soon as they felt comfortable, I was good to go. And when I went out and played Olympic, I hit the ball well there. I said, `Hey, that’s as good a prep as any for this event if I can hit the ball well there.’
“I just basically carried that into this event and hit it great all week.”
Does this make him a failure if he doesn’t win the U.S. Open? Is he done?
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