The God's Given Lionel Messi - messilegend

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tiger Wins Again

You will never get enough of Tiger Woods. After missing the cut at the Turnberry last month, Tiger is back again at the top of his game, this time winning the Buick Open, his career 69th title, trailing just behind Jack Nicklaus-73 and Sam Snead-82. Tiger is set to compete in two consecutive tournaments going into a major, the last this year, for the virgin time in his career. Well, even though Tiger shot a poor 71 in the first round for one under par and trailing by 8 shots, you can never write him off! One round of golf doesnt decide the champion. Great job Tiger! Messi The Legend salutes you and will continue to watch you from afar.

"He shot a 71 in the first round and said it was probably the worst putting performance of his career, leading to him skipping his post-round practice session because he was so mad."

Tiger out-grinds the rest of the Buick field

GRAND BLANC, Mich. - Michael Letzig, for a brief moment Sunday, allowed himself to dream of upsetting Tiger Woods in the fnal pairing and win the 52nd and final Buick Open at Warwick Hills.

The old swing demons were back as Woods was spraying his tee shots to the right and, for good measure, missing his irons to the right, too.

Letzig last played with Woods in the final round at the Memorial, where the world No. 1 was at his stratospheric best en route to a tournament-winning 65. This, however, wasn't the same player. Letzig thought he smelled vulnerability.

"I thought, 'Maybe,'" said the 29-year-old from Kansas City. "You could tell he wasn't on his game early and I kinda thought if I could get it going he would be beatable."

Yet after eight holes, Woods with smoke, mirrors and guts was 2 under par for the day while Letzig, who drove it beautifully only to miss birdie putt after birdie putt, made just one mistake — albeit a costly one, a double bogey — and found himself at 2 over par for the day. Far from being in a position to win, he was five shots adrift of Woods' lead.

"He just doesn't make mistakes," said Letzig, "When he does make mistakes he recovers and then makes the birdies on the easy holes that you're supposed to."

"He's just laughing at all of us. He's so good."

Of all his attributes, the one which really separates Tiger Woods from the madding crowd of touring professionals isn't necessarily the ability to launch stupendous shots or make dramatic putts.

It's that he's the ultimate grinder.

No one can make lemonade out of lemons like him. He won for the 69th time on the PGA Tour despite having to yell "Fore right!" for the final 27 holes.

"You see guys turn 65s into 69s but you hardly ever see someone turn a 69 into a 65," Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, told me before the round about his man's third round. It was that third round which gave Woods the lead going into Sunday; that and a silly bogey by Letzig on the last hole Saturday afternoon.

And has anyone ever been more money with the third-round lead?

The only time he failed to convert one was in his rookie year, 1996, at the Quad City Classic. Since then, Woods is a perfect 36-0 in holding the trophy aloft after stepping on the first tee Sunday afternoon with the lead.

Even Letzig knew the score.

"I wasn't really here to win the tournament today," he said, "It was just kind of a battle with myself out there. You try and match him, it ain't gonna happen."

For all the chattering about Woods not being the player he was, consider that he now has four victories in a season — for the 11th time in 14 professional seasons, he's won at least four times — where no other player has more than two. And he's now won 21 of his last 39 starts dating back to the 2006 British Open.

And while some of those triumphs were sown by celestial shot-making and putting, be sure that most of them were won by the grinder within Woods.

And don't think he doesn't know it.

"If you look at most events you play, you don't ever hit the ball great for four straight days," he said after Sunday's victory, "You're always going to have one off day, and even some of my best (tournaments) that I've gone 25 under par I had one off day."

"But off day score-wise can still be a pretty good score. You still kind of don't feel quite right about your game, and you ask, 'How am I going to make the score?' and I did that (Saturday). I wasn't hitting the ball very good on my back nine but somehow I made a score. And today, as I say, I hit some bad shots and somehow made a score, and that's what you have to do."

The other ingredient to the Woods Grind is, as he says, to "miss the ball in correct spots and give yourself the best angles."

"I really understand that," he said.

The only time he diverted from the blueprint was on the par-5 13th, where he tried to slice a 5-wood around a tree on the right of the fairway despite a left-to-right wind and water on the right of the green. His squirter of a shot landed in the middle of the lake, prompting Woods to put his hat over his face and have a few stern words with himself, in private.

"I was a little angry," he said.

But another of his attributes is the ability to turn his emotions off. He composed himself, took a drop, then hit a delicious pitch from 60 yards to inside 3 feet and saved par.

He was never really threatened and strolled home to win by three strokes.

But the greater question now becomes whether Woods will be able to carry this victory forward. It came, after all, on the easiest course on Tour and against one of the weaker fields. Woods and Jim Furyk were the only players in the top 25 of the world rankings here to mark the last time Michigan is likely to see professional golf for some time.

Woods flies home to Florida for a couple of days before going to Ohio's Firestone — a course on which he's won six times in nine starts — and then on to Minnesota and the PGA for one last shot at a major.

"I'm starting to feel better than I did the last time I played," Woods said in comparing this week with his missed cut at Turnberry.

"I can use this as maybe a little bit of momentum going into the next two weeks."

In many ways, two weeks which will define his comeback year.


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