Even someone like former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy can acknowledge being a bit mesmerized by seeing Tiger Woods win tournament after tournament after tournament.
”It’s quite fun to watch,” Ogilvy said.
Sure, but it doesn’t compare to beating Woods – especially when the world’s No. 1 hasn’t lost in six months.
Ogilvy won the CA Championship on Monday, saving a round that seemed in peril with a chip-in for par at the 13th hole and going on to claim his second victory in a World Golf Championship event. And not only did Ogilvy take down Tiger, he did it at Doral, where Woods had won each of the past three years.
- CA Championship – Final Leaderboard
So much for that perfect-season talk. The streak is over.
”It was going to end at some point,” Ogilvy said. ”I’m very glad that I did it. It’s a nice place to do it, too, because he’s obviously owned this place for the last few years. He just had one of those weeks.”
A final round of 1-under 71 – with nothing but nine pars Monday – was enough for Ogilvy to finish at 17 under, one shot better than Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh, who all closed with 68s in the rain-delayed tournament. Woods was fifth at 15 under, losing for the first time in six PGA Tour starts and seven official ones worldwide, not counting his win at the Target World Challenge.
”As players, it’s nice to see somebody else lift a trophy for a change,” Goosen said.
Calgary’s Stephen Ames finished eight shots off the pace after closing with a 2-under 70. Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., shot a 1-under 71 and was nine strokes behind.
With the win, Ogilvy joined select company – only Woods (15) and Darren Clarke (two) have more than one WGC title.
”People don’t really understand, you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments,” Woods said. ”I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. That’s what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things weren’t going that way this week.”
Indeed, Ogilvy got the biggest break at the most crucial time.
Woods started the morning five shots back with seven holes remaining and made his typical charge, closing within two strokes after making a four-footer at the 17th. He birdied the 12th to start his day, then hit his tee shot within a foot at the par-3 15th for a tap-in.
At that very moment, two holes behind, Ogilvy seemed in trouble.
He pulled his two-iron tee shot at the par-3 13th way left, and his chip from thick, dewy grass didn’t even reach the green – making bogey seem probable, until a most improbable shot followed.
Ogilvy’s second chip hopped twice, hit the pin and dropped straight in, giving the Australian a break he desperately needed. If it went past the cup, he surely could have been looking at double bogey – since the ball clearly would have kept rolling for a while.
”That was moving,” Ogilvy said. ”That’s why you have to hit it on line. Flag gets in the way.”
Around the same time that chip dropped in, Ogilvy’s nearest pursuers began falling off.
Singh was the first one to make a run at Ogilvy, getting within a stroke before back-to-back bogeys doomed his chances. Furyk got within one after making birdie at the 17th, then missed the fairway at the finishing hole. Adam Scott started the morning four shots back, then inexplicably missed a two-foot tap-in and lost all hope of making a run.
”Geoff played well,” Singh said. ”He hit a lot of great shots and putted nicely. Somebody had to win, somebody had to lose.”
For a change, Woods was one of those somebodies on the losing side.
It was Woods’ first defeat since Sept. 3, and his perfect start to 2008 begged the ridiculous-sounding question: Could he go unbeaten for an entire year?
”You want to always win every one you play in,” Woods said. ”So you’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”
His next official tournament: the Masters, where Woods’ annual Grand Slam quest will begin.
”I think it’s a great sign, what happened this week, to make that many mistakes and only be two back,” Woods said.
It has come to this: When Woods doesn’t win, it counts as stunning news.
He was less than an even-money favourite before the tournament began, and at least one British bookmaker had Woods at the preposterous odds of 1-to-3 after the second round – when he wasn’t even in the lead.
But since Woods’ surge of late was amazing even by his own standards, why would those oddsmakers expect anything less?
”The chitchat about ‘Is he going to win every golf tournament this year,’ that’s frustrating stuff to hear,” Ogilvy said.
Ogilvy won’t have to hear it anymore.
His last win was the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the one best remembered by Phil Mickelson’s final-hole double-bogey collapse that handed Ogilvy the title.
There was some symmetry at Doral, where this week might go down as the week Tiger lost.
”I guess they stopped going in for him this week,” Ogilvy said. ”Yeah, it’s nice.”
Woods’ check for US$285,000 put him over the $80-million mark in official earnings. .. Woods was among several players who scurried out quickly to get to Orlando for the afternoon start to the Tavistock Cup, the annual match between pros from the Lake Nona and Isleworth clubs. ”Going to be a long day,” Woods said. .. Goosen’s finish was his best since tying for second at the Masters last year.