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No One Catches Woods

Golf: He walks off with a five-stroke victory that is only one shot short of Memorial record.

May 30, 2000|From Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ohio — Tiger Woods had a six-stroke lead and was on top of his game. That meant everyone else was playing for second Monday in the Memorial Tournament.

Jack Nicklaus wouldn't be surprised if it were like that every week.

A year ago, Nicklaus watched Woods hit the ball all over Muirfield Village and save par with a superior short game to win the golf tournament by two strokes.

This year was different, but no less amazing.

Woods was in total control of every shot, except the seven-iron he blasted over the 18th green and into the gallery. That cost him a chance to break the tournament scoring record, but his two-under 70 for a 269 was still good enough for a five-stroke victory.

"When you have the ability to outdistance your opponents by 30 or 40 yards and know exactly what you're doing and where it's going to go," Nicklaus said, pausing to look at Woods with disbelief, "you're playing for second every week, unless he doesn't play well."

Everyone else found that out as the rain-delayed Memorial concluded with hardly any fist pumps and even fewer dramatics--just another victory by Woods.

Ernie Els and Justin Leonard wound up tied for first in the B-flight at 274.

"I think everybody out here is beatable," Leonard said. "You just have to have the right kind of day and the right week. And this week wasn't it."

Along with successfully defending a title for the first time in 10 tries, Woods became the first repeat champion in the 25-year history of the tournament and joined Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin and Greg Norman as the only players to win the Memorial twice.

"I needed to shoot a good front nine to increase my lead and make sure the guys didn't have a chance," said Woods, who made three birdies inside four feet on the front. "I appreciate every victory I get."

Woods squandered his chance to break Tom Lehman's tournament scoring record of 268 set in 1994 by failing to make birdie on any of the par-fives. Needing a birdie on the last hole, he blasted a seven-iron from 156 yards that hit the cart path and bounded 20 yards up the hill, finishing closer to the clubhouse than the green. He wound up with a bogey.

"That was one of the worst shots I've ever seen," Woods said. "I've played in many pro-ams, but wow! I definitely need some work."

Others might beg to differ.

Woods won $558,000, giving him more than $4.1 million this year. It was his 11th victory in his last 20 tour events.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Tiger in 2000

What Tiger Woods has done this year in PGA events:

* Earnings: $4.1 million

* Events: 10

* Firsts: 4

* Seconds: 3

* Top 10s: 8

* Top 25s: 9

* Scoring avgerage: 275.6

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