Woods puts an end to dry spell
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - After going more than two years and 26 tournaments without a win, and after so much turmoil in his personal life and with his golf game, Tiger Woods stood over a 6-foot birdie putt yesterday to win the Chevron World Challenge and felt as though nothing had changed.
Finally, the outcome was familiar, too. Woods poured in the putt to cap off a birdie-birdie finish, close with a 3-under-par 69, and beat former Masters champion Zach Johnson by one shot. The win ended a drought that lasted 749 days, and might have signaled a change that Woods is on his way back.
He swept his arm across the air, yelled through the din of the gallery, and slammed his fist in a celebration. Was it relief? Satisfaction? Vindication?
“It just feels awesome whatever it is,’’ he said.
Trailing by one shot with two holes to play, Woods had two clutch putts. He holed a 15-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th to pull into a tie with Johnson, then hit a 9-iron from 158 yards that landed on the ridge behind the hole and rolled down to 6 feet.
“I’ve been in contention twice this year, which is not very often,’’ Woods said. “So that’s my third time with a chance to win it. I pulled it off this time.’’
It was his 83d win worldwide in tournaments that award ranking points, but his first since he won the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009, back when he looked as though he would rule golf for as long as he played.
“He’s the most experienced and the best player I’ve ever played with,’’ said Johnson. “In every situation, he knows how to execute and win.’’
The win moved Woods from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world rankings, and likely will send expectations soaring for 2012.