SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods joined the King, and left everyone else at the Buick Invitational feeling like paupers. In his most dominant start to a season, Woods built an 11-shot lead Sunday until his game and the fickle weather turned cold on the back nine. A birdie on the last hole gave him a 1-under 71 and an eight-shot victory, giving him 62 for his career to tie Arnold Palmer on the PGA Tour list.
Woods opened with a 40-foot birdie putt, threw in a 60-foot birdie just to keep a four-deep gallery from falling asleep, and only looked mortal when he made three straight bogeys toward the end of his round.
All that did was affect the final margin, not the name on the trophy.
Woods finished at 19-under 269 to win the Buick Invitational for the fourth consecutive year, tying a PGA Tour record for consecutive wins in a single tournament. Woods is the only player to own such a streak at two events, having also won four in a row at Bay Hill.
Ryuji Imada matched the best score of the final round with a 67 and was the runner-up.
Woods returns to Torrey Pines in June for the U.S. Open, and if this week was any indication, it could be another long week for his peers.
Watching Tiger win by eight is about as exciting as watching grass grow, but I had the Buick on this afternoon. He’ll pass Palmer this year, which makes Ben Hogan’s 64 win total on deck. Tiger should pass that with ease this year, Jack Nicklaus total of 73 is possible in 2009, though I’d predict Tiger to pass Jack in 2010 unless Tiger gets injured.
History in the making can be fun to watch. Woods success isn’t rubbing off on US youth at present as seen by the slim amount of winners age 29 and younger on tour who were born in the US. If you need more proof, look at the dismal failure of recent American Ryder Cup teams.
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