THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA | While the week
started with more questions than answers
where Tiger Woods was concerned, the week
ended with a notion that no one can dispute:
Graeme McDowell is one of the toughest
players in championship golf.
McDowell, of Northern Ireland, made two
consecutive clutch birdie putts from outside 20
feet on the 18th hole to defeat Tiger Woods in a
one-hole playoff at the Chevron World
Challenge at Sherwood Country Club.
McDowell, the reigning U.S. Open champion,
completed a season in which his singles victory
was the deciding point in the Ryder Cup. And,
now, he ran down Woods from four behind in
the final round. McDowell shot rounds of 66-
69-68-69 for a 72-hole total of 272, 16-under
par. He tied Woods in regulation, who shot a
final-round 73 to go with rounds of 65-66-68.
“It’s been a dream season, really,” McDowell said. “To go up against the best player the
game has ever seen and come out on top is
The playoff was born at the 18th hole in
regulation with some 72nd hole dramatics.
Woods hit his second shot at the par- 4 to within
four feet, while McDowell pulled his approach
to about 20 feet left of the hole. McDowell
made his birdie putt, forcing Woods to make his
four-footer to tie, the second day in a row both
players made birdie at 18.
Woods surrendered a four-shot lead in the
final round, starting with two early three-putts.
And he fell out of the lead in a most unceremonious manner. On the par- 5 13th, Woods missed
the fairway with his tee shot and hit the ball over
the green with his third. In the meantime, McDowell reached the green in two. Woods couldn’t
keep the ball on the green with his chip and failed
to get up and down, making an ugly double-bogey
7, while McDowell two-putted for birdie. The
three-shot swing put McDowell up by two.
McDowell immediately gave one back at the
par- 4 14th with a wild tee shot. Woods pulled
even at the par- 3 17th when McDowell hit his
tee shot over the green into an unplayable lie.
Only a miraculous blind pitch from a terrace
above the green gave McDowell a bogey to
keep things tied going to the last.
Paul Casey of England came back from a
first-round 73 to shoot rounds of 65-69-69 for a
12-under total of 276. Rory McIlroy of Northern
Ireland shot a final-round 68, to finish fourth at
Hunter Mahan was a shot back at 10 under
after a Sunday 69. Stewart Cink’s 67 was the best
round of the day to move him into a tie for sixth
with Ian Poulter (69) at 9-under 278.
Staff and Wire Reports
Graeme McDowell rallied from four shots behind
to deny Tiger Woods his last shot at victory in 2010.