Tiger Woods made a strong statement at the Target World Challenge on Sunday, beating Padraig Harrington by two shots and heading into the short offseason with two straight stroke-play titles.
He closed with a 5-under 66 to win his final tournament of a difficult year, but made it look like just the beginning.
"I had to take baby steps all year," Woods said. "I was working in the right direction. Sometimes, it might have been just three or four holes in one round that I played great, and then the rest of it wasn't so good. Eventually it became nine holes, then 18, then 36 and 54. Now it's a whole tournament. It's exciting."
Woods missed only one green and two fairways for perhaps his most complete round of the year, on a pristine day at Sherwood Country Club.
"Every shot I wanted to hit, I hit," Woods said.
He finished at 16-under 268 and won US$1.25 million, which he donated to his foundation.
Harrington, who held off Woods at Sherwood, got into contention with a 31 on the front nine, then kept pace until a couple of errant shots cost him on the final three holes.
The Irishman hit his approach into a hazard on the par-5 16th, but had a chance to play out toward the green. It went into a bush, he had to knock that out left-handed and wound up with a bogey. After a clutch birdie on the 17th to get back within one shot, Harrington drove into rough so thick he had no chance to reach the 18th green.
He closed with a bogey for a 66, his only consolation a US$750,000 check.
South Africa's Charl Schwartzel won at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday against England's Neil Cheetham to win the European Tour's Dunhill Championship.
The 20-year-old South African shot a one-under 71 as Cheetham, the third-round leader, carded a 73 to set up the playoff a the 7,316-yard Leopard Creek Country Club.
They both finished on 7-under 281.
On the par-5 18th and first playoff hole, Schwartzel chipped to five feet and make birdie for his first European Tour title. Cheetham made par.
"It was a good chip shot there in the playoff considering I was as nervous as hell," said Schwartzel who won US$955,000. "But shots like that and positions like that are what you practice for, so I am very, very happy."