Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Woods returns to Medinah course to win third PGA title

AFP , CHICAGO

If Tiger Woods had a say in the matter, the PGA Championship would come back to the Medinah Country Club more often than every seven years.

The 12-time major winner Woods shot a 68 at Medinah's No. 3 course on Sunday to win by five strokes and clinch his third career PGA Championship.

He also became the first player to win the PGA Championship twice on the same course as Sunday's win followed his first one in 1999 at historic Medinah.

"Medinah is one of the neat places," Woods said.

"I've played here a few other times actually as well as the 1999 PGA Championship. I've come out here with [Michael Jordan] a little bit. I've always loved playing here. It is a straightforward golf course. That's why the players love Charlotte, Firestone, and why guys love playing Riviera," he said.

"They are difficult, but not tricked out like how most of the modern courses are now," he said.

After the tournament Woods was given an honorary membership to Medinah which he joked about.

"It's pretty sweet. I don't have to pay dues either," he said.

Woods has been rolling since missing the cut for the first time in a major at this year's US Open.

He posted an emotional victory at the British Open last month, his first win since his father, Earl, died in May.

Woods said until the final round it wasn't as easy this week to find that inner calmness that he had at Hoylake.

"I wasn't as calm this time," Woods said. "It wasn't the same feeling as Hoylake, maybe because then I was in contention to win in a first major after my dad passed."

But there were signs this week that Woods is starting to be his old self.

"This week was not quite as good as it was feeling-wise and my emotions. I got riled up a couple of times, got fiery. But I was able to calm myself down and refocus and be committed on the next shot."

The 30-year-old Woods said he was now a much better overall player than in 1999 when he won the PGA Championship by one stroke.

"I have made a bunch of strides since I played here in 1999," Woods said. "I have a better understanding of how to get more out of my round and how to handle my emotions.

"I have a better understanding of my mechanics and putting stroke. I have been through a lot in those seven years."

Chinarat Phadungsil of Thailand was hailed as the future of Asian golf after a stunning weekend win which gave him his second Tour victory at the age of just 17.

"Chinarat is rock-solid. He's playing good. It's surprising to say that he's only 17. He's cool, calm and collected. He's got good technique and a good golf swing. Everything is good about him," said experienced Indian Amandeep Johl, who played two rounds with the young Thai last week.

The supremely talented Chinarat, whose nickname "Neung" is Thai for the number one, kept his cool to win the Crowne Plaza Open in Sanya, China, after a dramatic play-off with compatriot Prom Meesawat and Taiwan's Lin Wen-tang (林文堂).

The victory on the second extra hole catapulted him to 19th place on the Order of Merit with season's earnings of US$101,121.

But Chinarat, who became the Asian Tour's youngest winner at last year's Double A International, appeared unfazed by his new-found wealth and reputation.

"I'm going to keep the money in the bank and use it to play in other tournaments," he said.

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