Tue, Oct 03, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Woods goes on holiday after dominating in UK

AP , CHANDLER'S CROSS, ENGLAND

Tiger Woods of the US plays a shot during the fourth round of the American Express Championship, which he won for a fifth time, at The Grove, Hertfordshire, England, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Good news for the rest of golf: Tiger Woods is going on holiday.

A streak that began 10 weeks ago on the sun-baked links of Hoylake reached six straight US PGA Tour victories on the rain-drenched fairways north of London on Sunday when Woods won the American Express Championship. He became the first player in tour history to win at least eight times in three seasons.

Threatened only by the weather that twice delayed the inevitable, Woods closed with a 4-under 67 for an eight-shot victory over Adam Scott of Australia and Ian Poulter of England.

"He's dominating the game," Scott said. "It's not the first time he's done it, either."

The trophy in hand, Woods had one foot in a courtesy car that was ready to take him away when he took a few questions from the BBC. After playing seven times in the last nine weeks, he was eager to get home to Florida.

"I'm getting away for a little bit," Woods said. "As far as golf, I've had enough of it for a while."

This might have been his most dominating performance since the streak began at the British Open in July, and not just because the eight-shot victory was his largest margin since winning by 11 at the 2003 Bay Hill Invitational.

Woods had such control over his game that he was third in driving distance and fifth in driving accuracy, missing only 12 fairways all week. And during one stretch, he hit 36 consecutive greens in regulation, a streak that ended when his approach on the 12th hole drifted left and into a bunker for his only bogey of the final round.

One other streak ended on the last hole of the tournament -- it was the first time all week he failed to make eagle on the 567-yard (518m) closing hole at The Grove.

His chip from just short of the green scooted by the cup and stopped a few feet away for a tap-in birdie that put him at 23-under 261.

"This was a fun week," he said. "I hit the ball really well -- all 72 holes, really. It's fun when you can control your golf ball that well."

In a week remembered for the death of Byron Nelson, it rekindled curiosity whether "Lord" Byron's record in 1945 of 11 consecutive victories really is untouchable.

Woods wasn't ready to touch that one -- yet.

"It's still a long way away," he said with a laugh.

"If you look at it, I'm barely halfway. What he did was absolutely remarkable, and I'm just thrilled that I've been able to win six in a row twice. That to me is a pretty neat accomplishment in itself," he said.

Woods won the final four US tour events in 1999 and his first two starts in 2000 to match Ben Hogan (1948) for the second-longest winning streak on the US PGA Tour.

He passed Nelson, Hogan, Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer with his third US PGA Tour season of at least eight victories. Woods won eight times in 1999 and nine times in 2000.

And he has at least one tournament left -- the Tour Championship.

Woods probably won't decide until the last minute whether to play the Funai Classic in three weeks in Florida. Skipping that tournament, which has never been his favorite, would leave him one round short of being eligible for the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average.

Asked how much that award meant, Woods replied, "Not much."

"I've had a good year," he said. "But if you don't play enough rounds, you don't play enough rounds."

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