NEC: Tiger survives to win, others blow fumes

mulligan, 21 August 2005, Comments Off on NEC: Tiger survives to win, others blow fumes
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Sporting a striped shirt that was barely red (not to mention a slight goatee that rivals Vijay’s soulpatch), Tiger seemed out of sorts today — as did just about everyone else except Chris DiMarco. Tiger shot a 2-over 37 on the front nine and was at one point 2 shots back of the lead. However, Kenny Perry (who was at 8-under) before the ninth hole proceeded to go on a bogey train, fighting a sudden case of the pull hooks on his approach shots. Perry bogeyed five of the next six holes and that was all she wrote for him.

Chris DiMarco, meanwhile, shot a 68, and posted a 5-under for the tourney. He missed an 18-footer for birdie on the last hole, which you kind of knew would be crucial. Paul McGinley birdied 16 to get to -5 and a tie for the lead, but then yanked his fairway wood off the tee on 17 into the woods. McGinley missed his 10-footer for par, and that was the end of him.

All of the fumes left by Kenny Perry and Paul McGinley set the the stage for Tiger Woods: Tiger soon rolled in an 18-footer downhiller birdie putt to go -6 on the insanely long 16th hole, and gave his now signature overhand right punch — the same one he displayed on the 17th road hole at St. Andrews. Tiger parred 17 and then hit an errant drive on the 18th. But, as he usually does, Tiger got a good bounce along the cart path that left his ball with an alley way to the green. A punch 8-iron and 2 putts later left Tiger with his 4th NEC victory, this one earned the hard way.

My Take: Not sure Firestone was playing as difficult as the scores suggest. Given all the rain, the greens were much more receptive than earlier in the week (although some of the pin placements were downright nasty). Kenny Perry’s score can be attributed to his pull hooks — which, too, might be attributed to a case of the nerves in leading the tournament at the beginning of the back nine. McGinley, too, seemed to shoot himself in the foot with some bad swings. Tiger’s putter seemed to be his problem today, as he admitted after the round. But Tiger deserves all the credit in the world because he always (or just about always) seems to find a way to win when in contention, especially in Ohio.

UPDATE: name change: Bridgestone will now be the sponsor of this tournament, taking it over from NEC. Bridgestone is the same multinational company, based out of Japan, that bought Firestone Rubber and Tire Co., which was started by Harvey Firestone in Akron, OH in 1900. The tire company is now a subsidiary of Bridgestone and operates as Bridgestone/Firestone. Of course, Firestone Country Club was started by and named after Harvey Firestone in 1929. Looks like we’ve come full circle.


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