Monday, September 10, 2007

Tiger, Federer Roll On...

For the second week in a row, Tiger Woods went off in the next to last grouping of a PGA Tour event. Unlike last week though the result would be different... Of course, the fact that Phil Mickelson wasn't at this week's BMW Championship at Cog Hill made things a little easier for Tiger this week. Still though, he had to put up some low numbers as there were a couple of golfers named Steve Stricker and Aaron Baddeley who weren't about to back down for the world's number one ranked player.

Cog Hill has always been a very familiar and friendly venue for Tiger. He won amateur titles there, and also three previous times on the PGA Tour. With birdies abound on Sunday, Tiger would need to bring his "A-Game" if he wanted to overtake the co-leading Stricker and Baddeley. Baddeley would take sole possession of the lead with a birdie on the first hole to get to 16-under par. Tiger would get back within a stroke of Baddeley on the third hole with a birdie, while Striker would go on to bogey that same hole ten minutes later to drop two back. Things changed quickly though as Stricker would come back with a birdie on the fifth hole, and Baddeley bogeyed the par-3 sixth. Suddenly, there was a 2-way tie for the lead.

For the next hour and a half or so, the three players took turns making birdies and exhanging the lead. All three players managed to birdie the 7th, 8th and 9th holes, with Stricker scoring his fourth straight birdie on the 10th hole to forge to 19-under and a one stroke lead over both Woods and Baddeley. Baddeley then birdied the 11th to pull into a tie with Stricker. It was then that Tiger decided to "turn on the jets"... After a disappointing tee shot, Tiger was left with a long 50-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 12th... Remarkably, Woods holed the putt, causing both of his opponents to be a little distracted. Woods drained another long 20-foot putt for birdie on the next hole to assume the lead alone. Stricker then proceeded to bogey both the 12th and 14th holes to effectively take himself out of the tournament. Woods then reached the par-5 15th hole in two shots and nearly holed out his 25-foot eagle putt before settling for a birdie. At 21-under par, he was now two strokes ahead of Baddeley. Another birdie on 16 answered a Baddeley birdie on 15 to keep the margin at two strokes. Suddenly, Tiger was chasing after a 62 or even 61... Poor Tiger could only manage pars on the final two holes, settling "only" for an 8-under-par 63. Baddeley would par his final three holes, while playing partner Stricker would wind up at 18-under and alone in third. For Tiger, it was his 60th win of his career and 6th of the 2007 season.


One of Tiger's best friends in the atheltic world is tennis pro, Roger Federer. For the fourth straight year, Mr. Federer took home the U.S. Open title, dispatching the #3 ranked Novak Djokovik in straight sets. Although it sounds like it was an easy victory, it really wasn't as Federer fought off seven set points and had to win the first two sets in tiebreakers. For the world's #1 ranked tennis player, it was his 12th career Grand Slam title - ironically, it's the same number of Grand Slam titles as his friend Tiger has Major golf victories... I guess the only question now is which one of these incredible athletes will get their 13th major title first??? Well, we will have to wait until next year for that one to be answered!!!


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