Grant Me This: Even an all-star line-up can't stop Woods
For one weekend, Medinah Country Club felt a lot like Wrigley Field. But when it comes to the majors these days, says PGA.com's Grant Boone, there are Tigers (Woods) and Cubs (every other player on tour) and the result is no contest.
By Grant Boone, Special to PGA.com
MEDINAH, Ill. -- White balls. Green grass. Two nines. For one weekend, Medinah Country Club felt a lot like Wrigley Field. When it comes to the majors these days, in both baseball and golf, there are Tigers (Detroit, Woods) and there are Cubs (Chicago, every other player on tour). And when they're on the same playing field, it's no contest.
Around 2:00 p.m. Saturday, 10 players were tied for the lead, Tiger Woods and the visiting nine. Roughly 24 hours later, Woods birdied the first hole of the final round to take a lead he would never surrender. Like the ace of a staff, Tiger turned in a complete game that further proved the opposing nine still have a lot of growing up to do.
Your attention please, the starting lineup for this weekend's suburban Chicago Cubs.
Luke Donald leads off and plays short. Good contact hitter, but inexperienced in big-game situations. Paired with Tiger in the final round, Donald struck out with the game on the line. Shot 74 Sunday. Finished tied for third.
Batting second and continuing to catch heat is Sergio Garcia. Couldn't catch Tiger here in 1999 and hasn't been able to since. Wound up tied for third.
Davis Love bats III. Five-tool player. But as much time as he spends on the disabled list, his nickname "DL3" fits. Actually got to minus-9 Saturday before falling apart and finishing 34th.
Fourth and playing left is Phil Mickelson. Hits for power, no defense. Last year's champion birdied four of his first seven holes Saturday to share of the lead at 8-under, but played his final 29 holes this weekend in plus-2. Mickelson had to hit clean-up because of all the messes he made. He finished tied for 16th.
In the five hole is Chris DiMarco. Tough guy to put away, but his major door keeps getting Slammed shut. Couldn't maintain the momentum after front-nine 31 Saturday. Finished tied for 12th.
Next up is David Toms. Not afraid to bunt if lay up is needed on long par 4s. After back-to-back birdies moved him to 8-under Saturday, made just two more the rest of the weekend. Finished tied for 16th.
Billy Andrade hits seventh after getting called up to the major leagues as the seventh alternate this week. Tied for the lead going into the weekend, Andrade bogeyed his first hole Saturday and was never heard from again. Finished tied for 41st.
The No. 8 hitter is Shaun Micheel. Given to prolonged slumps but did hit a Grand Slam at Oak Hill in 2003. Followed front nine 30 Saturday with an inward 37. Sunday 69 good for a solo second.
And batting ninth is Henrik Stenson. Swede swinger trying to stay in the big leagues. Co-leader through 36 holes, bogeyed three of his first six holes Saturday and wound up the week tied for 14th.
That otherwise impressive line-up couldn't stop Woods from taking another one deep. For the second time in the last month, Tiger won a major championship at a preposterous 18-under. And his career average in the majors as a professional is now an even .300 with 12 wins in 40 Grand Slam events.
If Tiger's next 10 years are anything like his first, every significant record in golf -- including the most hallowed, Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championships -- will be going, going, gone.
Grant Boone is a husband, father, golf broadcaster, and sports journalist based in Abilene, Texas. His column appears on PGA.com each Wednesday and every day during major championships and other big events. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed here do not reflect those of PGA.com or The PGA of America.