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Tiger Woods captured the Wanamaker Trophy for the fourth time since 1999. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods captured the Wanamaker Trophy for the fourth time since 1999. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

With 13th major title, Woods exceeds his own expectations

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Even Tiger Woods can't believe how much he's accomplished at this point in his career. But his fourth PGA Championship victory Sunday at Southern Hills will always be special to him, he said, because it's the first major he's won since daughter Sam's arrival.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com Chief of Correspondents

TULSA, Okla. -- Tiger Woods gave himself a serious mental tongue-lashing as he walked to the 15th tee on Sunday afternoon.

The 4-footer for par he'd just missed on the previous hole had reduced his lead at the 89th PGA Championship to a single stroke. The momentum had suddenly shifted to Woody Austin and Ernie Els, and Woods wasn't a happy camper.

" (I) just felt like, you know what, I got myself in this mess, I need to go get myself out of it," Woods explained. "I just did serious yelling at myself going up to the 15th tee, just to get back into what I do -- position the golf ball, put it where I need to put it and just bear down.

"Get it done somehow."

That's exactly what Woods did, too. He found the fairway on the dogleg-left par 4 with a 4-iron and placed a 7-iron 15 feet from the pin. When the birdie putt found the center of the cup, Woods pumped his fist and pointed at the hole as he walked to retrieve the ball.

"It felt great," he recalled later, a towel wrapped around his shoulders to ward off the chill from the air-conditioning after playing 18 holes in 103-degree heat.

"(I) felt like I had the momentum again, and I was back in control of the tournament. And if I parred in I felt I would win the tournament. It turned out to be the case."

The victory was Woods' 13th in a major championship, which put him five shy of tying Jack Nicklaus' all-time record, in just his 44th start. The win was his fifth of the year, second straight and 59th overall as Woods clinched the top seed in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.

"Anytime you're in conversations with Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen, it make you understand you've had a nice run in your career," said Woods, who even had a putt to set the major championship scoring of 62 on Friday. "And I could not ask for a better start.

"If you would ask me that 12 years into my career I would have this many wins and this many majors, there's no way. I've exceeded my own expectations, and I'm certainly not against that."

When Woods had yet another piece of history late Sunday afternoon, he thrust those chiseled arms of his into the air, shook the hand of his playing partner Stephen Ames and wrapped his caddy, Steve Williams, in a bear hug. That was nothing, however, to the greeting he received in the scorer's trailer.

Woods' wife, Elin, was waiting there with their newborn daughter, Sam, who was dressed in her father's trademark Sunday red, to surprise him. The last time Woods won a major, he had dissolved into tears on the 18th green at Royal Lytham after losing his father, best friend and mentor, Earl, two months earlier.

"It feels a lot more special when you have your family there," Woods said. "And it used to be my mom and dad. And now Elin and now we have our own daughter. So it's evolved, and this one feels so much more special than the other majors.

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"The British Open last year was different, but this one was certainly so special and so right to have Elin and Sam there," he added. "I wasn't really paying attention when I saw them. I was so excited and just want to give Elin and Sam a kiss and get back to signing my scorecard."

Woods has now won five of the last 12 major championships, finished second in three more -- including the first two this year -- and tied for third and fourth. Other than the missed cut at the U.S. Open last year, barely a month after his father's death, Woods' lowest finish in a major is that tie for 12th three weeks ago at Carnoustie.

"I was struggling a little bit with my game (at Carnoustie)," Woods admitted. "I was really putting well. Unfortunately, I was never close enough to make putts. But when I did hit one in there every now and then I'd hole it. So just felt if I could clean up my ball striking and continue to putt well, that I figured that I would win some tournaments after the British Open.

"And all of a sudden I've won two in a row."

The two victories couldn't have been more different, too. Woods came from one stroke behind Rory Sabbatini to win the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational by eight strokes, finishing as the only player under par, a week ago.

"I feel pretty comfortable at Firestone," admitted a smiling Woods, who has now won six times there. "And going out there on Sunday, I just had it going. I hit good shot after good shot, made a few good putts got off to a great start. Put a lot of pressure on Rory. He wasn't playing the way he did the first three days. And all of a sudden I had a nice cush."

Seven days later, it was different. Woods started the final round at Southern Hills with a three-stroke "cush" over Ames. He opened a five-stroke advantage with a 25-footer on the eighth hole that elicited the mother of all fist pumps, but bogeys at Nos. 9 and 14 brought Austin and Els back into the picture.

"Those guys made a run at me," Woods said. "But got it done somehow coming down the stretch, which was nice."

Asked what he'll remember about the 89th PGA Championship, Woods didn't hesitate.

"I think that consistency of ball-striking, consistency of how I putter all week, and then, obviously shooting a 63 in a major championship," Woods said. "And then having Sam and Elin at the end -- that's something I've never had before."


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