Woods keeps winning but one loss lingers

Published October 2, 2006

CHANDLER'S CROSS, England - Moments after his tap-in birdie at the final hole had secured his sixth straight win on the PGA Tour on Sunday, Tiger Woods faced an inevitable question.

With eight wins this year, with his winning streak, his utter domination of the game again, his eight-shot margin of victory here, how will Woods look back on 2006?

"For a loss, a tremendous loss," Woods said solemnly.

Even before the applause had fully died down from the hundreds of fans who had waited out two long rain delays at The Grove, it was clear Woods' thoughts were not on his latest wire-to-wire decimation of the field but on his father, Earl, who died in May.

Woods shook off suggestions that, considering what happened off the course, this might qualify as his best year yet.

"If you take into account what happened off the course, it's my worst year," he said.

After lousy weeks at the Ryder Cup and the World Match Play Championship in London the week before that, Woods, a bit worn down from the grind, found a way to return to masterful form.

He grabbed the lead with a vengeance Thursday with a course-record 8-under 63 and never let another player so much as sniff a chance at the lead. His lead was five after 64 on Friday and six after 67 on Saturday. His 67 Sunday, fashioned over a seven-hour round with two weather delays, got him to 23 under and widened his advantage to eight over Ian Poulter (66) and Adam Scott (69), both at 15 under. It was Woods' 54th career win on the PGA Tour.

"He was totally in control," said Scott, one of Woods' playing partners Sunday.

By Woods' standards, it was a good, not great, round, 67 that might have been another 63 if he could have bought a putt. He missed a 3-footer for eagle at the second, and missed three more putts from inside 10 feet.

His driving and iron play, however, were world-class. He hit 12 of 14 fairways Sunday, and he missed just one green, the 12th, where he made his only bogey of the day and only his third of the week.

Woods has said that as far as he is concerned, his winning streak ended at five two weeks ago at the Match Play Championship, where he lost in the first round to Shaun Micheel.

But the PGA Tour does not count that tournament because it is a European Tour event. The Tour's records say he has tied his six-win streak of 1999-2000, and he is inching toward Byron Nelson's 1945 record of 11 straight.

"I'm barely halfway," Woods said.

Trahan earns first title

MADISON, Miss. -D.J. Trahan wasn't happy with his putting until he got to a playoff in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.

After finishing regulation with a par to force the playoff with Joe Durant, Trahan put on an overtime putting clinic in Madison, Wis., birdieing the par-5 18th three straight times in sudden death to win his first PGA Tour title.

"Nothing really changed to be honest with you," Trahan said. "I was stroking the ball the same. I made the putts on 17 and I made the putts in the playoffs. I didn't feel like I was stroking it any different or my mentality with the putter was any different. But fortunately for me those putts were going in, unlike the ones earlier in the day."

Trahan won with a 5-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole after closing with 1-under 71 to match Durant (66) at 13-under 275 on the Annandale Golf Club course. Trahan holed the winning putt after Durant missed a 5-footer.

Bean takes senior event

CONOVER, N.C. -Andy Bean won the Greater Hickory Classic for his first Champions tour title, two-putting for birdie from 25 feet to beat R.W. Eaks on the first hole of a playoff.

Bean, the leader after each of the first two rounds, closed with 4-under 68 to match Eaks (65) at 15-under 201 on Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course and force the first playoff in tournament history. While Bean two-putted for birdie on the first extra hole, Eaks' 4-foot birdie try hit the lip and spun out.

The 53-year-old Bean, who earned a career-best $240,000, won in his 91st start on the 50-and-over tour after winning 11 times on the PGA Tour. He won an official PGA Tour-sanctioned event for the first time since the 1986 Byron Nelson Classic, and his first victory of any kind since the 1987 Kapalua International.

Orlando's Voisin wins

Bret Voisin of Orlando defeated Noi Chay in the final match of the Mid-Amateur Championship at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto. Voisin, last year's Mid-Amateur runnerup, earned the 14th seed after posting 75-74-149 in stroke play qualifying. He won four matches en route to the finals, including beating Darryl Osler of Boca Raton 4 and 3 in the semifinals.