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Tiger Woods gains eight shot victory
Tiger Woods proudly surveyed his place in the golfing history books after
winning the British Open here Sunday and said he had other goals ahead of him.
Asked if he would ever tire of winning golf tournaments and do a Michael
Jordan by switching sports Woods said firmly: "No!"
"I guess I've exceeded a few of the goals I set for myself, but I'm behind on
a couple of others.
So far I've had a wonderful, wonderful young career, and
hopefully I can continue to have the success I have.
"I am going to keep working in my game, keep trying to get better and we will
see what happens," he said.
Woods' eight stroke triumph over the Old Course made him just the fifth
player to have won all four Majors after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player
and Jack Nicklaus.
And at just 24-years-old, he is the youngest ever, eclipsing the great Jack
Nicklaus, the player he seems certain to dethrone from the mantle of being
considered the greatest golfer of all time.
"Those are true champions right there," said Woods. "Everyone is a true
champion: they have won numerous countless tournaments really, They are the
cream of the crop. They have been the elite players to ever play the game.
And to be in the same breath as those guys, it makes it very, special, very
Woods, who is acutely aware of the traditions and history which surround
golf, said that joining the immortals by winning the British Open at St
Andrews made the victory all the sweeter.
Tiger Woods playing into the 2nd. Allsport.
"To have the chance to complete the slam at St Andrews where golf all started
... to come out here in this event and just play as well as I did this entire
week, make the long putts from a hundred feet or so, and that's just part of
this golf course, I thoroughly enjoyed it," he said.
Woods said he couldn't care less about his beating the Open aggregate score
low of Nick Faldo, but said that he had been bent on carding four rounds in
"That was something I did not do at Pebble Beach and I did not do it at
Augusta. And to finally get the job done with four straight 60s in a major
championship is very special, especially when par is 72," he said.
Turning to the future again, Woods said that he had yet to begin his
preparation for the final major of the year at the Valhalla course in
Louisville, Kentucky in August where he will be the defending champion.
"To be honest I don't know really much about it," he said. "I saw a telecast
when Mark Brooks won there, That's about it. I don't really know what to
prepare for yet. Hopefully I can get out there before the tournament starts.
In the meantime, he added, "I think my body and my mind deserve a little
For a while, it has to be said, there was a slight doubt on the final
afternoon about Woods claiming his place in history.
Duval, for the first time in over a year looking like the world number two he
is, could have narrowed the gap to two on the 10th green after going out in 32
to Woods' undramatic 35.
But he missed from 15 feet, Woods holed from 12 and suddenly the difference
was restored to four. And when Duval made a mess of the 12th and Woods birdied
it for the fourth day running there was six between them.
It was all over then unless Woods did something he had not done over the first
66 holes. Like go in a bunker - but he never did. And nobody, Duval included,
expected him to.
Instead, Duval found sand at the 13th and bogeyed, Woods two-putted the long
14th for his fourth birdie of the week there and Duval bogeyed the 16th.
Worse was to come. Duval had four shots in the Road bunker at the 17th - one
of them back-handed to another spot in the sand - and ran up a quadruple bogey
eight. He came home in 43.
Thomas Bjorn finished second, his best finish in a major. Allsport.
It sent him crashing from second to 11th place. Instead the runners-up were
Dane Thomas Bjorn - his best-ever performance in a major - and South African
Ernie Els, who has now been second in all three majors this year.
But this week, like so many in recent weeks and months, was all about Woods, a
winner now 27 times in his 102 starts since leaving the amateur ranks.
He did bogey the 17th, coming up short of the Road bunker with one of his rare
loose irons, and carefully putting around it without any heroics.
Once his drive was safely away down the last the crowd stormed onto the
fairway. There were rowdy scenes, with one marshal even pushing fans into the
Swilken Burn, and then yet another streaker.
But it did not put Woods off his stride. Nothing seems to any more.
With the record first prize of £500,000, Woods is also a winner now of over 20
US million dollars - on the course alone. Off it, he has contracts worth several
Sarazen was 33 when he accomplished the career Grand Slam feat at the 1935
Masters. Hogan was 40 when he made his one and only appearance at the Open at
Carnoustie in 1953 and completed his set with a four-stroke win.
Player was next. His 1965 US Open victory came at the age of 29 and made him
the only non-American so far to have a career Grand Slam.
And then, of course, there was Nicklaus. He needed a mere 19 majors as a
professional to join the club, which he did at 26 by winning at Muirfield in
Nicklaus' 18 majors are the yardstick by which Woods will ultimately be
But in terms of ability he is surely already the best there has ever been -
Nicklaus never blew away opponents in the way Woods has now done in three of his
four major victories.
After the worst weather of the week during the morning - wind and even a little
rain - the skies cleared and the sun returned for the leaders.
The first sustained indication that more low scores would be the order of the
day came from Paul Azinger, who birdied six of the first seven holes to charge
from three to nine under and joint fourth place.
He still had to birdie the eighth and ninth to equal Denis Durnian's
17-year-old major championship record 28 for nine holes set at Birkdale - but he
could only par them and lost the magic on the homeward run.
Els, the first-round leader with a 66, returned to that form after two slack
days with birdies at four of the first five and with that climbed back to second
place on 12 under, four behind.
There was no need for Woods at this stage to do anything other than be
concerned with his own business, however, and he smiled and laughed when he
missed an eight-footer for birdie at the first.
It got a little more serious when Duval pitched to one foot on the second and
six feet on the third and holed both to join Els.
Woods responded with a 20-footer on the next to be five clear again but was
let off the hook when Duval - on in two unlike Woods - three-putted the long
fifth, missing from under three feet.
Even though he did not make the same mistake from seven feet on the next to be
four back again, he knew he simply had to take every single opportunity.
All the newspaper column yards which had been prepared for a Woods victory
could not yet be guaranteed to appear when Duval drilled in another eight-footer
at the seventh to trim the gap to three.
Els left himself too much to do once he bogeyed the short 11th and then hit
into gorse at the driveable 12th - he did well to escape with par with a 15-foot
putt. But his 69, once Duval crashed at the 17th, proved good enough for second
again with Bjorn, who was round in 71.
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