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Tiger Woods takes World Golf title
AKRON, Aug 10 (AP):
Published on 10 Aug. 2009 11:52 PM IST
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Tiger Woods collected his 16th victory in 30 World Golf Championships appearances when he won the $8.5 million WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four strokes on Sunday. But the world number one seemed more interested in criticizing the rules officials than talking about another brilliant performance. Woods was on the right end of a sudden four-stroke swing, going from one-stroke behind to three ahead when Padraig Harrington ran up a triple bogey at the par-16th at Firestone. Both players were being timed for slow play and Woods thought that Harrington probably would not have hit his fourth shot into a greenside pond if he had not been rushed. “I don’t think Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time, look at it, analyze it, but he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it,” Woods said. “I’m sorry (rules official John Paramor) got in the way of a great battle, because it was such a great battle for 16 holes and we’re going at it head-to-head and unfortunately that happened.” But Paramor defended his decision to put the final pair on the clock, pointing out that they were 17 minutes behind schedule when they got to the 16th tee. “We could have put them on the clock at the 13th but we opted to cut them a bit of slack, due to the problems (with another group) up ahead at the 16th,” Paramor said. Almost forgotten in the controversy was that Woods played a magnificent shot at the 16th, an eight-iron from 180 yards that settled one foot from the pin to set up a tap-in birdie and apply the pressure to Harrington. “When I hit it, I knew it was going to be a good one,” Woods said. “I thought it was going to be a little past the hole and I was surprised it spun that much, but it came back and ended up a kick-in.” Woods birdied the last to shoot 65 and finish at 12-under-par 268, with Irishman Harrington (72) and Australian Robert Allenby (66) equal second on eight-under. It was Woods’ seventh victory here at Firestone, a course he all but owns, and his 70th on the PGA Tour. With five victories this season, he is third on the all-time tour victory list, closing in on Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73). Woods, who earned $1.4 million, has now won all four tournaments that he has played immediately preceding the majors this year, but he failed to win the Masters, United States Open or British Open. He gets one more chance at the PGA Championship starting at Hazeltine in Minnesota on Thursday. Earlier, Woods began the final round three shots behind Harrington, but wasted no time taking the lead, picking up an eagle and three birdies on the front nine to go two ahead at the turn. Harrington clawed back a shot with a birdie at No. 10 and found himself with the lead four holes later after Woods compiled consecutive bogeys after making a mess of the 13th and 14th holes. It seemed someone might at last be able to stare down Woods in the final round, but that was before the drama at No. 16.

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