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Medinah, 17-20 August 2006

Tiger Woods hugs caddie Steve Williams
Donald is left to scratch his head as Woods starts his celebrations

US unless stated
-18 T Woods
-13 S Micheel
-12 A Scott (Aus), S Garcia (Spa), L Donald (Eng)
-11 M Weir (Can)
-10 S Stricker, KJ Choi (Kor)
-9 Ryan Moore, Ian Poulter (Eng), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus)

World number one Tiger Woods won his 12th major championship with a superb five-stroke victory at Medinah.

The 30-year-old American, who started the day tied for the lead at 14 under with England's Luke Donald, shot a four-under 68 for an 18-under total.

Shaun Micheel, the 2003 champion, claimed second after a three-under 69.

Donald carded a two-over 74 to finish a shot back on 12 under alongside Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Australia's Adam Scott.

But the only story that really counted on Sunday at the Illinois course was Tiger's.

Woods' 12th victory in one of golf's four major championships means he now trails only Jack Nicklaus' haul of 18 wins.

The Californian superstar has reached his dozen in 40 attempts - it took the Golden Bear 48 majors to bring up his 12th win.

Starting the day it could have gone any which way and winning on this course, against this field, I feel very fortunate

Tiger Woods

This was also the 12th time out of 12 that Woods, perhaps the best front-runner in world sport, has converted a 54-hole lead at a major into victory.

It is also his third USPGA triumph - his second at Medinah - and third straight tournament win, following his successes at the Open last month and the Buick Open earlier this month.

So complete was Woods' mastery that by the back nine the only issue in doubt was whether he would set a new record for the lowest score under par in major history.

Having got to 19 under after 11 holes - the same score he managed at St Andrews in 2000 to set the record - it seemed another entry in the record books was his for the taking.

But a bogey at 17 stopped his charge and he was forced to settle for merely matching the USPGA best he set with Bob May in 2000.

Afterwards Woods was as modest and gracious in his interviews as he had been bullying and relentless during his round.

"I didn't feel as comfortable as I looked," he said. "I made some bombs on the greens, putts you probably shouldn't make.

"I just had one of those days and honestly was just trying to get the ball on the green.

Too many putts were just missing the hole for me but in the end he deserved to win

Luke Donald

"Starting the day it could have gone any which way and winning on this course, against this field, I feel very fortunate."

With hindsight, the 28-year-old Donald and co did not really stand a chance.

The Chicago-based Englishman did not play as badly as his birdie-free round would suggest, but he never looked comfortable in the great man's presence all day.

While Woods was tearing up the course on the front nine, the usually precise Donald was missing fairways and greens for the first time this week.

"Tiger played very solidly. He made a fast start, which made a big difference, and he didn't do too much wrong," said Donald, who also finished in a tie for third at the 2005 Masters.

"Too many putts were just missing the hole for me but in the end he deserved to win."

The world number 11 will no doubt have learned much from watching the world's best player go about his work and can console himself with the fact that he is now a certainty for the European Ryder Cup team in September.

As is Garcia, whose two-under 70 contained the usual mix of mighty blows and missed putts.

Micheel's return to the upper reaches of a leaderboard will surprise many, as he had not made a cut at a major for two years, but he played well all week and clearly likes this tournament.

Mike Weir was another man who enjoyed a good 2003 that played well this week.

USPGA scoreboard
How many majors will Tiger have won by this time next year?

The Canadian will be disappointed with his finish, though, as he dropped four shots in eight holes to fall from second to sixth.

And Scott's first good result at a major will be seen as long overdue for a player of his class.

The 26-year-old Australian, who is ranked sixth in the world, carded a five-under 67 to beat his previous best finish of a tie for ninth.

Further down the leaderboard there were good returns for Korea's KJ Choi and American Steve Stricker.

While England's Ian Poulter claimed his first top-10 finish in a major, a share of ninth alongside talented American Ryan Moore and US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia.

But world number two Phil Mickelson endured a horrid day.

Outscored by playing partner Poulter to the tune of three shots, the defending champion could only manage a two-over 74 for a six-under total - 12 behind Woods.

That margin will hurt the 36-year-old American but not as much as the nine-major advantage his younger rival now holds.

Coming into the US Open in June there had been much talk of a "Lefty Slam" as Mickelson had won the two previous majors.

Anybody who witnessed Woods' display here will now be talking of a second "Tiger Slam".

Medinah gossip
20 Aug 06 |  Golf


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