Tiger Woods’ dream start to the year carried on in emphatic style as he ran away with the WGC Match Play Championship, careering to a record 8&7 victory over Stewart Cink.
In a show of strength that will no doubt inflict severe cases of insomnia on his rivals, the WGC was the world number one’s sixth successive tournament victory worldwide and his eighth win in his last nine events. It also moves the 32-year-old into fourth on the all-time PGA Tour title list with 63 wins, above Arnold Palmer and only behind Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead.
The result was little in doubt from the moment Woods opened up a four-shot lead after just nine holes of the morning round. Two birdies in two holes at the start of the afternoon session then spelled the end for fellow American and Ryder Cup veteran Stewart Cink. Victory eventually came at the 29th hole with Woods’ fourth birdie in six holes.
Not only is it a record WGC Match Play victory but Woods also shot an astonishing 50 birdies in 117 holes through the week. “I had a great feel for the greens and once I got the pace the putts kept falling,” said Woods. “Just to be in the same breath as Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan, you’ve had a pretty good career.”
Henrik Stenson beat Justin Leonard 3&2 to move into second place in the European Ryder Cup rankings.