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The begining of golf

I do not think anyone really can say when the game of golf was first played, but there are many stories about the start, Robin Williams has a great story about the start of golf.

The Scott’s who are given credit for the game, organized a club in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1754 and called it the Society of St. Andrews Golfers.

Some 70 years of developing and expanding the game, King Willam 1V  became a patron of the club, and the name was changed to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

I had an opertunity to see this golf club and it is really a historic place.


Tiger is at 6 straight wins.

There are 78 players at this World Golf Championship, and one guy playing out of this world.

Tiger Woods is winning at a rate not seen in more than a half-century. Bay Hill was his sixth straight victory around the world among official tournaments, and he is the three-time defending champion this week at the CA Championship.

“He inhales so many wins that there’s not much breathing room for the rest of us,” Stewart Cink said.

Even a player lined up to get his autograph Wednesday.

Boo Weekley stood behind the 18th green as Woods and Jim Furyk finished an abbreviated practice round at Doral in 30 mph wind. He was holding two flags, from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which Woods won with a 25-foot birdie on the last hole; and from the Accenture Match Play Championship, which Woods won by a record 8-and-7 margin in the final round.

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It was for charity, although the scene spoke volumes.

There is a sense of awe among Woods’ peers during a stretch of golf that rivals Byron Nelson’s golden season of 1945, when he won 11 straight events and 18 out of 30. And there is determination not to let this domination continue.

“It’s a great time to be playing,” Adam Scott said. “It’s awfully hard to beat him, but he doesn’t play every week. I know he’s winning all the time, but he doesn’t win every week, either.”

Then the 27-year-old Australian paused long enough that he couldn’t contain a wry smile.

“There’s no proof of that,” Scott said. “But we’ll try to change it this week.”

The bookmakers don’t like the chances of the other 78 guys on the Blue Monster at Doral. Woods was listed as a 2-3 favorite on one Web site, staggering odds for a sport in which players have no control over the competition and the hole is only 4 1/2 inches in diameter.

Next in line is Phil Mickelson at 15-1.

There’s a reason for that. Woods has won at Doral the last three years, the first two when it was a full-field PGA Tour event. He has won this World Golf Championship six of eight years, the first five when it was called the American Express Championship and played around the world. His two-shot victory last year made him the first player to win the same event on six golf courses.

And there is no indication that Woods is about to let up.

Walking down the eighth fairway, caddie Steve Williams was asked how he spent Monday after Bay Hill.

“Practice,” he said as he kept walking.

What about Tuesday?

“Practice,” Williams said, adding after a few more steps, “but not as much.”

Woods might be the only guy not wrapped up in his streak, the longest he has gone in his career without losing. He counts it as seven, including his unofficial Target World Challenge against a field of 16. But everything is geared toward four weeks a year, starting next month at the Masters.

“You can win every tournament for the entire year, but if you go 0-for-4 in major championships . you don’t really get remembered for the number of wins in a career,” he said. “It’s the number of wins in major championships. Those are the biggest events. It you win one major a year, it turns a good year into a great one.”

Woods did not show up at Doral until the sun cast a pink glow Wednesday morning, and when he stepped to the first tee, he turned to agent Mark Steinberg and said, “Should I take a practice swing? Nah.”

Then he ripped a tee shot with a severe hook, turned back and said with a grin, “Should have taken a practice swing.”

Woods and Furyk played the first 10 holes, then walked over to play the 18th because the wind was so severe. It was hard to find anyone who played 18 holes in such conditions. They were so tough that Furyk hit a beautiful tee shot on the 467-yard closing hole, and when he got to his ball, he quickly found a sprinkler head to get his yardage.

He was still so far from the green that the sprinkler had no number on it. Woods, meanwhile, hammered a tee shot and still had to hit a 3-wood to land just short and to the right of the green.

Wind really is the only defence on the Blue Monster, which is framed by white bunkers on every hole.

The defence against Woods? Still to be determined.

Bart Bryant held his own at Bay Hill until Woods made one putt on the final hole. Sean O’Hair was two shots behind after playing in the final group with Woods for the first time. He said he did not watch Woods until his final putt.

“I think you can kind of get taken back a little bit,” O’Hair said. “As much as I admire him, his game and what he does for our sport, I’ve also got to compete against the guy. I respect the guy, but I also want to beat his brains in when I’m on the golf course. We’re all aware of how good he is. But it’s not like we’re laying down.”

Scott has played in the final group with Woods only once, six shots behind, so that was hardly a fair fight. Scott arrived in Florida on Saturday and watched Woods birdie the two toughest holes at Bay Hill to wind up in a five-way tie for the lead.

“It seems like everyone crumbles around him,” Scott said. “But Bart didn’t last week. A lot of times, Tiger does incredible stuff to win.”

Tiger, like the pink bunny, just keeps on winning

Stewart Cink barely put up a fight Sunday in the Accenture Match Play Championship, where Woods broke a scoring record for the fourth straight tournament, collected his fifth straight victory worldwide and didn’t so much as crack a smile when someone asked him if a perfect season was within reach.

“That’s my intent,” he said. “That’s why you play. It you don’t believe you can win an event, don’t show up.”

Relentless as ever, Woods made 14 birdies in 29 holes in the high desert of Dove Mountain to overwhelm Stewart Cink for an 8-and-7 victory, the largest margin in the final match in the 10-year history of this fickle event.

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Woods captured his 15th World Golf Championship, holding all three world titles for the first time.

And his 63rd career victory moved him past Arnold Palmer and into fourth place alone on the PGA Tour’s career list. His next victory will tie him with Ben Hogan.

Golf is not a fair fight at the moment.

“I think maybe we ought to slice him open to see what’s inside,” Cink said. “Maybe nuts and bolts.”

Cink was only the latest victim in a winning streak that dates to Sept. 3, 2007, a date worth remembering.

Woods won the BMW Championship the following week at 262, breaking the tournament scoring record by five shots. He won the Tour Championship by a record eight shots, and the Buick Invitational by the same margin, another tournament record.

This is the third time Woods has won at least four straight PGA Tour events. He also won in Dubai three weeks ago on the European tour by coming back from a four-shot deficit.

“I think this is the best stretch I’ve ever played,” Woods said.

He has won six of his last seven PGA Tour events, 16 of his last 30 over the last two years.

The confidence in his game is so high that Woods started this season by saying the Grand Slam was “easily within reason.” For now, he has a Triple Crown of the World Golf Championships, a sweep that included an eight-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and a two-shot victory in the CA Championship at Doral.

Woods’ tour winning streak was at seven last year when Nick O’Hern beat him in the third round of the Match Play. Given the fickle nature of this format, even Woods said it was the toughest tournament to win this side of a major.

Turns out the hard part was just getting to the final match.

Woods rallied from three down with five holes to play in the opening round against J.B. Holmes by winning four straight holes with three birdies and a 35-foot eagle. He twice watched Aaron Baddeley putt from inside 12 feet to win a third-round match, beating the Australian in 20 holes. And he was stretched to 18 holes in the semifinal against defending champion Henrik Stenson.

“I played 117 holes this week,” Woods said. “I could have easily played 16 and then been home. That’s the fickleness of match play.”

But the final was no contest.

He built a 4-up lead after the morning round of 66, and Cink never got any closer.

Cink didn’t win a hole until No. 12, and the only hole he won in the afternoon came at the par-5 10th when he rolled in a 36-foot eagle putt. Woods had an eagle putt from 35 feet, and the ball spun around the cup.

“Even the minuscule amount that I upstaged him there – him being 8 up – I still thought he was going to make it,” Cink said. “He lipped it out, and I thought, ‘Hey, come on. At least give me a moment to shine here.’ And he said, ‘Sorry, dude.”‘

The next stop for Woods is the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“Anytime you’re associated with Arnold and what he’s done with the game of golf, it’s always a positive thing,” Woods said about going 1-up in career victories over the King. “I could never have foreseen my victory total being this high, my game improvement being as much as it has been, my knowledge of the game.”

Woods’ record in the WGCs is simply ridiculous. This is the 10th year of this series, which was designed to bring together the best players in the world. Identifying the best? That was never a serious question.

Woods is a staggering 15-of-26 in official WGC events, three of those in the Match Play Championship. Darren Clarke (Match Play, Bridgestone) is the only other player with multiple WGC victories.

The world’s No. 1 player has built a career on these events alone:

-Woods earned US$1.35 million Sunday, giving him over $19.8 million in these elite events. That’s roughly 25 per cent of Woods’ career PGA Tour earnings, and more thanTom Lehman has earned in more than 430 tour starts.

-He was won 15 times in WGC events, as many victories as Fred Couples has in his entire PGA Tour career.

“It says about the same thing that just about any other stat you can pull up of him says,” Cink said. “It says he’s the best that’s ever played.”

Stenson won the first four holes and defeated Justin Leonard in the consolation match, 3 and 2. Leonard should earn enough world ranking points to move into the top 40, boosting his chances of getting into the Masters.

Cink earned $800,000 and will look back on a week in which he beat British Open champion Padraig Harrington and U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera before running out of magic against the reigning PGA champion.

“I’m a little disappointed I didn’t throw a little more at Tiger, put some pressure on him,” Cink said.

Woods already was 4 up after eight holes in the morning when he mentioned that a rules official had just warned them that they were close to being put on the clock for slow play.

“Who are we holding up?” Woods whispered with a bemused grin, noting they were the only match on the course.

Truth is, he might as well have been playing alone.