DORAL, Fla. —
They played the final 36 holes together at Doral, and McDowell gave him a good fight. Turns out it wasn’t a fair fight.
Woods had a solid command of his shots, and he putted as well as he has all year, thanks to that tip from Stricker. Woods made 61-of-64 putts inside 10 feet for the week on the Blue Monster. He missed only one putt inside 5 feet out of 52 chances.
The most significant putt by Woods came on the second hole, when McDowell stuffed his approach inside 7 feet and Woods matched him with an 18-foot birdie putt of his own. What won’t get as much attention is a stretch of holes early on the back nine, when Woods poured in a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 10th hole, and made tricky 5-foot par putts look easy on the 12th and 13th holes to keep his margin.
“I said in the press room last night, ‘He doesn’t look phenomenal, it just looks really, really good.’ And that probably came out wrong because what I mean is the golf courses don’t let you be phenomenal,” McDowell said, referring to Doral on Sunday and Bay Hill a year ago.
“You’ve got to be under control,” he said. “In this wind the last couple days, his ball flight control is pretty stunning, really. It’s pretty cool to watch. I thought his short game and putting the last couple days was very impressive. He cleaned up everything he had to clean up pretty much. It was good stuff.”
And how did Woods compare with the World Challenge at the end of 2010?
“He doesn’t have those off-the-radar balls anymore,” McDowell said. “In ‘10, ‘11 when I was playing with him, he would hit the odd shot where you would just of blink twice and go, ‘Really, that’s wide.’ He’s got the ball under control now. He knows exactly what his golf swing is going to produce.”