The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 11, 2013

Tiger hitting his stride

DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods is hitting his stride on a march to the Masters.

Woods had full control of his game Sunday and never let anyone get closer than three shots until he had locked up his 17th World Golf Championship title. With a conservative bogey that didn’t matter on the final hole, he closed with a 1-under 71 to win the Cadillac Championship.

For the first time in five years, Woods has two wins before the Masters.

It was one year ago at Doral that Woods withdrew after 11 holes in the final round because of tightness in his left Achilles tendon, creating uncertainty about his health and whether he could ever get his game back.

False alarm.

Woods has won five times in the last year, the most of anyone in the world, and he can return to No. 1 with a win at Bay Hill in two weeks.

He won by two shots over Steve Stricker, who might want to claim a share of this trophy.

Stricker spent 45 minutes on the putting green with Woods on the eve of the tournament, helping him with his posture over putts. Woods made 27 birdies this week, one short of his personal best on the PGA Tour.

“Thank you to Steve for the putting lesson,” Woods said at the trophy presentation. “It was one of those weeks where I felt pretty good about how I was playing, made a few putts and got it rolling.”

Stricker, playing a part-time schedule, picked up his second runner-up finish in just three starts. He closed with a 68, and had no regrets about offering Woods some help.

“At times you kick yourself,” Stricker said with a laugh. “He’s a good friend. We talk a lot about putting. It’s good to see him playing well.”

The Masters is a month away, and Woods is sure to be the favorite.

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