The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 12, 2013

Another big win ramps up expectations

DORAL, Fla. — There is a fascination with numbers when it comes to Tiger Woods, a product of him winning so much over so many years.

He now has 76 wins on the PGA Tour, six short of the record 82 by Sam Snead, and one more than Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh combined. His two-shot victory at Doral was his 17th in the World Golf Championships. No one else has won more than three. The Cadillac Championship was the 22nd time he has taken at least a three-shot lead into the final round on tour, and he has won them all.

But there is only one number that matters.

Woods is measured by majors, and he has not made up any ground on the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus in five years.

He remains stuck on 14.

Woods stamped himself as the favorite at Augusta National, not so much because he has won twice before the Masters for the first time since 2008, but for the way he built big leads and never gave anyone else much hope. The less excitement about the way he wins, the more intimidating he looks.

Woods had a two-shot lead at the halfway point of Torrey Pines, doubled it going into the final round and stretched it to eight shots before he lost patience and interest in the Monday finish. Despite dropping four shots in the last five holes, he still won by four.

He led by at least three shots from the 11th hole Saturday at Doral until a conservative bogey on the final hole gave him a two-shot win over Steve Stricker.

“That’s how I know I can play,” Woods said. “That’s the thing. To be able to bring it out a couple times so far this year — and then be able to close and get the Ws on top of that — that’s nice. Any time I can win prior to Augusta, it always feels good.”

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