When Tiger Woods won the Masters in 2005 after holing a chip shot at the 16th that hung on the lip for a heartbeat – logo side up, like the ball was auditioning for a commercial – a few people wrote in to say it only proved their theory that he’d been hiding magnets in the cups all along.
That sounds only slightly less hysterical than the talk going around now that Woods will win every time he tees it up in 2008. Never mind that he’s the one priming the pump.
“That’s my intent. That’s why you play,” Woods said last weekend after winning his second straight tournament in 2008 and his fourth in a row dating back to September.
“If you don’t believe you can win an event,” he added, “don’t show up.”
In the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of the month, Woods was 4 strokes behind leader Louis Oosthuizen with seven holes to play.
Woods made five birdies over that span to complete a remarkable back-nine 31, but just as important all four players in front of him – Oosthuizen, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell – stumbled home with an assortment of bogeys to clear his path to victory.
In the match play championship, Woods erased a 3-down-with-five-holes-to-play deficit in his first match by running off three birdies and slam-dunking a 35-foot eagle.
“I think this certainly is the best stretch I’ve ever played,” he said.
Woods plays next at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he’s won four times, and the way the schedule breaks, nearly all of the other tournaments he’s likely to show for will be at venues where he’s won at least once.
Hal Sutton, who was one of only a few players to beat Woods during another sublime run in 2000, called that idea “laughable.”
The margins, he noted, even Woods’ margins, are only razor-thin.
“Anybody who knows golf knows that ain’t going to happen,” he said Monday. “You can only own this game for a certain period of time. Even if your name is Tiger Woods, you don’t own it forever. “