In my preview article for the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational World Golf Championship at the Firestone Country Club South Course I noted that Tiger Woods could well be on his way to another Tiger streak beginning with his win last week at the Buick Open. Last week was career win 69 and with 6 previous wins at Firestone this week looked like a great chance for two in a row and career PGA tournament win 70. Next week is the last major of the year at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine so this is an important event. Two straight wins leading into a major would put Tiger in great shape. As I noted in my articles on round one and round two Tiger was just playing average for him and I was waiting for the Tiger run to begin. Well it happened in round three. After 36 holes on Thursday and Friday with two under par and twelve holes in the third round with another one under par Tiger reached the 13th tee three under for the tournament and with nothing exciting happened. Then the real Tiger came to life. In the last 6 holes he made 4 birdies and all of a sudden he was 7 under par. This is the exact type of run I described in my article on round two. Tiger changes the entire tournament in just 6 holes.
Tiger started out on Saturday’s third round tied for 13th needing some birdies to move up the leaderboard. He got one on number 5 but then gave it back on number 8 with a bogey. Tiger did birdie the 9th hole to finish 54 holes three under par. Tiger then started the back nine with three straight pars and then, as noted above, began his birdie run at the 13th hole. Since Tiger was in one of the early groups he had to wait to see exactly where he would finish at the end of round three. The answer turned out to be in second place, two strokes ahead of two golfers in third. For Tiger then there is only one golfer for him to catch and Tiger will be in the final group for Sunday’s final round.
Tiger has left himself quite a gap to catch. Even though he has a two stroke advantage over third place, Tiger is three shots off the leader Padraig Harrington. The key is in the head to head matchup. Tiger is quite the competitor so look for a great Sunday in Akron, Ohio. Tiger just wants to win. Of course it is a World Golf Championship event and would be career PGA tournament win 70, leaving him just three wins behind Jack Nicklaus. But none of that really matters. If it is a golf tournament Tiger wants to win. For those who love golf and just love to watching Tiger Woods play it will another day to remember.