MUCH WAS MADE OF Tiger Woods’ final-round stumble in the Chevron World Challenge. Graeme McDowell made up four shots on Tiger and went on to beat the tournament host on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Surrendering leads has rarely happened during Tiger’s long golf reign. As media reported, it was the first time the former World No. 1 lost a tournament after leading by three strokes or more heading into the final round.
(Photo: The man in the middle caught Tiger and won in a playoff four years ago.)
That sounded right to me. Then I got an email from a reader. Tom thought he remembered Tiger losing a three-shot lead in the final round of a November event in Asia a few years back. Yesterday he confirmed it.
The tournament was the 2006 Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour. Tied for the 54-hole lead, Tiger had a three-stroke lead with six holes to play. Tiger shot a 34 on the incoming nine, but was caught by his playing partner, who carded a 31. The opponent birdied three of those final six holes and two of the last three, including the 18th. Then he beat Tiger in the playoff.
The man who caught and beat Tiger? Padraig Harrington.
So, it’s true, no one has chased down Tiger from three or more shots back with 18 to play. But another feisty competitor did make up a three-shot deficit on Tiger in a six-hole stretch—and he also happens to be Irish.
“The moral of the story: Tiger better be careful playing Irishmen in offbeat tournaments,” Tom wrote.
−The Armchair Golfer