Tiger Woods tuned up for this week’s PGA Championship, the final major tournament of the golf season, with a record-extending eighth win at the Bridgestone Invitational. The finish wasn’t even close.
Woods, who took a seven-shot lead into yesterday’s final round, had a an even-par 70 at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, for a four-round total of 15-under-par 265. He won the World Golf Championships event by seven shots from Henrik Stenson and Keegan Bradley, who tied for second place.
Woods, the No. 1 player on the Official World Golf Ranking, heads to Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, where he will bid to win his 15th major title and first since the 2008 U.S. Open. The PGA Championship is scheduled to begin Aug. 8.
“Oak Hill is going to be a golf course where we’re going to have to make a lot of pars,” Woods told reporters. “If you have an opportunity to make a birdie, you’d better because there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to make them.”
Woods played Oak Hill on July 30, saying in a news conference the following day that the greens may be troublesome.
“I think that it’ll be a very, very difficult championship,” Woods said yesterday.
The 37-year-old Woods, who received $1.44 million for the Bridgestone victory, has won 20 times in the week prior to a major and has gone on to win the following Grand Slam tournament four times. The last occasion was 2007, when he won the PGA Championship after claiming his sixth victory at the Bridgestone.
Woods, who tied his career low score of 61 in the second round at Firestone, has won on all 12 occasions he’s gone into the final round of a tournament with at least a five-shot lead, according to the PGA Tour. His widest margin of victory on the PGA Tour was 15 shots, at the 2000 U.S. Open.
Yesterday’s victory takes Woods’s tally on the PGA Tour to 79 titles, three shy of the record held by Sam Snead. Woods has now collected five or more PGA Tour titles in a year a record-extending 10 times.
He also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year for the eighth time to tie the mark for the most victories in a single PGA Tour event set by Snead at the Greater Greensboro Open in 1965.
This year, Woods also won the Farmers Insurance Open (for the seventh time), the WGC Cadillac Championship (seventh time) and the Players (second time). Including the Arnold Palmer and Bridgestone, he’s won the five events a combined 32 times, accounting for 41 percent of his career titles on the PGA Tour.
Woods has 18 WGC titles in 42 attempts, 15 more than Australian Geoff Ogilvy, the second-most successful player in the series.
Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., the biggest tiremaker, said before the final round began that it had agreed to extend its title sponsorship by four years through 2018.