Tiger hopes to continue domination at Firestone

AKRON, Ohio — In the dark, head-to-head, 11 shots clear of the pack, from rooftops and in every other conceivable way, Tiger Woods has dominated at Firestone Country Club. He just says it makes him feel comfortable.

AKRON, Ohio — In the dark, head-to-head, 11 shots clear of the pack, from rooftops and in every other conceivable way, Tiger Woods has dominated at Firestone Country Club.

He just says it makes him feel comfortable.

“I’ve done it all different ways, that’s the thing,” Woods said Wednesday, the day before beginning his run at an eighth win at the Bridgestone Invitational. “Some years I’ve striped it and have really played well, and other years I’ve hit it all over the lot and had to be creative. I’ve chipped and putted and holed out. It’s been such a mixed bag.”

Woods, coming off a disappointing British Open and steeling for the PGA Championship next week at Oak Hill, headlines a bumper crop of world-class players who are entered. The 73-player field includes 49 of the top 50 players in the world ranking, including this year’s major champions (Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson), last year’s winner (Keegan Bradley) and European stars Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood.

Yet, Woods always seems to grab the spotlight. That’s what happens when a player has won more than $9.5 million in just 14 appearances at a single venue.

Woods’ first win, in what was then called the NEC Invitational, came in 1999 when he shot a third-round 62 to win in his third appearance, holding off Mickelson by a shot. A year later, Woods’ triumphal march to an 11-shot victory on the final day was delayed by inclement weather, with his final putt finding the bottom of the cup in almost total darkness. The strobe lights of photographers made it look like a scene from an old movie.

The year after that, Woods overcame Jim Furyk in an epic, seven-hole, sudden-death playoff for his third win in a row at Firestone.

After finishing fourth, tying for fourth and tying for second the next three years, Woods strung together wins in his next four appearances. The win in 2006 is remembered for a wayward 9-iron shot that hit on the cart path near the ninth hole and bounced onto the roof of the clubhouse, the ball being pocketed by a kitchen helper.

Woods won by eight shots in 2007 and then missed the tournament the following year as he recovered from knee surgery. Even that didn’t halt his string as he returned in 2009 and took advantage of Padraig Harrington’s triple-bogey 8 on the 70th hole to win by four strokes.

“This is one of those courses where, for me over the years, I just have felt very comfortable,” Woods said. “I think my record has been pretty good since I’ve turned pro here.”

But, as there always seems to be with Woods since his personal meltdown, there are nagging questions. After streaking to 14 major championship victories, he has failed to win in his last 17 tries.

The latest disappointment came at Muirfield two weeks ago when he seemed in perfect spot to win but faded to a closing 74 and watched rival Mickelson come out of nowhere to swoop in and grab the claret jug.

“I had a chance to win and didn’t get it done on Sunday,” Woods said.

Others are plotting to not only win the Bridgestone but use it as a springboard to the year’s final major a week later. Mickelson, returning to action after the dramatic win at Muirfield, is geared up to continue his hot play. He won the Scottish Open the week before the British. Why not make it four in a row by sweeping through the Bridgestone and PGA?

“Playing the week before (a major) personally helps me play my best and get my best golf out,” he said.

Rose won the U.S. Open at Merion, then turned around and had his high hopes dashed when he missed the cut in his homeland’s national championship. After time off, he’s rejuvenated and ready for golf’s version of the stretch run.

Just Posted

Stolen vehicle and gun seized in Blackfalds

Blackfalds man to appear in court

Blood moon over Red Deer

Moon captures attention

China grants Ivanka Trump 5 trademarks amid trade talks

SHANGHAI — The Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval… Continue reading

Few signs of breakthrough as May set to unveil Brexit Plan B

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May was set to unveil her new… Continue reading

Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind and cold to Eastern, Central Canada

A powerful winter storm that brought heavy rain and snow to much… Continue reading

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read