Associated Press, Published June 03 2012
Tiger rallies to win the Memorial, ties Nicklaus with 73 PGA titlesDUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods picked the right place to match Jack Nicklaus for career PGA Tour wins, and with a shot that even left Nicklaus amazed.
Two shots behind with three holes to play, his ball in an impossible spot behind the 16th green, Woods holed a flop shot from 50 feet away that turned bogey into birdie and sent him on his way to a stunning comeback Sunday in the Memorial.
Woods made three birdies on his last four holes for a 5-under 67, matching the lowest score of the final round, and he finished in style. He hit 9-iron to just inside 10 feet, and raised his putter – a pose that Nicklaus made famous for so many years – well before the ball tumbled into the cup.
It was his fifth win at Muirfield Village, and the 73rd of his PGA Tour career to match Nicklaus at No. 2 on the all-time list. Sam Snead won a record 82 times.
For Woods, it was a dramatic end to his worst three-tournament stretch as a pro, and it came with the U.S. Open looming.
He started the day four shots behind and wound up with a two-shot victory over Andres Romero (67) and Rory Sabbatini, who was in control of the tournament until he fell victim again to some old magic by Woods.
Woods said he didn’t miss a shot all day, though that flop shot stands out.
“The most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen,” Nicklaus said from the TV booth. “Look at the position he was in. If he’s short, the tournament is over. If he’s long, the tournament is over. He puts it in the hole.”
Nicklaus shared those thoughts with Woods as the winner walked off the 18th green. Woods smiled and said, “How about that, huh?”
Woods won for the second time this year, and moved to No. 4 in the world.
This was more impressive than his five-shot win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March, when he had a one-shot lead on a course where he could get by with par. The Memorial required much more work, especially when he had to go after birdies in the final hour. And that’s what he did.
He reached the par-5 15th into the wind in two shots to set up a two-putt birdie and get within one shot of Sabbatini. But just like that, it looked as if his chances were over when his tee shot bounded through the green and into a tough lie behind the green.
Woods is famous for chipping in at Memorial, particularly on the 14th hole. This was tougher by a mile, on fast greens with a shot that required close to perfection.
“I had to take a cut at it because the lie wasn’t as great,” he said. “It came out just perfect.”