Golf: Tiger finishes year with a flourish

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 25, 2006

Associated Press

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — One last birdie putt he didn’t need. One final victory that didn’t count.

Tiger Woods wrapped up a remarkable season Sunday at the Target World Challenge, seizing the lead from U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy in just three holes and coasting to a 6-under 66 for a four-shot victory in the last tournament of the year.

He started the year with a playoff victory in the Buick Invitational and ended it by beating an elite, 16-man field to win his tournament for the third time in its eight-year history.

Between those bookend trophies was a mixture of triumph and tragedy.

Earl Woods, his father and the braintrust behind this tournament, died May 3 of cancer, and Woods took nine weeks off to grieve. After missing the cut at the U.S. Open in his return to golf, Woods never finished worse than second place in stroke play the rest of the year, winning two majors and six consecutive PGA Tour events.

“It’s been a year of two halves,” said Woods, who finished at 16-under 272 with a birdie on the last hole. “Obviously, on the golf course it’s been something else to have things coming together, especially winning two majors.”

The Target World Challenge was his 11th trophy of the year.