Tiger Woods Wins Canadian Open

Monday, September 11th 2000, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) — Winning is nothing new for Tiger Woods or the massive galleries that come to watch. His victory in the Canadian Open was his ninth of the year, the most on the PGA Tour in 50 years.

It's the way Woods gets there that never ceases to amaze.

``Every week that Tiger plays, there's going to be one or two shots that people talk about,'' said Grant Waite, who gave Woods a valiant challenge on Sunday at Glen Abbey and walked away more impressed than anyone.

``I had a great seat,'' Waite said. ``I got to watch all that.''

What he saw was Woods hit the most daring shot and pull it off without breaking a sweat, a 6-iron from 218 yards, out of a bunker, over water guarding the par-5 18th green, right at the flag, setting up a routine birdie for a one-stroke victory.

There was also that 380-yard drive on Friday, that left him a 60-degree wedge into 18 and had players in the locker room talking about it two days later. It all adds up to a dominance that continues to stretch beyond the boundaries.

The legend of Woods grew a little more Sunday when he closed with a 7-under-par 65, playing his final 49 holes in 22 under and setting yet another scoring record.

So ended perhaps one of the greatest summers in golf. Woods won five of his seven tournaments between the U.S. Open and the Canadian Open. Three of them were majors, all of them involving scoring records, all of them featured a shot that will be remembered for years to come.

Woods finished at 22-under 266, the lowest score ever in the 22 years that the Canadian Open has been played at Glen Abbey. The previous mark was 271 by Steve Jones in 1989. The Canadian Open record is 263, by John Palmer in 1952 at St. Charles.

Woods also set a record of 12 under at the U.S. Open, 19 under at the British Open, 18 under at the PGA Championship and had a 21-under 259 two weeks ago at Firestone.

In the seven tournaments he has played this summer, Woods is 112 under par.

``This year has been a wonderful year,'' Woods said. ``I guess I've gotten the good breaks at the right times. I've been able to make those key putts at the right times, and consequently I've put myself in position to win tournaments.''

It's not that simple.

Woods had to make everything in sight just to keep pace with Waite, a 36-year-old from New Zealand who first played with Woods — and outplayed him — in the Byron Nelson Classic. Of course, that was 1993, when Woods was still in high school.

They started the final round Sunday tied for the lead, and remained that way with three holes to play as storm clouds began to gather.

Woods finally pulled ahead when he made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th, pointing to the hole the way he did on the 16th hole at Valhalla in his PGA playoff victory over Bob May.

If there's a big putt to be made, Woods almost always rises to the occasion.

``He's an extraordinary player who comes along once every generation — or in his case, maybe once in forever,'' said Waite, who matched Woods shot-for-shot except for the one that left him shaking his head.

Clinging to a one-stroke lead on the par-5 18th, Woods blasted out of the bunker down the right side of the fairway and the ball took its familiar flight — crisp and high, lost among the gray clouds spitting rain, descending as the record crowd roared with anticipation, then landing about 18 feet behind the hole in the first cut of rough.

``When pressure is at its peak, that's when your concentration level is at its highest,'' Woods said. ``It builds to a crescendo.''

Woods' nine are the most PGA Tour victories in one year since Sam Snead won 11 times in 1950. He earned $594,000, giving him more money in his last 38 tournaments — $14.9 million — than anyone else in their career.

And Woods can now add the Triple Crown to the Grand Slam he completed by winning the British Open at St. Andrews. He became the only player besides Lee Trevino in 1971 to win the U.S. Open, British Open and Canadian Open in the same year.

Those are the three oldest national championships in golf, all of them conquered by a 24-year-old who knows no limits.

And his knack for dramatic finishes has no end.

``The guy takes out a 6-iron, fires at the flag, with the tournament on the line,'' Waite said, shaking his head in wonder. ``I told him after we where through, `You're not supposed to do that. You're supposed to hit at the middle of the green.'

``He said, `The shot was on.' I guess it was.''

Sergio Garcia, who beat Woods 1-up in their made-for-TV exhibition last week in California, had a 67 but was never a factor and finished seven strokes behind.

Next up for Woods: Nothing. He plans to take the next five weeks off until The Presidents Cup, then finishes his year defending titles at Disney, the Tour Championship and in Spain.

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