Woods Proving Unbeatable at Grand Slams

Thursday, November 23rd 2006, 6:41 am
By: News On 6

POIPU BEACH, Hawaii (AP) _ There are winning streaks in sports that may never be broken: the Boston Celtics' 10 straight NBA titles, Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour De France wins and John Wooden's UCLA winning seven straight national championships.

Add Tiger Woods' dominant run at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf to that list.

Woods rallied to win the Grand Slam for a record seventh straight time, closing with a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Wednesday to beat Jim Furyk by two strokes.

The British Open and PGA champion, who started the day three shots behind Furyk, finished the 36-hole tournament with an 8-under 136 total to earn $500,000, giving him more than $3 million in career Grand Slam winnings.

Furyk, the world's No. 2 golfer behind Woods, closed with a 71 to take home $300,000. U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (74) was six strokes back and earned $250,000. Mike Weir (74) was last at 1 over and made $200,000.

Despite his poor finish, Ogilvy didn't seem to mind. He had a front-row seat to history.

``Any time you get to play with him, it's a privilege,'' Ogilvy said. ``You can learn something from him.''

Woods has owned Poipu, also winning in 1998, '99, '00, '01, '02 and '05. He finished second to Ernie Els in '97 in his only other appearance in the event.

Last year, Woods closed with a 64 to win by seven strokes over Phil Mickelson, despite losing six pounds because of a stomach virus.

``I've always loved coming here,'' he said.

The only other multiple Grand Slam winners are Greg Norman (1986, '93 and '94) and Andy North (1979 and '90).

Furyk opened with a 67 for a one-stroke lead over Ogilvy and a three-stroke lead over Woods. But he missed several fairways and couldn't get his birdies going.

``I wasn't firing on all cylinders and not swinging at it nearly as well as I would like to,'' Furyk said.

Woods used a strong short game to make up for his earlier struggles off the tee during Tuesday's opening round. The 12-time major winner chipped away at the lead until he holed a 25-foot chip on No. 9 to tie Furyk for the lead at 6 under.

He shook his fist and smiled as the gallery cheered wildly.

``A lot of luck,'' Woods said.

Everyone could sense Woods' momentum building.

``He hits better and better shots the further through the tournament he gets,'' Ogilvy said.

Woods took sole possession of the lead on the next hole when Furyk skated his 5-footer for par to the left for his first bogey of the tournament. It was Woods' first lead in the tournament since birdieing the second hole of the opening round.

Weir and Furyk were selected as alternates based on their performances in the four majors. Two spots were open because Woods claimed two majors and Mickelson, the Masters winner, declined to play.

Furyk won the 2003 Grand Slam, beating Weir by eight strokes.

The tournament concludes Woods' dominant year that saw eight wins on tour but marred by the death of his father, Earl, who died of cancer May 3.

He enters 2007 with a string of six straight PGA Tour victories. But Woods is already looking forward to defending his Grand Slam title.

``But first thing's first,'' Woods said. ``I've got to qualify. I've got four chances next year. We'll see.''