A shocking departure for Woods

Thursday, September 14th 2006, 10:49 am
By: News On 6

VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) _ Unbeatable for two months, Tiger Woods' winning streak came to a swift and sudden conclusion Thursday when Shaun Micheel knocked him out in the first round of the World Match Play Championship.

Woods had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to keep alive his slim hopes, but he removed his cap and walked over to shake hands with Micheel as the ball was still rolling left of the cup. The score was 4 and 3, matching Woods' worst loss in match play.

``I don't think you're ever excited when you've lost,'' Woods said.

It's been a long time since he has.

His winning streak began about four hours away at Hoylake, where Woods won the British Open and began an amazing run that restored some of his mystique. That meant nothing to Micheel, who was runner-up by five shots to Woods at the PGA Championship last month, but was hardly fazed on a cloudy afternoon outside London.

After falling behind on the first hole of the 36-hole match, Micheel won four straight holes in the morning to build a lead that he never gave up. Woods won the first two holes in the afternoon, but he missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fourth _ a recurring theme _ and failed to win another hole until it was time to leave.

And he had plenty of company.

Jim Furyk, who rose to No. 2 in the world ranking by winning the Canadian Open on Sunday, got hammered by Robert Karlsson of Sweden, 6 and 4, highlighting a first round in which six of the higher seeds were beaten.

But the biggest to fall was Woods.