2008 PGA Tour: Buick Invitational Review and Tour Notes
by Matt of Predictem.com
Tiger Woods. That may be enough said when it comes to recapping this weeks PGA Tour stop, the Buick Invitational. Tiger flexed his muscle early and often and never looked back as he won his fourth consecutive trophy at this event. We may have caught a glimpse of things to come for this summers U.S. Open, also held at the South Course at Torrey Pines.
Making his 08 Tour debut, Tiger showed no rust from the off-season and in fact managed his re-vamped swing expertly all week. On the week, Woods was a t-16 in driving distance at 283.6 yards on average, and while his driving accuracy numbers were down, he ranked 2nd and 1st in greens in regulation and putts per GIR for the week respectively.
Woods didnt need to break a sweat at all in the cool California temps this weekend, at times leading by as many as eleven strokes. A final round 1-under par 71, gave Tiger a 19-under, 269 total, eight strokes ahead of second place Ryuji Imada. Tiger posted a tournament low 7-under, 65, on Friday to take the lead and never was threatened after that.
Imada moved into second alone on the strength of a final round 5-under, 67, tying the low round of the day with Rory Sabbatini. Sabbatini was a t-3 along with Stewart Cink at 9-under and Justin Leonard continued his good play this year, grabbing solo 5th at 7-under. For the win, Tiger earns $936,000 and the winners share of 4,500 FedExCup Points.
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Phil Mickelson did wind up making his 08 debut after battling respiratory issues and fatigue. The illness may have limited Phils game as Lefty never put anything together, but a t-6, 6-under finish was not a bad result given the circumstances. Other notable finishes were Fred Couples, t-8 at 5-under and Vijay Singh managed another top-25 with a one-under total good for t-23.
Tiger makes a charge up the FedExCup Points list, moving to 5th with the win. K.J. Choi still tops the list with Daniel Chopra and Rory Sabbatini in the two and three spots. D.J. Trahan sits right in front of Tiger in the fourth position. Chopra retains his lead on the money list with $1.128 million and Sabbatini moves into the top-5 to the third spot with his solid play. Tiger and his $936,000 currently sit fourth.
The Tour now moves to Scottsdale, Arizona for the FBR Open where the traditionally raucous crowd could be even wilder given the fans gathering for the Super Bowl, also in Arizona. Aaron Baddeley and the other Tour Pros will have an easier go of it as Tiger is playing in Dubai this week.
Tiger Woods won his 62nd PGA Tour title, tying him for fourth all-time with Arnold Palmer. It was fitting that Tiger reached the landmark in California where he has more wins than any other state. Next on the all-time victories list is Ben Hogan at 64, and Sam Snead has the most wins with 82.
Tiger heads to Dubai for the Dubai Desert Classic this week. Woods does not intend to tee it up again on the PGA until late February for the Accenture Match Play.
The PGA continues its process to implement drug testing later this year. Players have been counseled on the language of the drug policy along with rules and penalties. Testing is scheduled to begin in July with performance enhancing drug positive tests bringing escalating penalties of one and five year suspensions followed by a lifetime ban for repeat offenses. Players have begun to voice concern over the randomness of the tests and the list of banned substances, some of which could be found in legal supplements.