It was a historical week this week on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods recorded his 74th victory by edging out big hitter Bo Van Pelt by two shots in Bethesda, Maryland at the AT&T National. The victory moved Woods into solo 2nd place in the all time Tour wins ahead of Jack Nicklaus (73) and just eight behind Sam Snead (82). Ironically this third victory of the season for Woods comes at the tournaments of a notable "big 3." The first win was Arnold Palmer's Invitational at Bay Hill. The second win was at Jack Nicklaus's Memorial and the AT&T is Tiger's own tournament.
With the win Woods moves into first place in season long FedEx Cup points ahead of former leader Jason Dufner. Woods becomes the first player to reach three wins on the season. Tiger retained his #4 ranking in the world, but moved up in points closer to the #3 spot held by Lee Westwood.
The final hole was impressive. Holding onto a one shot lead, Woods hit driver off the tee on the par-4 18th. He had not hit driver well all day, but when it counted most he hit his drive 345 yards straight down the center. The approach shot was even more impressive, a low draw with a 9-iron from 188 yards which settled to about 12 feet. Game. Set. Match.
The Irish Open was a great tournament to watch from Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The tournament was links golf at its best: golf in cold, wet and windy conditions on sand dunes near a large body of water. The three Irish stars Rory McIlory, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington made excellent appearances but the trophy went to Welshman Jamie Donaldson who shot a fine final round -6 to finish four shots ahead at -18 for the tournament.
There were two notable "firsts" for Donaldson this week at the Irish Open. On Thursday Donaldson recorded his first European Tour hole in one. On Sunday Donaldson captured the tournament, for his first European Tour win.
"To have a hole in one the first time in a tournament, and to win it, as well, is very special.' ~Jamie Donaldson
Not to be outdone by the PGA and European Tours, the seniors were contesting a major championship in the Senior Players Championship. Fred Couples was looking good at the beginning of the tournament but faded on the weekend. Other big names like Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman were in contention, but in the end it was Joe Daley who brought home the hardware.
Daley recorded his first win after carding a final round 68 (-2), finishing two shots ahead of the nearest competitors Lehman and Fox Chapel. It has been quite a journey for Daley, who quit his job as a credit salesman 20 years ago to turn pro.
Ai Miyazato recorded her second victory of the 2012 LPGA Tour season by capturing the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Miyazato made birdie on the final hole of the tournament to win by one shot over Mika Miyazato (not related) and Azahara Munoz. Miyazato overcame a five shot deficit.
"Well, after the second round, I didn’t really expect that I can win this tournament, you know, because I was five shots behind, and I watched Veronica's game yesterday on TV, she made everything, so I was like I have to shoot like really, really low score today. Just no expectation before the round, so that helps. I could focus on just every single shot, and I had really controlled myself really well out there, so that's why I think I played really well." ~Ai Miyazato