Of course the question in everyone’s mind is whether Tiger can carry over the solid play from yesterday and turn it into another victory at a WGC event. This is a guy who has won 18 out of the 57 WGC events that have ever been played. Bonus points for anyone who can name the guy who’s won the second most WGC events as well as the absurd difference between that number and Tiger’s. This stat doesn’t really mean much since those were different times and on different courses, but he’s won 6 times at Doral (albeit on a very different course from the redesigned one we’re seeing today – no one is close to the 19 under Tdubs put up a year ago). And even with history like that, I can’t help but feel like we’re about to see another one of Tiger’s final round choke jobs that we’ve been accustomed to seeing in the past few years.
Tiger is still the best player in the world, both in ranking and in skill level. Even though he hasn’t won a major in a while, people still judge him on number and frequency of majors won in much the same way that every other player is judged on PGA Tour victories. His round of 6 under is the best of the tournament.
And yet, Tiger is sitting 3 shots back. That’s pretty far considering the talent ahead of him. Leading is a 23 year old who has the look and demeanor of a 28 year old veteran. Patrick Reed has already won twice in his career including a couple of months ago when he limped in after setting the PGA Tour record for most strokes under par after 54 holes at -27. His final round 71, which was 8 shots worse that his first three rounds can easily be seen as both a victory lap and a learning experience. He may only be 23, but Reed has shown he knows how to win.
According to the weather report, there are some clouds in the area and the wind is going to be down which means decent scoring conditions. With Reed’s experience and since the course isn’t going to be nearly as difficult as we saw on Friday, I can’t see him playing poorly enough to allow the guys who are 4 shots back into the picture. If someone else is going to win, they have to post a number since they can’t wait for the guys in front to choke their way down the leaderboard.
With fairly decent confidence, I can say that the winner here is going to be from the last two groups – Reed, Dufner, Mahan and Woods. Any further and those guys are 4 shots back and would have to put up a round like Tiger did yesterday in order to get close and I just can’t see that happening. My heart still wants to see another Tiger comeback like I remember from back in the day. Both because of nostalgia and because he’s so damn entertaining. Even though, I’ll go with Patrick Reed for the victory, and that’s not just because I picked him this week in fantasy golf.
Either way, the guys at Cadillac must be wetting themselves because of the way the tournament has been played out until here. Tons of compelling stories and quality players at the top. No chance the final round won’t be an entertaining way to waste a Sunday afternoon.