Tiger Wins AT&T National, His Third Victory

Tiger Woods on Sunday served his critics and doubters another helping of crow.

This time, he made them choke down a boiled version of the loud and distasteful bird as he recorded his third victory of the year at the AT&T National tournament - his tournament - at sweltering Congressional Country Club in Washington, D.C., where the heat index exceeded 100 degrees.

The victory was the 74th of Woods's career, more than any player other than Sam Snead, who had 82.  The win is one more than any other player on Tour this year. It vaulted Woods to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, No. 1 on the PGA Tour Money List, No. 1 in Scoring Average, and No. 3 in U.S. Ryder Cup points.  It's likely, too, he'll move up from No. 4 on the Official World Golf Rankings, possibly to No. 1.

It also means that those who doubted that the game's greatest champion could recover from the psychological and physical damage that has plagued him for more than two years have been proven wrong.  

Time to 'fess up, fellas.

"I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again," Woods noted afterward.  "That was, I think, what? Six months ago?"

Looks to be ancient history, now.  And does anyone really doubt his ability to win another major?  Or five?

Bo Van Pelt, who has 73 fewer wins than Woods, proved a worthy foil Sunday, playing some outstanding golf.  The 36-year-old veteran from Richmond, Ind. and Oklahoma State could have won, but his inability to make par from the middle of the 16th fairway - and end up making bogey - while Woods made bogey proved his undoing. Bo then bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 while Woods parred in to seal the deal.  

"No offense to those other guys, but he's the only guy to win three tournaments on Tour this year," Van Pelt said.  "On three different golf courses, and he was leading the U.S. Open after two days.  So I'd say that he's playing the best golf in the world right now."

Woods now has won three tournaments in his last seven starts - the Arnold Palmer event at Bay Hill, Jack Nicklaus's Memorial in Dublin, Ohio, and Woods's own AT&T event in the nation's capital, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

For the tournament, Woods shot 8-under par 276 with rounds of 72-68-67-69 while Van Pelt finished at 6-under, having gone 67-73-67-71-- 278.

The third player in the final threesome with Woods and Van Pelt was Brendon de Jonge, a native Zimbabwean who looks like an offensive lineman.  De Jonge, who played in the final pairing with Steve Stricker in the final round of last year's John Deere Classic, shot a final round 77.

Good news for John Deere Classic fans: of the 16 players who finished T-15 or better at AT&T, 11 have committed to play in the John Deere Classic, July 9-15, at TPC Deere Run, including de Jonge, Billy Hurley III (T-4), Nick Watney (10th), and Robert Garrigus (T-4).

Good seats still available!

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