It may seem silly but after a couple of really dreadful years the Chevron at Sherwood produced an epic atmosphere and classic finish. Doug Ferguson with a fitting lead on the shocking conclusion that saw Graeme McDowell erase Tiger's large lead.
Tiger Woods delivered a vintage moment, dropping an 8-iron from the sky on the final hole Sunday inside 3 feet for what looked to be a sure victory.
Just not this year.
Steve DiMeglio noted this about the bizarro turning point that saw Tiger double bogey the easiest par-5 on the course without a penalty stroke.
Woods was shaky early on with the putter to quickly lose his four-shot cushion, but he didn't fall out of the lead until the 13th.
He took his hand off the club on a poor tee shot that went into the left rough, forcing him to lay up. Then came another poor swing, again letting the club fall from his hands, as his wedge sailed over the green. He chipped through the green, chipped back 6 feet long and missed the putt to make double bogey.
McDowell reached the green in two for a birdie, which was a massive three-shot swing.
Robert Lusetich wrote this about McDowell's two dramatic birdie putts on No. 18, including the first in regulation when Tiger looper Stevie Williams had presumably shed his caddie bib.
But what was most unforgettable after a scratchy back nine from both men was that Woods gave McDowell his best shot — a perfect 8 iron to three feet on the last — but, maybe for the first time, it wasn’t enough.
Instead, McDowell rolled in his 20-foot birdie putt, forcing a playoff, which he won by making another audacious long birdie putt then watching as Woods couldn’t answer him from 15 feet.
“Those are probably two of the greatest putts I’ve made,” said McDowell, whose confidence from winning the U.S. Open and closing out Europe’s Ryder Cup victory is still evident.
“They’re the kind of putts you make them and you really can’t believe it afterwards.
“I mean, they were the stuff of dreams. 2010 has been the stuff of dreams. “It’s been that kind of year.”
Bob Harig on whether the week was still a positive one for Tiger.
Perhaps most remarkable of all was to hear Woods talk about being proud in defeat. Inviting Rory Sabbatini to his new digs in Jupiter, Fla., would seem more likely.
"It was a great week even though I didn't win," Woods said. "I'm proud of today even though I lost."
"Because I putted awful starting out. I missed three short putts, which I don't do. Then I lost my swing in the middle part of the round, and pieced it back together again piece by piece. I was proud of that. I was very committed coming in, and hit some really, really good shots coming in, which was good.
"If anything, I thought that's when there might be a breakdown, but I was very pleased that I was able to put that back together then."
Tiger is back! Tiger is back! Declare (some of) the SI/golf.com guys. And some aren't so sold.
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I don't think you can make a judgment one way or another off the result of an exhibition against 17 other players, but losing a four-stroke lead on Sunday does not bode well.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Tiger's biggest edge was his head. No one was tougher, or believed more. Yang and the 72nd-hole miss at the Barclays chipped away at that. Now that edge is gone. Getting it back is more important for Tiger than any swing tweak.
Mark Stevens's official PGA Tour notes included this:
• Woods had never lost a lead of three strokes or more as a professional.
And the video of McDowell's big putt on 18, with Stevie already having put away the bib, apparently assuming this wasn't going in...