Cink gushes and gives Woods no trouble in recordbreaking victory

first_imgShare on Twitter Share on Pinterest Golf Share via Email Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on Twitter Since you’re here… Tiger Woods, to the surprise of no one within a 50-mile radius of the Gallery club in Arizona (or should that be within 50,000 miles of Planet Earth?), won his eighth tournament in nine outings yesterday, beating Stewart Cink by 8&7 in the final of the WGC World Match Play Championship. As victories go, it was crushing. As a statement of intent, it was loud and very, very clear.Before the season began the world No1 made clear his hopes of winning all four majors before the year was over when he mentioned in passing that this goal was “entirely within reason”. These were casual words disguising a fierce ambition. There is no disguising that ambition now and, equally, it is hard to see exactly who will be able to stop him. Certainly not Cink and others of his mild-mannered ilk.”He’s the best that’s ever lived in golf and just being able to get a front-row seat and watch him play is fun,” the amiable 34-year-old American said before yesterday’s “contest”, sounding more like a 60s teenager ushered into the presence of Paul McCartney than a professional golfer intent on winning the most significant victory of his well remunerated career.The amateur psychologists who made their way here looked at those words and read within them the seed of Cink’s feeble capitulation and it did not take long before their suspicions became cold hard fact. Both players birded the opening hole of their 36-hole match and stepped on to the 2nd tee all square. That was to prove parity’s last dance as Woods won the 2nd hole with a birdie.Further birdies at the 5th and 7th stretched his advantage and thereafter it was not a question of “if” but of “how many” and “why is it so easy for Woods?” The first question was answered on the 11th green of their afternoon round, where he hit his approach shot to within three feet of the pin and his opponent conceded the birdie putt and with it the match. It was the largest winning margin in the 10-year history of World Match Play finals and it represented Woods’s 63rd PGA tour victory, one more than Arnold Palmer. “To be mentioned in the same breath as Arnold Palmer means you have had quite a career so I am very happy about that,” he said.As for the second question of the day, there is no escaping the brilliance of his golf, which is close to matching the standard he achieved in 2000, when he won three majors. His driving, a comparative weakness in recent years, is now reliable, his iron shots are imperious and his putting is, at the risk of matching the gushing Cink, sensational. The season is still young but two months and three tournaments into 2008 he had only one three-putt going into yesterday’s final.It goes without saying that Woods, 32, is a magnificent athlete. But he is also fortunate in that many of those whom he is competing against appear to be beaten before they set foot on the tee. Looking back to the era when Jack Nicklaus was game’s most dominant player it is inconceivable that the Golden Bear’s principal rivals – Ray Floyd, Lee Trevino and, latterly, Tom Watson – would ever have been so gushing about him. They admired Nicklaus but were not in awe of him and that showed in the number of times they managed to beat him.Thankfully, a handful of Woods’s contemporaries are not prepared to roll over, most notably Phil Mickelson, the world No2, whose victory at the Deutsche Bank championship last autumn stands as the last occasion the No1 felt what it was like to lose. Henrik Stenson is another. The Swede arrived in Tucson last week to defend his title and looked capable of challenging Woods. The pair met in the semi-finals and were well matched until Woods crept ahead on the penultimate hole. “I pushed him,” Stenson said. “That’s all anyone can do, keep on trying, and eventually we will get him.”Not if you are Stewart Cink. Not yesterday. Probably not ever.Faldo says sorryNick Faldo, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, was forced into a humiliating apology on American television yesterday after using his position as a commentator with the Golf Channel to promote equipment he is paid to endorse. During coverage of the WGC World Match Play in Tucson the six-times major winner, who is paid a reported $3m (£1.5m) a year to host coverage of the PGA tour, made unfavourable comparisons between balls made by TaylorMade and the Nike balls used by Tiger Woods, below, and Stewart Cink. Faldo signed a sponsorship deal with TaylorMade last Wednesday. A spokesman for the Golf Channel said the station regarded Faldo’s comments, coupled with his failure to mention his commercial interests, as “inappropriate”. “His [Faldo’s] opinions do not always reflect those of the Golf Channel. In this instance, using the Golf Channel in this context was not appropriate. Nick realised this and set the record straight with our viewers in a timely manner,” he said, adding that the TV station did not intend to discipline its host. Share on Messenger Share on LinkedIn Golf Support The Guardian Sun 24 Feb 2008 19.14 EST … we have a small favour to ask. 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