There’s a saying around thoroughbred racing that when an odds-on favorite wins a race against a stacked field, “he beat nuttin'”. Well, Tiger Woods took on a field in the Buick Invitational that amounted to a week off. A refugee from the Nationwide Tour, Roland Thatcher, checked in early Sunday with a round of 64, five better than Tiger’s score. And he rested there, tied in second place the rest of the day, later joined by Greg Chalmers, another Nationwide alumnus, and John Senden from Australia.
What’s unusual about Senden? He finished second in the U.S. Open a few years ago at Olympia Fields. He’s barely ranked just inside the 100s world wide. Just six ranked within the 100s were in the whole field, counting, of course, El Tigre himself.
Woods opened the tournament eight strokes behind Steve Lowery, who opened with a round of 63, then swiftly faded from view. As the Sunday round ground down to the finish, there wasn’t a player ranked inside 100 among the Tiger chasers. And lucky for Tiger. He’s shot a 63 on the second day, and on Sunday, squeezed inside the winner’s circle with a modest 69.
There weren’t many stars he had to beat. Senden, Chalmers, Yang, Crane, Letzig, Vranesh—nary a name to quicken the pulse. Thacker came in early with his 17-under, and never lost his place. Letzig, by the way, is the same no-name sentenced to be paired with Woods on the last day at Memorial. Poor wretch, that day he managed to make the TV cameras one time, putting out on the 18th green. They couldn’t miss. They had to put him on screen because Tiger was standing there waiting to putt out himself.
It was the last day of the last Buick. GM had already broken ranks with Tiger, who used to be one of its solid salesmen. No more. Obama has propped up the carmaker with all the billions he could spare—-or, should I say, our billions. Damn if I’m interested in bankrolling the PGA Tour. I’m with Ford. Ford took no handout. You should have bought shares of Ford Motor a few weeks ago; you could have had ’em for $3 a share. Ford is now up to $7. Ford long ago removed its name from Phil Mickelson’s shirt, and so did Bearing Point, some kind of accounting company.
So, Tiger “beat nuttin.'” But just wait’ll he gets to the British Open next year. He beats St. Andrews like a drum.