AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods only needed three players to make
bogey on the final hole of the PGA Championship to get into a
playoff, and it's a good thing that didn't happen.
He had already gone home to Florida.
Woods said Tuesday he didn't bother sticking around Baltusrol
for the final four holes, even though he was the clubhouse leader
with a slim chance of finishing in a tie for the lead. Had that
been the case, there would have been a three-hole playoff Monday
morning, with Woods nowhere in sight.
Turns out he made the right call by flying home Sunday night.
"These are the best players in the world,'' Woods said. "Look
at who's on that board -- it wasn't guys who have never been there
before. If you have guys who had never been there before, then it
might have been a different story, but each one of those guys had
won major championships.''
Still, it led to questions of what might have been.
Woods finished Sunday evening at 2-under 278. A short time
later, the final round was suspended until Monday because of storms
in the area, with 12 players still on the course -- Mickelson at 4
under with a short par putt on the 14th hole; Bjorn (who has never
won a major) at 3 under in the rough on No. 15 and Elkington at 3
under on the 16th tee; Vijay Singh at 2 under on the 16th green and
Davis Love III at 2 under with an easy par putt on the 14th.
When Mickelson made bogey on the 16th hole to fall to 3 under,
Woods was watching on television while working out in the gym in
Florida, a two-hour flight away from Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J.
Had there been a playoff, he would have been disqualified from the
playoff and tied for second place.
Woods didn't see it that way.
He figured not all of the five players either tied or ahead of
him would lose shots, especially since overnight rain softened the
greens and the final two holes are par 5s.
"We got back to the house and looked at the scores,'' Woods
said. "Not all five of those guys were coming back [to him on the
His decision surprised some players.
"I thought he'd be hitting balls Monday morning at the golf
course, because it's a tough course to finish on and it's a major
championship,'' Stewart Cink said. "If anything, just him being
there at the clubhouse and being seen might have affected the way
they played on Monday.''
Padraig Harrington recalled the time he was about 10 shots back,
posted a low score and headed to the airport as the leaders began
to falter. He wound up going back to the course, but there was
never a playoff.
"I would have sat it out,'' the Irishman said. "But I have a
little further to go home.''