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Zach Sinks Tiger In Playoff
By Torleif Sorenson on 12/9/13


Not all of golf's silly-season unofficial events are worthless television. At the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, Tiger Woods could only smile when 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson holed his fourth shot at the 72nd hole for a near-miraculous par-save that got him into a playoff with Woods.

On the first playoff hole, what was most interesting is that Johnson did not ask Woods to move his ball-marker from Johnson's intended line. When Johnson's birdie putt bumped over the ball mark, it may have been bumped just off-line enough to cost Johnson a birdie. So, after calmly holing out for par, Johnson pulled out his yardage book to see how he needed to hit his tee-shot at the next playoff hole — fully expecting Woods to sink his five-foot par-saver.

Johnson was by no means the only spectator who was stunned when Woods lipped out at a 10:00 angle. But he certainly was polite in his comments afterward:
"You want to end the tournament with someone making a putt. You don't want to see it like that, especially when he has hit a really good sand shot.

"He played great. He didn't make as many putts as I did. That's all it really was. Today."
Perhaps what is most interesting is that all this time, having won a major championship, playing in three Ryder Cups and three Presidents Cups, Johnson's (unofficial) win at Sherwood enabled him to crack the top ten in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time ever.

Johnson's victory is also the end of an era for Tiger's World Challenge; Sunday represents the last time at Sherwood for the World Challenge. The galleries reacted appropriately; attendance for Sunday's round was reportedly 24,922 — a record crowd for any round at Sherwood over the last 14 years. Beginning next December, it will be played Isleworth Country Club outside Orlando, where Tiger previously lived with his now-ex-wife and two children.


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