No Tour Championship for Tiger

BY foxsports • September 12, 2010

Redemption’s a sweet thing.

Dustin Johnson got his Sunday at the BMW Championship.

After enduring a wretched summer, Johnson finally closed the deal, beating Paul Casey by a shot at Cog Hill on the outskirts of Chicago for the fourth, and biggest, win of his career.

“After all the things I’ve gone through this summer, to finally get it done on Sunday, it can’t feel any better,” Johnson said.

“I don’t think I needed to prove anything to anyone. Maybe to myself. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else other than me.”

The long-hitting 26-year-old was turning into a golfing Dostoyevsky protagonist, his pain and suffering evident for all to see on Sunday afternoons.

Johnson was in the final pairing on a Sunday for the third time since imploding with a three-shot lead in the last round of the U.S. Open.

If that catastrophic 82 at Pebble Beach wasn’t bad enough, he blew his chance at The Barclays three weeks ago and, of course, infamously threw away the PGA Championship last month after inadvertently grounding his club in a sand bunker — leading to a two-shot penalty — on the last hole at Whistling Straits.

“I’ve had some failures, but I don’t know if I’d call them failures. I’ve had a few mishaps,” he said. "Pebble taught me a lot. That’s where I learned the most.

“Getting off to a rough start, I kind of maybe got a little fast. Everything starts moving fast in a situation like that.

“So I learned to be patient and not rush things. I didn’t rush any shot today. Just take things slow.”

Woods, meanwhile, needed to rush.

He had to finish in the top five at a tournament he’s won five times before to qualify for the Tour Championship, and have a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup, in two weeks.

Needing a score in the low 60s, Woods instead stumbled out of the gate.

He was 3-over after eight holes, mainly because — not for the first time recently — his short game failed him, and though he rallied with four birdies coming home, he fell far short of his goal, finishing in a tie for 15th.

“Obviously, I would rather be there (but) I didn’t qualify.

“I didn’t play well early in the year, and I didn’t play well in the middle of the year.”

Woods played alongside Phil Mickelson and once again the world No. 2 got the better of the No. 1.

Mickelson shot a 4-under-par 67, tying the low round of the day, which softened the blow of having a pair of $3,500 alligator-skin shoes stolen from the locker room.

He’s now beaten Woods in six of their past eight head-to-head battles and drawn level in their all-time series, 11-11-4.

“He certainly brings the best out in me, and I enjoy being paired with him,” said Mickelson, who finished tied for eighth at Cog Hill.

“I was looking forward to today’s round.”

Mickelson sounded a warning, though, saying that Woods was not far away from being back as a force in golf.

“I think his game is inches from being there,” he said.

“I mean, his speed is back. He’s solid, very close. He’s hitting shots. He didn’t pull off a few today, but he hit a lot of good shots there coming in. His game is not far off at all.”

Casey finished runner-up but will be the man who, despite his protestations, will find it hardest to sleep tonight.

He failed to get up-and-down from the front of the green on the par-5 ninth, settling for par, then after his fourth and fifth birdies of the round, got it to 11-under.

The Englishman, who admitted later that he wanted to show European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie that he’d made a mistake in not selecting him, had a three-shot lead only to lose his head.

Casey made three straight bogeys, starting at the 13th, which let Johnson take the lead with a birdie on the 17th.

Casey insisted that he wasn’t going to beat himself up over the back-nine stumble.

“I’m playing the golf course,” he said, “And I played it one shot worse than Dustin Johnson. That’s the way I look at it.

“Makes me sleep at night.”

The line drew some laughs, but not as many as Mickelson did when he was asked whether he and Woods had talked about playing together during the Ryder Cup.

“Oh, come on.”


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