Tough shootout for Woods

2006-08-20 21:39
Chicago - Tiger Woods will need to survive a Sunday shootout at the Medinah Country Club if he is to clinch his 12th major championship.

Woods is the co-leader and clear favourite going into the last round of the final major of the season and his reputation as a front runner is impressive.

In the 39 times he has enjoyed a tournament lead over 54 holes he has won 36 times. In major championships he is a perfect 11-11 when leading or tied going into the final round.

The fourth round started on Sunday under ideal conditions with Woods and Luke Donald having a two-shot cushion.

Woods will stick to his formula of taking birdie opportunities and avoiding bogeys as he seeks to win his second major in a row to go along with the British Open.

"In most majors, if you make a lot of pars and sprinkle in a few birdies, you are looking good. Here if you did that, you would get run over," said Woods, who had eight birdies and tied the course record with a 65 on Saturday.

England's Donald is the co-leader at 14-under 202 and figures to have the best shot at stopping Woods' streak.

Donald is bidding for the first major of his career. If successful, he would become the first European to do so since Tommy Armour captured the PGA Championship in New York 76 years ago.

Best player in the world

"Tiger's numbers are impressive," said Donald, who attended nearby Northwestern University. "He's the best player in the world and his game is usually good enough.

"He lets others make mistakes but expectations usually go with that. He doesn't want to ruin that record. Maybe I can use that to my advantage."

If Donald is looking for advice on what not to do in order to beat Woods going into the final round of a major, he could try asking Canada's Mike Weir, who is hoping to erase memories of a disappointing final round in 1999 at the same Medinah course.

Back then, the lefthanded Canadian closed with an 80 while going head-to-head in a pairing with eventual winner Woods after the two were tied for the 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship.

Weir is currently in third just two strokes back of the leaders at 12-under 204, his 65 on Saturday following earlier rounds of 72 and 67 and moving him to 12-under for the tournament.

"I don't think I was ready for it," said Weir of his experience seven years ago. "I wasn't ready for the commotion of playing with Tiger in the final round of a major.

"People forget there is another player in the group. It frustrated me that people are running when you are hitting. I didn't handle that stuff well."

Donald, paired with Woods in the final group that tees off in the afternoon, added: "I've got to go out there and play my own game and not watch Tiger."

Weir will be paired on Sunday with Australia's Geoff Ogilvy who shot a 68 Saturday and was three shots back of the leaders at 11-under 205.

He is seeking to validate his US Open championship with his second major win. As the third wheel in the Woods, Mickelson grouping over the first two days, he showed he can withstand the zoo-like atmosphere and still maintain his strong game.

"I played as well as I have all week," Ogilvy said.

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