Doral, Fla. • With one last birdie putt that never looked like it was going anywhere but in the hole, Tiger Woods walked off the Blue Monster in a familiar position.
He had a four-shot lead over Graeme McDowell in the Cadillac Championship, the 17th time on the PGA Tour that he has led by at least four shots going into the final round. Woods has never lost when leading by that much on tour.
Saturday at Doral was a reminder, however, how quickly it all can change.
Woods knocked in a short birdie putt on the 15th hole to put six shots between him and McDowell.
Two holes later, after McDowell chipped in for eagle and Woods found himself staring some 20 feet in the air at his golf ball lodged in a palm tree to the right of the 17th fairway, the lead was cut in half.
Woods saved his best for the final hole.
He drilled a tee shot into the fairway, hit 9-iron to 15 feet and made his 24th birdie of the tournament for a 5-under 67, putting him on the cusp of another World Golf Championship and a big step toward returning to No. 1 in the world.
The ball never came down from the tree, which was about the only thing that didn’t fall his way.
The 24 birdies and 74 putts are personal records for Woods. They put him in great position to win his 17th WGC title.
Tiger Woods -18
Graeme McDowell -14
Phil Mickelson -13
Steve Stricker -13
Rory McIlroy -3