A derecho of dominance
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/2/12
Through his nearly 17 seasons on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods has authored more than his "fair share" of golf history along the way. But until this past weekend, some of us thought that the 36-year-old Woods was still in something of a "rebuilding" mode on his way to re-dominating the PGA Tour since his game and personal life collapsed at the end of 2009.

No more.

Tiger shot 67 on arguably the strangest moving day in PGA Tour history, then closed with a 69 on Sunday to hold off Bo Van Pelt by one shot to win the regular-season event he hosts. With this victory, Woods passed his boyhood idol Jack Nicklaus on the PGA Tour’s list of men’s career victories, with 74. The late Sam Snead still tops that list with 82 wins, while Kathy Whitworth holds the overall record with 88.

On Friday evening, a 30-minute derecho (straight-line wind-storm) with hurricane-force winds ripped through the Washington DC-area, leaving millions of residents without power and downing or destroying hundreds upon hundreds of trees at Congressional Country Club. Sadly, the Washington Times reported that at least 12 people died as a result of those storms. The start of Saturday’s third round was delayed almost six hours while Congressional’s heroic grounds crew and volunteers piled up as much of the fallen trees and limbs into piles that PGA Tour rules officials declared ground under repair.

And, for the first time in anyone’s memory, a course hosting a PGA Tour event was closed to the public, leaving the remaining players to play before only sparse pockets of volunteers, members of Congressional, and hundreds of squirrels. That was apparently no matter to Woods, whose on-course rounds are almost always situations of controlled chaos, with noisy and enthusiastic fans trailing him almost like lemmings going off a cliff.

I am certain that we will remember the sixth edition of the AT&T National as much for Woods holding off Bo Van Pelt and returning to dominance as much as for the punishing, hot, and stormy and weather that made this year’s Washington stop on the PGA Tour one of the strangest on record.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison

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