The last time he won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by more than six shots was in 2007.
Seven days later he was lifting the Wanamaker Trophy in Tulsa.
Woods actually won by seven here on Sunday as he lifted his fifth title of 2013. The result was not in doubt all day, all weekend for that matter.
Not after he shot the 61 on Friday which put seven shots between him and the field. This was the Tiger victory of yore, a slow, clinical one-man procession to the clubhouse with the rest left playing for the runner-up honours.
There was one bogey in his 70 – 16 pars, one birdie, one bogey. What it lacked in drama it more than made up for in composure. The world No 1 sucked the life out of the competition and the opposition in what was an ominously familiar script on this particular stage.
This was the eighth time he has won at Firestone, so equalling his and Sam Snead’s record for most wins at a single event. Having tasted glory at Torrey Pines, Doral and Bay Hill this season, Tiger looks more ruthless than ever in his natural habitats.
But then we saw his soft side as his four-year-old son Charlie, also decked out in a red shirt, ran up to his father and leapt into his arms. And so he carried his boy to the recorder’s hut, looking happier than perhaps at any time since the scandal broke in 2009. All he needs is that major to be firmly back on track.
“I don’t know what it is about this place, it just fits my eye,” Woods said. “I felt good about my game all week. This is five wins now so it’s turning into a good season. I’m really looking forward to the US PGA. I feel like my game is pretty consistent.
“Today I was conservative, just trying to make pars. I figured the highest score I could shoot was 70 and that would force the guys to shoot 63 or 62 and I just felt this was a perfect day to protect. The conditions were blustery and tough and it was hard to shoot a low number but it was easy to shoot a number around par.”
This was Woods’s 79th win on the PGA Tour. He needs three more wins to equal Snead’s mark of 82. He may even break it this year. But it is another record which will inevitably command the headlines over the next few days.
Is Woods about to resume his chase of Jack Nicklaus’s major haul of 18?
Will he at last unshackle himself from No 14?
Some will believe he is a certainty, after this his fifth win of the season. The one negative for Woods is his own observation, having played a practice round at Oak Hill on Tuesday, that the greens are slow.
Woods is not comfortable on soft putting surfaces and will pray that the Rochester greenstaff’s pledges are correct and that the greens will be normal major pace come Thursday’s first round.
Then there is the rough, which Phil Mickelson described as “the thickest I’ve seen in a long time”. Woods may be able to get away with using his three wood – Mickelson disclosed last night that he intends to do exactly that – but accuracy will be at a premium off the tee. The quality of his iron-play and shots around the green here, however, strongly suggests he will be in contention regardless of his long game.
Keegan Bradley, the defending champion, and Henrik Stenson shared second place at Firestone.
“It was a really weird feeling because it was like a tournament within a tournament,” Bradley said. He is too young to have been around when this was a regular occurrence. In a tie for fourth came Miguel Ángel Jiménez, the
49-year-old Spaniard, with Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. Then, in seventh, was Bristol’s Chris Wood.
What a performance this was by the 25-year-old. He was the leading Briton on his debut at Firestone. Wood held up to the pressures commendably at the weekend, shooting a 70 alongside Woods on Saturday, and then a 71 when the competitive heat was at its fiercest yesterday. “It’s my first top 10 in America,” Wood said. “It’s be an incredible experience for me and I’ll take a lot of confidence from it. It’ll get me closer to the world’s top 50 and that’s my aim..”
Luke Donald shot a 72 to finish in a tie for ninth while Wales’s Jamie Donaldson and two other Englishmen in Ian Poulter and Justin Rose also came in the top 20. Rory McIlroy was down in a tie for 27th after his own 72. He came here to kick-start his spluttering campaign, just as he did last year when finishing fifth before winning the US PGA by eight shots. McIlroy faces a race against time to sort out his driving before Thursday’s first round.
With Woods in this mood, McIlroy may need to be at his very best