Tiger Woods Takes PGA Championship, Again

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Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship for the second consecutive year and the fourth time overall. He cruised to a two-shot victory at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Woods earned his 13th major championship — five short of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record of 18 major titles.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Hey, Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship yesterday. Second straight year he's done that, the fourth time overall. He cruised to a two-shot victory at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now it's his 13th major championship, which gets him one closer to Jack Nicklaus, who had 18 professional major titles, 20 overall.

Let's get more now from commentator John Feinstein. John, good morning.

JOHN FEINSTEIN: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: A really important question here. If you're playing golf, if you're under pressure, it's a major championship, and it's more than a hundred degrees day after day after day, how do you keep form getting those huge sweat stains under the arms?

(Soundbite of laughter)

FEINSTEIN: You sneak off into the porta-johns and you change your shirt whenever you get a chance.

INSKEEP: Oh, is that how they do it?

FEINSTEIN: That's the key, and you tell the TV guys not to mention it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

FEINSTEIN: You did notice, though, that Tiger Woods was constantly toweling himself off, especially before he putted because he didn't want any sweat on his hands when he was putting. And he just played incredibly steady golf through the weekend after that spectacular round of 63 on Friday, which is really when he won the tournament. No one has ever shot lower than 63 in any major championship.

INSKEEP: Although I have to mention that on Sunday things did get close for a little while.

FEINSTEIN: Yeah, it was almost like a Tiger tease. He let Ernie Els and Woody Austin to get within a shot of him and then he said, ha ha, just kidding around, and birdied the next hole and ended up with a two shot win. Tiger does not lose on Sunday with the lead, Steve. He's had the lead or been tied for the lead 13 times on Sunday in major championships, won 13 times. The one thing he hasn't done yet is win from behind in a major championship on Sunday. That's the only little hole in his resume.

INSKEEP: Maybe it's because he's ahead so much.

FEINSTEIN: Well, he's ahead a lot. But this year, you know, twice he was in second place on Sunday going into the last round and got caught by someone else from behind in both the Master's and the U.S. Open, and didn't win. So it does prove that he is a little bit human.

INSKEEP: Well, now what does it mean that he's won 13 majors at this age?

FEINSTEIN: Well, this is the way to put it in perspective. Jake Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all time here to fore, won 17 major championships in his first 19 years as a professional golfer. Tiger has now won 13 majors in his first 11 years as a professional golfer. So if he stays healthy and keeps going at that pace, by the time he's been in tour 19 years, he'll be well past Nicklaus' all-time record.

INSKEEP: Now you told us as the tournament started that if Tiger Woods did not win this tournament, he was going to consider the year a disappointment because it was the last major championship and his last chance to win a major championship for the year. He got his major championship.

FEINSTEIN: Right.

INSKEEP: His biggest rival, Phil Mickelson...

FEINSTEIN: Now the year is a success because he won a major. He says any year when you win a major is a success. It's also his fifth victory overall, clinches another Player of the Year title. And he'll go on into these lucrative playoffs that they're having this year in the PGA Tour with a big smile on his face because now all he's going to do is collect a whole lot more money.

INSKEEP: Although I'm thinking his rival, Phil Mickelson, didn't end up with a major in 2007.

FEINSTEIN: And does not have a smile on his face, Steve. Even though he is trying to claim that the Player's Championship, which he won, is now a, quote-unquote, "a major." That's a ridiculous statement, you know. That's like Barry Bonds claiming that his record wasn't tainted last week. He has not contended, Steve, in a major since his meltdown at the U.S. Open a year ago. That's six majors. And until he does, everybody is going to ask if that the demons of Winged Foot are still pursuing him, because they appear to be doing so.

INSKEEP: The demons of Winged Foot?

FEINSTEIN: It's hard to say. Should I try it again?

INSKEEP: No, you're going fine. You're doing fine. Okay, yes or no question then. Given what's happened to Phil Mickelson, does Tiger Woods have a rival right now?

FEINSTEIN: His rival was Jack Nicklaus. Getting to that record of 18 major titles is his rival right now. History is his rival. No one playing currently is even close to Tiger Woods.

INSKEEP: John, thanks very much.

FEINSTEIN: Thanks, Steve.

INSKEEP: The comments of John Feinstein, whose new book is called "Cover-Up: A Super Bowl Mystery."

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