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Wood Edges Closer to Nicklaus with 12th Major Win

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Wood Edges Closer to Nicklaus with 12th Major Win

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Wood Edges Closer to Nicklaus with 12th Major Win

Wood Edges Closer to Nicklaus with 12th Major Win

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Tiger Woods wins the PGA championship in Medina, Ill. Woods finished with a five-shot victory for his 12th major career win. Only Jack Nicklaus has more with 18. Woods had four birdies on the first eight holes, and cruised to victory on the back nine.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And let's finish this hour with Tiger Woods, who has won his 12th major title. Yesterday he won the PGA Championship at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. And, John Feinstein, was anybody else playing in that tournament?

(Soundbite of laughter)

JOHN FEINSTEIN reporting:

Steve, yesterday it really didn't seem that way the way Tiger pulled away. He was tied for the lead, and everybody was bunched up right behind going into the last day. And he went in one direction and everybody went in the other direction.

Even the CBS announcers who are basically paid to tell everybody how exciting this is were saying by the time they got to the back nine that all the air had been sucked out of crowd because it had become a one-man show again.

INSKEEP: You told us even before this tournament that Tiger was like a player who was batting .500. I guess he's still - a baseball player batting .500 - I guess he still is.

FEINSTEIN: Absolutely. I mean, 18 under par in a major championship. No one has ever been lower to par than that. He did the same thing at the British Open. He's now 60 under par his last 12 rounds of golf.

I mean, there are all sorts of stats you can throw out there, but the bottom line is he's just dominating the game again, much as he did back in 2000 and 2001 when he won those four straight majors for the so-called Tiger Slam.

INSKEEP: Did anybody further down in the field have the kind of showing that would indicate that he's the player of next year or five years from now or whenever Tiger cools off again?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know if who you said the player (unintelligible), but Luke Donald - the young Englishman who is a player people have identified as someone they think will win major championships - played very well for three rounds. He was tied for the lead with Woods after the third round.

But like so many guys playing in the last group of a major with Tiger for the first time, he faded on Sunday. I think the next time he gets in that position he'll have a very good chance to compete better. The first time around with Tiger seems to be impossible.

INSKEEP: You've written and interviewed so many golfers. What do you have to learn to get through that fourth round of a major?

FEINSTEIN: I think you have to learn that you have to pretend that you're not where you are, that you're just out playing in another tournament. And you've just got to go shot-to-shot and the old cliché about athletes: stay in the moment. Don't think about what it's going to mean to hold the trophy if you win. Just think about hitting that next shot, that next putt.

It's easy for me to say, hard for human beings to do.

INSKEEP: Now, one of the big moments coming up will be the Ryder Cup playing now that the U.S. team has been chosen over the weekend.

FEINSTEIN: Right. The 10 guys qualified over the weekend - the top 10 guys on the Ryder Cup list - four rookies will go to Ireland, which will make it tough for Tom Lehman's team.

INSKEEP: Americans got a chance this time?

FEINSTEIN: They have a chance because it's an American-style golf course - the K Club in Ireland - but playing on the road against the Europeans who always manage to make themselves into a better team than our guys.

Remember when Tiger and Phil played together two years ago and didn't speak to each other for 36 holes? That's not how you win as a team.

INSKEEP: John, thanks very much.

FEINSTEIN: Okay, Steve. Thank you.

INSKEEP: Comments from John Feinstein, whose new book is Vanishing Act: A U.S. Open Mystery.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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