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McDowell Upstages Tiger in Season Finale


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Monday, December 6, 2010 — (ABC News: ESPN Sports) –


The Associated Press



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By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer



THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. December 6, 2010 (AP)





Tiger Woods delivered a vintage moment, dropping an 8-iron from the sky on the final hole Sunday inside 3 feet for what looked to be a sure victory.


Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods looks as his ball fall short of the sixth hole green during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)


(AP)




Just not this year.



The clutch shots and happy endings belonged to U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.



McDowell capped off his greatest season with the biggest comeback ever against Woods. He rallied from a four-shot deficit in the Chevron World Challenge, then upstaged Woods at his own tournament.



McDowell holed a 20-foot birdie putt to force a playoff, then beat Woods on the first extra hole with another birdie from a little bit longer.



“They’re the kind of putts that you make them, and you can’t really believe it afterwards,” McDowell said. “They were the stuff of dreams — 2010 has been the stuff of dreams. It’s been that kind of year.”



Woods might have known what to expect, considering how his year has gone.



Without a trophy for the first time since he can remember, Woods appeared ready to embark on a new chapter after a year of personal turmoil and shocking scores. A four-shot lead turned into a two-shot deficit. He rallied to tie McDowell, then watched the U.S. Open champion deliver the winning shots.



It was the first time Woods has lost a tournament when leading by at least three shots going into the final round.



And it was the first time anyone could recall Woods feeling good after a loss.



“It was a great week, even though I didn’t win,” Woods said. “I’m proud of today, even though I lost.”



Woods lost his big lead with a pair of three-putt bogeys, imploded with a double bogey on the par-5 13th to see his one-shot lead turn into a two-shot deficit, then got new life when McDowell made a couple of mistakes down the stretch.



McDowell won with two birdies on the 18th, but he might have won the tournament with a bogey. With a one-shot lead on the par-3 17th, he pulled his 8-iron into grass so high that he took a penalty drop on the 18th tee and pitched over the trees to 7 feet. Woods missed his birdie putt, and McDowell made his putt to stay even with Woods going to the final hole.




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