Tiger Woods, folks. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods still has "It" — Golf fans keep looking for signs signaling Tiger Woods' return to center stage. That question can't be answered until he wins a major, but Woods provided a convincing argument that he's getting close with his third win of the season -- which is more than any other golfer on the planet. We've been here before, folks. Tiger Woods is once again at the top of the PGA Tour's money list and the FedEx Cup standings. It all feels so familiar. The same can be said for the way Woods went around Congressional on Sunday, holding off Bo Van Pelt down the stretch with pin-point irons and clutch putting. Woods has now won three times in his last seven starts, a staggering figure that makes you realize even though he struggles at times, the 14-time major winner still has the "It Factor."
"I think he's the only guy to win three tournaments on tour this year, is that correct?" Bo Van Pelt said following Sunday's round. "On three different golf courses. And he was leading the U.S. Open after two days. So I'd say that he's playing the best golf in the world right now."
Bo Van Pelt gives Tiger Woods all he can handle — Over the years, we've become accustomed to seeing the competition shrink in the final round when Tiger Woods is within striking distance. But over the last couple of years, golfers have stepped up to the challenge of going head-to-head with one of the greatest to ever play the sport. Bo Van Pelt came up short in his bid to win his second PGA Tour title, but he gave Woods all he could handle, matching him shot-for-shot down the stretch, until a couple of unforced errors on the 16th and 17th forced him to chip in for birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. Despite the late slipups, give him credit for taking Woods the distance.
Congressional provides a major championship test — One year after Congressional was ripped to shreds by Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open, the course exacted a measure of revenge on the field with major championship course conditions that forced the entire field to grind for four days. Firm greens and soaring temperatures turned AT&T National into a battle for survival; even overnight rains on Saturday failed to soften the course's edge. The toughest test to date on the PGA Tour, Congressional certainly made its case for another major championship.
Adam Scott comes up short once again — It's difficult to not look back at Adam Scott's week and wonder "what if." The Aussie overslept on Thursday morning and made it to the first tee with only minutes to spare. Scott blamed the lack of practice before the round for his opening-round 75 -- he was 5-over thru his first 12 holes -- that ended up being the difference between a potential playoff and a third-place finish.
"The story of my year. I need to try and play well for four days," said Scott after his round on Sunday. "You can 'if' and 'but' and you can argue, but my 3 over through three was due to my very brief warm-up on Thursday, and that might end up being the difference between winning and not this week. I only have myself to blame."
Back nine notes — PGA Tour rookie Billy Hurley III, a Leesburg, Va., native and former Navy lieutenant, picked up his biggest check of the year with a T-4 finish ($255,937.50). ... Patrick Cantlay made his first professional cut, but a final-round 11-over 82 kept him from a large payday. ... Jhonattan Vegas' T-4 was his second top-10 finish in his last six starts.
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