THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The golfing year ended in predictable fashion, with tournament host Tiger Woods leaving the Target World Challenge field trailing in his wake.
But even though there were no ranking points at stake, the final event of 2007 came with some magic moments and interesting subplots.
Here are the winners and losers from the past four days at Sherwood Country Club:
Winner: Tiger Woods
The finest player in the sport brought his A-game once more to bring down the curtain on a year of supreme satisfaction, both in his professional and private lives.
On the course, Woods dominated once more, and his seven-shot victory is a fair indication of the gulf between him and the pack behind him.
The birth of his daughter Sam, who was looking on with her mother Elin by the 18th green, was a cause of great excitement and has clearly added a whole new dimension to his life.
Woods' victory meant that $1,350,000 will find its way into the coffers of the Tiger Woods Foundation, while quashing any suggestions that he would be ring rusty after a long layoff.
The question in 2008 will not be how many tournaments he will win. It will be: How many will he lose?
Loser: Rory Sabbatini
Sabbatini's withdrawal, made with a call to the tournament office, did him no favors with either golf fans or his fellow professionals.
The original excuse was that he had pulled out for "personal reasons," which was altered to "shin splints" by his agent.
Either way, Sabbatini went about it in thoroughly the wrong fashion. At the very least, he should have shown his face on Sunday, shaken a few sponsors' hands and signed some autographs.
Unless Sabbatini is sufficiently high in the world rankings next year to be automatically invited, he has virtually no chance of being asked back. The only way he can repair some of the damage would be by donating his $170,000 purse to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Winner: Zach Johnson
Johnson capped off his best year ever with a solid second-place showing, finishing 15-under for the week and managing four rounds in the 60s.
It could have been even better if he had been able to hole some putts, but he struggled with that aspect of his game for long periods.
Even so, Johnson has served notice that he plans to be a serious contender in 2008, and he even spoke about the possibility of adding another major to his Masters victory this year.
A shootout over the final few holes between Woods and Jim Furyk would have been a joy to watch, but it was not to be.
Blame Woods. The man is simply too good. His phenomenal second-round 62 set the tone for another week of dominance.
Winner: Colin Montgomerie
Monty stunk the place out on opening day, racking up an awful round of 80, including a frankly unbelievable 39 putts.
However, he battled back gamely, following up with 67 and 69 before posting a final-round 66 on Sunday to move him up to a tie for eighth.
"All I had left after day one was my professional pride," Monty said. "I wanted to somehow get back to level by the end but to reach 6-under was a very good effort."
Loser: The young Euros
Neither was able to keep pace with the high-quality field and slipped into a tie for 11th place.
Both Englishmen are hoping for big things in 2008 and want to establish themselves as leading figures in the game. However, they will need to show more spark if their goals are to be realized.
Winner: The tournament
Fuelled by a turnout of 18,633 on Sunday, the Target World Challenge posted its highest ever attendance.
The figure of 65,235 for the week was nearly 10,000 higher than the previous best and proved Woods' event is growing in popularity.
There is talk of changing the scheduling to a week later in the year, which may be implemented from 2009 onwards.
Loser: The Skins boys
The tournament completed a tough run for Wetterich, who failed to win any money during last month's Skins Game.
Couples came in second in the Skins at Indian Wells, but his showing here is no great shock. Before the Skins, he hadn't played competitively since the Masters.
- Tiger Woods