TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The 13th major for Tiger Woods looked like so many others until he finished.
His father is no longer alive for Woods to walk into his arms. His mother no longer travels to any major but the Masters. He now shares his triumphs with a wife and baby daughter, and the biggest surprise Sunday at the PGA Championship was seeing them when he walked into the scoring trailer to sign for a 69 and a two-shot victory.
Naturally, 2-month-old Sam Alexis was decked out in red.
“It’s a feeling I’ve never had before,” Woods said after turning back a brief scare to win the final major of the year. “Having Sam there and having Elin there, it feels a lot more special. And it used to be my mom and dad. And now Elin, and now we have our own daughter. So it’s evolved, and this one feels so much more special than the other majors.”
On the golf course, it was the same old story.
With his five-shot lead trimmed to a single stroke, Woods kept his cool in temperatures that reached 102 degrees. He hit a 7-iron to within 10 feet on the 15th hole for a birdie that gave him some breathing room, and the bold drive on the 16th — Woods twirled the club in his hand when he saw it split the middle — was the sure sign this major was over.
Woody Austin (67) and Ernie Els (66) made spirited runs, but that wasn’t nearly enough.
And so, a season of first-time winners in the majors ended with a most familiar champion. His fourth PGA Championship gave him 13 majors, leaving him only five short of the benchmark set by Jack Nicklaus, and well ahead of the pace set by the Golden Bear.
Woods, 31, won his 13th major in his 44th start. Nicklaus was 35 when he won his 13th major in his 53rd try as a pro.
He is so dominant in his era that Woods now has more majors (13) then the rest of the top 10 in the world ranking combined (12).
He finished at 8-under 272 and won for the fifth time this year.
This by far was the biggest, especially after coming in second at the Masters and the U.S. Open.
“It turned into a great year,” Woods said. “I felt like I’ve played well most of the year, and just didn’t quite get it done in the first two major championships. And then on Sunday afternoon, just didn’t get it done. This time I did.”
Austin, a 43-year-old former bank teller, had a 12-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole that would have tied him for the lead. That was as close as he got, although it was quite a consolation. His runner-up finish was enough for him to make the Presidents Cup team.