Woods bids farewell to Warwick Hills with win

Tiger Woods cruised to his easiest victory of the year, getting away with an awful round to win what was an average Buick Open.

Despite this missed putt for a birdie on the 18th at Warwick Hills, Tiger Woods went on to with the Buick Open comfortably.
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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN // Tiger Woods cruised to his easiest victory of the year, getting away with an awful round to win what was an average Buick Open. However, Woods' schedule during the next few months is sure to present a much tougher challenge than the one he faced in Michigan as he gets set to play two straight tournaments before the PGA Championship, his final chance to win a major this year.

Woods shot a three-under 69 and coasted to a three-shot victory with a 20-under 268 total at Warwick Hills, which hosted its first Buick Open in 1958 and seemed to stage its final one on Sunday. Woods, whose previous three wins this year were each by one shot, spent much of Sunday ahead by two before he took a three-stroke lead with the birdie at the 16th. His workmanlike final round included three birdies and no bogeys and he won without trailing in the final round for the first time since Bay Hill in 2008.

He will play at the Bridgestone Invitational this week before going to Hazeltine for the PGA Championship, the first time in his career he has scheduled himself to compete in two straight tournaments going into a major. "I feel good," Woods said. "The win helps." Woods won the Buick Open for a third time and claimed his 69th PGA Tour victory, but the end-of-an-era feel made it more than a ho-hum experience.

"I've played all around the world, and I've never seen a day like this," said Woods, also the 2002 and 2006 winner at Warwick Hills. "This event has always been special, but today was something else." He acknowledged thinking about his walk up to the 18th at Warwick Hills being his last, leading to him throwing his ball with a lot of velocity back down the fairway to fans. He also tossed a ball into the gallery at 17.

"I never do that, but today was different," Woods said. "We aren't coming back here, and I wanted to thank all these people." GolfWeek Magazine reported on its official website today that General Motors would end the PGA Tour's longest partnership. GolfWeek also reported The Greenbrier in West Virginia is waiting for the PGA Tour to confirm it will replace the Buick Open in 2010. "Hopefully, we'll get back to this region soon," Woods said. If a sponsor does not step up with about US$7 million (Dh25.7m) to lure a PGA Tour event back to Michigan, the best golfers in the world might not play in the state again until late in the next decade when the US Open could possibly return to Oakland Hills.

"Hopefully, I'll be back sooner than that," Woods added. *AP