December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Tiger Woods closes year with Target victory

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Ten weeks later, nothing has changed with Tiger Woods and the rest of golf.
Woods won the final golf tournament of the year Sunday, closing with a 4-under 68 to match the tournament record at the Target World Challenge and set a record for the largest margin of victory, by seven shots over Masters champion Zach Johnson.
Woods had not played since Sept. 30 at the Presidents Cup, but he didn’t show much rust in winning his tournament for the fourth time and becoming the first player to win in consecutive years.
“Doesn’t help us, does it?” Colin Montgomerie said of Woods’ long break. “If he took a bloody year off, it would help. Never mind 10 weeks.”
Johnson closed with a 68, but the only challenge came from Jim Furyk.
Furyk got within two shots after nine holes, but the tournament changed abruptly on the 10th. Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt, and Furyk three-putted for bogey from 4 feet on a downhill putt.
Woods finished at 22-under 266, tying the tournament record first set by Davis Love III in 2000. He earned $1.35 million, which he will donate to his Tiger Woods Foundation. Johnson, shut out at his first Skins Game last month, earned $840,000 for second. Furyk closed with a 71 and finished third, earning $570,000.
The only question was the margin of victory, and whether Rory Sabbatini made it safely to Hawaii.
Sabbatini, who was in last place going into the final round, withdrew from the 16-man field Sunday morning. He told the PGA Tour he was pulling out for “personal reasons,” but his agent later said it was due to shin splints.
A locker room attendant said Sabbatini told him Saturday night he was leaving for Maui, and tournament officials were still looking for his courtesy car late Sunday afternoon.
The South African still received $170,000 for last place, but perhaps lost some respect along the way.