They say par is a good score in a major.
If that’s true next week at the PGA Championship, then Tiger Woods already has done his share of preparation.
Woods played safe and smart with a big lead, parring 16 holes in an even-par 70 Sunday to coast to a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone Invitational for his eighth win at the event — matching the PGA Tour record he already shared for victories in a single tournament.
“As blustery as it was, it was going to be really hard for someone to shoot 62 or 63,” Woods said. “If I didn’t give any shots away and played my game and shot even par or better, I’d force these guys to go and shoot something super low on a golf course that wasn’t going to give it up under these conditions.”
As he walked to the scorer’s trailer to finalize his score, he scooped up 4-year-old son Charlie, who hugged him tightly as his father strode past the large gallery wildly cheering his landslide victory.
“This is the first win he’s ever been at,” Woods said. “That’s what makes it special for both of us.”
Daughter Sam was on hand when Woods, won the U.S. Open in 2008, before his personal life imploded. Now Charlie will have some memories of dad in the winner’s circle.
“They always say, ‘Daddy, when are you going to win the tournament?’ It was a few years there, or a couple years, I hadn’t won anything,” Woods said, smiling. “‘Are you leading or not? That’s a stock question. ‘Not leading.’ ‘Well, are you going to start leading?’ ‘Well, I’m trying.’ ”
After a second-round 61 in which he flirted with 59, Woods ended up at 15-under 265 to easily beat defending champ Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson.
Bradley, a huge fan of Tiger’s when he was a youngster, was asked if he liked to see Woods dominate like he did a decade or so ago.
“When I was younger, I did,” Bradley said. “You know, I hate to sit here and go on and on about how good he is, but he is. It’s difficult because I really want to get up there and contend with him. But he’s just ... this week he’s playing really well.”
Woods’ mastery at Firestone Country Club allowed him to again match Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record for wins in an event. Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Earlier this year, Woods won at Bay Hill for the eighth time.
As if he weren’t already the favorite next week in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, the lopsided victory reinforced it.
No one ever got within six shots all day of the world’s No. 1.
When he had a good shot at a pin, he took it. Otherwise, he took few, if any, risks.
He birdied the 10th hole, then offset that with a three-putt bogey at the 14th hole. But by then most of the field was thinking about catching flights to Rochester instead of catching Woods.
Bradley, who won a year ago when Jim Furyk double-bogeyed the 72nd hole, shot a 67 to get to 8 under along with Stenson, who had a 70 while playing with Woods.
“He kind of punctured this tournament on Friday,” Stenson said. “He did what he needed to do today.”
Tied for fourth were Cleveland-born Jason Dufner (71), Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and Zach Johnson (67) at 6 under.