Was The 54-Hole Closeout Streak Overblown?

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Was The 54-Hole Closeout Streak Overblown?
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

I don't understand why people are so shocked at Tiger Woods giving up a lead in the last round of the PGA. Even though he'd won 14 straight times when leading after 54, this is not the first time he gave up a lead on the last day.

What people forget is that in 3 of these 14 wins, Woods led going into the final round, only to be forced into a playoff.

In the 2006 Masters, he led by 3 strokes, and by 2 strokes with just 2 holes left to play, only to end up in a playoff with Chris DiMarco.

In the 2008 US Open, he led by 3 strokes with 8 holes left to play. He gave up 4 strokes to Rocco Mediate over the next 7 holes, and needed a 20 foot birdie put on 18 even to make the playoff.

In the 2000 PGA Championship, he entered with a 1 shot lead over Bob May, and gave it up to a 1-stroke deficit by the 14th hold. He needed birdies on the last two holes to even get to a playoff.

The truth is that, even though Woods has been a magnificent player, the 54-hole-closeout streak was, like DiMaggio's hitting streak, largely a matter of luck (though Woods' streak, given his level of play, was much more likely than DiMaggio's streak).

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