TIGER WOODS took a long, slow march to victory at Torrey Pines, risking hypothermia as he endured lengthy delays in biting northerly breezes on virtually every tee and fairway.
Unable to build any rhythm because of the funeral pace of the three-ball ahead, Woods still managed to grind out a PGA Tour record eighth career victory at the same venue. A final-round 72 left Tiger on 14-under, four clear of his nearest challengers at the weather-delayed Farmers Insurance Open.
Woods has now won this PGA Tour event seven times, while the South Course at Torrey Pines also witnessed the most recent of his 14 Major victories in 2008, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a 19 holes Monday play-off at the US Open.
That was in June – the wind sweeping across the Pacific Ocean clifftops at La Jolla was sabre-toothed yesterday as Woods and young Americans Billy Horschel and Casey Wittenberg stalled behind Brad Fritsch, Steve Marino and Erik Compton.
One suspects, this three-ball, the golfing equivalent of 'Winkin, Blinkin and Nod', made this the least enjoyable of Tiger's 75 career victories on the US Tour.
As ever in America, no discernable action was taken against the slow-coaches, who took a snail-like three hours, 45 minutes to play just 11 holes.
Still, this does not fully explain the succession of wildly inaccurate tee shots Woods hit in his final round, starting when he missed the first two fairways left on Sunday afternoon and continuing through the 11 he played yesterday.
Indeed, his crazily wayward driving actually eroded much of the feel-good factor from his hugely impressive opening 54 holes.
After grinding hard to play his first six holes of the morning in one-under, Woods dropped a shot out of the right fairway rough and left greenside bunker at 14.
Then he made an ugly double at 15 after hooking his drive deep into ice plant beyond the hazard mark left of the fairway.
Another bogey followed at 17, Woods taking three-wood there and at the par-five closing hole rather than risk any further damage with the driver, as he limped home.
Local favourite Phil Mickelson finished tied 50th on even-par after a final-round 70.
Incidentally, the left-hander will be 50 when, as announced yesterday, the US Open returns in 2020 to Winged Foot, the scene of his nightmare final-hole collapse in the 2006 US Open.