By Jim Brighters
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The mark of a true champion is to win every way possible.
This is not to say that Tiger Woods was in jeopardy of not being considered a true champion. His 62 PGA Tour wins, 13 majors and the fact that he embarrasses everyone he plays against settled that discussion a while back.
But you had to be a little shocked at what happened in Dubai over the weekend.
You couldn't be surprised by the outcome, just the fact it took that much to get to the winner's circle.
When Woods took the lead Thursday, anyone think the win was in question? Of course not, because he is the most dominant athlete in sports right now. (Roger Federer fans chill.)
The shock came in him being four down heading into Sunday. We've come to expect Woods to put everyone away and make these tournaments as interesting as watching someone do laundry.
He didn't run away and hide this week. Woods actually had to come from behind to win a tournament. We all know his jaw-dropping record with a piece of the 54-hole lead, but we rarely see him in the comeback mode.
Tiger Woods showed once again why he is a champion.
Would it surprise you to learn that his four-stroke comeback on Sunday was the largest final-round deficit he faced en route to victory since 2000? At Pebble Beach (not the U.S. Open) that year, Woods erased a five-shot margin on Sunday.
It's not commonplace for anyone to make up that much ground in one round. Be it four shots or five, Woods does not have huge, final-round comebacks on his resume.
Remember that Woods has never come from behind in a major championship. All 13 victories showed Woods in the lead heading to Sunday. When you see him come back from one shot or two, you yawn and go back to the yard work. What you saw on Sunday (you probably didn't, due to the nine-hour time difference), was Woods overcome huge odds.
Two men ahead of him on the leaderboard are world-class studs. Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson are certainly not bums, but Woods left them in the dust in Dubai.
Woods acknowledged he likes wins like the one at the Buick the week before. Double-digit stroke leads don't have most reaching for the Rolaids, but Sunday's win in Dubai meant a lot.
Since Woods doesn't have an amazing record without the third-round lead, this was one of his most impressive wins in a long time. Again, Woods' status was not cemented with Sunday's win, but appreciate it because those wins don't happen everyday, even for the best player in the history of the game.
1.) Any Ryder Cup updates?
American captain Paul Azinger announced that the schedule will feature foursomes in the morning, then fourballs in the afternoon. That is a change from every Cup since 1997, when the fourballs started play. The U.S. is 2-8-2 in opening fourballs since 1997. Also, Azinger will announce his picks (remember he has four) early in September. Get the hottest players at the time of the competition.
2.) What's to like this week at Pebble Beach?
Greg Norman is playing.
3.) What's not to like this week at Pebble Beach?
Everything else. I ranted two weeks ago about my utter hatred of celebrity pro-ams and this is exactly the same. However, the star, Bill Murray is filming in Ireland and won't be there. There is going to be a lot of Kevin James and Ray Romano this week.
4.) What did you think of the FBR Open?
Couldn't care less about the finish, but is the 16th hole not the greatest hole in golf? Sure, it's an eight-iron, tops, but that atmosphere is amazing. Was there ever a broadcaster more suited to a hole, than Gary McCord? When he started chanting A-S-U with the gallery on Saturday, I nearly died.
5.) Very little talk of women's golf, what's going on there?
Karrie Webb won the Australian Open for the fourth time. Very rich and compelling.
1.) Tiger Woods
2.) Phil Mickelson
3.) Steve Stricker
4.) K.J. Choi
5.) Rory Sabbatini
6.) Jim Furyk
7.) Daniel Chopra
8.) Padraig Harrington
9.) J.B. Holmes - probably will make a nice career winning once every two or three years. Keep this in mind, a good year could get him some looks from Azinger. His bombing style, coupled with him being a Kentucky boy could really get the crowd going.
10.) Ernie Els - the Dubai was his and maybe that helps him turn a corner, but his three-year plan for getting to No. 1 is not working.
1.) Loren Roberts
2.) Fred Funk
3.) Jay Haas
4.) Eduardo Romero
5.) R.W. Eaks
6.) Tom Watson
7.) Brad Bryant
8.) Bernhard Langer
9.) Jim Thorpe
10.) Jerry Pate - his win gives him status on the Champions Tour. I hadn't realized he even lost it. Capable of being a steady winner out there, but injuries have just decimated his career.
1.) Lorena Ochoa
2.) Suzann Pettersen
3.) Paula Creamer
4.) Cristie Kerr
5.) Annika Sorenstam
6.) Morgan Pressel
7.) Karrie Webb
8.) Stacy Prammanasudh
9.) Maria Hjorth
10.) Natalie Gulbis
- An excerpt from my last column - "Martin Kaymer won on the European Tour this week. Watch out for him. He's been Rookie of the Year and won already. He could be one of the best young Europeans who plays strictly in Europe." Finished second to Tiger in Dubai. God, I'm good.
- Davis Love III returns to action this week after ankle surgery sidelined him late last season. He has fallen to 78th in the world. Maybe the last hurrah...well at least until he gets the Ryder Cup captaincy next time around.
- Phil Mickelson made a nice gesture at the FBR Open when he gave a father-son combo tickets to the Super Bowl. I think my dad and I would take him up on the offer next time.
- Non-golf thought - Let's call this a perk of the job. For the last two years, I've enjoyed a running dialogue with our NFL editor, Tony Moss, during the Super Bowl. He votes on the MVP and I like getting his input. Tony voted for Justin Tuck. I like Eli, but thank goodness for text messaging getting me closer to the Super Bowl.