Woods ends dominating stretch with FedEx title

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ATLANTA - Four victories in his past five starts is proof enough that Tiger Woods is more dominant than ever, especially considering he won those four tournaments by a combined 20 shots and shattered tournament scoring records in consecutive weeks.

Tiger Woods held up the FedEx Cup trophy after winning the Tour Championship on Sunday. Woods won four times by a combined 20 shots in his final five starts to claim the inaugural title.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Tiger Woods held up the FedEx Cup trophy after winning the Tour Championship on Sunday. Woods won four times by a combined 20 shots in his final five starts to claim the inaugural title.

More evidence came from his caddie as he waited for Woods to arrive for the final round of the Tour Championship.

"He hasn't hit a practice ball since the British Open," Steve Williams said. "I've been with him nearly 10 years now, and this is the best I've ever seen him hit the ball."

No practice? Not quite.

What he meant was that Woods has such command over his game that he stopped going to the practice range after his rounds since returning home from Carnoustie.

Woods confirmed as much when he left East Lake with his two trophies - one for the Tour Championship, one for the FedEx Cup.

"Hey, there was no need to go," he said with a shrug and a smile.

Whether this is the best he has ever played is up for debate, but don't expect Woods to participate. He is always looking forward, always trying to figure out a way to get better. That's what makes it so daunting for the guys trying to reach his level. They know they have to get better, and that's assuming Woods doesn't continue to improve himself.

So far, that hasn't happened.

Since his latest round of swing changes took root at the end of 2004, Woods has won 21 times on the PGA Tour. That's more than Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk combined over the past three years. He has won 61 times in just more than 11 full years on the PGA Tour.

And the truly scary part is that Woods, at age 31, might still be years away from his prime.

"I don't know when it's going to be," Woods said. "The whole idea is to try and keep improving. When all is said and done, when you rack the cue and go home and retire, you can honestly say, 'These were my best years, when I was at my peak.' But when you're in it, you're always trying to improve that a little bit to get to the next level."

In Woods' eyes, the turning point came at the Western Open last July. He had just missed the cut in a major for the first time, opened with a 72 at Cog Hill, then spent hours that Thursday afternoon on the practice range. It was hard work, but enjoyable.

For the first time since his father died, it was fun.

"I got over all the things that happened earlier, and I finally got back to just playing golf again," he said. "That mourning period ... I felt I was done with it. Once I got back to playing golf, I felt I was back in my rhythm again. And from then, if you look at my results since then, it's been pretty good."

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