Akron (Ohio):Tiger Woods won the Bridgestone Invitational with an 8-iron that stopped a foot from the cup on the 16th hole and a 5-under 65. He believes Padraig Harrington lost because of a stopwatch.
Even after his 70th career victory, Woods was upset on Sunday that he and Harrington were told on the 16th hole that they would be put on the clock for being out of the position from the group ahead of them.
Harrington, while not blaming the slow-play policy, conceded that he was rushed during a series of shots in the rough on his way to making a triple bogey, going from a one-shot lead to a three-shot deficit.
Woods, who won by four strokes, was more direct in his comments to the Irishman as they shook hands on the 18th green.
"Like I was telling him out there, 'I'm sorry that John got in the way of a great battle,' because it was such a great battle for 16 holes," Woods said. "And unfortunately, that happened."
John Paramor, chief referee for the PGA European Tour and one of the international officials at this World Golf Championship event, made no apologies for playing the rules.
Paramor said the final pairing was 13 minutes over their time limit after 11 holes and could have been put on the clock, except that a player well ahead of them was struggling on the 16th with various rulings.
"We thought that would allow them to get back into position on the golf course, but they ended up playing the 13th and 14th poorly, and the 15th was not too quick, either." When they reached the 16th green, Paramor said Woods and Harrington were 17 minutes behind schedule.
"The 16th hole had opened up before they cleared the 15th green," he said. "And therefore, we had no choice but to put them on the clock at that stage."
When players take more than the allotted time while on the clock - 40 seconds, with an additional 20 seconds for the first player to hit each of the shots toward the green - they are given a warning. A second bad time leads to a usd 5,000 fine and a one-shot penalty.
The last player penalized a shot for slow play on the PGA Tour was Dillard Pruitt at the 1982 Byron Nelson Classic. Woods said the stopwatch led to Harrington rushing his shots, none of them very good.
First came a 5-iron from the right trees that he pulled into the collar of a bunker. Then came a shot from 159 yards that went over the green, followed by the crucial play - a flop shot that came out hot and went into the water.