Akron, Ohio:Firestone always seems the perfect place for Tiger Woods to show his best stuff.
This year, the timing could not have been much better.
In the final event before the final major of the year, Woods buried Rory Sabbatini and the rest of the field on Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational for an eight-shot victory, sending his confidence soaring as he left for Southern Hills and the PGA Championship.
"This might just give me a little more confidence," Woods said.
It was a command performance on a challenging course, reminiscent of some of his major victories.
He was determined to play the final round without a bogey, just like the US Open at Pebble Beach, and Woods showed more emotion over saving par with a 12-foot putt on the final hole than any of his birdies in his 5-under 65. He finished at 8-under 272.
He was the only player to finish under par at Firestone; the only other times he had done that were his two US Open victories. And after turning a one-shot deficit into a six-shot lead on the front nine, Woods left everyone else playing for second.
"The whole idea was to win this event, but be playing well going into next week," Woods said. "I feel I made some nice strides this week, and I feel very good going into next week. ... I feel like I'm in better shape heading into this one than I do going into the last major."
Sabbatini took another step backward. The fiery South African lost a one-shot lead to Woods in the Wachovia Championship this year, then said Woods looked "beatable as ever."
Not on this course.
It was the second time Woods has strung together three straight victories at this World Golf Championship, and he tied a PGA Tour record by winning for the sixth time on the same course. Jack Nicklaus won six Masters at Augusta National, and Alex Ross won six times at the North & South Open at Pinehurst No 2 at the turn of the 20th century. He also won for the 14th time in 25 tries at the World Golf Championships.