Woods carries Chevron Challenge to higher rating

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NEW YORK (AP)—Tigers Woods can still draw television viewers. His playoff loss at the Chevron World Challenge drew the tournament’s highest preliminary rating for the final round in eight years.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell’s comeback victory earned a 2.7 overnight rating for Sunday’s round. That’s up 170 percent from last year. It’s the best since a 3.1 in 2002, when Padraig Harrington beat Woods by two strokes.

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BACK ON PROWL—Tiger Woods celebrates his second shot onto the 18th green during the final round of the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Dec. 5. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Woods led after each of the first three rounds. In contention for the first time all year on the back nine Sunday brought back pressure, and Woods invariably slipped into some old swing flaws that cost him dearly. Through it all, he still gave himself a chance to win.

“I had to battle through it,” Woods said.

The year behind him, Woods had reason to look ahead. His peers noticed a change in his swing, his demeanor and his game throughout the week. Woods was headed home to Florida for nearly two months of practice before starting a new season that can’t get here soon enough.

“The way I’m playing right now, yeah, I would like to continue playing,” Woods said. “Even though I lost and made countless mistakes in the middle part of the round, it said a lot for me to come back and put my swing back together again.”

It was great theater. And for the first time all year, Woods was part of the act.

“He used to appear invincible,” McDowell said. “Of course, he’s made himself appear more human in the last 12 months. But there’s something a bit special about his golf game, and I fully expect that mystique to return as the golf clubs start doing the talking again.”

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