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Don't Read Much into Tiger Woods' Loss at Northwestern Mutual World Challenge

Tiger Woods congratulates Zach Johnson at Northwestern Mutual World Challenge
Tiger Woods congratulates Zach Johnson at Northwestern Mutual World ChallengeStephen Dunn/Getty Images
Fred AltvaterContributor IIDecember 9, 2013

Members of the golf media are already citing statistics that Tiger Woods once again failed to break 70 on the weekend and let another win slip away. Although he turned in a ten-under 62 in the second round on Friday, he posted scores of 72-70 on the weekend and lost to Zach Johnson in a playoff.

Friday’s 62, in cold and breezy conditions at Sherwood Country Club, featured a bogey-free pair of five-under 31s. The next best rounds of the day were two 67s posted by Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell.

High winds in the third round on Saturday encouraged high scoring. Only three players in the 18-man field were able to break 70. Jason Dufner posted a 78 and Matt Kuchar struggled to a 76.

Let’s not get too carried away with a loss in this late-season, money-grab event.

Yes, it offers a first prize of $1 million, but the last-place finisher, Dustin Johnson, received $100,000 just for showing up. Prize money in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge is not recognized as official earnings for the PGA Tour money list.

There are no FedEx Cup points issued, but since 2009, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge does offer points for world rankings.

This is a glorified golf outing and provides a Christmas bonus for a few of the best players in the world. The main purpose of the tournament is to raise funds for the Tiger Woods Foundation and $25 million has been donated over the past 15 years.

Woods won five tournaments on the PGA Tour in 2013, including the Players Championship. He has failed to win a major title since 2008, but has regained the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. He also won his 10th PGA Tour money title and ninth Vardon Trophy in 2013.

Oh yeah, he was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time.

Woods has won the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge five times and he has lost in a playoff twice. He always donates 100 percent of his winnings from this event to the foundation.

Zach Johnson had to make two very crucial wedge shots to catch Woods at the end of 72-hole regulation play.

Woods is always trying to win every event he enters. A runner-up finish at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge and a missed four-foot putt in the playoff is not a future indicator heading into 2014.

Johnson won the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge with some magnificent wedge play. Woods did not lose it.

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