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Golf Tidbits: Numbers add up to another Woods victory

Tiger Woods has plenty of numbers that back up his astonishing win total of 76 on the PGA Tour.

As most people know, he has lost just one 54-hole lead in a major championship. In 283 PGA Tour starts, he has had at least a piece of the 54- hole lead 55 times.

He has won 51 of those events.

Woods has had at least a piece of the lead entering the final round in 19 percent of the tournaments he has entered. And with his victory Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Woods has won 26.9 percent (76-of-283) of his tour starts.

If those numbers were not stout enough, Woods has won seven of the 13 times he has teed it up in the Cadillac. That makes it easy to believe that Woods now owns 17 World Golf Championships titles.

The story this week was Woods' putting. After getting a tip from Steve Stricker, Woods tallied 100 putts for the week. That was the lowest total of his career for a 72-hole tournament.

At the trophy presentation, he rightly thanked Stricker for the tip.

Woods also ranked second in strokes gained - putting, fourth in approach shot proximity to the hole, fifth in total putts made - distance and tied for seventh in greens in regulation.

Add that all up with the 27 birdies Woods carded this week, and it is easy to see how he earned PGA Tour win No. 76.

Finally, for those wondering if Woods is "back," he has won five of his last 19 PGA Tour starts.

Woods might tell you he isn't "back" until he snaps his four-year drought in the major championships.

Woods has won The Masters four times. Prior to all four, he won earlier in the year. Twice he won once and the other two times he was victorious two times.

This was Woods' second victory this year. He has won at Torrey Pines and at Doral. He won at those two courses in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

In 2005, those early season wins led to Woods winning his fourth green jacket at the Masters. The following year, his two early victories led to titles at the British Open and PGA Championship.

Lastly, in 2007, Woods won at Torrey and Doral before winning his 13th major crown at the PGA Championship.

Tying that all together, it would seem Woods is in line to pick up his 15th major championship victory later this year. If that happens, he'll be within three of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 and within five wins of Sam Snead's tour record of 82 victories.

The numbers are in Woods' favor at this point, that's for sure.

PART-TIME PLAY SUITS STRICKER

Earlier this year, Steve Stricker made it clear he wasn't going to play nearly as much as he has the last few years.

And that is saying something since Stricker made 39 official starts over the last two years.

Stricker also played the Ryder Cup last year and the Presidents Cup the year before to add to his total. That is far from a busy schedule since the tour leaders in events played are in the low 30s year in and year out.

Nonetheless, Stricker is sticking to his guns. He plans to make 11 starts this year, and won't adjust his plans just because of how well he is playing.

The 46-year-old has finished second, tied for fifth and second in his three tournaments this year. He has matched his total of top-5 finishes from last year already, and it took him 19 starts last year.

Along with his stellar play, Stricker helped Woods with a putting tip earlier in the week. That helped Woods win for the second time this year and post a career-low 100 putts for the tournament.

Stricker is friendly with everyone and helps out when asked. It wouldn't be surprising to see him take over for Fred Couples as the U.S. Presidents Cup captain after Couples leads that squad later this year.

This will be the third time Couples has captained the team. Stricker, if he isn't contending for a spot on the team in 2015, would be a perfect replacement for Couples.

Stricker has been on the last Presidents Cup three teams - all victorious - and would smoothly transition to captaining that team if he so chooses.

MINI-TIDBITS

* World No. 1 Rory McIlroy strung together three straight under-par rounds to finish the tournament at Doral. On the strength of his final-round 65, McIlroy grabbed a share of eighth place. That didn't garner much notice though since Tiger Woods won the tournament.

* Brian Gay led the field at Doral with 93 putts, but he finished tied for 35th at minus-1.