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A game of millimeters

Updated: February 24, 2007, 12:57 AM ET
By Jason Sobel
MARANA, Ariz. -- As Tiger Woods stood over a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to extend his match against Nick O'Hern on Friday, Golf World's John Hawkins sidled up to me and said something to the effect of, "This is why great players are great players. They don't miss these."

I nodded and we both watched Woods drop the putt dead-center, proving Hawk's theory and sending a delirious crowd scurrying for the first tee.

That's what makes Tiger's ensuing miscue on the first extra hole -- a missed 4-foot putt that slid off to the right -- so jarring. The fact that great players don't miss putts like these is a notion that has always been applied to Woods' expertise on the greens. Think about it: When was the last time you saw Tiger miss a short putt that he really needed? There may be a few isolated instances, but never from 4 feet and never with a match on the line.

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