AKRON, Ohio (AP) The ninth hole is where all the action is at Firestone Country Club.
Tiger Woods struck a ball that landed in the crook of a woman's arm and he later chipped in for par. Then Rory Sabbatini, in second place six shots back of Woods at the time, took offense at a spectator's question and had the fan expelled from the course.
In other words, it was another routine day at the ninth during the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday. Remember how Woods bounced an approach to the ninth up onto the clubhouse roof there during the second round last year?
Woods was leading by four strokes Sunday as he stood over his ball far to the left of the fairway after a wild 358-yard drive. He pulled his 9-iron second shot into the trees left of the green and it hit a limb and dropped directly onto Rudy Wittensoldner. The 58-year-old native of nearby Louisville was sitting with friends while covered with a clear sheet of plastic. The ball hit her in the forearm and she pulled her arm up against her body so the ball wouldn't fall, gamely waiting until Woods came up to collect it.
Woods walked around the greenside bunker and laughed when he saw her scrunched down in her chair with the ball nestled against her body. Woods then asked for a ruling and received a free drop, chipping through the green. While marshals went to get ice for Wittensoldner's arm, Woods calmly holed an 18-foot chip for par that was met by a huge ovation.
"It's kind of hot,'' Wittensoldner said of the spot where the ball hit her.
Woods was asked for a blow-by-blow of the hole.
"It ended up right on the lady's jacket, poncho, whatever you want to call it,'' he said. "I took a drop, hit a terrible pitch over the green, and I holed it from there with a little 9 iron. Four shots.''
Seconds later, after Sabbatini made a double bogey and was walking away from the ninth green, retired firefighter and paramedic Steve Banky casually said to him, "Hey, Rory. Still think Tiger's beatable?''
Sabbatini wheeled and pointed to Banky, telling a police officer that he wanted Banky removed from the course. He was escorted to the course's front entrance by two officers.
"We're out here to do our job - let us do our job,'' Sabbatini said later. "Have a little bit of decorum, a little bit of class out there. I guess a few too many beers were talking.''
Sabbatini shot a 74, Woods had a 65 to overcome a one-shot deficit to start the day and win by eight strokes.
It was at the Wachovia tournament earlier this year that the fiery Sabbatini said he wanted Woods in the final group. Woods then beat him by five shots in the final round to win the tournament. Four days later, Sabbatini said Woods looked "beatable as ever.'' Woods countered that he had already won three times this year, matching Sabbatini's career total.