Roger Federer seized a 15-14 lead over Tiger Woods in their bragging-rights battle of major crowns on Sunday as both superstars snagged titles on the same day for the second time in a month.
World number one Woods, a 14-time major golf champion and friend of Federer, won the PGA National by one stroke over Hunter Mahan for his third title of the year in his final tuneup for the British Open in two weeks at Turnberry.
Woods was on the practice range about 45 minutes before his tee time when he learned Federer won and texted him a congratulatory message — “Great job, now it's my turn,” — then lived up to his plans by winning his own title.”
All three titles for Woods this year have come two weeks before majors, including one at his last US Open tune-up, the Memorial, on June 7, the same day Federer won his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.
“His are a hell of a lot bigger than mine,” Woods said. “He won two Slams and I won two tour events. Hopefully I can get the majors now.”
Woods stands four majors shy of matching the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus but will resume the quest to catch his boyhood idol, and Federer, in Scotland later this month and at next month's PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
Woods was watching the dramatic final set when the time came to begin preparing for his final round. He learned the score was 14-14 while on the practice green and was on the driving range when he learned Federer had won.
“It was kind of, 'Let's do it again today. That would be nice,'” Woods said. Woods had already filmed a message of congratulations before the US Open.
Moments after Federer’s victory, a television commercial by Nike aired with several star athletes offering congratulations, including Woods, who said, “Fifteen — not bad.”
“Pretty impressive, isn't it?” Woods said.
“He is the greatest player that's ever played. I’ve talked to Pete (Sampras) about it, and he's good on any surface.” “But he is the greatest player that's ever played. I've talked to Pete (Sampras) about it, and it's just one of those things where he's so good on any surface. It doesn't matter.”