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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

1. TIGER'S LAST RIDE
Tiger Woods not only showed up for the final Buick Open, he also won it with a roller-coaster 20-under 268 that included a sloppy first-day 71, electrifying follow-ups of 63 and 65, and a cool closing 69 which had an air of inevitability to it. As the Buick Open motors off into the sunset, here's a look at the tournament's history as well as what it has meant to the world's No. 1 player.

2. BRIEF HISTORY
1958 Buick becomes the first corporate sponsor of the PGA Tour, and the Buick Open debuts with the era's richest purse: $50,000. The inaugural winner, Billy Casper, takes home $9,000.
1963 Julius Boros becomes the only wire-to-wire champion.
1965 Tony Lema wins his second straight Buick Open, becoming the first multiple winner and one of only two back-to-back winners.
1969 Dave Hill, from Jackson, becomes the first native of Michigan to win.
1970—71 The tournament is not played.
1972 The tournament returns as an unofficial Tour event with Buick as the sponsor.
1973—77 It remains an unofficial event without Buick as the sponsor.
1978 Buick Open returns to the Tour schedule.
1987 Robert Wrenn sets the tournament scoring record of 26-under-par 262.
1989 Tournament purse reaches $1 million.
1990 Chip Beck starts the final round eight shots down but rallies to win, marking the event's largest comeback victory.
1997 Tiger Woods makes his Buick Open debut; Vijay Singh wins the first of his three titles.
2000 Woods begins an endorsement deal with Buick reportedly worth about $7 million a year.
2001 Buick Open purse reaches $3.1 million; Billy Mayfair sets the course record at Warwick Hills with a 61, a score matched by Woods in '05.
2002 Woods wins his first Buick Open.
2003 Purse reaches $4 million.
2006 Woods wins his second Buick Open and earns his 50th career victory to become, at 30, the youngest to reach that milestone.
2008 Buick Open reaches more than $10 million in charitable donations.
2009 Buick discontinues its sponsorship, and unable to find a new partner, the tournament comes to an end. Woods returns after a two-year absence and walks off with the $918,000 first-place check while tying Singh's mark for most Buick Open titles.

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