NORTON, Mass. -- For Strick and Mick, the outcome on Monday was the same.
The same could also be said for Tiger Woods.
Thanks to the final-round sputtering of Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker at TPC Boston, not to mention more improved play from Woods himself, the man sitting at world No. 1 will again remain unchanged.
Both No. 2 Mickelson and No. 4 Stricker could have overtaken Woods in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, but Woods' current reign will extend to its 274th straight week heading later this week into Chicago.
Woods finished with a 68 to post three straight rounds in the 60s for the first time all year and was T13 as the leaders were finishing Monday afternoon. Because Woods finished inside the top 24, it meant that Mickelson and Stricker had to win to unseat him from his perch.
Neither came remotely close.
As Mickelson played the par-5 seventh, he was 50 feet short of the flag in two, pitched to 6 feet and missed a putt that would have moved him within three shots of the leaders and into a tie for fifth. From then on, he went straight backward, making a double bogey on the 10th and three-jacking for bogey from seven feet on the 11th.
Just like that, he fell nine shots off the lead with a half-dozen holes left in his final round. This marked the 11th straight start in which Mickelson, who has never been ranked first, had a chance to unseat Woods and didn't deliver.
Stricker, who started the day T4, bogeyed two of his first three holes to fall seven off the early pace.
Woods, who continued his gradual improvement of the past few weeks, is the defending champion at the BMW Championship, which begins Thursday. He won by eight shots at Cog Hill last year and lives to play another week at the top dog in the game
“Well, I've just got to keep playing well,” he said. “Winning takes care of everything -- the world rankings, player of the year awards, all the trophies and things that come with it. That only happens when you win. Most of my career I've been able to do that, and I just haven't done it this year.”
As it relates to the ability of others to catch him in the rankings while at his career nadir, that hasn’t mattered.