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Tiger Woods digs for the week is more than a dinghy

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Tiger Woods brought his yacht, Privacy, to a U.S. Open in New York and missed the cut for the first time in a major. That was 12 years ago when the Open was at Winged Foot. He can only hope for a different outcome at Shinnecock Hills. "Staying on the dinghy helps," Woods said with a grin. The 155-foot yacht is said to include a Jacuzzi, gym and movie theater. It doesn't sound as though Woods has spent much time ashore except for being at Shinnecock Hills for his first U.S. Open in three years. "Sag Harbor is a cute little town," he said. "I've only been there for a few days now. I haven't really got a chance to walk about a little bit, but certainly will this week. So far, it's been nice to kind of get away from the tournament scene and go there to my dinghy, and just really enjoy it." Woods at least has been able to avoid the traffic that has led to commutes of close to two hours from the official hotel depending on the time of morning. Most players have rented homes in the Southampton area. Woods said he stayed with Shinnecock Hills members when he played as an amateur in the 1995 U.S. Open, and near the course in 2004. The Hamptons has no shortage of yachts, and someone suggested to Woods that it must feel odd not to have the biggest ship in New York. "I'm not opposed to that," Woods said. ___ PLAYOFF FEVER Jordan Spieth now knows that when he's tied for the lead after 72 holes on Sunday, his work is not done. The USGA has changed its playoff format for all its open championships. If the U.S. Open goes to a playoff, it will be a two-hole aggregate playoff (followed by sudden death if still tied), instead of an 18-hole playoff. Spieth was asked about the two-hole playoff. "It's the first I've heard of that being an option," he said. "It's still 18 holes, right?" Wrong. "I guess the strategy changes a little from an entire round, but I honestly had no idea that it even changed," he said. "I was even looking at a weather forecast for Monday, thinking, 'What's it look like if you happen to work your way into a playoff?' So shows you what I know." He wasn't alone. Justin Thomas was asked about the new format and conceded that he wasn't aware it changed to a two-hole aggregate until he was at lunch. It wasn't clear if he read a memo from the USGA or the transcript of Spieth's news conference about four hours earlier. ___ BACK TO NO. 2 If you blinked, you might have missed Justin Thomas' reign atop golf's world ranking. The PGA champion took the top spot in May. It's gone, with Dustin Johnson's win at Memphis last weekend catapulting him to No. 1, with Thomas just behind. Of course, a win at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open this week would push Thomas back to the top. "It didn't affect me, or it wasn't that hard on me because I couldn't do anything about it," Thomas said. "I wasn't playing. I played one tournament and had a good tournament, finished eighth. And D.J. won, so it's not like he didn't play well and didn't earn it or anything. He won a golf tournament and a great tournament. So there's nothing I can be upset about for that." Thomas could even laugh a bit about the ranking. "I saw something that was just hysterical on social media," he explained, "how a lot of the times, you know, when teams or players or whatever it is go on long runs, like the last time this happened. I mean, a little biased but often a scenario is last time Tennessee beat Alabama in football, you know, like iPhones weren't alive yet and stuff like that." So what was Thomas' "last time" moment? "I saw something so funny yesterday," he said. "It was like the last time that I wasn't ranked No. 1 in the world, and it was like (Alex) Ovechkin didn't have a Stanley Cup and Rickie (Fowler) wasn't engaged. That was it. I thought it was pretty funny, whoever came up with that." ___ SPIETH AND HIS PUTTER For all the attention on the short putts Jordan Spieth has missed this year, he still is regarded as one of the best putters in golf. That's the club that effectively won the British Open for him last summer. Spieth faced a tough question Tuesday, however, when asked if there was someone he regarded as better. He paused. "A lot of great putters out here," he said, buying time. "That's why they're out here," he said, buying even more time. He finally took the safe way out by saying that no single players come to mind, though he made it clear his confidence isn't shaken on the greens. "I'd still like to bet on myself, if I can," he said. Spieth said he prefers to think about who makes putts in big moments, and whether the ball is holed with the right speed and right break. He has made plenty of those, not only at Royal Birkdale last summer but at Chambers Bay on the par-3 16th and even at the Tour Championship in 2015 when he won the FedEx Cup. And he hasn't forgotten Tiger Woods. "Nobody's done that better in the last 20 years than Tiger as far as clutch putting goes," he said. ___ TRAILER LIVING Jason Day has learned that life in a motor home can be rewarding on the PGA Tour. He also has learned it can be messy when Bubba Watson is around. Day is staying in what he calls "the bus" in a parking area close to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open. The Australian uses the RV for about 15 tournaments a season, and several other tour golfers have joined him. One is Watson. "Bubba just got one this year, and I'm very kind of more private, and he's, yeah, he's a little bit more outgoing," Day recalled, a wide smile on his face. "And I think we're at Augusta, and he walks under my bus, and he's like, 'Hey, man, what are you doing?' "I'm just sitting in the bus watching TV. He's like OK. And he's standing there. And I'm like, do you want to come inside? And he's eating a burrito, and he decides to come in and talk to me for about 30 minutes. He gets his burrito all over the ground and then just leaves. "Actually, it's nice to have people like that around, you know, to mess your bus up when you need them to." ___ AP Sports Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 13th, 2018

Tiger Woods digs for the week is more than a dinghy

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Tiger Woods brought his yacht, Privacy, to a U.S. Open in New York and missed the cut for the first time in a major. That was 12 years ago when the Open was at Winged Foot. He can only hope for a different outcome at Shinnecock Hills. "Staying on the dinghy helps," Woods said with a grin. The 155-foot yacht is said to include a Jacuzzi, gym and movie theater. It doesn't sound as though Woods has spent much time ashore except for being at Shinnecock Hills for his first U.S. Open in three years. "Sag Harbor is a cute little town," he said. "I've only been there for a few days now. I haven't really got a chance to walk about a little bit, but certainly will this week. So far, it's been nice to kind of get away from the tournament scene and go there to my dinghy, and just really enjoy it." Woods at least has been able to avoid the traffic that has led to commutes of close to two hours from the official hotel depending on the time of morning. Most players have rented homes in the Southampton area. Woods said he stayed with Shinnecock Hills members when he played as an amateur in the 1995 U.S. Open, and near the course in 2004. The Hamptons has no shortage of yachts, and someone suggested to Woods that it must feel odd not to have the biggest ship in New York. "I'm not opposed to that," Woods said. ___ PLAYOFF FEVER Jordan Spieth now knows that when he's tied for the lead after 72 holes on Sunday, his work is not done. The USGA has changed its playoff format for all its open championships. If the U.S. Open goes to a playoff, it will be a two-hole aggregate playoff (followed by sudden death if still tied), instead of an 18-hole playoff. Spieth was asked about the two-hole playoff. "It's the first I've heard of that being an option," he said. "It's still 18 holes, right?" Wrong. "I guess the strategy changes a little from an entire round, but I honestly had no idea that it even changed," he said. "I was even looking at a weather forecast for Monday, thinking, 'What's it look like if you happen to work your way into a playoff?' So shows you what I know." He wasn't alone. Justin Thomas was asked about the new format and conceded that he wasn't aware it changed to a two-hole aggregate until he was at lunch. It wasn't clear if he read a memo from the USGA or the transcript of Spieth's news conference about four hours earlier. ___ BACK TO NO. 2 If you blinked, you might have missed Justin Thomas' reign atop golf's world ranking. The PGA champion took the top spot in May. It's gone, with Dustin Johnson's win at Memphis last weekend catapulting him to No. 1, with Thomas just behind. Of course, a win at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open this week would push Thomas back to the top. "It didn't affect me, or it wasn't that hard on me because I couldn't do anything about it," Thomas said. "I wasn't playing. I played one tournament and had a good tournament, finished eighth. And D.J. won, so it's not like he didn't play well and didn't earn it or anything. He won a golf tournament and a great tournament. So there's nothing I can be upset about for that." Thomas could even laugh a bit about the ranking. "I saw something that was just hysterical on social media," he explained, "how a lot of the times, you know, when teams or players or whatever it is go on long runs, like the last time this happened. I mean, a little biased but often a scenario is last time Tennessee beat Alabama in football, you know, like iPhones weren't alive yet and stuff like that." So what was Thomas' "last time" moment? "I saw something so funny yesterday," he said. "It was like the last time that I wasn't ranked No. 1 in the world, and it was like (Alex) Ovechkin didn't have a Stanley Cup and Rickie (Fowler) wasn't engaged. That was it. I thought it was pretty funny, whoever came up with that." ___ SPIETH AND HIS PUTTER For all the attention on the short putts Jordan Spieth has missed this year, he still is regarded as one of the best putters in golf. That's the club that effectively won the British Open for him last summer. Spieth faced a tough question Tuesday, however, when asked if there was someone he regarded as better. He paused. "A lot of great putters out here," he said, buying time. "That's why they're out here," he said, buying even more time. He finally took the safe way out by saying that no single players come to mind, though he made it clear his confidence isn't shaken on the greens. "I'd still like to bet on myself, if I can," he said. Spieth said he prefers to think about who makes putts in big moments, and whether the ball is holed with the right speed and right break. He has made plenty of those, not only at Royal Birkdale last summer but at Chambers Bay on the par-3 16th and even at the Tour Championship in 2015 when he won the FedEx Cup. And he hasn't forgotten Tiger Woods. "Nobody's done that better in the last 20 years than Tiger as far as clutch putting goes," he said. ___ TRAILER LIVING Jason Day has learned that life in a motor home can be rewarding on the PGA Tour. He also has learned it can be messy when Bubba Watson is around. Day is staying in what he calls "the bus" in a parking area close to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open. The Australian uses the RV for about 15 tournaments a season, and several other tour golfers have joined him. One is Watson. "Bubba just got one this year, and I'm very kind of more private, and he's, yeah, he's a little bit more outgoing," Day recalled, a wide smile on his face. "And I think we're at Augusta, and he walks under my bus, and he's like, 'Hey, man, what are you doing?' "I'm just sitting in the bus watching TV. He's like OK. And he's standing there. And I'm like, do you want to come inside? And he's eating a burrito, and he decides to come in and talk to me for about 30 minutes. He gets his burrito all over the ground and then just leaves. "Actually, it's nice to have people like that around, you know, to mess your bus up when you need them to." ___ AP Sports Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Woods on expectations for another major win: Absolutely

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Hoist the anchor, and set sail the great ship Privacy on a course for Carnoustie Bay, Pebble Beach or some other future site of a golf major. Tiger Woods isn't going to win the U.S. Open this year. He still thinks he can win another major before he's done. "Absolutely," Woods said after shooting a 2-over 72 at Shinnecock Hills on Friday for a 36-hole total of 10 over that saw him miss the cut. "They're not easy," he said. "I mean, I've won a few of them over the course of my career, and they're the hardest fields and usually the hardest setups. So they're meant to be testers, and you don't win major championships by kind of slapping all around the place and missing putts. "You have to be on," he said. "You just can't fake it at a major championship." Woods couldn't even fake it for the first 34 holes in Southampton, and despite birdies on the last two holes, he needed a lot of help to avoid the cut for the fifth time in his last eight majors. That means he won't need to bunk for the weekend at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club on the 155-foot boat he jokingly calls "the dinghy." Woods also missed the cut when he brought Privacy to the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York City's northern suburbs. He has not played the weekend at a U.S. Open since 2013, or won one since 2008 — his last major victory. He remains stuck at 14 in his career, four short of Jack Nicklaus' record. "Our whole careers are pretty much measured as if you can win four times a year," Woods said. Woods' chances were effectively eliminated after two holes. He shot a triple bogey on Thursday on No. 1 — a 399-yard par 4 that is the fourth-easiest hole on the course — needing three tries to manage a short rise to the elevated green and then two-putting. He entered the second round nine strokes behind the leaders and thought if he could shoot in the 60s on Friday he would have a chance to get back into it. Now he won't even have a chance to play. "I couldn't chase down the leaders right away. It's going to take me probably 2½ to 3 rounds to do it," he said. "Unfortunately, I went the other way." Starting the second round on No. 10, Woods made the turn at even par and came back around to No. 1. His drive was fine, but he yanked his approach shot to the right of the green into deep rough, and then rolled his third shot over it. After pitching to about 14 feet, he missed a bogey putt. He then bogeyed No. 2 for the second straight day. "I didn't play the first and second hole very well," said Woods, who started on No. 10 for the second round. "I was kind of hanging in there until, unfortunately, first and second hole kind of derailed it." Woods said he would take the week off before playing the National and then heading to Carnoustie, Scotland, for the British Open......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2018

US Open hopes ultimate test doesn t feature trick questions

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Open wants to be the ultimate test in golf, and sometimes that leads to a series of trick questions. One of them was 14 years ago at Shinnecock Hills. A year after Jim Furyk tied the U.S. Open scoring record at Olympia Fields, the 2004 U.S. Open was so bone dry and lightning fast that only three players broke par on the weekend, none on Sunday. Fans having to move to the side because of a golf ball rolling toward them is not unusual, except when the player hit the shot with his putter from the green. Tee shots that landed on the seventh green rolled off the putting surface and into a bunker. One year after Rory McIlroy broke the U.S. Open scoring record at Congressional, no one broke par at Olympic Club in 2012 when Webb Simpson won. Moments like this lead to criticism that the USGA overreacts. Justin Rose sees it another way. "When everything is in balance, it's kind of boring," he said. "And I think in life, the closer you get to the edges, that's where the excitement is. So I would say the USGA is not reactionary. It's counterbalancing. So if you go too far one way, you've got to come back the other way. You don't want to fall off the edge." That's the question going into the 118th U.S. Open that starts Thursday. Might the USGA lean toward going easy on players because of what happened the last time at Shinnecock Hills? Or will it make it tougher on them because of the record scoring last year at Erin Hills? Brooks Koepka tied the record to par at 16 under, and six other players finished at 10 under or lower. "We're confident this should be a marvelous test," said Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA who has been in charge of setting up the courses for the U.S. Open since 2006 at Winged Foot, when the winning score was 5 over. Davis believes Shinnecock Hills is right where the USGA wants it, even with a light, steady rain on the final day of practice. Wednesday is never the measure of how a golf course presents itself. McIlroy is among those who likes what he sees. It's not a U.S. Open if players are not complaining, but it's been a quiet three days ahead of competition. The biggest question is whether the fairways are narrow enough. They are tighter than last year at Erin Hills, for sure, and an average of 15 yards wider than in 2004. "Honestly, I think they've got it right," McIlroy said. "It presents guys with options off the tee. You have to make a decision basically on every tee box what you're going to do. I'm obviously not that old, but when I watched U.S. Opens on TV and saw these long, narrow corridors of fairways and thick rough, that's what I was used to at a U.S. Open. ... If you look at the venues that are coming up, they're very traditional venues like Oakmont, Winged Foot, Pebble Beach. "Maybe you'll see more of what we perceive as a traditional U.S. Open setup." Rain was expected to yield to plenty of sun over the next four days, with the strongest wind on Thursday. Davis said he already has called several audibles on the original plan of where to put the pins on the greens, an example of the USGA not wanting the course to get on the wild side. Davis also said the winning score is not an issue at a major where par tends to be at a premium. "Never since I've been at the USGA — and it's been almost 30 years — I've never heard anybody at the USGA say we're shooting for even par," Davis said. "But we talk incessantly, 'How do we get the course to be really a great test of golf?' As we say, get all 14 clubs dirty to make sure that these players are tested to the nth degree." And what makes a good championship inside the ropes? The quality of the winner? Different players have won the last 15 U.S. Opens, the longest stretch of the four majors. The margin? The last playoff was 10 years ago when Tiger Woods won at Torrey Pines. Three of the last four U.S. Opens have been decided by three shots or more. "You need some great players in the mix," Rose said. "You need some great story lines." This U.S. Open is not lacking for either. Five players have a chance to replace Dustin Johnson at No. 1 in the world this week. Woods is hitting the ball well enough to win any week if he ever gets all parts of his game working together. To win a record-tying fourth U.S. Open would cap off an unlikely comeback following four back surgeries. Phil Mickelson, in the USGA record book with his six runner-up finishes, needs only this trophy to complete the career Grand Slam. "And then just a good test of golf where people think, 'Wow, they've really stepped up and played great golf under pressure,'" Rose added. "I think that's what people would like to see in this tournament is that guys are tested to the ends of the ability, to whether they can cope or not. And I think that's part of the charm ... not charm, but part of the allure of this tournament." The ultimate test starts Thursday. Results won't be available until the end of the week......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2018

Spieth in mini-slump heading to Shinnecock Hills, US Open

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Lots of folks have become accustomed to seeing Jordan Spieth's name atop leaderboards, particularly at golf's majors. So has Spieth. Yet since winning the British Open last July, Spieth barely has been a factor on the weekends. He believed third-place finishes in Houston and at the Masters had indicated a turnaround heading into this week's U.S. Open. But since Augusta, his best showing in five tournaments is a tie for 21st at the Byron Nelson, and he twice missed cuts, including most recently at the Memorial. Not quite the stuff that rocketed Spieth to the top of golf, with Masters and U.S. Open wins in 2015, and his third major last summer at Royal Birkdale. "Yeah, I think my patience has been tested, just not going into Saturday or Sunday with a legitimate chance to win but maybe once," Spieth said Tuesday at Shinnecock Hills. "Technically the Masters, I didn't really have a chance. The back nine, I ended up giving myself a chance. "Yeah, just the limited number compared to previous years of chances I've had on the weekends has been frustrating." Spieth, 24, always has been mature as a competitor and person. When he went after the career Grand Slam for the first time last year at the PGA Championship, he wound up 10 shots back. No one contemplated he wouldn't have won another PGA Tour title since, missing two cuts before the Masters and two more after. While exasperated, Spieth, as always, believes he is close to the way out of this mini-slump — for him, at least. "Over the last, since probably in between Austin (a first-round elimination by Patrick Reed in match play) and Houston was a really big weekend for me of settling down and getting back on the right track with things," he said. "And recognizing that it's a long career, and, you know, results aren't going to come by wanting them to come. They're going to come by being obsessed with the process, getting back to the basics, being an athlete, figuring out within the swing, the intricacies of the game. Kind of the stuff — the reason I love to practice — that's what's going to kind of bring it back, and results aren't everything." Maybe not, except that when the results have been so spectacular so quickly, they become how you are measured by the public. Spieth has won 11 times in his first five full seasons, including those three major championships. His putting skills are envied by many of his peers. So are his analytical breakdowns of shots, holes, his swing. His optimism that all will be right again is praise-worthy — and probably accurate. "I feel like my game is in the best shape it's been in a long time, including last year," he said. "And my results don't necessarily speak towards that, but I feel that way, and so I'll stick with the process, and they'll surely come at some point." If that point is this week, Spieth must outshoot not only the sentimental fan choices (Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) but all of those young guns who have begun to grab majors: Reed, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka. "It almost feels like I'm back in high school and college," Spieth joked. "These are the same guys we used to battle it out with then, and I'd win one, then they would win one. It's just blown up now because there was no coverage; no one really cared to watch us back then, and now people do. "But it's nothing different than what we've kind of been doing with each other for a number of years. It's really cool to be out here doing it, but I don't think we ... think of it as a totally different experience than anything we've always kind of done.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

At the US Open, a battle among the best with only 1 major

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Jordan Spieth considers himself lucky. As hard as he made it look, winning the U.S. Open three years ago felt easy. He was two months removed from his victory at Augusta National. No matter what happened at Chambers Bay, he was the Masters champion for the rest of the year, and a major champion for life. "House money," he described that week. And then he won another major with a birdie-double bogey-birdie finish, helped by Dustin Johnson three-putting from 12 feet to lose by one. Spieth was 22 when he became the first player in 74 years — Craig Wood in 1941 — to win his first major and then add a second major in his next try. It didn't come that quickly for Tiger Woods, even after a 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters in his first major as a pro. Woods played 10 more majors, half of them while overhauling his swing, before he won his next one. Winning one major is great. Winning multiple majors commands a new level of respect. "You could make an argument that it could be harder to get the second one than it is the first," PGA champion Justin Thomas said Tuesday. "You could make an argument that every major is the hardest. But I just think that to be known as a multiple major champion as opposed to, 'He won the PGA,' it has a little better ring to it. So I hope to have that to my name, sooner rather than later." Identifying the best player without a major has been a topic for the better part of 30 years. Given the depth of talent, it might be time for a different question. The best with only one major. It's a long list, from as young as Thomas (24) to Henrik Stenson (42). All it takes is one week, one more major — perhaps this week at Shinnecock Hills — for such a player to enter a different conversation. Dustin Johnson might lead that list. He finally broke through for his first major at Oakmont in the 2016 U.S. Open, and given his 18 victories on the PGA Tour, he probably should have more. If not for getting in his own way, he might have more by now. There was the 82 at Pebble Beach when he had a three-shot lead in the 2010 U.S. Open. He hit an errant drive into a patch of sand that he didn't know was a bunker at Whistling Straits that same year in the PGA Championship. The bogey dropped him into a three-man playoff. Grounding his club in the sand for a two-shot penalty dropped him out of it. And then at Chambers Bay, he was 12 feet away for eagle and the U.S. Open until it took three putts and a par for a runner-up finish. He is No. 1 in the world, and wants to get major No. 2. "It's hard to get No. 2 right now, but it was hard to get No. 1," Johnson said with a smile. "I think it's hard to get any of them. It's just a tough task. There's only four majors, and to win a major you have to have everything working very well. You've got to play really good all four rounds. ... I'd love to get that second one. But it's one of those things where, like I said, everything has got to work well for four days." Jason Day has 12 victories on the PGA Tour, and only the 2015 PGA Championship among majors. He spent 47 consecutive weeks at No. 1 the year after winning his major, and had only one good chance. Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion for his first major. Rose has won at least somewhere in the world every year since 2010, and he has won on prestigious courses — Muirfield Village, Congressional, Aronimink, Doral — and he was one putt away from adding Augusta National to that list. But he's still stuck on one. So is Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson. Add to that list Louis Oosthuizen, who has been runner-up in all four majors since his 2010 victory in the British Open at St. Andrews. "I mean absolutely zero, no disrespect to guys that have won one — obviously, myself included," Thomas said. "But it's a lot easier to get hot one week than it is to do it again and win another major. Because when you're a major champion, you have more asked of you. You have more expectations on yourself, more expectations from other people to where if you do get in the hunt, then you're asked, 'How is it going to feel to get your second major?' You're constantly reminded of that." The top players when Woods was in his prime years were Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. Woods rarely fails to mention Retief Goosen on that list, mainly because when Woods was at his best, Goosen was the only other player with multiple majors. He won his second U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Seventeen players at Shinnecock Hills this week have only one major and would love to add another. If they don't? It's still better than being on that other list occupied by the likes of Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm. They're young. But they would settle for one......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

Woods to play with No. 1 and 2 in the world at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press Tiger Woods will play the opening two rounds of the U.S. Open with Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, which feels like a grouping of Nos. 1-2-3 in the world ranking. Except that Woods is No. 80. The USGA released its tee times Thursday for the U.S. Open next week at Shinnecock Hills, and it offered two stacked groups for the morning and afternoon. Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy tee off together in the morning of the first round. Woods, Johnson and Thomas are together in the afternoon. This is the 10-year anniversary of the USGA first putting together the Nos. 1-2-3 players in the world at Torrey Pines — Woods, Mickelson and Adam Scott. Woods is playing the U.S. Open for the first time since he missed the cut at Chambers Bay in 2015. He has been out of golf for most of the past two years recovering from back surgeries, and his world ranking fell as low as No. 1,199 until returning to competition last December. In nine PGA Tour events, he has a pair of top 10s and had missed the cut only one time. It will be the first time Woods and Johnson have played together in a major, and their first time in the same group since the opening two rounds of Torrey Pines in 2017 when both missed the cut. That doesn't include the round they played with President Donald Trump the day after Thanksgiving last year. Woods and Thomas have played together only once in competition, at Riviera in the Genesis Open, the only cut Woods has missed this year. But they play occasionally at home in south Florida. Mickelson gets his third crack at Shinnecock Hills, where he was in position to win in 1995 and in 2004. In his first appearance, Mickelson played the par-5 16th in 6 over for the week and finished four shots behind Corey Pavin. The previous time, he briefly had a one-shot lead with two holes to play when he made double bogey on the 71st hole and lost by two shots to Retief Goosen. The U.S. Open is the only major Mickelson lacks for the career Grand Slam. McIlroy and Spieth also have three legs of the career Slam, with McIlroy missing the Masters and Spieth lacking the PGA Championship. This will be the fifth time Spieth and McIlroy, the two biggest attractions among the younger generation, play together in a major. Mickelson previously has played with McIlroy four times in the majors, including the 2011 U.S. Open that McIlroy won by eight shots for his first major, and the 2013 British Open that Mickelson won at Muirfield. The USGA went with an All-Spain group for Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello; and All-Asian group with Li Haotong of China, Si Woo Kim of South Korea and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand; and an All-England group featuring Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter. Six spots have been set aside for those who get into the top 60 in the world this week, though only two players, Emiliano Grillo and Byeong Hun An, are assured of that and only one other player can make the top 60 by winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The top of the order for alternates come from Japan (Rikuya Hoshino), Tennessee (Scott Piercy) and Ohio (Ted Potter Jr.), but that's only to fill vacant spots. If a qualifier were to withdraw, his spot would be taken by the alternate from his sectional site......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2018

Woods happy with his game despite another Sunday fade

By Mitch Stacy, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods made it interesting again, but slipped from contention on the last day of a tournament. Despite being done in by some poor putting at the Memorial, he believes there still was valuable progress. "I keep getting a little better," the 42-year-old Woods said after shooting an even-par 72 on Sunday at Muirfield Village. "Week in, week out, I keep getting just a little bit more fine-tuned. For instance this week, just to be able to make the slight adaptations after the first nine holes and be able to flip it around and shoot a respectable number." Woods started the final round five shots off the lead, the third time this year he has been within five to start the last day and couldn't turn it into a win. Bryson DeChambeau won the event in a playoff. Playing in the Memorial for the first time in three years, Woods birdied two of the first five holes Sunday before hitting from a fairway bunker on No. 6 to the rough in the back of the green. Still, he managed par. He hit his approach over the green on No. 7 and settled for par again. He couldn't make up any ground on the par-3 No. 8, either, leaving his second shot just short of the hole. Missing a 3-foot par putt on No. 10 was a killer. He made a slick birdie on the par-5 No. 11, but missed a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 12, then hit his tee shot out of bounds on the 13th and finished with a bogey. He bogeyed the par-3 No. 16 when he missed another short putt, an unfortunate trend for Woods in a week when he was hitting the ball well off the tee. He now turns his attention to the U.S. Open in two weeks. "I just need to hit better putts," he said. "This week I didn't really have, didn't feel comfortable with my lines, and my feel was a little bit off. Consequently I missed a bunch of putts. But I hit it really good this week, so that's a positive going into Shinnecock, where ball striking is going to be a must." Moving up and then falling back has become a trend for Woods in his comeback bid. He was one shot behind going into the final round at the Valspar Championship in March and finished tied for second, a shot behind winner Paul Casey. He was five back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the next week, but couldn't do better than a tie for fifth, eight shots behind winner Rory McIlroy. He knows he has to improve but is happy with his game overall, especially because before back surgery in April he didn't know if he would ever walk again, let alone play competitive golf. "Overall, if I just keep building on this, with how I'm hitting it right now, I'm in good shape for two weeks from now," he said. His participation dialed up the energy level here all week, with thousands following him on the course and roaring their approval with every good shot. The crowds were supportive and respectful all week, he said, and he tried to just appreciate being here again. "It's incredible to be able to play golf again at this level," he said. "Not to have any worries about being able to walk again, like I was. I was struggling there for a while, and now I'm on the other end of the spectrum." DeChambeau chuckled when asked whether he was hoping Woods would make a run Sunday so they could duel it out. He answered with a firm "no." "To be able to have this type of caliber (of players) all chasing is kind of special," he said. "I knew I had to go out there and play well. I couldn't make many mistakes.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2018

DeChambeau wins Memorial in playoff on 2nd extra hole

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — For the fourth straight year, Bryson DeChambeau leaves Ohio feeling like a winner. This time he had a trophy to show for it, and a handshake with Jack Nicklaus to remember. DeChambeau finally made it easy on himself the third time playing the 18th hole at the Muirfield Village on Sunday, rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat Byeong Hun An and win the Memorial. "I can't believe I did it," said DeChambeau, a winner for the second time on the PGA Tour. He had played the Memorial only once before, though the 24-year-old Californian has been a regular in central Ohio. He has made it through the 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier each of the last three years, all in the Columbus area. This was far more rewarding. DeChambeau watched his putt disappeared and raised both arms, pumping them seven times as he yelled above the cheers of fans. Many of them lingered at the 18th green after spending much of the final round as if this might be the day Tiger Woods returned to winning. It wasn't. Woods was never a serious factor, especially after missing a 3-foot par putt on the 10th hole and hitting another tee shot into someone's backyard on the 13th hole. One of his best weeks hitting the ball ended with an even-par 72 and a six-way tie for 23rd. The finish was no less entertaining. DeChambeau went from a two-shot deficit at the turn to a one-shot lead after No. 12, and he kept it the rest of the way until a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole from about 55 feet for a 1-under 71. That tied with An, who had closed with a 69 in the group ahead and was the first to reach 15-under 273. Kyle Stanley joined them in playoff. He hit into the water on the par-3 12th to fall five shots behind with six holes to play, only to run off four straight birdies, capping the big run with a 30-foot putt on the 17th to tie DeChambeau. Just his luck, Stanley hit a tree on the right elbow of the dogleg at No. 18, and it shot the ball across the fairway and nearly into a creek, except the ankle-deep rough was thick enough to slow it. Even so, he could only advance it 100 yards and made bogey for a 70. In the playoff, his tee shot was enough to the right that the ball was well above his feet in thick grass. Stanley choked up and took a swing, but the ball squirted ou t about 30 yards to the right, leading to another bogey, and he was quickly eliminated. "A couple bad breaks on 18," Stanley said. "I mean in the playoff, if I knock that ball 2-3 feet right of where it was I would have had a shot. But after hole 12 my chances were looking pretty slim, so to come back and make some birdies coming in ... it's a bit of a sour finish, but proud of the way I hung in there." An took some of the pressure off DeChambeau on the second playoff hole, also on No. 18, when he yanked his approach into the gallery. He played a marvelous flop shot out of deep rough to a couple of feet for a certain par, only for DeChambeau to hit his approach 12 feet behind the hole and make the birdie. "I finally got it right the third time," DeChambeau said. "It took me a little bit." Patrick Cantlay also had a chance on Sunday, leading by two shots going to the back nine. But he didn't make a birdie over his last 10 holes, and he fell back when he went bunker-to-bunker on the 17th and made bogey to fall two strokes behind. Cantlay narrowly missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole, shot 71 and finished fourth. Peter Uihlein (66) was alone in fifth. Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile, birdied the 18th hole to tie for sixth. That was enough for him to earn special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, meaning he can get unlimited sponsor exemptions. Justin Thomas shot 68 and tied for eighth in his debut at No. 1 in the world. He will keep that ranking going into the U.S. Open. Woods started five shots behind. He pulled to within three shots with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 fifth hole, but he didn't make another birdie until he had fallen seven shots behind and only had eight holes in front of him. Woods was second to last in the key putting statistic among the 73 players who went all four rounds. "If I just putt normally, I probably would be right there with those guys and up there in the last couple of groups," Wood said. "If I just keep building on this, with how I'm hitting it right now, I'm in good shape for two weeks from now." The next stop for Woods is the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. DeChambeau will be there, too, his confidence higher than ever. He first played the Memorial in 2016 and was coming off four straight missed cuts. He tied for 38th that week, a small victory, but realized his game wasn't good enough. Now, he has PGA Tour titles in successive seasons. And his victory moved him to No. 8 in the Ryder Cup standings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2018

DeChambeau takes 1-shot lead as Woods lurks at Memorial

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau finished off a 6-under 66 with birdies on two of the toughest holes, giving him a one-shot lead going into a final round at a Memorial that features Tiger Woods in the mix at Muirfield Village for the first time in six years. Woods was in total control of his shots for the second straight day, only to miss short putts down the stretch that spoiled his run. He was briefly tied for the lead Saturday until three-putt bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes, and he had to settle for a 68. He was five shots behind. Woods wasn't alone in missing short putts. Walking off the course with his first 54-hole lead, DeChambeau couldn't but help but think of the two that got away. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole, and then missed a birdie putt from 4 feet on the par-5 15th. With the course soft and vulnerable to low scores, it was tough to leave shots on the course. "Just keep thinking about those two 3-footers I missed," said DeChambeau, who was at 14-under 202. "I played great, obviously. Ecstatic about where I am." DeChambeau wasn't even sure where he was when he finished because so many players worked their way up and down the leaderboard over the final two hours. He wound up with a one-shot lead over Kyle Stanley, who bogeyed the 18th hole from the bunker for a 70; Patrick Cantlay, who drove into the creek left of the 18th fairway for a bogey and a 66; and Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile who atoned for one big mistake on the 15th hole with a birdie on the 18th for a 70. Cantlay made two eagles, including a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth. DeChambeau rolled in a 20-foot birdie on the par-3 16th, the third-toughest at Muirfield Village in the third round, and he hit 9-iron to 5 feet on the toughest hole , the 18th. Six players had at least a share of the lead at some point. Byeong Hun An played bogey-free for a 69 and was two shots behind, while Justin Rose dropped two shots over the last three holes for a 69 and was four back. Woods played the last five holes of the front nine in 5 under, starting with his second eagle of the week. And then he stalled, just like he did on Friday. He didn't make another birdie until the par-5 15th, when his sharp-breaking 15-footer dropped to give him a tie for the lead. That didn't last long. Woods ran his 45-foot birdie putt about 7 feet by on the par-3 16th and missed it coming back, and then closed by missing a 3-foot par putt. "I know I shot 68 today, but again, that's probably the highest score I could have possibly shot," Woods said. "I played really, really well. I played beautifully, actually. Had total control of what I was doing out there and just didn't finish it off." He won the Memorial for the fifth time in 2012, finished 20 shots behind the following year and then injuries took over. He finished in last place in 2015, the last time he was at Muirfield Village. This year has produced the kind of golf Ohio fans are used to seeing. And the weather is about par for Muirfield Village, with more thunderstorms expected Sunday. The final round will be threesomes teeing off earlier than usual to account for the forecast. "The weather is going to be a little iffy," Woods said. "But I'm in a position where if I shoot another good round like I had the last two days, I've got a chance." Rory McIlroy, remarkably, has reason to feel the same way. McIlroy nearly missed the cut, surviving on the number after two days. He played bogey-free for a 64 and wound up just six shots behind. Just like Woods and DeChambeau, he had a few regrets on the greens. McIlroy missed three birdie chances inside 8 feet. Rose has a chance to reach No. 1 in the world with a runner-up finish, depending on what Justin Thomas does Sunday. Thomas shot a 68 with three bogeys and was seven off the lead. Along with making his second ace of the season, Cantlay blistered a 4-iron as far as he can hit it on the par-5 15th, the ball landing just short of the green and stopping 4 feet away. Niemann also made an eagle with a 50-foot putt on the par-5 seventh hole. It was his bid for another eagle that cost him. Going for the green at No. 15, the teenager flared it out to the right and it caught the corner of a creek, leading to bogey. He still was in good shape to win in just his fifth start on the PGA Tour......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2018

Nicklaus cautions from experience against a Masters letdown

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press Tiger Woods built his comeback around the Masters, as was the case even in healthier years. He took a step back at Augusta National, not breaking par until the final round and finishing 16 shots behind Patrick Reed, the most he has trailed the Masters winner. Woods wasn't alone in his disappointment. Jordan Spieth geared his early part of the year toward being ready for the Masters, the major he says he most wants to win. He had a two-shot lead after the first round, and rounds of 74-71 meant even that closing 64 wasn't enough. Phil Mickelson took himself out of the hunt with a 79 in the second round. Jack Nicklaus can understand how they feel, and his message for anyone who puts so much emphasis on a green jacket is that the show goes on. "I had to learn that there were other tournaments in the country after Augusta," Nicklaus said at the Masters after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot. "I played Augusta a lot of times and lost. I won in '63, '65 and '66, and I just expected to win every year. I thought I would just continue to do that." Nicklaus missed the cut in 1967. He says that started a three-year trend in which it took him longer than it should have to get over not winning the Masters. "That was a humbling experience to miss the cut after you've won it twice in a row," he said. "But then the next couple of years, I think that it probably destroyed the rest of my year. Because I was so disappointed at not winning at Augusta that I had a downer most of the year." There's some truth to that. He didn't go more than two tournaments before winning again after the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Masters. After he repeated at Augusta in 1966, he ran off five consecutive top fives before winning the British Open at Muirfield to complete the career Grand Slam. But after missing the cut in 1967, he went five tournaments without winning and had one stretch of 10 straight rounds in which he failed to break 70. The following year when he tied for fifth at the Masters, Nicklaus didn't win again until the Western Open the first weekend in August. And after a tie for 23rd in the 1969 Masters, he didn't win again until the Sahara Invitational in October. "I put such a buildup to this tournament and the importance of winning that first major that it was to my detriment more times than a positive," he said. Nicklaus figured it out. Over the next four years, he never went more than three events after the Masters before winning again. Twice, in 1971 and 1973, he won in his next start after failing to win the Masters. CURTIS CUP Four years after Lucy Li qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at age 11, the Californian is headed to her first Curtis Cup. Li was among eight women selected for the June 8-10 matches against amateurs from Britain and Ireland at Quaker Ridge in New York. Li is the first 15-year-old to make the American team since Lexi Thompson in 2010. The other Americans selected for the team are UCLA star Lilia Vu, Andrea Lee, Jennifer Kupcho, Kristen Gillman, U.S. Women's Amateur champion Sophia Schubert, Lauren Stephenson and Mariel Galdiano. Lee and Galdiano played in the most recent Curtis Cup, which Britain & Ireland won in Ireland. AS THE WORLD TURNS For the second time since the World Golf Championships began in 1999, the PGA Tour is converting one of its regular tournaments into one of the four WGCs with a big purse ($10 million this year) and a limited field with no cut. Doral had been longest-running PGA Tour event on the Florida Swing until it morphed into the WGC-CA Championship in 2007. Now it's happening in Memphis, Tennessee. Bridgestone chose not to renew its increasingly expensive title sponsorship of the WGC at Firestone, which had hosted an elite event since 1976. Starting next year, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will move to the TPC Southwind in Memphis. That will assure the strongest field for Memphis, which dates to 1958. But much like Doral in 2007, it becomes off-limits to PGA Tour regulars. Based on this week's world ranking, only 16 players in the field for the St. Jude Classic last year would be eligible at a World Golf Championship. BALANCE AT THE TOP Each generation believes it had stronger and deeper competition, though there at least appears to be more balance. Perhaps one way to measure that is through Tiger Woods. When he won the 2008 U.S. Open for his 14th major, only seven other players in the top 20 in the world ranking had combined for 13 majors. Phil Mickelson (No. 2), Ernie Els (No. 5) and Vijay Singh (No. 9), each had three majors. Geoff Ogilvy (No. 4), Jim Furyk (No. 10), Padraig Harrington (No. 13) and Trevor Immelman (No. 15) each had one. Just like then, four of the top five in the world have won majors (all but 23-year-old Jon Rahm). However, 12 of the top 20 in the world from this week's rankings have won majors. The top 20 includes Mickelson (now with five majors), Rory McIlroy (four majors), Jordan Spieth (three majors) and Bubba Watson (two majors). Eight other players have won at least one major. It's certainly younger at the top. Woods was 32 when he won his last major, and only three players from the top 10 were in their 20s — Scott, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. This week, seven of the top 10 in the world are in their 20s. MANAGEMENT MOVES Jordan Spieth's manager has come full circle and is returning to IMG, and Jay Danzi is bringing his top client with him. Danzi has become a partner with California-based William Morris Endeavor, which owns IMG. Included in the move is Jordan Lewites, who was handling much of Spieth's day-to-day operations, and Laura Moses, who heads up Spieth's foundation. Spieth will be represented by WME and IMG. "Jordan is a world-class talent, and we're excited to welcome him to the family," said Patrick Whitesell, executive chairman of Endeavor. "When you look at what he and Jay have already accomplished and consider WME and IMG's ability to amplify Jordan's reach across entertainment and sports, the possibilities are endless." Danzi previously worked for IMG as global head of recruiting for its golf business. He left the Cleveland-based agency for Wasserman, and then started his own company (Forefront Sports Group) when he signed Spieth. The centerpiece of getting Spieth was a bold endorsement with Under Armour. Lagardere bought Forefront in 2013. Along with managing the three-time major champion, Danzi was in charge of Lagardere's brand consulting, sales and golf consulting groups. He left Lagardere last month. DIVOTS Ted Potter Jr. tied for 16th in the RBC Heritage, notable because he had missed his last five cuts dating to his victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. ... Satoshi Kodaira was the first player without PGA Tour status to win a regular PGA Tour event since Arjun Atwal at the Wyndham Championship in 2010. ... Cameron Smith, a 24-year-old from Australia, tied for 32nd at Hilton Head last week and moved past Jack Nicklaus on the PGA Tour career money list. ... Bryson DeChambeau moved into the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time, at No. 48. ... With his tie for fifth in the Masters, Bubba Watson became the 16th player to surpass $40 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. STAT OF THE WEEK Rickie Fowler has been in the top 10 on the leaderboard in 20 out of the 32 rounds he has played this season. FINAL WORD "I will probably not wear it every day. But it is special." — Satoshi Kodaira on the tartan jacket he received for winning at Harbour Town......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Woods improves in final round at Masters, welcomes break

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Tiger Woods nearly aced a hole and madehis lone eagleof the week. The four-time Masters champion somewhat returned to form at Augusta National. It was just a few days too late to be more than an afterthought at golf's first major. Woods closed with a flurry, recording a 3-under 69 in the final round at the Masters. He finished 1 over for the tournament, 16 strokes behind winner Patrick Reed and in a four-way tie for 32nd. It was far from what the 42-year-old Woods wanted, but he left the hallowed grounds feeling better about his game than he did a few days before and more encouraged than his last few trips to Augusta National. Woods last played the event in 2015. H...Keep on reading: Woods improves in final round at Masters, welcomes break.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

Woods improves in final round at Masters, welcomes break

By Mark Long, Associated Press AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods nearly aced a hole and made his lone eagle of the week. The four-time Masters champion somewhat returned to form at Augusta National. It was just a few days too late to be more than an afterthought at golf's first major. .@TigerWoods records his first eagle of the Tournament on No. 15 in the final round of #themasters. pic.twitter.com/ykAqxyNo7F — Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 8, 2018 Woods closed with a flurry, recording a 3-under 69 in the final round at the Masters. He finished 1 over for the tournament and left the hallowed grounds feeling a little better about his game. Woods last played the event in 2015. He returned the last two years for the champions' dinner, but didn't get on the course. The hiatus left him feeling nostalgic during his walk to the 18th green. "This is one of the greatest walks in all of golf," Woods said afterward. "And I had missed it for the last couple of years. I hadn't been able to play in it, so now I'm glad I'm competing in this tournament. And to face the challenges out there, I missed it. I really did. I missed playing out here. I missed competing against these guys. Such a great event. Best (event) in all of our sport." Woods started the weekend more than a dozen shots out of the lead and knew he would need something special to happen to get back in contention. It never happened. Never even came close, either. But there were some glimpses Sunday in his traditional red shirt. Woods had two birdies and an eagle on the back and looked like he would get to even par for the event. He lamented his iron play for the fourth straight day and loathed two three-putts, including one for bogey on No. 18. "Another loose day with the irons," he said. "And I putted awful. It was possibly the highest score I could have shot today. All in all, a bittersweet ending." He still drew one of the round's largest galleries, giving spectators a reason to get to the course long before the leaders arrived at the practice range. They simply wanted to catch a glimpse of one of golf's greatest players. Woods is assured of moving back into the top 100 in the world, notable only because he was at No. 1,199 just over four months ago when he returned from yet another long layoff following a fourth back surgery. "I think things are progressing," he said. "It was a little bit disappointing I didn't hit my irons as well as I needed to for this particular week. You miss it just a touch here it gets magnified. And I just didn't do a good enough job this week in that regard. But overall I'm five or six tournaments into it, to be able to compete out here and to score like I did, it feels good." Woods plans to take some time off in April, maybe even putting the clubs in the closet for a few weeks to "kind of get away for a while." "The run up to this event is pretty hard and pretty grueling," said Woods, who finished 12th, tied for second and tied for fifth in three tournaments on the Florida Swing. "I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. And I peaked at it four times over the course of my career, and it's tiring." He can take some solace in making six birdies or better in the final round — nearly as many as he made in the first three rounds combined. The best one came early Sunday. Woods nearly aced the 240-yard, par-3 fourth. His tee shot landed a few feet short of the flag, bounced a couple of times and then skirted by the left edge of the hole. He was left with a left-to-right-breaking 10-footer that he dropped in the left side of the cup. His eagle putt at the par-5 15th was even better. He drained a sweeping 30-footer after reaching the green in two. Those shots provided a brief snippet of what might have been at Augusta National had Woods had better control with his irons. Woods missed greens right and left, never really getting approach shots in the precise spots on treacherous greens. His errant ways left him starting a lot sooner than expected Sunday and finishing shortly after the leaders teed off. "My swing is slightly off," he said. "I was pleased with the way I was able to drive it, but I just could not convert with my irons. I struggled with obviously controlling the shape. Can't control the shape. Can't control the distance. And it was one of those weeks in that regard.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

Improving Tiger Woods looks for ninth triumph at Bay Hill

MIAMI — Tiger Woods seeks an unprecedented ninth triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting Thursday, the 14-time major champion hoping to find top form on one of his favorite courses. The 42-year-old American, coming off a runner-up effort last week at the Valspar Championship, enters his last tune-up for next month’s Masters after his […] The post Improving Tiger Woods looks for ninth triumph at Bay Hill appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMar 15th, 2018

Woods looks closer than ever to winning again

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — The red shirt didn't have a collar. His head doesn't have quite as much hair. His lower spine has been fused. Everything else about Tiger Woods is starting to look familiar. For the first time since the late summer of 2013, Woods worked the fans into a frenzy on the weekend and keep them on their toes right to the very end. He wound up one shot — one putt — short to Paul Casey in the Valspar Championship. He broke par all four rounds and tied for second, the first time he had done either of those since the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs in August 2013. All that did was turn attention to this week at Bay Hill, where Woods has won eight times and twice ended long victory droughts. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2009 for his first victory after reconstructive knee surgery. He won there again in 2012 for his first victory since the scandal in his personal life, followed by various leg injuries. "It's going to be good for me to get back," Woods said. "I've had some great memories there." Casey ended a nine-year drought on the PGA Tour when he took the lead with three straight birdies on the back nine at Innisbrook, saved par over the last four holes for a 6-under 65 and then settled into a leather sofa in the locker room to see if anyone could catch him. A playoff looked imminent when Patrick Reed tied for the lead with a birdie on the 14th hole and was in the middle of the 18th fairway, 133 yards away, for a chance at birdie for the win or a par to force a playoff. And then someone else entered the picture. Woods, who opened with a two-putt birdie to briefly share the lead, had gone 15 consecutive holes without a birdie and needed to finish birdie-birdie to catch Casey. His tee shot on the par-3 17th was long, rolling out some 45 feet away. From the time the ball left his club, there was something inevitable about the putt . Woods posed, waiting for the grain in the green to take over, and it did at just the right time. The ball moved left and dropped into the cup, setting off more pandemonium. Brandt Snedeker, playing with Woods, just smiled. Casey even got caught up in the emotion that swept over Innisbrook for four days. "I loved his putt on 17. That was amazing," Casey said. "I thought he was going to hole the one on 18." Maybe next time. But after a week like this, next time doesn't seem all that far away — not with Bay Hill four days away, and the Masters a few weeks behind it. Casey won on the PGA Tour for the first time since the Houston Open in 2009, a span of 132 starts, though he had won five around the world since. It was the second time he won a tournament with Woods in the field. The other occasion was in 2006 at the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth, when Casey wore a red shirt Sunday. Woods had been eliminated at the start of the week. Woods signed for his 70 and worked his way through the crowd of camera crews and officials to seek out Casey. "It's the only time he's congratulated me immediately after a victory," Casey said. "Normally, it's the other way around. That's something special. Just really cool. I'm sure he was disappointed he didn't get the victory. I actually thought he was going to win today before the round started. I thought it was just teed up beautifully for him. I said a couple times, 'If I don't win this thing, I actually want Tiger to win it.' "I'm glad it's this way." Casey, a 40-year-old from England, is among the players from the previous generation who want to see Woods at his best again. Interest spikes, as record crowds and a big boost in TV ratings indicated. The energy makes a sleepy tournament feel just short of a major. They remember the dominance. The young kids don't. "I just want the young guys to see what we saw for such a long time," Casey said. There might be a chance, which is remarkable considering the most recent timeline. Woods won by seven shots at Firestone in the Bridgestone Invitational in early August 2013 for his 79th career victory on the PGA Tour and still his last one. Back problems first began to surface a week later. The following year, he missed the Masters after back surgery and returned too soon on a couple of occasions. Another back surgery followed in September 2015, then another a month later. He returned after 15 months and lasted two starts before he had fusion surgery. Woods still didn't know what his future held at the Presidents Cup last October. Then, on Oct. 7, he posted a video of him hitting an iron . Eight days later, another video showed him hitting a driver. Another eight days passed, and he was hitting a stinger. What really gets attention are the results. He still hasn't won. By all accounts, he's getting closer......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Tiger up to the task in a tough day at Innisbrook

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods discovered how tough Innisbrook can be in a swirling wind, and he was up to the task. Trouble in the trees for Tiger. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/SGVRs1t5oz — PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 8, 2018 Woods smacked his hands into an oak as he let loose of the club during a bold escape from the trees, came within inches of an ace on the next hole, and most importantly was among 27 players — just under 20 percent of the field — to break par Thursday in the Valspar Championship. The club twirl should have given it away. 🐅 Wow. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/vuKjRfOcWi — PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 8, 2018 Canadian rookie Corey Conners, who got into the field as an alternate not long after he failed to get through Monday qualifying, didn't make a bogey until his final hole at No. 9 and shot a 4-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead over Nick Watney, Whee Kim and Kelly Kraft. Only three other players, including former PGA champion Jimmy Walker broke 70. Woods made five birdies to counter his mistakes in his round of 70, the first time he broke par in the opening round of a PGA Tour event since his 64 in the Wyndham Championship in August 2015 — just six tour events ago because of back surgeries. This was his first time playing the Valspar Championship, and it got his attention. "I enjoy when par is a good score. It's a reward," Woods said. "There are some tournaments when about four holes you don't make a birdie, you feel like you're behind. Today, made a couple of birdies, all of a sudden puts me fourth, fifth, right away. That's how hard it is." It was like for everybody, especially Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. Spieth, who won at Innisbrook in a playoff in 2015, didn't make a birdie after the par-5 opening hole and shot a 76. Only six other players had a higher score. Rory McIlroy, who like Woods was making his debut in this event, played in the morning and shot 74. Henrik Stenson, who played with Spieth and Woods, also shot 74. Morning or afternoon, it didn't matter. There was a chill in the Florida air, and the wind made it feel colder. Ultimately, the wind swirling through the tree-lined fairways made it tough to get the ball close. Innisbrook produced the highest average score for the opening round — 72.86 — of the 23 courses used this season. Conners managed just fine, taking advantage of a tournament he wasn't sure he would be playing. He went through Monday qualifying and shot 71, but moments after walking off the course, he was told he got in as an alternate. "Kind of had a mindset of trying to take advantage of a good break, I guess," he said. Watney holed a bunker shot on the par-4 16th, made the turn and had an eagle on the first hole. "Maybe I need to steal a few shots here and there and get some good things going," said Watney, winless since August 2012. Walker (69) and past Innisbrook champion Luke Donald (70) managed to go bogey-free, a rarity on a day like this. Also at 70 were Justin Rose, Masters champion Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Steve Stricker, who won last week on the PGA Tour Champions. Woods is playing his fourth PGA Tour event since returning from fusion surgery on his lower back, his fourth surgery since the spring of 2014. He has shown steady progress, and this might have been his most steady performance, even with four bogeys. Those were inevitable. One of the came at the par-3 fourth, when he was fooled by the wind and sent his tee shot sailing. It was next to a tree that Woods had to straddle just to advance toward the green. He also came up well short on the 12th into a strong wind. "Into the wind, it felt like you just hit walls," he said. Woods got within two shots of the lead by ripping a long iron from the top collar of a bunker on the par-5 11th and using the slope to chip close for a tap-in birdie. He dropped shots on the next two holes, going short into the wind on No. 12 and over the green with the wind at his back on No. 13. The only unnerving moment came at the 16th, when he tugged his iron off the tee into the trees. Woods realized he would hit the tree on his follow through, asking the gallery — thousands of them — to be careful in case the club snapped. He had to take it toward the lake on the right and bend it back to the left, and it came off perfectly. But it looked painful. Because he had to generate so much club speed, his left forearm and hands struck the oak and Woods dropped the club and winced on impact. "It didn't feel very good," he said. Woods followed with a 5-iron that rolled just right of the cup for a tap-in birdie and finished with a long two-putt par after getting fooled again by the shifting wind. "This is a tough golf course. Not too often in Florida do you find elevation. Great driving golf course," Woods said. "I asked Henrik, 'What do you around this golf course when there's no wind here?' He said it's still a hell of a test. We can all see that.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 9th, 2018

Cantlay extends Riviera lead; Woods begins near cut line

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patrick Cantlay came within an inch of a hole-in-one, the start of three straight birdies that led to a 2-under 69 and a two-shot lead in the Genesis Open. Cantlay, the No. 1 amateur in the world when he played at UCLA, had to wait until the end of Friday to see if the lead held up. Tiger Woods was among those playing in the afternoon, when the greens typically are at their worst. Woods was on the cut line when he began the second round. Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth — the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green — landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup. "I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close," Cantlay said. He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole. Cantlay, who won in Las Vegas last fall, was at 7-under 135. Tony Finau, who shared the 18-hole lead with Cantlay, recovered from a sluggish front nine with a 3-3 start to the back nine that helped him salvage a 71. He was two shots behind among the early finishers. Bubba Watson, a two-time winner at Riviera, ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch around his turn before he was undone by a double bogey on No. 5. His approach went into shin-high grass short of the green and he three-putted. Even so, he had a 70 and was in the mix heading toward the weekend. That would be considered progress. Watson hasn't won since his most recent Riviera victory in 2016. He was at No. 4 in the world after that title. He arrived this week at No. 117. The two-time Masters champion says he is getting back some weight he lost when he was ill. More putts are going in. One aspect of his personality hasn't changed. When Watson is in L.A., he takes in a lot more than golf. Watson was scheduled to play for Team Clippers in the celebrity game during NBA All-Star weekend. He suggested that he might have taped a show with Jay Leno and perhaps spent time with a friend named Ellen (DeGeneres). He was in full celebrity mode when he won at Riviera in 2016, so maybe that's the recipe. Dustin Johnson was just happy to still be in the game. He managed a 69 on Friday, which should enable the defending champion at No. 1 player in the world to make the cut. Depending on how the afternoon went, Johnson still would only be eight shots behind. That's a tribute to firm, dry Riviera and greens that get bumpy in the afternoon and make it hard for anyone to get to hard ahead. Rafa Cabrera Bello tried in the morning. The Spaniard opened with six birdies in seven holes, but he still only managed a 67. He joined two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (71) and Troy Merritt (71) in the group at 3-under 139. Jordan Spieth had a 70 and was six shots behind......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2018

Woods to play Honda Classic

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods is playing the Honda Classic, this third PGA Tour start as he tries to build up his game for the Masters. It will be the first time since 2014 that Woods plays at PGA National, about a 20-minute drive from his home in South Florida. He withdrew from the final round that year with back spasms, played the following week at Doral and then had the first of four back surgeries a few weeks later. Woods waited until the final day to commit to the Honda Classic. He said earlier in the week that he wanted to make sure he could play back-to-back weeks. His best finish at the Honda Classic was in 2012, when he closed with a 62 to finish runner-up to Rory McIlroy......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2018

Golf Channel cameramen walk out on coverage amid Sony Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press HONOLULU (AP) — Union workers for video and audio production at Golf Channel events walked out Sunday over stalled contract negotiations, leading to limited coverage of the final round at the Sony Open and two other events in the Bahamas and Florida. Golf Channel said it has been negotiating an agreement for nine months with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union for tournament technicians at golf tournaments, such as the camera crew. The strike involves only tournaments that Golf Channel produces. The network also produces the CareerBuilder Challenge next week in Palm Desert, California. CBS Sports produces the following week at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods plays on the PGA Tour for the first time in a year. "Golf Channel has been working on negotiating an agreement for nine months with a union that represents our live tournament technicians," the network said in a statement. "Those efforts have not yet yielded a resolution, and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable contract. However, some technicians have chosen to walk off the job today. We have contingency plans in place, and will continue to deliver coverage." It declined further comment, such as how it will provide coverage. The Sony Open telecast was scheduled for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern, and starting times are set for the final group to finish in that window. However, the PGA Tour moved up tee times by about an hour, so that the last group finishes around 9:15 p.m. Some three dozen IATSE members from Local 665 picketed outside the main road into Waialae Country Club in support of the Golf Channel's technical crew. John Culleeny, an international representative for the union, said its members wanted Golf Channel to meet industry standards. He was not specific on the talking points that stalled negotiations. The video and audio crew had talked about walking out during the third round Saturday but held back for another meeting. Culleeny said the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday. Golf Channel is producing three tournaments next week — the CareerBuilder Challenge, another Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas and the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event on the Big Island of Hawaii. Along with the Sony Open, Golf Channel is televising the second round of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas, a 72-hole event that ends on Tuesday. It also is televising the unofficial Diamond Resorts Invitational in Orlando, Florida, for players from the PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour and celebrities. Golf Channel has headquarters in Orlando and likely will be able to have more complete coverage of that event. The PGA Tour sent notices to its players on all tours notifying them of the labor dispute. "We are working closely with our partners at the Golf Channel to provide as much television coverage as possible," the tour said in a statement. It said fans could follow the tournaments with real-time scoring on its website, through social media channels and PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM for the Sony Open......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Focus more on how long Tiger Woods lasts more than his score

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — One year later, the scene hadn't changed. Jordan Spieth paused on the 17th green and looked across the water to the adjacent fairway at Albany Golf Club as Tiger Woods hit his shot to the ninth green, just like he did last year at the Hero World Challenge. Curiosity is just as high over another return from injury for Woods and how he will fare after a long layoff. What's different about the expectations for this comeback — his fifth since he first had back surgery in the spring of 2014 — is they are more about how long Woods will last than what kind of scores he posts. "He seems more confident this year the way he's walking and talking," Spieth said Wednesday in a whisper, having lost his voice to illness. "He seemed more excited at the Presidents Cup before he was even swinging, more anxious. And it seemed to really bother him that he was following doctor's orders, like he really wanted to get going. So once he was given the go, I think it was exciting for him. "So we're all very interested, as we should be, in how it goes for him this week — and obviously, hoping that's the start." The start of his latest comeback is Thursday against an 18-man field that features eight of the top nine players in the world. It's the first time every shot counts for Woods since a 77 in the Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 3. That was his seventh round in his return. He withdrew the next day, citing back spasms, and had a fourth back surgery in April to fuse two disks in his lower back. Woods reports some stiffness and not as much range in motion. But he says he has no pain. The hype about this return has been fueled by friendly rounds over the last few weeks. Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour player of the year who will be paired with Woods on Thursday, said fans will be "shocked at how good his game looks." Rickie Fowler made a casual reference to how far Woods was driving it past him. Brad Faxon, who played with Woods and Dustin Johnson last Friday in a round with President Donald Trump, said Woods looked at ease and held nothing back in his swing, especially with the driver. Woods had to keep score in his pro-am round Wednesday, and that included a 2 on the 350-yard seventh hole when he drove the green with a breeze at his back and holed a 20-foot putt for eagle. The tournament is unofficial, though it offers world ranking points. Woods is at No. 1,199 in the world, and even if he finishes last, he'll move up more than 200 spots into the top 1,000. That still seems odd for a guy who spent 683 weeks at No. 1 in the world. What enthuses Woods is playing again. "It's been a very long time, and I'm really looking forward to getting out there and playing with Justin and having a good time," Woods said. After that, it will be time to reassess. "I just really want to be able to complete this week, play all four days and give myself a chance on that back nine on Sunday to win this thing," said Woods, whose last victory was more than four years ago at Firestone in the Bridgestone Invitational. He lasted only three starts when he came back from his first back surgery in the summer of 2014. He lasted two starts after he returned at the end of 2014, and then after playing all four majors in 2015, he had a pair of back surgeries. And when he returned from those last year in the Bahamas, he lasted only three events. "My physio was certainly working overtime last year after every day and even in the morning, trying to get me ready to go," Woods said. Woods said the reason his comeback last year was over so quickly was due primarily to the rough at Torrey Pines and not realizing his disk was in bad shape. He said the deceleration in his swing when he hit out of the rough made the injury worse. That's why there's so much emphasis on his health. He looks built to last, or at least last a little longer. And this is the ideal spot for Woods to return. There is no cut. Woods is guaranteed four rounds. Interest is high. Pressure is not. "I think it's an easy week for Tiger as it is for anybody else versus other weeks — not as many people, the golf course doesn't beat you up," Spieth said. "But you can start to see it's actually, I think, pretty important, these end-of-the-year tournaments to kind of set a precedent for next year." That especially holds true for Woods......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2017

Woods ‘loving life’ after wrestling with pain

WASHINGTON: Tiger Woods, who launches his latest comeback this week, said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) he was “loving life” now that he’s free of the pain he was trying to conquer with multiple medications. The 41-year-old 14-time major champion is due to tee up on Thursday in the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club [...] The post Woods ‘loving life’ after wrestling with pain appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsNov 29th, 2017