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Tiger s last Masters as much about family as a green jacket

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Tiger Woods walked off the 18th green as a Masters champion for the fifth time, a major champion for the 15th time, and the sensation was unlike anything he had ever felt. More memorable than any shot — the 8-iron that trickled by the hole at the 16th was the decisive blow — was the purposeful stride toward his son, grabbing Charlie with both arms, lifting the boy and turning from side to side. His mother was next. His daughter. His loyal support staff. And then a lineup of players outside the clubhouse, some of them in green jackets. They had been upstairs in the locker room reserved for champions, yet they shared a feeling with the entire golf world. Memories gave way to reality. “That's going to be in people's minds forever,” Rickie Fowler said last month, just two days before the Masters was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Was it his biggest win? It would be hard to rate that over his first Masters title in 1997, a “hello, world” moment not tied to advertising. Woods set 20 records that signaled the arrival of a brand of dominance never seen in golf. The most historical? His 2001 victory at Augusta gave him a sweep of the four majors in a span of 294 days. He stands alone there. This was no less significant because of what it meant — to Woods, to his sport, to peers who grew up idolizing him and to a worldwide audience that had reason to believe it might never happen again. “I had just an amazing amount of emails and texts that were flowing in,” Woods said in a conference call leading up to the Masters. “But I was more surprised by the amount of videos of people watching the Masters and seeing their reaction when I hit the shot on 16 or when I made the putt, whether it was on airplanes or in airports or restaurants. “The amount of emotion that people were showing, that's what blew my mind." That's what made this Masters different from his other four, this major different from the other 14. Adam Scott doesn't usually stick around when he's finished with a major. One exception was in 2006 after the U.S. Open at Winged Foot when he was headed for the airport and turned around when close friend Geoff Ogilvy emerged the winner. He finished Sunday at Augusta National about the time all hell broke loose at Amen Corner. “You got a sense, as he was kind of taking the lead on the back nine, that something special could be happening,” Scott said. “There was a lot of guys watching in the champion's locker room and I stayed and watched. You don't often get that group of people together very often. You just had that sense it's a significant moment in the sport again.” Gary Woodland wasn't about to miss it. “I don't usually watch much golf,” he said. “I had my family there. I was flying out Sunday afternoon. I played early that day, and we pushed the flight back. I wanted to watch that.” The only mystery is where it leads. Woods was never the same the rest of the major season. He played nine holes of practice at Bethpage Black and missed the cut in the PGA Championship. He was never a factor at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, site of his 15-shot victory, as untouchable as any of his records. He missed the cut at the British Open. Woods had another knee surgery to repair minor cartilage damage. And then he won again, this time in Japan, to tie the PGA Tour's victory record with No. 82. In only two starts this year, in chilly California weather, he didn't look like the Masters champion. His back felt stiff and he skipped three tournaments he ordinarily plays. And now golf is shut down, which Woods said has given him time for his 44-year-old body to feel stronger. He had caddie Joe LaCava come down a month after the Masters to watch the final round together. Woods has watched that Masters plenty of times, and he taped a segment with Jim Nantz for perspective unlike any other for CBS to show it again Sunday to fill the void of not having the Masters this April. Each time Woods won a major — even the first of his 15 — it was one major closer to the 18 won by Jack Nicklaus. This one was different. This was more about satisfaction and redemption than a thirst for more. Woods said his kids once looked at him as the “YouTube” golfer because they never saw him at his best. They were at Carnoustie in the summer of 2018 when he had the lead briefly in the final round of the British Open. They were with him at Augusta National, and that meant as much as the green jacket he wore — the jacket, he said, they fought over who could wear it on the flight home. “It's been incredible for myself and my family to be a part of this, and for me to be the current Masters champion, it's crazy that somehow it all came together for one week,” he said. “One magical week.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 12th, 2020

Column: Woods gets to see and hear how the other half lives

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Tiger Woods arrived at Olympia Fields for the first time in 17 years, this time with no one around to chase after his every move from the moment he stepped out of the car until he walked off the course. That's not a bad thing. He'll be in a red shirt on Sunday with about the same number of people. That's not good, at least not for him. Woods is learning after three tournaments what others have begun to realize over the last three months. Some players thrive on energy from the crowd as a pick-me-up. Now the reaction, the volume, is the same for a birdie as a double bogey. Woods is one of those players who feeds off noise. “Always have,” he said. “I've played in front of thousands of people ever since I turned pro 24 years ago. It's always been odd when I haven't played in front of people. In one way, it's been nice between tees not getting tapped or getting a glove pulled out of my pocket. Those are things I've had to deal with for a very long time. “But you hit good shots and you get on nice little runs ... we don't have the same energy, the same fan energy.” This is not his issue alone, nor is it the reason he has yet to finish in the top 35 in the three tournaments he has played since golf returned from the coronavirus-caused shutdown. Hitting good shots and making putts goes a long way in any environment. Graeme McDowell was walking along the ninth fairway in the middle of his second round last week at the TPC Boston when he said he felt like a “golf zombie.” “It's like I have no soul,” he said. The courses are different and look the same. They're empty. McDowell spoke of needing the adrenaline he gets from the crowd around the first tee at a U.S. Open or Ryder Cup. Maybe some players do better with no one watching, especially if they're on edge and need something to calm them down. McDowell isn't one of them. Neither is Rory McIlroy. He played the final two rounds with Woods, as big a draw as there is in golf, with hardly anyone watching. Woods began the final round with four straight birdies and the only buzz came from Twitter. McIlroy knows about ebbs and flows in his game. He once missed four out of five cuts and won three out of four tournaments, all in a span of four months in 2012. But his play since returning to an empty stage in June is worth noting. He had had seven consecutive top 5s, including a victory at a World Golf Championship, and reached No. 1 in the world. Since the return, he has seven straight tournaments out of the top 10 and has yet to reach the back nine with a chance to win. Coincidence? Maybe. Three months off surely cost him some momentum. “This is going to sound really bad,” McIlroy said, “but I feel like the last few weeks, I've just been going through the motions. ... And look, that's partly to do with the atmosphere and partly to do with how I'm playing. I'm not inspiring myself, and I'm trying to get inspiration from outside sources to get something going. I can definitely see where Graeme is coming from." That might allow McIlroy to reconsider what he once said about Woods. He played with Woods and Justin Thomas in the opening two rounds at Riviera a few years ago and was amazed by all the commotion around Woods. “I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field. Like, it's two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that goes on around,” McIlroy said that day. “Whoever is teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn't get that and can just go about his business. He has to deal with that every single time.” McIlroy missed the point. If all that commotion costs Woods two shots to the field, what does it cost the players with him? Right now, nothing. Without spectators, has Woods lost an advantage he once had? “Absolutely,” Woods replied. "Anyone who has played in front of thousands of people, it is very different. That's always been one of the things I've become accustomed to. The guys who played with me, who haven't become accustomed to it, they have only experienced one round here and there. That's been every round I've played for over two decades. “That advantage — for me, and some of the other top players — trying to deal with all that noise and the movement, that experience is no longer there.” Nick Faldo touched on this when he was discussing the 10-year anniversary of Woods winning the 1997 Masters, a watershed moment in golf. Faldo said that when he slipped the green jacket on Woods that Sunday, he thought the Masters would be the only major he could win. Sure, Augusta National suited his game. “But also because the Masters was the only major that the media was kept outside the ropes,” Faldo said. "And I thought that was going to be his biggest challenge. Now it’s his greatest asset. Everyone joining him now on the weekend at a major goes into his world. That’s Tiger’s arena. Other guys will step into that arena one week and go back out. He’s there all the time. And good luck coming into his world.” It's a new world for everyone now. It's especially different for Woods, not so much for some of the players paired with him. For the less accomplished players who always wondered what it was like to be in his shoes, the absence of spectators has allowed Woods to see what it's like to be in theirs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Woods relives joy of winning fifth Masters

Los Angeles--Fifteen-time major winner Tiger Woods says he can’t help feeling like the green jacket he claimed for winning the Masters last year doesn’t belong in his locker anymore......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsApr 14th, 2020

Memorable shots in the Masters from every club in the bag

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Every hole has a tale about the Masters. The playlist of shots is longer than any of the other majors because everyone knows Augusta National so well, players and fans alike. Every club has a story, too. What follows are some of the most memorable shots at the Masters from every club in the bag. DRIVER Byron Nelson drove the seventh green on his way to his first Masters victory in 1937. The impact of that shot had more to do with the golf course than his scorecard. With a suggestion from 1934 champion Horton Smith, the green was moved 20 yards back and to the right on a slope, surrounded by five bunkers, and trees were added down the left side. 3-WOOD Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were tied through 12 holes in an 18-hole playoff for the 1954 Masters when they reached the par-5 13th. Hogan went first and laid up. Snead hit his 3-wood onto the green for a two-putt birdie and a one-shot lead, and Hogan never caught up. 4-WOOD Gene Sarazen called this club his “Dodo,” and he used it for the most famous shot in Masters history in 1935. He holed out from 235 yards on the par-5 15th for an albatross to erase a three-shot deficit, and he beat Craig Wood in a 36-hole playoff the next day. It became known as the “shot heard 'round the world.” 1-IRON Jack Nicklaus was one shot behind in the final round of the 1975 Masters when he hit “one of the finest 1-iron shots I can remember” onto the green at the 15th. He two-putted for birdie and a share of the lead. Tom Weiskopf also birdied the 15th in the group behind Nicklaus to regain the lead, but only briefly. Nicklaus went on to his fifth green jacket. 2-IRON Nick Faldo had the lead for the first time in 1996 as Greg Norman imploded. Faldo was torn between clubs as he stood in the middle of the 13th fairway. Set up over the ball, he backed away and switched to a 2-iron that he hit purely onto the green for a two-shot victory, a key moment. 3-IRON Norman is remembered for his bogey on the final hole that cost him a chance in the 1986 Masters. Forgotten is that he birdied four in a row to tie Nicklaus for the lead, no shot more exquisite than his 3-iron on the 17th. From the adjacent seventh hole, he hit a low bullet under the trees and ran it near the edge of the bunker to 12 feet from the hole. 4-IRON Nicklaus needed help to win the 1986 Masters, and Seve Ballesteros delivered the biggest gift. The great Spaniard had a one-shot lead and was in the 15th fairway, just inside 200 yards, when he pulled his 4-iron into the water short of the green. He made bogey, and then trailed when Nicklaus birdied the 17th. 5-IRON Nicklaus chose 5-iron for the par-3 16th during his Sunday charge to win the 1986 Masters. As the ball was in flight, his son caddying for him said, “Be good.” Nicklaus, stooped to pick up his tee and said, “It is.” The ball nearly went in and left him a 4-foot birdie putt. 6-IRON Arnold Palmer made birdie on the 17th for a three-way tie for the lead in 1960. On the final hole, he hit 6-iron to 6 feet for birdie, becoming the first Masters champion to birdie the last two holes to win by one. 7-IRON Sandy Lyle was tied for the lead with Mark Calcavecchia when he hit into the bunker on the 18th hole. Facing a steep face that made it unlikely he could reach the green, Lyle hit 7-iron over the lip to 10 feet and made birdie to win in 1988. 8-IRON Sergio Garcia was one shot behind in the final round of 2017 when he hammered a drive and hit 8-iron that landed in front of the hole, nicked the pin and settled 15 feet away for eagle that tied him for the lead. He eventually beat Justin Rose in the playoff. 9-IRON Even with back-to-back bogeys to start the back nine, Jordan Spieth still had the lead in 2016 when he hit 9-iron toward the flag on the 12th hole and watched it bound off the slope into the water. He hit the next one in the water, made quadruple bogey and shot 41 on the back nine to lose the Masters to Danny Willett. PITCHING WEDGE If there was one shot that illustrated the power Tiger Woods brought to Augusta National in his pro debut in 1997, it was pitching wedge to the par-5 15th hole in the first round for an eagle. Woods played the par 5s in 13 under for the week and won by 12. GAP WEDGE Bubba Watson was lost in the trees right of the 10th fairway in a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen in 2012. He was 155 yards away and hit a gap wedge that hooked some 40 yards and onto the green, setting up an easy par to win SAND WEDGE Norman had the upper hand on the second playoff hole in 1987, just off the green with Larry Mize well right of the 11th green about 140 feet away, hoping to get it close. He did even better. Mize chipped in for birdie and won. LOB WEDGE Woods had a one-shot lead over Chris DiMarco in 2005 and was in trouble behind the 16th green, his ball nestled against the collar of the rough. With a shot that took its place in Augusta lore, Woods pitched it up the slope and watched it roll down toward the cup, pausing for a full second before taking one final turn and dropped for birdie. PUTTER The best player to never win a major, Phil Mickelson had an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole in 2004 to beat Ernie Els and win the Masters. The putt swirled around the cup and dropped, and Mickelson leaped into the air......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2020

Masters heartaches walk the fairways with green jackets

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer For every fist pump from Tiger Woods, there are images of Greg Norman's lonely walk across Hogan Bridge as he loses the last of his six-shot lead and heads for more heartache at the Masters. Jack Nicklaus had his famous charge on the back nine. Ed Sneed infamously lost a three-shot lead with bogeys on his last three holes, and then watched Fuzzy Zoeller win the first sudden-death playoff in 1979. “All the condolences in the world wouldn't fix the hurt inside him,” said Tom Watson, who also was in the playoff, as he sat next to a shaken Sneed for an interview when it was over. At the Masters, players who never slipped on a green jacket can be as memorable as those who did. Tom Weiskopf holds a footnote in Masters history with the most runner-up finishes — four — without ever winning. He was tied for the lead on the back nine in 1974. He had the lead with three holes to play in 1975 when he made bogey on the 16th hole as Nicklaus went on to a fifth green jacket. “I know one thing,” Weiskopf said that day. “I will win this tournament one day, and my green coat will be tailor made.” Curtis Strange didn't suffer as much as Norman or Weiskopf, or players like Tom Kite, David Duval and Ken Venturi, all of whom had multiple chances. He still thinks about being tied at the turn with Larry Mize in 1987, the year Mize holed a 140-foot chip in a playoff to beat — who else? — Norman. His Masters memory is more tied to 1985, when he had a four-shot lead on the back nine and twice hit into water on the par 5s as Bernhard Langer won the first of two green jackets. “In my case, and most others, the sting of defeat lasts longer than the thrill of victory,” Strange said Friday. “Is that a sick way to look at it? Maybe for those who have never been there. But it's reality.” That's true at most big golf tournaments. Even so, Strange believes it is amplified at the Masters because it's the one major that returns every year to the course, especially one as dynamic as Augusta National. It takes something spectacular to remember failures at other majors — Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie, Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot, Mike Reid at Kemper Lakes in the PGA Championship. Jordan Spieth went wire-to-wire and tied the 72-hole record set by Woods. One year later, he lost a five-shot lead on the back nine, highlighted by a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 12th hole. Which one is more memorable? “It goes back to the familiarity every golf fan has with the course," Duval said. “It's not like going to Pebble every 10 years, or Oakmont. I think the continuity has a lot to do with it.” Norman stands out as the face of failure at the Masters, even though Weiskopf has more silver medals. Then again, Weiskopf never lost a six-shot lead as Norman did in 1996. Weiskopf didn't lose in a playoff to an improbable chip. Norman contributed to his own failures. Often forgotten are his four straight birdies to tie for the lead in 1986, only to send a 4-iron into the gallery on the 18th and make bogey. He did the same thing three years later, making three straight birdies only to come up short with a 5-iron and hit a poor chip to bogey No. 18 and finish one out of a playoff. Norman has company, of course. Venturi shot 80 in the final round of 1956 with a chance to become the only amateur in a green jacket. He lost as a pro four years later when Arnold Palmer birdied the last two to win by one shot. Duval was in the mix four straight years and never won the green jacket. He missed out on a playoff in 1998 when Mark O'Meara birdied the 18th hole from 20 feet. “Don't worry, David, nobody ever makes that putt,” chairman Jack Stephens told him as they watched from Jones Cabin. The run ended in 2001 when Duval was the last player to try to stop Woods from a sweep of the majors. But his 7-iron flew the 16th green — he still doesn't know how — and his birdie putts from 12 feet and 5 feet on the last two holes didn't fall. No loss was more painful to watch than Scott Hoch missing a 2-foot par putt on the 10th hole in a playoff in 1989. Faldo beat him with a birdie on the next hole. Mention the name Roberto de Vicenzo, and the first thing that comes to mind is not his two-shot victory over Nicklaus in the 1967 British Open. It's the playoff he missed at the Masters the following spring in the cruelest ruling. The Argentine signed for a 4 on the 17th hole when he made a 3. He had to keep the higher score and lost by one to Bob Goalby. “What a stupid I am,” De Vicenzo said. A simple mistake. The wrong kind of memory. There's no shortage of those at the Masters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 11th, 2020

Woods comeback at Masters named AP Sports Story of the Year

By Eddie Pells, Associated Press A green jacket. A heart-melting embrace. A stirring return to the top of golf by one of the sport’s all-time greats. In choosing Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters as The Associated Press sports story of the year, voters went with the uplifting escape of a great comeback over options that were as much about sports as the issues that enveloped them in 2019: politics, money and the growing push for equal pay and equal rights for women. The balloters, a mix of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, elevated Woods’ rousing victory at Augusta National over the runner-up entry: the U.S. women’s soccer team’s victory at the World Cup. That monthlong competition was punctuated by star Megan Rapinoe’s push for pay equality for the women’s team and an ongoing war of words with President Donald Trump. Rapinoe’s efforts to use sports as a platform to discuss bigger issues was hardly a one-off in 2019. Of the top 12 stories in the balloting, only three — titles won by the Toronto Raptors, Washington Nationals and University of Virginia basketball team — stuck mainly to what happened between the lines. All the rest — including the blown call that cost the Saints a chance at the Super Bowl, a California law that threatens to upend the NCAA and Simone Biles’ dominance at gymnastics' world championships, set against the backdrop of the sex-abuse crisis consuming the sport in the U.S. — were long-running sagas that went beyond a single day or event. They painted sports not as an escape from the world’s problems but merely another window into them. It’s no stretch to say that the whole of the Woods saga — namely, the sordid, pain-riddled, decadelong prelude to his victory at Augusta National in April — would fit into that category, as well. His downfall began in the wee hours the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, when he ran over a fire hydrant outside his house in Florida, triggering an avalanche of stories about infidelity that would lead to the breakup of his marriage and play into the near-destruction of his career. Part 2 was the injuries. Woods came close but did not return to his dominant form after his return to golf following his breakup with his wife. And as time went on, his physical condition deteriorated. He didn’t play in 2016 or 2017, and at the end of '17, he conceded his back was so bad that his days of competitive golf might be behind him. There were four risky back surgeries. Woods also required a good deal of inner healing after a mortifying DUI arrest in 2017 that exposed his reliance on painkillers. Through it all, Woods somehow kept nurturing his love for golf. And eventually, he found his game again. He climbed his way back to the top. He had close calls at two majors in 2018 — the British Open and PGA Championship — and then won the season-ending Tour Championship, as good a sign as any that, at 43, he could take on the best and win. But regular tournaments are not the majors, and no major is the Masters. It was on those hallowed grounds at Augusta National where Woods set the marker, starting a decade of dominance that would redefine the game. He blew away the field by 12 strokes in 1997 to win the first of what has become five green jackets and 15 major titles. On that day, Woods came off the 18th green and wrapped himself in a warm embrace with his father, Earl, whose death in 2006 left an undeniable void in the player's life. Though there had been a handful of close calls between his U.S. Open victory in 2008 and the start of 2019, it was clear that if there was a single course where Woods could conjure the old magic and end a major drought, it would be Augusta National. As a four-time champion, Woods built a career on studying every inch of the layout, knowing every fault line and every sneaky twist and turn of the slickest greens on earth. But where, at one time, he might have overpowered the course and intimidated the competition, in 2019, he simply outlasted them both. He avoided mistakes while everyone else was making them. Instead of taking a lead into the last day, then never giving anyone a whiff of hope, this was a comeback. He started the day two shots behind. As AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson wrote in his wrapup of the final day: “Woods never missed a shot that mattered over the final seven holes, taking the lead with a 5-iron to the fat of the green on the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, delivering the knockout with an 8-iron that rode down the ridge by the cup and settled 2 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th.” When it was over, Woods came to the same spot where he’d met Earl 22 years before. He scooped up his son, Charlie, and held him in a long embrace, then did the same with his 11-year-old daughter, Sam, and mother, Tilda. “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget,” Woods said. Very few golf fans will. And in a sports year dominated by weightier topics, Woods at the Masters stood out — a comeback story that left people smiling at the end......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Joke as playing captain turns into reality for Tiger

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Tiger Woods meant it as a joke. And it was accompanied by laughter. Woods was introduced as U.S. captain for the Presidents Cup in Australia on March 13, 2018, and the first question was whether he considered being a playing captain. "Yes, I have," Woods said. The laughter that followed that day at Bay Hill could have been interpreted two ways. His answer was quick and short, no elaboration necessary, because a guy who dominated golf like no one else had never considered himself anything but a player. Or maybe it was simply laughable to think of Woods playing in team matches again. At the time, it had been four years and five months since he played on his last team, the 2013 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village. He had gone through four back surgeries since then, limiting him to only six tournaments in the previous two years. And only five months earlier, when he was a vice captain at the Presidents Cup, he said he could envision a scenario where he never competed again. "It was a joke," Woods said Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, smiling at the memory. "But it turned into reality. Here we are." That now seems so long ago. The notion that he would be at Royal Melbourne without his clubs is absurd. Starting with the Tour Championship last year, when Woods had gone five years without winning, he won at East Lake to complete one phase of his comeback. Then, he won the Masters in April, the missing piece, because he had gone 11 years since his last major and 14 years since his last green jacket. And then he had another surgery on his left knee — his fifth, making the knee 1 up over the lower back — and returned two months later by winning the Zozo Championship in Japan for his 82nd victory on the PGA Tour, tying Sam Snead for the career record. "To come back from what I've come back from and have won three events, it's been pretty good," Woods said. He is not entirely back to normal because Woods turns 44 at the end of the month, and his body — no matter how often it's been repaired — doesn't respond the way it did when he was in his early 30s. What doesn't get enough attention was the knee surgery the week of the Tour Championship to clean up minor cartilage damage. The surgery was supposed to be after his Hero World Challenge last year, but he wanted to start the season at Torrey Pines and surgery wouldn't have allowed it. So he put it off, and then it caught up with him later in the year when he couldn't practice as much and rarely squatted down to read putts. Was it worth it? Of course. "I did get a Masters out of it," Woods said. The surgery ultimately gave him a busier schedule than he would have imagined, and it gave golf a boost at a time of the year that it's easily forgotten. What follows is two weeks of Tiger in dual roles. He is the tournament host of the Hero World Challenge that features 18 of the top 50 players in the world at Albany Golf Club. Woods has won his tournament five times, all of them at Sherwood Country Club in California when he was at full strength. He has never played well in the Bahamas, but he has never been at full strength. Next week, he heads to Royal Melbourne as the captain of a team that has little to gain and much to lose. The Americans have not lost the Presidents Cup since 1998, such dominance that winning is a given. The last thing Woods wants is to be in charge of a team that allows the International team to end years of futility, particularly a team that has only two players who have won tournaments this year — Joaquin Niemann and C.T. Pan, both Presidents Cup newcomers. He is the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in 1994 for the inaugural matches that really did feel like an exhibition. "It's a pretty neat responsibility," Woods said. "And the role's not easy. There's a lot of moving parts, whether it's talking to the guys, talking to my vice captains, organizing what we need to have done down there, not only to be ready but also, I need to keep sharp. I need to keep practicing. Because at minimum, I'll be responsible for two points." Players are required to play at least once before Sunday singles. "I'm host here and a player," he said of the Bahamas. "And next week, I'm captain and a player. So it's a lot of hats going on." But at least he's playing. That's what he suggested the day he was appointed Presidents Cup captain, even if he says he meant it jokingly. Deep down, he probably didn't......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 4th, 2019

Column: FedEx Cup about the money, not the majors

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The FedEx Cup is still about the money. Whoever wins this week at the Tour Championship gets $15 million, more than Greg Norman's career earnings on the PGA Tour. The FedEx Cup might one day be as much about prestige. Tiger Woods (twice), Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk won the first four FedEx Cup titles, and all four will be in the World Golf Hall of Fame if they're not in already. The last four winners were Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. That's good company to keep. The FedEx Cup was never about major championships. Woods is absent from East Lake, this time not by choice but because he didn't qualify. It stands out because of his last two victories, Nos. 80 and 81, both in Georgia. The first was the Tour Championship, the most electric moment in golf all of last year. Woods won at East Lake to cap a remarkable return from four back surgeries, a DUI arrest stemming from his reliance on painkillers and his own fears that he would never compete again. Memories would be a lot stronger if he were here. Instead, he becomes the seventh player to win the Tour Championship and not be eligible to return the following year during the FedEx Cup era. Should he be at East Lake? It seems that way because of his other victory, this one in April at Augusta National, as captivating as any of his 15 majors. Woods said Sunday at Medinah when his season officially ended that he was disappointed and he wished he could be at East Lake. But he hardly was torn up over it, for one reason. "I'm the one with the green jacket," he said of winning the Masters. He also has company. British Open champion Shane Lowry didn't make it to East Lake, either. He has a claret jug at home in Ireland to console him. This is the fifth time in 13 years of the FedEx Cup that at least two major champions were not at the final event, usually with extenuating circumstances involved. Five major champions who didn't make it to East Lake were not PGA Tour members, three of them in 2010 — Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer. The last time was in 2016, when Masters champion Danny Willett and British Open champion Henrik Stenson fell short. Willett didn't become a PGA Tour member until after he won the Masters. Stenson had a knee injury he wanted to protect for the Ryder Cup and wound up playing just two playoff events. Given their stature, it would seem the majors should get more FedEx Cup points than a measly 20% bump. For example, Woods received 600 points for winning that little invitational at Augusta National. That's only 100 points more than Kevin Tway got for winning the Safeway Open. Could it be more? Sure. Does it need to be? Not necessarily. Would anyone even be talking about major champions not being at East Lake if not for Woods being one of them? Because while the PGA Tour has drastically changed its season with the FedEx Cup format, what hasn't changed is what matters — winning majors. The reward for capturing a Grand Slam event is worth far more than having a tee time at East Lake and a chance to win $15 million. Besides, it's not like Woods and Lowry didn't have the opportunity. Woods played only six times after he won the Masters — three times he failed to make the cut, the other three he was a combined 39 shots behind the leader — and finished the season with 12 events. Lowry played 14 times, a product of having only conditional status at the start of the year. He had middle-of-the-pack performances at two playoff events. He finished 57 points short of East Lake, which equates to being two shots better at Liberty National and at Medinah. "I think what it says is that it's really hard to get to Atlanta and the Tour Championship," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "You've got to play exceedingly well over the course of an entire season. And with volatility, there's risk." The volatility refers to the playoff events offering four times as many points. If any change should be considered, perhaps triple the value would do the trick. Or the tour could double the points for the first event and triple the points for the next one. It really doesn't matter. The majors are over. Names are etched on silver trophies and in golf lore. The FedEx Cup is merely an end-of-the-year competition to keep golf compelling and to give the PGA Tour season a definitive end. It hasn't done any harm. If anything, it has kept the best players competing against each other after the majors. And they all get rich when it's over. Total bonus money for the 30 players who made it to Atlanta is $46 million. That's what they will be chasing over the next four days. Woods and Lowry now can only look behind them. The view is just as sweet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2019

Lowry s British Open win caps off big year in majors

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Winning the British Open didn't sink in right away for Shane Lowry. It apparently didn't take long. A celebration that began on the 18th fairway of Royal Portrush extended well into the night in Dublin. The European Tour posted a video on Twitter of Lowry, still dressed in all black from his final round with his cap flipped back. He was holding the claret jug in his right hand and a beer in his left as he belted out "The Fields of Athenry," an Irish folk ballad that has become popular for Irish sports fans. About last night...@ShaneLowryGolf #TheOpen pic.twitter.com/zdXW66yetz — The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 22, 2019 It might as well have been a celebration for all the majors this year. Nothing could top Tiger Woods in the Masters, which dwarfed an otherwise four-month stretch of compelling outcomes. Brooks Koepka had a major season not seen since before Woods began having surgeries, and the run is not over. He joined Woods as the only back-to-back PGA Championship winners in stroke play. He had chances in the final hour at the Masters and U.S. Open. And he was three strokes behind going into the weekend at the British Open, where he wound up in a distant tie for fourth. Thanks to the PGA Championship moving from August to May, all Koepka has done in the last 12 months is win two majors, finish runner-up in two others and tie for fourth. Along the way, he joined some elite company. Koepka, Woods, Jordan Spieth and Jack Nicklaus are the only players to finish no worse than fourth in all four majors in the same year. "This week is disappointing, but the rest of them ... it's been great," Koepka said Sunday. "I'm not going to lie. It's been fun." Lowry and Gary Woodland were first-time major champions, making it five straight years of at least two players winning majors for the first time. Their victories were special in their own right. Already popular with his peers, Woodland won over golf fans around the world with his gracious support of Amy Bockerstette, the 20-year-old with Down syndrome who played one hole with him in the Phoenix Open pro-am and made par from a bunker on the 16th hole. She also inspired him with three words that he kept thinking about in the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach: "You got this." Lowry wrote the perfect ending to the return of the British Open to Northern Ireland after 68 years. Sure, the focus of a sellout crowd at Royal Portrush was on Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke at the start. But as Lowry so beautifully and simply said when his name was on the claret jug, "Everyone knows we're all one country when it comes to golf." Woods should win anyone's award for best performance, even in the year of a World Cup when England's victory in cricket was amazing. It just doesn't seem that way. Rewind to April and find Woods trailing by two shots going into the final round of the Masters, a position from which he has never won. It had been two years since he suggested at the Champions Dinner he was done, only to fly across the Atlantic in a desperate search for help before realizing fusion surgery — the fourth procedure on his lower back — was the only route to a healthy life. Then he capped off his comeback with a flawless back nine to win a fifth green jacket and a 15th major, three short of the record set by Nicklaus. And then he took a month off and missed the cut at the PGA Championship. He tied for 21st in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but only because of six birdies on his last 12 holes. He took a vacation to Thailand, spent a month away from golf and then missed the cut in the British Open. It was a reminder that while Woods is able to win on the biggest stage — none bigger than Augusta National — he also has weeks where his back or his game, and sometimes both, don't allow him to contend. "Things are different," he said before leaving Portrush. "And I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments. But there are times when I'm just not going to be there." It doesn't look great now. It will later. Golf now waits nearly nine months until the next major. The longer the year goes on, the stronger memories will be of what he did at the Masters far more than the other three. If there was disappointment, look no further than McIlroy, who finished a combined 25 shots behind in the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open, and lasted only two days at Royal Portrush. Ditto for Dustin Johnson, still stuck on one major, which stings even more considering he had a pair of runner-up finishes. A generation ago, Colin Montgomerie said it was tough to win majors because of Woods, which meant fewer opportunities for everyone else. That's truer now than it was then. Spieth has gone two years without winning anything. Justin Thomas was slowed by injury. It's tough to win. Tougher still is waiting 263 days from the end of the British Open to the start of the Masters......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2019

Rose seeks 2nd major at PGA Championship at Bethpage Black

By Barry Wilner, Associated Press FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Justin Rose sees uniqueness in the PGA Championship because, well, it doesn't have a specific identity. Unlike the Masters and its green jacket, the U.S. Open and its "toughest test in golf" character, and the British Open with its links-style golf and often inclement weather, the PGA doesn't stand out in individuality. It is, of course, a major title, and one that Rose — and every other golfer in the 156-man field — covets. "I've always felt that the PGA Championship is the championship that probably doesn't have an identity in terms of a style of golf," said Rose, who owns one major, the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and a third, fourth and ninth in his 16 previous PGAs. "You know, I feel like it's dependent on the golf course. It's dependent on the time of year. And it doesn't try to sort of fit in any particular category. "Even par doesn't mean anything necessarily at a PGA Championship. You get what the course gives you. And I think we've all respected that, to be honest with you." Still, there is a taste of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black this week. The public course has hosted two of those, won by Tiger Woods in 2002 and Lucas Glover in 2009. The rough is going to be deep and, if the rain that plagued Long Island for nearly a week returns — it was dry and sunny Wednesday — this monster of a course will play even longer than its 7,459 yards. "I think this one in particular, this one, if I was to bring — I don't want to bring in the word U.S. Open — but the golf course has more of that feel to it this week, I would say. And if it was a U.S. Open, you would say, 'Wow, this is a really fair test of golf.' "So I think from that point of view, it's going to be fun for the players. I think we all regard this test and this setup as incredibly fair but demanding. And it's probably ... one of the most demanding PGA Championship setups and venues that I've seen in those 17 years." The 2016 Olympic gold medalist , Rose, 38, has been a mainstay on the European Ryder Cup team, making five appearances. He is usually near the top of the leaderboard in the most pressure-packed events on the PGA Tour and is the current FedEx Cup champion. So big-time challenges are more routine for Rose than for most athletes. Yet he has just the one major among his 10 PGA Tour victories. "I think the pressure of trying to win a second is far less than the pressure of trying to win your first," he said. "From that point of view I haven't given it a second thought. Obviously I want to win more; I've been close on a couple of occasions; lost in a playoff there at Augusta (to Sergio Garcia in 2017 ). So a putt here, a putt there, a chip here, a chip there, I could have added a second to it. "And yeah, I feel like I'm still waiting for my run in the majors. I'm still waiting for a hot run where I can hopefully get an opportunity to put two, three, four away quite quickly." That's territory few golfers ever reach. Sure, Tiger Woods is way up there with 15 majors, and defending PGA champ Brooks Koepka has won three in the last two years. They are favorites this week, and Rose feels he should be in that category, too, among what he estimates as 30 players with a true shot to leave with the Wanamaker Trophy. "You know, I feel like the style of golf does suit me generally, so I'm still working hard," Rose said. "There's still a lot of focus for me. I try to build my whole year around trying to play well and peak in the majors. I still feel at this point in my career, yeah, second major, and then obviously on from there will kind of define my career from that point of view. I've done a lot of other really cool things, obviously, alongside my major championship win, but more majors equal a better career, there's no doubt.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 15th, 2019

Masters preview: Korea s Kim ready to challenge for Green Jacket

Korea‚Äôs golf star Si Woo Kim cannot wait to hear the roars return at the Masters Tournament this week. And he hopes to be one of the reasons for the noise......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 6th, 2021

Korea s Im dreams about dinner and green jacket ahead of Masters debut

Debutant Sungjae Im knows exactly what he would serve at the Champions Dinner should he, in the near future, produces a Masters Tournament victory......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 11th, 2020

UST did not stand in way of CJ Cansino s transfer to UP

University of Sto. Tomas has let go of CJ Cansino. And apparently, it did not have a tough time moving on from its homegrown product. In a chat with fellow Tomasino Mela Tunay, Cansino shared that the Espana-based school did not have second thoughts about his sudden exit. "Yung tanong na pumapasok sa isip ko, ba't ganun? Bakit ang bilis naman nila mag-desisyon?" the latter said in the former's online show, Anong Tunay?, on Saturday. He then continued, "Hindi man lang ako nila nabigyan ng second chance para makabawi man lang para makabawi at 'di tuluyang umalis. UST yung nagbigay ng chance na maabot ko yung pangarap ko, UST din pala yung mag-aalis nun." Last Thursday, the 6-foot-2 swingman decided to move on from UST, his alma mater of the last five years, due to personal reasons. And with that, he said that he actually worried about what was next for him. "The moment na sinabi sa aking, 'CJ, you're off the team,' naisip ko, may kukuha pa kaya sa akin? Heartbreak talaga lalo sa akin kasi 'di ko alam kung matutuloy pa yung pangarap kong maging basketball player," he shared. As it always is, though, there was a silver lining in that sudden exit. Because the Growling Tigers let him go without a hitch, Cansino was free to discuss with other schools and then free to decide which squad was the best fit for him. There was Ateneo de Manila University, there was Colegio de San Juan de Letran, there was San Beda University, there was National University. Ultimately, though, the 20-year-old swingman went for the University of the Philippines. And just a day after news broke of his sudden exit from the Growling Tigers, he was bound for Diliman. Why did it all happen so fast? Because it had to. "Para sa career ko rin ito e. Kung maghihintay pa ako kung may darating pa, dalawang taon ako magre-residency," he shared. "Isang taon yung masasayang so kinailangan kong mag-decide agad para sa career ko at sa family ko." State U's Varsity Athletic Admission System (VAAS), the school's alternate avenue for student-athletes, is running its third deliberation on Saturday. That meant that the maroon and green had to have Cansino's yes right then and there in their first meeting last Friday. "Kaya sobrang bilis ng pangyayari kasi kailangan kong magdesisyon para sa sarili ko," he said. "Nag-uumpisa na yung klase so kailangan nang mag-start yung residency ko, kailangan nang maka-enroll ako." Now, the once-King Tiger is well on his way to being enrolled in UP. Now, CJ Cansino is a Fighting Maroon. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2020

CJ Cansino chooses UP as his next school, Fighting Maroons as his new squad

For CJ Cansino, there was one and only one ending to this phrase: nowhere to go but? Cansino will be taking his talents to the University of the Philippines, and the Fighting Maroons have added yet another big-time weapon to their already overflowing arsenal. Last Thursday, the 6-foot-2 swingman decided to move on from University of Sto. Tomas, his alma mater of the last five years, due to personal reasons.   The rejuvenated program wasted no time getting in touch, with head coach Bo Perasol and team management meeting with Cansino and his parents just hours after news broke. There, the family deeply rooted in Valenzuela was said to have been blown away by State U's pitch. UP painted a picture of Cansino alongside the likes of Gerry Abadiano, Joel Cagulangan, Malick Diouf, and Carl Tamayo once he becomes eligible for UAAP 84. There is also the possibility that Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan will be making a return to the maroon and green by then. That was much too much to say no to and the 20-year-old will now join that ultra-talented lineup, serving his residency for the next year. Cansino was a homegrown product of UST, first standing as a key cog in the Tiger Cubs' return to relevance before staking claim to the Jrs. MVP in his last year in high school. The do-it-all guard wasted no time committing to the Growling Tigers and made an immediate impact as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year nod which ultimately went to Ateneo de Manila University's Ange Kouame. Last year, Cansino put up per game counts of 5.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists all while standing as team captain in their storybook run to the Finals. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 21st, 2020

Big finish for Woods gets him to the weekend at Memorial

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Five months without competition, and Tiger Woods was grinding over key shots and big putts Friday at the Memorial. None was bigger than a 7-foot par putt on his final hole. It kept him from going home. Woods missed a pair of 3-foot putts early that shut down any momentum, twice missed the green with awkward chip shots in deep rough and had to finish birdie-birdie-par for a 4-over 76. It was just enough to make the cut on the number at 3-over 147, his highest 36-hole score at Muirfield Village since his Memorial debut in 1997. The Memorial, the Masters and the Arnold Palmer Invitational are the only tournaments he has played at least 15 times without failing to make the cut. Woods said his back felt a little stiff while warming up and he couldn't move through his swing like he would have liked. He said it was a struggle on a warm, calm morning at Muirfield Village. But when asked if it was enough to keep him from playing the rest of the week, Woods replied, “I would like to have the opportunity to play tomorrow.” Woods was outside the cut when he finished, and he was helped by a pair of fellow Californians. Max Homa finished with two bogeys, and Bryson DeChambeau made a 10 on the par-5 15th hole, moving the cut to 3 over. Ryan Palmer (68) and Tony Finau (69) managed just fine and were tied for the lead, leaving Woods 12 shots behind going into the weekend. The finish at least gave him a chance. Woods had to lay up from deep rough short of the water on the sixth hole — he started on the back nine — and missed a par putt just outside 5 feet to fall to 6 over for his round. He looked to be done. He wasn't moving well, the look of someone who would be heading home shortly. But he found the fairway on the par-5 seventh and made birdie from a greenside bunker. Then, he rolled in 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 eighth. He found more trouble on the ninth, sending his tee shot to the right, in rough and blocked by trees, leaving his only option to chip out to the fairway. From there, his wedge spun back to 7 feet below the hole and he made that par for to have hope. “I finished birdie-birdie-par,” he said. “That's about the only positive to it today.” He wasn't sure what to make about his back, which has undergone four surgeries, the last one to fuse his lower spine. He has recovered well enough to win three more times, including the Masters last year for his 15th major. Woods last played Feb. 16 in the cold at Riviera, where he finished last in the Genesis Invitational with a 76-77 weekend. He attributed stiffness that week to the cold. As for Ohio in July? Woods said he felt fine when he woke up, not so much while going through his practice sessions. “It wasn't quite as good as I'd like, and it it what it is,” he said, adding later, “It's going to happen more times than not.” What really irritated him was his putting. He three-putted from about 35 feet on the par-5 11th, missing a 3-footer for birdie. Two holes later, after a superb play from the rough to right side of the green, he rolled a fast putt to 3 feet and missed that par putt. And then when he chopped up the par-5 15th for bogey, the rest of the day became a battle. From a fairway bunker right of the 17th fairway, he sent his shot high on the hill into rough so deep it took him a few minutes to find it. With the greens so brittle, he hit that through the putting surface into more rough, and he had to make an 8-foot putt to escape with bogey. Making the turn, Woods had an awkward lie with his ball in the collar of a bunker. He caught all ball and sent that long, through the green and into a bunker, failed to get up-and-down and took double bogey. His next shot sailed to the right toward a hazard, and Woods simply hung his head. He still managed to have enough left at the end to give him a chance. Woods is a five-time winner of the Memorial, and his next victory would set the PGA Tour career record of 83. Also looming is the first major of the year at the PGA Championship in three weeks. For a 44-year-old who won the first of his 82 tour titles at age 20, time isn't on his side. “Aging is not fun,” he said. “Early on in my career, I thought it was fantastic because I was getting better and better and better. And now I'm just trying to hold on.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2020

Scrubbed: March Madness leads long list of canceled sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer The world's sports schedule cratered at warp speed Thursday, with one of the biggest events on the U.S. calendar, the fun-filled and colorful college basketball tournament known as March Madness, becoming the first mega-event to be scrubbed due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus. Leaders at all levels of sports, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer, decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great despite the billions of dollars — to say nothing of the trophies, pride and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — hanging in the balance. By late in the afternoon of an extraordinary, headline-a-minute day across a pandemic-rattled globe, the NCAA, which regulates March Madness and virtually all major U.S. college sports, basically had no choice. With conferences and individual teams calling off their basketball seasons at breakneck pace, the NCAA followed suit. They scrapped all college winter and spring championships, the highlight of which is the men's basketball tournament — a three-week extravaganza that stands as the biggest event this side of the Super Bowl on the U.S. sports calendar. The cancellation leaves a massive hole in American sports — from campuses across the country, to a growing passel of sports-betting businesses that rely on college hoops money, to say nothing of the hearts of players who were poised to get their first, or last, or only chance to shine on the big stage. All of it was to be covered by CBS and its partners; about 80 percent of the NCAA's $1.05 billion annual budget is bankrolled by the money the networks pay to present the 68-team tournament over the air, on cable and online. “This is bigger than a sport or championship,” said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team would've been the likely favorite to win it all. Hours earlier, Kansas and Duke had each taken matters into their own hands, announcing they wouldn't be sending any of their teams to games, no matter the stakes. It wasn't even the most jaw-dropping moment of the morning. That came, fittingly, at one of the world's most renowned sports venues — Madison Square Garden — where at halftime of a Big East Conference tournament game, the PA announcer came on and said the tournament had been called. By then, every major conference, and virtually all of the minor ones, had done the same thing. They were prompted in part by the NCAA's decision a day earlier to hold all its tournament games — which had been scheduled to start next week in nine cities and close April 6 at a 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta — in front of friends and family and limited “essential” personnel. Only 24 hours later, with the stock market tanking, mixed messages coming out of Washington and no promise of quick relief being offered by world health experts, it became even more clear that gatherings involving thousands of people were hard to justify. Also clear: The NCAA would have trouble assembling an equitable bracket for its tournament, given that most games designed to suss out the most-deserving teams and automatic qualifiers had already been scrubbed. “I’m not a researcher in immunology or infectious disease, but those who are engaged at the NCAA level provided some stark information yesterday,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. The March Madness news meant it will be a world free of basketball for the foreseeable future. A day after the NBA put its season on temporary hiatus, a second member of the Utah Jazz — Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said its suspension would last for at least 30 days — possibly a conservative guess, as teams undertake the task of identifying any player or referee who has had recent contact with the Jazz, then putting them into isolation for the required two weeks. “What would kill the NBA season is if more players catch it,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview on CNBC. He called the hiatus a matter of “us being vigilant, as all businesses should be. Businesses are going to have to be incredibly vigilant, and that's hard.” The NHL also suspended its season, though it did not report any positives for COVID-19. Major League Baseball scrapped spring training and postponed the start of its season, currently scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks. Before the start of one of the biggest golf tournaments on the calendar, the PGA Tour announced that the last three rounds of The Players Championship, best known for the rowdy gatherings around the island green on the 17th hole, would be played without fans. The same goes for the three events that follow, all of which lead into the Masters, which was, for the time being, slated to go on as scheduled the week of April 6. The LPGA postponed three tournaments, beginning next week, including its first major of the season. Tennis will also be canceling events. The ATP called off men's tournaments for the next six weeks; the WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week. NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Horse races were going on in several states, though without fans in the stands — leaving the parimutuel wagers to be made online; organizers of the Kentucky Derby were moving forward with plans for the May 2 race. The NFL, never off the radar even in the depths of the offseason, announced a number of changes and cancellations on its schedule of meetings, fan fest and scouting trips — all related to coronavirus. The U.S.-based Major League Soccer said it would shut down for a target period of 30 days. Earlier in the day, soccer leagues and teams scrambled to make changes: —Belgium's soccer league backpedaled on an earlier decision, and decided to close stadiums to fans. —A Champions League game involving Real Madrid was postponed after the Spanish team puts its players in quarantine. —Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches through the end of the month, including friendlies against the United States and Spain. —Also, a second player from Italy's top soccer division tested positive. All sports in that hard-hit country have been suspended through April 3. For once, there were no major announcements coming out of Tokyo, where conflicting messages about the status of this summer's Olympics have come out of the country, and the IOC, for weeks. Instead, the IOC went ahead with its ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame, an event held in front of the ruined Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. "We are strengthened ... by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” IOC president Thomas Bach said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

Tiger Woods and US team rally to win Presidents Cup again

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — High emotions, fierce hugs from Tiger Woods, this time as a winner both ways in the Presidents Cup. Woods capped off a big year that began with his 15th major at the Masters by playing and leading his U.S. team to another victory in the Presidents Cup on Sunday at Royal Melbourne. The first playing captain in 25 years, he opened the 12 singles matches by beating Abraham Ancer to set the Presidents Cup record with his 27th match victory, and set the tone for the rest of his team. The scoreboard was filled with American red scores all day as they rallied from a two-point deficit to win the Presidents Cup for the eighth straight time against an International team that faltered at the worst time. Matt Kuchar delivered the clinching putt, a 5-footer for birdie that assured him a halve against Louis Oosthuizen and gave the Americans the 15 1/2 points they needed to win. “For us to be in a hole, to come back and win this thing ... to win it as a team, but to do it with Tiger Woods as our captain was just a huge thrill,” Kuchar said. They result was 16-14, and at least this one was a contest. The U.S. victory two years ago at Liberty National was so resounding that it nearly ended on Saturday. International captain Ernie Els was determined to turn it around. He created a new logo for the International team. He relied heavily on analytics. It still wasn't enough. “I followed a plan, and it didn't quite work out, but we came damn close,” Els said. “If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building. But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.” Els thought back to Friday, when the Americans won two matches with birdies on the 18th hole and rallied to halve another to keep the International lead from growing. On Sunday, all he saw was U.S. momentum that couldn't be stopped. “We gave you everything we had," Els said to Woods at the closing ceremony. “You were the better team.” Woods hugged everyone hard, players and vice captains alike, wearing a smile not seen since he walked off the 18th green at Augusta National after becoming a Masters champion again after injuries that nearly ended his career. “We relied on one another as a team, and we did it — together,” Woods said, his voice choked slightly with emotion. “This cup wasn't going to be given to us. We had to go earn it. And we did.” Els fashioned the youngest International team from a record nine countries from everywhere outside Europe and took a 10-8 lead into the final day, the first time it had the edge in 16 years. It wasn't enough. Patrick Reed, whose caddie was benched for shoving a fan who had cursed Reed from close range Saturday, built a 6-up lead through seven holes before eventually putting away C.T. Pan to win for the first time this week. Webb Simpson, who played with Reed as they lost all three team matches, never trailed in beating Byeong Hun An. Everyone on the U.S. team contributed something. With so much red on the board, Tony Finau might have been his team the biggest boost. He was 4 down through 10 holes against Hideki Matsuyama, won the next four holes and earned a half-point. It came down to the final hole in South Korea four years ago. This time, the Americans were assured of a tie if the Internationals were to win the last three matches, creating at least a little drama. But it was a familiar ending. The Americans now are 11-1-1 in an event that began in 1994. “It's hard to digest,” said Adam Scott, who has played in nine Presidents Cup without ever winning. “It's incredibly disappointing but ... I like where this team is going, and I'll be working really hard now to be on the team in two more years.” The only International victory was in 1998 at Royal Melbourne, and several players from that team came to Australia this week to conjure up good vibes. It only worked for so long. The Americans won the singles session for the first time since 2009. Most years, their lead was so big it wasn't critical. This time it was. They hadn't trailed since 2003 in South Africa, the year of the tie. So inspired was the American play that none of their six singles victories made it to the 18th hole. The last two matches were halved, and the 8-4 advantage in singles matched the record for the largest Sunday margin since the Americans won 8-4 in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994. The next Presidents Cup is in 2021 at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina. In the meantime, the Americans will try to get on another team and win back the Ryder Cup, which gives them far more trouble......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Lowry, Holmes share Open lead as McIlroy leaves with cheers

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Everyone in the massive grandstand rose to cheer and celebrate a bold performance by Rory McIlroy, who longed for such support and affection on his walk toward his final hole at Royal Portrush in the British Open. Except this was Friday. And now McIlroy can only watch on the weekend as one of his best friends, Shane Lowry of Ireland, goes after the claret jug. Lowry birdied four of his opening five holes on his way to a 4-under 67 and shared the 36-hole lead with J.B. Holmes, who had a 68. Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood were one shot behind. Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth were three back. That can wait. This day was all about McIlroy, who kept the sellout crowd on edge as he tried to make the cut after opening with a 79. The roars had the intensity of a final round as McIlroy ran off five birdies in seven holes to brighten a gloomy sky over the North Atlantic. Needing one last birdie, his approach took a wrong turn along the humps left of the 18th green. He made par for a 65. "It's a moment I envisaged for the last few years," McIlroy said. "It just happened two days early." He was disappointed. He was proud of his play. Mostly, though, he said he was "full of gratitude toward every single one of the people that followed me to the very end and was willing me on." "As much as I came here at the start of the week saying I wanted to do it for me, by the end of the round there today I was doing it just as much for them," he said. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson won't be around, either. It was the first time in 77 majors they have played as professionals that both missed the cut in the same major. Darren Clarke, who honed his game on the Dunluce Links as a junior and now calls Portrush home, missed the cut in a most cruel fashion with a triple bogey on his final hole. And now the first British Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 moves on without them, still with the promise of a great show. Lowry was so nervous he was shaking on the tee when the tournament began Thursday, swept up in the emotion of an Open on the Emerald Isle, and on a course he knows. He gave fans plenty to cheer when he opened his second round with three straight birdies, added a birdie on the fifth and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 10 under, making him the only player this week to reach double figures under par. The cheers were as loud as he has heard. "Just incredible," Lowry said. "You can't but smile, but can't but laugh how it is. There's no point trying to shy away from it. It's an incredible feeling getting applauded on every green, every tee box. I'm out there giving my best, trying to do my best for everyone." He three-putted the 14th, saved par on the next three holes with his deft touch around the greens, and closed with a bogey to fall back into a tie with Holmes, who played earlier in the day and was the first to post at 8-under 134. Holmes won at Riviera earlier this year, and then failed to make the cut in eight of his next 12 tournaments as he battled a two-way miss off the tee and felt so bad that he never thought he'd recover. But he did enough in Detroit three weeks ago to regain some confidence, and he has been in a groove at Portrush. "You can have that great round and that day where everything goes right. But it's nice to get two rounds in a row," Holmes said. "It shows a little consistency. And two days in a row I've hit the ball really well and putted well." Fleetwood and Westwood, two Englishmen at different stages in their careers, each had a 67 and will play in the group ahead of Lowry and Holmes. Westwood is 46 and can make a case as the best active player without a major considering his status — a former No. 1 in the world and on the European Tour — and the number of near misses in the majors, such as Muirfield and Turnberry at the Open, Torrey Pines in the U.S. Open and Augusta National when Mickelson out played him in 2010. Is it too late? Westwood wasn't willing to look that far ahead. "There's too much ground to cover before Sunday night," Westwood said. "There's a long way to go in this tournament. I've never felt under that much pressure, to be honest. You lads write about it. I've always gone out and done my best. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and if it doesn't, it doesn't." The experience of winning majors was behind them. Justin Rose had a 67 and was two shots behind, along with Cameron Smith of Australia and Justin Harding of South Africa. Another shot back was a group that included Koepka, who has won three of the last six majors. He was in a tie for eighth, the 16th time in his last 17 rounds at the majors he has ended a round in the top 10. Koepka wasn't happy with much about his 2-under 69, calling it "a little bit disappointing," perhaps because he played in dry weather and only a mild wind. "But at the same time, I'm close enough where I play a good weekend, I'll be in good shape," he said. Spieth hasn't quite figured out how to get the ball in play more often — too many bunkers on Thursday, too much high grass on Friday. But that putter is not a problem, and it carried him to a collection of mid-range birdie and par putts for a 67. "I'm in contention. I feel good," Spieth said, winless since his Open title at Royal Birkdale two years ago. "I feel like if I can continue to improve each day, hit the ball better tomorrow than I did today, and better on Sunday than Saturday, then I should have a chance with how I feel on and around the greens." Graeme McDowell, born and raised in Portrush, played well enough to make the weekend. He finished with four straight pars for a 70 to make the cut on the number at 1-over 143, and felt the pressure of sticking around for the home crowd. Woods, meanwhile, began this major championship season as the Masters champion, ended it as a mystery. He missed the cut in two of the next three majors, and never seemed fully fit or engaged at the British Open. He was 3 under for his round through 11 holes with hopes of making it to the weekend, but he had no more birdies and finished with two bogeys for a 70 to miss by five shots. "I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win, and I will win tournaments," Woods said, facing the reality of a 43-year-old who has gone through eight surgeries on his knee and back. "But there are times when I'm just not going to be there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 20th, 2019

Strong finish not enough for Woods at US Open

By Josh Dubow, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The crowd was roaring, the birdies were dropping and Tiger Woods looked like his vintage self for the final 12 holes of the U.S. Open. The problem for Woods was what happened on the first 60 holes. Woods salvaged an otherwise disappointing weekend at Pebble Beach by birdieing six of his final 12 holes Sunday to finish the tournament at 2-under par, far behind the top contenders on a weekend made for low scores. Woods finally got in on the action after bogeys on four of the first six holes with an impressive turnaround that even he couldn't explain. "I wish I would have known because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that, he said. "Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off. Turned back around and got it to under par for the week which is — normally it's a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it." The problem for Woods all weekend was his inability to take advantage of the scoring opportunities on the first seven holes at Pebble Beach. He played that stretch at 2-over par for the tournament and 4 over in the final two rounds. Woods left his approach shots short on three of the early bogeys on Sunday and hit a tee shot into the rough at the par-3 fifth hole on the other. As he walked off the sixth green after his fourth bogey, Woods trudged toward the seventh tee, head down, seemingly defeated. But then he made a 15-footer for birdie at 7, hit an approach to 5 feet on 8 for another birdie and drained a 40-foot putt on 13, prompting a fan to yell, "The comeback has started!" While that might have been a bit of hyperbole, Woods hit another great approach shot on 16 to get back under par for the tournament and closed it out with another on 18 to the delight of the fans. "Just because I got off to a bad start doesn't mean it's over," he said. "Keep grinding, keep playing. And I was able to turn my round around today as well as yesterday. So rounds that could have easily slipped away and kind of gone the other way pretty easily I was able it to turnaround." The final round of 69 tied for Woods' second-best closing round ever at a U.S. Open, behind only the 67 at Pebble Beach in 2000 when he had a record-setting 15-stroke win. Now after starting the year by winning his first major since 2008 at the Masters, Woods has missed the cut at the PGA Championship last month and finished far out of the lead at the U.S. Open. He plans to take a few weeks off from competition before gearing up for a run at his 16th career major next month at the British Open, played on an unfamiliar course to him at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. "I'm looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure out," Woods said. "I hope that my practice rounds are such that we get different winds, especially on a golf course that I've never played, and to get a different feel how it could play for the week. And definitely have to do my homework once I get there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019

Fowler and the USGA off to a good start at US Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Rickie Fowler had an ideal start Thursday in the U.S. Open, and so did the USGA. Pebble Beach was as gentle as could be in the opening round, and Fowler was among those who took advantage with six birdies for a 5-under 66, giving him a share of the early lead with Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen. The notorious wind off the Pacific coast was little more than a breeze. The course was lush green and relatively soft. The USGA wanted to start conservatively and make it progressively more difficult, a forecast of dry weather gives officials a lot more control. This was the day to take advantage. Schauffele, who keeps showing up in golf's biggest events, holed a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to join Fowler at 66. Oosthuizen holed out for eagle from 95 yards at No. 11, his second hole of the day. "It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing," Rory McIlroy said after a 68, his first sub-70 round at the U.S. Open since he won at Congressional in 2011. "They can do whatever they want with from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday, and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you." Two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods played in the afternoon. Koepka reached 4 under through seven holes until a bogey on No. 8, while Woods had three birdies to atone for a double bogey on par-3 fifth. He was 1 under through seven. Scott Piercy made bogey on the 18th for a 67. He was the first player to get everyone's attention when he made three birdies and an eagle through the opening six holes — the scoring holes at Pebble — and was 5 under. Graeme McDowell saw the score when he walked off the 10th green at the start of his round and quipped to his caddie, "All the USGA radios are going off and they're saying, 'Turn off the water — NOW!'" McDowell won the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010 when it was so difficult he made only one birdie in the final round and no one broke par for the week. Even as he saw low scores on the board — he had a bogey-free 69, one of 16 rounds in the 60s among the early starters — McDowell feared what was to come. What really got his attention was Phil Mickelson being some 30 feet above the hole at No. 1, which should ordinarily have been a lightning fast putt. Mickelson left it short. "I don't think level par wins this week," he said. "Careful what you wish for, because I think we're going to see it come the weekend." Mickelson, in his fifth attempt at the career Grand Slam, opened with a 72 that certainly didn't hurt him, but only two birdies held him back. Two of his bogeys came from missing the fairway with an iron off the tee. The other was a careless three-putt — he missed from 22 inches. Dustin Johnson was only one shot better, and he could have been a lot worse except for a magnificent short game, no shot better than his flop shop from well behind the eighth green to 2 feet. He nearly drove the green on No. 4, a dangerous shot because the coast line hugs the right side. Why driver? "Because I'd bogeyed the last two holes," Johnson said with a wry smile. "I needed a birdie." That wasn't impatience that often dooms chances at a U.S. Open. That was recognition that scores were to be had, and this might be the best day. Fowler picked up three birdies in seven holes, dropped a shot at the turn and added three birdies on the back. It's the second time in three years at the U.S. Open he has started well — he had a 65 in the first round at Erin Hills — but the focus is on how he finishes. Even though he's 30, with seven victories on the PGA Tour and European Tour combined, Fowler is on that list of best without a major, perhaps because he's had so many top finishes. So the start was important. "It was very stress free," Fowler said. "You never feel in cruise control at a major, especially a U.S. Open, but the execution was very good today. ... It was the worst I could have shot, so that's a good thing. I'm happy with the start. You can't go out and win it up the first day, but you can obviously take yourself out of it and you're having to fight back." Schauffele also appears poised to break through in his third full year on tour. He first gained attention with his tie for fifth in his U.S. Open debut two years ago, and he tied for sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills. He also has runner-up finishes in the British Open and the Masters. His big break came at the end when he caught his drive off the toe and it hit off a rock framing the left side, bounding down the fairway. From there, he only had 8-iron to set up his eagle. "Very fortunate, and happy we capitalized on a really lucky break," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2019

Patrick Cantlay rallies from 4 back to win the Memorial

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Patrick Cantlay got another handshake with Jack Nicklaus, this time as the Memorial winner. Starting four shots behind, Cantlay closed with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot victory Sunday. It was the lowest final round by a winner in tournament history, and it moved the 27-year-old Californian into the top 10 in the world. Martin Kaymer, trying to end five years without a victory, started with a two-shot lead and never recovered from back-to-back bogeys on the back nine. He shot 38 on the back nine and finished with a 72. Adam Scott was the last player with a chance to catch Cantlay when he ran off three straight birdies to get within two shots, but he narrowly missed birdies on the last two holes and had to settle for a 68. Cantlay first met the tournament host in 2011 when he won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top player in college at UCLA. And he leaned on the advice of Nicklaus going into the final round to relax, enjoy the surroundings and finish it off. "I finished it," Cantlay told Nicklaus as he walked off the 18th green after making an 8-foot par putt that effectively sealed it. Cantlay finished at 19-under 269 and won for the second time in a PGA Tour career that is younger than it seems. A rising star coming out of UCLA — he was low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open and opened with a 60 at the Travelers Championship a week later — he missed two full years with a back injury that nearly cost him his career. He is in his third full year since returning, and a victory over a strong field on a strong course is what long was expected of his skills. And there some atonement at Muirfield Village for Cantlay. A year ago, he took a two-shot lead to the back nine and didn't make a birdie the rest of the way, missing a playoff by two shots. This time, he putted for birdie on every hole on the back nine until the 18th. "Being able to win on this golf course, in front of Jacking, making that putt on the last hole, I can't tell you how good it feels," he said. Scott finished at 17-under 271. Only six other players have had a lower 72-hole score at the Memorial since it began in 1976. One of them is Cantlay, who moves to No. 8 in the world with a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach looming. Cantlay is the only player to finish in the top 10 at both majors this year, leading late at the Masters until two bogeys over the last three holes. Tiger Woods knew he had no chance to win the Memorial from 11 shots behind going into the final round, though he still put on a show and got what he needed out of his final event before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He went out in 31 and was 7 under for his round through 12 holes until a sloppy bogey on the 14th and a closing bogey for a 67. He wound up in a tie for ninth at 9-under 279. "The goal today was to get to double digits (under par) and get something positive going into the Open," he said. "I got to double digits, I just didn't stay there." Kaymer is five years removed from his last victory at the 2014 U.S. Open and played like he was ready for that drought to end. He stuffed a wedge into a foot for birdie on the third hole, and stretched his lead to four shots by laying up on the par-5 fifth and spinning back a wedge to 6 feet. Cantlay was the only player who looked capable of chasing him and played like he had to. On the fifth, he sent his drive well to the right into the rough. It was on a hill, with a flat enough lie that he had the gallery move beyond the cart path for a route to the green. His 4-iron ran onto the green, setting up a birdie. No matter. For every birdie he made, Kaymer added another. Cantlay rolled in a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 eighth and was walking off the green, while behind him a work was posting another birdie for Kaymer at the seventh. But it all changed. Cantlay closed out the front nine with a 12-foot birdie to get within two, while Kaymer in the group behind chopped his way to a bogey. And then the German blinked twice with bogeys from bunker on No. 12 and with an errant shot from the fairway on No. 13. With two more birdies, Cantlay was on his way. DIVOTS: Nick Price was selected as the Memorial Tournament honoree for 2020. CBS host Jim Nantz was chosen to receive be the Memorial Journalism honoree. ... Matt Minister, the caddie for Cantlay, grew up in the Columbus area and played college golf at Ohio State......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 3rd, 2019