Can Anyone Rival Tiger Woods

By Associated PressMay 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus were side by side on the practice range Wednesday, the two most prolific major champions in golf who looked nothing alike except for the sweat pouring off their faces on a steamy day at Muirfield Village.
Nicklaus was warming up for the pro-am, the closest he gets to competition these days.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has won three of seven starts on the PGA TOUR this year. (WireImage)
Woods was shaking off rust as he tries to win for the fourth time this year, with one eye on the U.S. Open in two weeks.
There are amazing parallels in their careers, from green jackets at Augusta National to the two claret jugs at St. Andrews. They were the youngest of their eras to complete the career Grand Slam. Both were 30 when their fathers died, and both went on to win the British Open that summer.
Perhaps the most glaring difference was their rivals.
Nicklaus had rivals with staying power that stretched over two decades, from Arnold Palmer to Gary Player, Lee Trevino to Tom Watson. Woods' rivals seem to come and go like fashion trends -- David Duval in 1999, Phil Mickelson in 2001, Ernie Els in 2002, Vijay Singh in 2004, nobody in 2000.
After his pro-am round at the Memorial, Woods recalled talking to Nicklaus about rivalries.
'He said that as long as you're part of the conversation over 20 years,' Woods said with a smile, 'then you're doing all right.'
Mickelson has joined the conversation again.
A week after Woods won the Wachovia Championship, Mickelson won THE PLAYERS Championship. They are 1-2 in the world ranking and on the PGA TOUR money list. Both return to action this week at the Memorial, which has a 107-man field with the focus squarely on two players.
'He's playing better, no doubt about that,' Woods said.
Mickelson has 31 victories on the PGA TOUR -- no one has more among active players except Woods -- and now is working with Butch Harmon, the celebrated swing coach who refined and then retooled Woods' swing at the start of his career.
Of all the rivalries Woods has faced, this is the most natural, even he says that his biggest rival is himself.
'I keep pushing myself pretty hard regardless,' he said. 'I always try and get better. You can't stay stagnant in any sport. You've always got to keep getting better, because you know the guys are training harder; they're refining their game.'
Asked about their renewed rivalry, Mickelson said it was flattering.
'To me, anyway,' he quickly added. 'Probably not to him, but it's flattering to me.'
Mickelson began working with Harmon right before the Byron Nelson Championship at the end of April, and the results have been on the upswing. He was third at the Nelson, third at Wachovia and won THE PLAYERS.
With the U.S. Open approaching, former U.S. Open champion Johnny Miller gives Mickelson the edge.
'I believe he's the favorite right now,' Miller said Wednesday. 'Give me Tiger or Phil right now, I'll take Phil.'
Mickelson was on top of his game a year ago, coming off his second Masters title, with Woods taking two months off to cope with the death of his father. He had a one-shot lead going into the final hole at Winged Foot, only to make double bogey and lose by one.
Woods, who had missed the cut, won the next two majors, and the search was on for another rival.
Mickelson doesn't waste much time studying the world ranking, because the gap is more of a chasm; Woods is likely to hold down the No. 1 position the rest of the year no matter what Lefty can accomplish.
And even smaller goals -- Mickelson has never won a money title or player of the year -- will take some extraordinary achievements.
'We're talking about probably the best player of all time,' Mickelson said. 'I'm working hard. I think it's going to take some time for me to get ultimately where I wanted to be, as far as where I want my swing to be, as far as where I want my ball-striking to be and my misses. But I'm certainly optimistic with the early success that I've had.'
He would like to find more at Muirfield Village, which has an impressive roll call of winners. Woods won three straight times at the turn of the decade. Other past champions include Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk.
'A lot of great players have won this tournament. I have not,' Mickelson said. 'I think it's one of the tour events that I would very much like to win.'
That would ratchet the rivalry up another notch, and Nicklaus wouldn't mind seeing that. He was asked earlier in the week if it would be better for golf to have someone measure up to Woods.
'If somebody can play that well,' Nicklaus replied. 'That's all it amounts to.'
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.