Despite Misses Tiger Still Lurking

By Associated PressApril 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- One errant putt left Tiger Woods scratching his head. Another had him taking a halfhearted swing at the scorer's shed.
If not for those and a few other near-misses, the four-time champion might be sitting atop the Masters leaderboard instead of eyeing it from a few spots below.
'I'm in contention, so it is a good spot,' he said after a 1-under 71 Friday left him five strokes behind leader Chad Campbell. 'I thought I hit the ball really well today, and I missed four putts I should have probably made.'
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods still has a fifth green jacket in his sights.
Golf's traditional Moving Day is Saturday, but Woods has always been a little ahead of the game. The 30-year-old Woods, a 2-to-1 favorite to win his fifth Masters title, tends to make his jump in the second round, then follow it with another move in the third.
He's never broken 70 in the first round at Augusta National. In each of the four years he's won, though, he's posted a second-day score in the 60s.
  • When he won his first title in 1997, a 66 on the second day took him from fourth to first, a spot he kept the final two days.
  • In 2001, when he won his second green jacket, he jumped from 15th to second with a second-round 66. He took the lead after a 68 in the third round.
  • In 2002, a 69 in the second round moved him from seventh to fourth. He took the lead with a third-round 66.
  • Last year, a 66 vaulted him from 33rd place all the way into third. A third-round 65 gave him the lead.
    This year, though, his putting -- not to mention the blustery conditions in the afternoon -- forced him to stay put.
    'It was windy, swirly, and it just played very difficult,' Woods said. 'I mean, a good shot can end up in a bad spot and you just have to accept the consequences and move on. It was very difficult.
    'The guys who went off early probably played in the wind maybe half the round, maybe more, maybe less,' he added. 'But, hey, that's just the way it is. Tomorrow, we're all out there about the same time, and you've got to go out there and play.'
    Woods' 71 Friday was one shot better than his first-round score, but he remained five strokes off the lead. He did move up nine spots in the standings, mostly because nobody else could do much of anything, either.
    Campbell had one of only three rounds in the 60s. Vijay Singh gave three strokes back from his first-round lead with three double bogeys, while Phil Mickelson finished exactly where he started. Forty-eight players made the cut.
    'I enjoy tournaments where if you shoot a round in the 60s, you've earned it and you're going to move up the board. I think that's what major championships are all about,' Woods said. 'This week, that's how it's playing. I'm 1-under par and I'm in 10th, that's pretty good.'
    And it could have been even better.
    He had a bogey on the par-3 fourth after a gust of wind got hold of his tee shot and deposited it in a bunker. He made another on 11 after the breeze grabbed the ball and pushed it off the green.
    He missed a birdie on the par-3 16th when his 7-footer burned the left edge of the cup and kept right on going. As the crowd groaned, Woods laughed in disbelief. After tapping in, he stood on the green, scratching his head.
    He missed another close one on 18, that one from about 8 feet. He swung at the ball in disgust, then took another swipe at the air as he walked into the scorer's hut.
    'I played well today, I really did,' Woods said. 'I missed probably about four putts that I probably should have made.'
    Woods is only the third player to win the Masters four times, tying him with Arnold Palmer and leaving him two behind Jack Nicklaus. But he has a few other things on his mind this week with his father, Earl Woods, battling cancer back in California.
    His condition is so serious his son flew across country to California the day before The Players Championship to check on him. Woods returned to Sawgrass and tied for 22nd, hurting his chances with poor iron play and substandard putting.
    Though this is the first time Earl Woods hasn't been in Augusta when his son played the Masters, Woods has refused to use his father's illness as an excuse. He prefers to focus on the course.
    And what he needs to do to get another one of those green jackets.
    'I'm only five back,' he said. 'And with the forecast, if it's unpredictable as it's been all week, we'll see how it is tomorrow.'
    Related Links:
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry