Double-double: Furyk falls six back following a disastrous finish

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2011, 12:42 am

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. –  Jim Furyk has been mired in one of the worst slumps of his career and with a few swings Saturday, all the bad feelings came rushing back.

Furyk dumped his tee shot in the pond on the par-3 15th and two more balls in the water at the brutal 18th hole, taking a pair of double bogeys that put a severe crimp in his hopes at the PGA Championship.

On Moving Day, he was going the wrong way. Furyk struggled home with a 3-over 73, giving up five shots on the final five holes and going from a contender for the lead to a half-dozen strokes behind heading into the final round.

He didn’t speak with the media afterward, but his body language said it all. After his second ball went into the water, Furyk’s knees buckled and he bent over as if he’d been punched in the stomach. He put his hands behind his head and stared at the ground, knowing his good play much of the week was largely undone by the brutal finish.

But things are looking up for the golfer who won the PGA the last time it was played at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001.

David Toms went out early and posted a 65 for the best round of the day. He got rolling with a long eagle putt at the 12th, birdied the next two holes, and then rolled in a 15-foot birdie at the 18th – the same hole that would bite Furyk – after just clearing the water with his approach.

Toms will head into Sunday five shots behind surprising co-leaders Brendan Steele and Jason Dufner.

ldquo;Obviously it will take a great round,” Toms said. “But you never know. I mean, that was the goal of the day was to have a good round. I didn’t know it was going to be a great round.”

Toms is having a career renaissance at age 44, winning for the first time in five years, finishing second at the Players Championship and coming into the year’s final major off a strong ninth-place finish in the World Golf Championship earlier this month.

ldquo;I just wanted to have a good round to give myself a chance,” he said. “Now, if I can have one of those days (on Sunday), I certainly will be in the mix.”

Toms wasn’t the only one moving in the right direction. Barely noticed, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel surged into contention for his second major title of the year with a 66. He was steady as they come, staying away from bogeys, making birdies on the two par-5s and mixing in two more birdies to become a final-round factor.

Like Toms, the South African faces a five-stroke deficit on Sunday.

If he can post another 66, who knows?

ldquo;The first two days there were too many bogeys and double bogeys,” Schwartzel said. “I managed to prevent those.”

He did a much better job on the last four holes, one of the toughest finishing stretches in major championship history. After playing those holes at a combined 5 over the first two rounds, Schwartzel was 1 under Saturday – making a birdie at the 15th, taking advantage of a par-3 hole that was moved up to 223 yards, and closing with three straight pars.

ldquo;Some of the toughest holes I’ve played,” he said. “Those last four holes are going to decide this golf tournament.”

Furyk wouldn’t argue with that, especially with the way he staggered to the end.

Maybe it was only appropriate. He hasn’t finished higher than ninth this year, had missed the cut in five of nine events before Atlanta and is down to 25th in the world rankings.

Furyk’s slide caught everyone off guard, given that he was coming off a 2010 season with a career-best three victories, including the year-ending Tour Championship.

At least he’s closer to the PGA lead than Rory McIlroy.

The U.S. Open champion came into Atlanta as the favorite, but his hopes of winning a second major as a 22-year-old were largely snuffed out on his third hole of the week, when he foolishly chose to strike a shot off a tree root and injured his right wrist.

McIlroy played on, coming into Saturday eight shots off the lead and still believing he could contend.

Those hopes are over after a 74 left him 14 shots behind Steele and Dufner.

ldquo;It was another frustrating day,” McIlroy said. “I need something really good to finish in the top 20 or top 30. I want to try and do that.”

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm