Grand Slam for Tiger Dont Bet Against Him

By Associated PressMarch 18, 2008, 4:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Bart Bryant won $626,400 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, so its not like he doesnt have some incentive to continue his golfing career. Vijay Singh got $301,600 for finishing in a tie for third, and hell keep playing, too.
 
Life is good on the PGA TOUR, where the hotels are five-star, the food is gourmet, and theres always a courtesy car waiting at the airport. The moneys good, too, so good that last year 99 players made more than a million dollars.
 
As for winning? Well, theres always those weeks that Tiger Woods decides to stay home and play with his infant daughter.
 
And you never know, he could always get food poisoning and have to play sick. Wait, that already happened and he won anyway.
 
If bacteria cant beat Woods, does Bart Bryant have a chance?
 
Actually, the 45-year-old Bryant stood up to Woods longer than most players with names golf fans recognize. They usually give up before the back nine, while Bryant made Woods work all the way to the 18th green.
 
Give Bryant a moral victory for that, much like the one J.B. Holmes got when he was cruising to a match play win over Woods a few weeks back before Woods decided enough was enough and put an end to that.
 
Unfortunately, they dont hand out trophies for moral victories.
 
Woods was always by far the best player in golf, but this is starting to get scary. Hes won every time hes put a tee in the ground the last six months, something that even the greats of the game like Nicklaus, Hogan and Palmer never dreamed of doing. Suddenly, talk of him not only winning the Grand Slam but going through the year undefeated no longer seems like such a fantasy.
 
Weve never seen anything like this. Golf has never seen anything like this.
 
I walked with Woods the Sunday he won his first pro tournament 12 years ago and knew he was going to be great. I was along for the ride when he won the Tiger Slam in 2000-2001 and figured he couldnt be any greater.
 
I dont know what to say now. Ive run out of superlatives to describe him.
 
So have his peers, who dont even bother to make excuses when he beats them.
 
What hes doing now, you cant even fathom it, Bryant said after Woods curled in a 25-footer on the final green Sunday to beat him. You just cant explain it. Its just incredible. Just what he did today is more evidence of this weird zone hes in. And hes been in it his whole life.
 
Woods has never been in it more than he is right now. There was a time when opponents hoped that marriage might slow him down, but it didnt. They then put their hopes in fatherhood, which only seemed to make him more content instead of more beatable.
 
If theyre waiting for age to have an affect, theyll be waiting a long time. Woods is just 32, young in golfers years, and one look at his broad shoulders and powerful arms is all it takes to know he takes care of himself.
 
Still, the talk of going through an entire season undefeated is just silly. Or is it?
 
Woods will probably play in 14 more tournaments this year, including the four majors. Most are on courses hes very familiar with and has had great success on.
 
Hell be playing against guys already cowed by his greatness, which means no one is going to make a back nine charge to beat him on Sunday. Zach Johnson may have done it last year in the Masters, but Johnson was playing well ahead of Woods and with the blissful ignorance of someone who really didnt comprehend what was happening.
 
Even if going undefeated may be a stretch'and it may be, though youd be hard-pressed to bet against the man who many already consider the greatest golfer ever'the odds of Woods becoming only the second player behind Bobby Jones to win the Grand Slam look awfully good. And it wasnt that many years ago that people thought winning all four majors in one year was impossible.
 
Lets assume he wins the Masters, which is looking right now like a pretty good assumption. He then goes to one of his favorite courses, Torrey Pines, where he blew away the field earlier this year, as a prohibitive favorite to win the U.S. Open. From there its on to Royal Birkdale, where 10 years ago he finished a shot back when his tee-to-green game was nowhere near what it is now.
 
That leaves the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He hasnt been there since the 2004 Ryder Cup, but at least this time he wont have to count on Phil Mickelson to help him out.
 
The only big tournament Woods might lose this year might be the Ryder Cup, and thats only because he doesnt play well with others.
 
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas like his chances. At the end of last year, you could get 20-1 betting Woods to get the Grand Slam, a number that now has dropped to 4-1. Incredibly, you can take every other player in the Masters against Woods and he would still would still be a betting favorite.
 
Woods may only win 10 tournaments this year instead of 17. He may win just three majors instead of four.
 
This is golf, so theres always a chance that a Brad Bryant or Zach Johnson might somehow get the upper hand over 72 holes on one given week. Heck, Mickelson might even steal one from him.
 
Then again, he may just run the table.
 
He is Tiger Woods, after all.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

    Getty Images

    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.