The Legend of Tiger Woods Grows Yet Again

By Associated PressJune 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- The legend grows.
 
On a sunny day on the California coast, Tiger Woods beat a guy ranked 158th in the world'and the world couldnt get enough of it.
 
This wasnt Rocco versus Tiger for the U.S. Open title. This was Rocky against the champ in a slugfest so compelling that even an extra 18 holes couldnt settle it.
 
In one corner was the superstar who seems to summon superhero powers when he needs them most. In the other was the common man who won over a crowd and a country with his ready smile and quick wit, someone we could imagine ourselves trading places with as he played Woods for the national championship.
 
Southern Californians who apparently dont have to work Mondays like they do in the rest of the country came out in huge numbers to watch. Productivity had to drop to zero in offices around the country as workers sneaked peeks at the television or followed the action online.
 
They played 19 before the gritty underdog finally succumbed to the inevitable. They could have played 19 more and it would have likely been just as close.
 
And in the end, a few words from the great one seemed to mean almost as much to Rocco Mediate as the U.S. Open title he so desperately wanted to win.
 
Great fight, Woods told him.
 
That was all Mediate wanted to give Woods, all he wanted to be remembered for when the historians of the sport look back to the five days that unfolded on a muni perched on a cliff above the blue Pacific. He craved the respect of the greatest golfer of his era, while nervously cherishing the challenge of matching him shot for shot.
 
He would have loved to be the Open champion, loved to bask in the glory of his only major title. But after a week of dramatics from Woods, he had to know deep inside that the drama on this final day wouldnt be one he would be writing.
 
Mediate would have been the Open champion had Woods not made a birdie on the last hole Sunday. He would have been the Open champion had Woods not made a birdie on the 18th hole Monday.
 
Hes not the Open champion because, well, Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods.
 
Two days earlier, he played through pain to give us a thrill on the back nine to take the Open lead. The next day he calmly stroked a 12-footer into the side of the cup on the 18th hole to force another 18 holes of overtime.
 
And in a final bit of drama he finally managed to find the fairway on No. 18 on Monday to come from a shot behind before finishing Mediate off with a routine par on the first playoff hole.
 
Weve all seen it before so we all knew it was coming. Mediate is no dummy, so he had to know it was coming, too.
 
When it finally happened, Woods hugged caddie Stevie Williams, headed back to the 18th green to hold his toddler daughter, and tried to put it all into some kind of perspective.
 
It wasnt that hard. Because just when you thought the lore that is Tiger Woods couldnt possibly grow any more, he topped everything.
 
The fact that it came on a bum knee in a place that has meant so much to him made it even better. With his father watching, Woods won the junior world here as a teen-ager, then added six Buick Invitational titles at Torrey Pines. This time it was his daughter walking and watching what may be his biggest win since his first major, the 1997 Masters.
 
This is probably the greatest tournament Ive ever had, Woods said.
 
Mediate might say the same thing, even though he had to console himself with second-place money and a ton of new fans who yelled his name as he walked the fairways, smiling at every turn and sweating so much that the towel his caddie carried looked as if it had just come out of the wash.
 
For his appearance on centerstage, Mediate came dressed exactly like Woods, with his black pants, red shirt, black vest and black hat. In Tigers clothes, he didnt have Tigers game but he had enough to come from three shots down after 10 holes to take an improbable lead into the 18th hole that might have stood up against anybody else.
 
Unfortunately for the Mediate family trophy case, this wasnt anybody else. This was quite possibly the best player ever to don long pants and swing a golf club. This was a great athlete in his prime who seems to have the ability to do what no one else can'summon up the shot he needs when he needs it the most.
 
Hes always a little better when it means more, swing coach Hank Haney said.
 
The fact Woods did it again wasnt all that surprising. Hes now won 14 major championships, four short of Jack Nicklaus, and nearly every one of them has had a compelling storyline, from his runaway win at the Masters to his tearful win after his fathers death at the British Open.
 
The story this time took a little longer to unfold, but the ending was all so familiar. It came despite the rust of inactivity and the pain in a left knee that was surgically repaired after the Masters and may cause him to miss the British next month.
 
That didnt stop Woods and neither, ultimately, did Mediate. The ride was wild and the show was great, but in the end it was Woods standing on the 18th green with the U.S. Open trophy in his hands.
 
Theres no sense debating the greatness that is Tiger Woods anymore. If we werent past that point already, Woods took us past it in one magical week.
 
All both we and Mediate can do is appreciate it.
 

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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.