Magical Finish Gives Woods Open Lead

By Associated PressJune 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Open went prime time, and so did Tiger Woods.
 
With unbearable pain and three unforgettable shots, Woods turned in one of his most memorable performances in a major Saturday by holing two long eagle putts, chipping in for birdie and somehow taking a one-shot lead over Lee Westwood.
 
Right when some 50,000 fans at Torrey Pines thought they had seen it all, Woods knocked in a 30-foot eagle on the 18th for a 1-under 70 and his first 54-hole lead in the U.S. Open since he won at Bethpage Black in 2002.
 
That he made it to the finish line was nearly as impressive as a magical array of shots.
 
His tender left knee first buckled on the 15th hole, and Woods used his club as a cane to get down the fairway, limping along while trying to stay in the hunt. He played the final six holes in 4 under -- and that included a bogey -- and will play in the final group for the sixth time in the last eight majors.
 
This time he has the lead, and he has never lost a major from the front.
 
But he has never won a major with a limp, either.
 
'Is it getting worse? Yes, it is,' said Woods, playing for the first time since surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee. 'Certain shots, I'll feel it. I can't say it's a drive, can't say it's a wedge. I'm not sure what shot it's going to happen on.'
 
Woods was at 3-under 210, one of only three players still under par.
 
As spectacular as Woods played, Westwood got it done with steady golf so often required at this major. He holed a short birdie putt on the par-5 13th and finished with five straight pars, missing a 4-foot birdie on the last hole for a 70. The 35-year-old from England has never had this good an opportunity in a major.
 
'It will be nice going out last tomorrow and having a chance,' Westwood said.
 
Rocco Mediate, trying to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45, looked as though he would leave everyone behind when he made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 4-under and kept putting his shots in the fairway and on the green.
 
But a three-putt bogey on the 13th was the start of a four-hole stretch that he played 4-over par. That included a chip he bladed over the green and into a bunker for double bogey on the 15th. He had to settle for a 72 and was at 1-under 212.
 
Woods, grimacing with every step over the final hour in sunshine, lightly pumped his fist and smiled when his 30-foot eagle on the final hole broke sharply to the right down the hill and straightened in time to fall into the cup for his third eagle of the tournament.
 
There were other reasons to look so content.
 
'I'm done,' Woods said. 'It was nice that I could finish this round.'
 
The U.S. Open was broadcast in prime time, and Woods played the leading role with a six-hole stretch that was equal part drama, comedy and even science fiction -- the last six holes were out of this world.
 
Woods was five shots behind standing at the back of the 13th green, facing a dangerously quick putt down the ridge from 70 feet. It was reminiscent of his putt on the 17th green at Sawgrass in 2001, minus the island. The line was perfect, speeding down the slope and bending sharply to the left in the final foot for an unlikely eagle.
 
Woods turned and pumped both fists, walking briskly.
 
But it was the tee shot two holes later where the pain could no longer be disguised. He took his hand off the driver immediately on the 15th and bent to the ground, balancing himself with his right finger twice. Two holes later, he again failed to get through the swing and sent his tee shot well to the right, again doubling over.
 
He braced each step with the club as he walked, putting drama into every shot.
 
Woods put his approach on the 17th into thick grass between a bunker and the green, giving him an awkward stance with his weight on the painful left side. The flop shot came out hot, and Woods looked concerned as he barked out instruction: 'Bite!'
 
It took one hop and disappeared in the bottom of the cup, and Woods broke into embarrassing laughter as caddie Steve Williams held out his hand to help him onto the green. That put Woods within one shot going to the par-5 18th, and he manufactured a cut shot to hit a fairway for the first time since the 10th hole.
 
He followed that with another cut shot, this time with a 5-wood, and the pain returned. Even as the ball descended against blue skies, Woods winced and stared at the ground, never seeing that it finished in the middle of the green.
 
'It was just exciting all day,' Mediate said. 'It was cool to be a part of that.'
 
The third round sure didn't shape up to contain that much excitement at the start.
 
Whatever momentum Woods carried from his back-nine 30 on Friday was gone when his opening tee shot settled into deep grass left of the first fairway. He was buried in the rough again, short of the green, hit a flop shot to the back collar, stubbed a chip and made double bogey for the second time in three days.
 
But he wasn't alone in his misery.
 
Stuart Appleby, who had a one-shot lead to start the third round, made bogey from the bunker on the opening hole by missing a 5-foot putt. That was one of his better efforts.
 
He stood over an 18-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole. Four putts later, he had a double bogey. Equally devastating was the par-5 ninth, when he turned a 3-foot birdie into a three-putt bogey. He finished with a 79 after his only birdie on the 18th.
 
D.J. Trahan three-putted for par on the 18th hole and threw his ball in the pond after a 73, leaving him at 1-over 214 along with former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who overcame a double bogey on the 14th for a 72.
 
Phil Mickelson finally put a driver in his bag, but it was the wedge that ended his dream of a U.S. Open victory in his hometown. In a 'Tin Cup' moment without the water, Lefty watched three sand wedge shots from 80 yards roll back to his feet on the par-5 13th before the fourth stayed up, and then he three-putted for a quadruple-bogey 9 -- his highest score in 1,206 holes at the U.S. Open -- on his way to a 76. He was at 10-over 223.
 
At least he was able to relive some childhood moments.
 
'I've had a 9 on 13,' Mickelson said. 'I was 8 years old. I have had a 9 there.'
 
Ogilvy could only rely on his own experience, when he won at Winged Foot two years ago as everyone collapsed at the end.
 
'You don't know what's going to happen in the last round at a U.S. Open,' he said.
 
Such is the case at Torrey Pines, even with Woods atop the leaderboard.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.