Maruyama Looks to End Tigers Run

By Associated PressMarch 19, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Bay Hill InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods' drive for five at the Bay Hill Invitational took a major detour Friday.
 
Trying to become the first player in history to win the same tournament five years in a row, Woods was out of bounds and in the trees on his way to a 2-over 74, which left him nine shots behind Shigeki Maruyama and needing to match his greatest 36-hole comeback to keep the streak alive.
 
'I just need to play well and put myself in position where I can give it a run on Sunday,' Woods said. 'If the leaders play well, hats off to them. I just need to take care of my own business.'
 
As surprising as it was to see Woods so far down the leaderboard, it was equally stunning to see Maruyama playing like he owns this course.
 
In 10 previous rounds at Bay Hill, the Japanese star had never broken 70. Despite a three-putt bogey to end his round, Maruyama still piled up enough birdies for his second straight 66, giving him a two-shot lead over Darren Clarke, Chad Campbell and Stuart Appleby.
 
Maruyama was among the 36-hole leaders at Torrey Pines four years ago when Woods was trying to win his seventh consecutive PGA Tour event. Asked then if he could end the streak, Maruyama smiled and said, 'No chance.'
 
He and Woods wound up in a tie for second behind Phil Mickelson that year.
 
On Friday, Maruyama again showed deference when asked if he was the guy to end Woods' streak at Bay Hill.
 
'Very difficult question,' he said with a smile. 'Maybe eight shots from Tiger Woods after the third round, I would have a good chance.'
 
Woods might be the least of Maruyama's worries.
 
Clarke had a chance to share the lead when he had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, but he three-putted for bogey, dropping him to a 68. It took him a while to cool off, but Clarke saw the big picture.
 
'I'm only two shots back going into the weekend, which is not bad,' he said.
 
Appleby holed a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole, No. 9, for a 67.
 
Campbell could be the man to watch on the weekend.
 
A rock-solid Texan and one of the rising stars on the PGA Tour, he has kept mistakes to a minimum. Campbell escaped serious trouble on the first hole, making a 6-footer for bogey, but he chipped in for birdie on the par-3 second hole for the second straight day and finished with a 68.
 
Again, the loudest cheers were for his partner -- Arnold Palmer, who can still put on a show.
 
The 74-year-old tournament host, likely playing in his last Bay Hill Invitational, hit driver from the fairway on No. 18 and chased it up the green to about 30 feet. He got his par for a 79, the first time he has broken 80 at his tournament in three years.
 
'He's still got some game,' Campbell said.
 
While it was a treat to play with the King for two days, nothing beats posing with him Sunday when Palmer hands over the trophy and the $900,000 check.
 
'That would be awesome,' Campbell said. 'But I've got a lot of work ahead of me. I would like the opportunity to be there.'
 
Several guys won't have that chance.
 
No one has their work cut out for them quite like Woods.
 
Maruyama was already done with his 66 when Woods teed off, and it was as clear as the blue skies over Bay Hill that scoring conditions again were benign.
 
None of that mattered to Woods, who flared a 3-wood out-of-bounds by about 6 inches on No. 11, leading to double bogey. He hit into the trees on No. 15 and had to pitch out sideways, leading to another bogey. And when he tried to get back in the game, Woods missed a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 6.
 
'I tried to battle back,' Woods said. 'I didn't hit it quite good enough to put myself in position to make putts, and when I did it, I missed.'
 
He won the '99 Buick Invitational after trailing by nine shots going into the weekend, but he has plenty of proven players among the two dozen guys ahead of him.
 
Ernie Els, back on the PGA Tour for the first time since winning the Sony Open, shot 72 and finished at 1-over 145, missing the cut by one stroke. Els had the second-longest active cut streak on tour (30), although that was light years behind the 119 in a row that Woods extended Friday.
 
Retief Goosen also missed the cut with a 74, ending his streak at 30 of consecutive rounds at par or better.
 
Divots: There have been 51 rounds in the 60s over the first two days, the highest number at the Bay Hill Invitational in 22 years. There were 53 sub-70 scores the first two days in 1982. ... Stephen Ames had a chance to tie the course record of 62 with a birdie on the 18th hole. Instead, he hit into the greenside bunker and wound up with a double bogey for a 7-under 65. ... John Daly, needing two good tournaments to get into the Masters, had a 70 and was six shots behind. ... Vijay Singh shot even-par 72 and was eight shots off the lead.
 
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    Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:



    Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.



    At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd is loving it.

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    Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

    Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

    It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    “I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

    After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

    Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

    “It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

    Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

    In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

    Made Cut

    Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

    Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

    “What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

    Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

    #MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

    Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

    Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

    Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

    “I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

    The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

    During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

    “Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

    The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

    Stay tuned.

    Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

    The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

    On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

    That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.


    Missed Cut

    West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

    J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

    Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

    But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

    Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

    It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.