Notes Scott Longer Than Lefty as a Lefty

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods holed a birdie putt from 50 feet across the 12th green at Cog Hill. He twice nearly lost in the early rounds of Match Play, making 90 feet of putts against J.B. Holmes, and getting a second chance when Aaron Baddeley missed a 12-foot eagle putt on the 19th hole.
 
And dont forget Bay Hill, where Woods made a 25-foot putt on the final hole that his caddie said had a 1-in-15 chance of going in.
 
Even greatness in golf requires good fortune, and Woods had plenty during his latest winning streak.
 
That ran out at Doral, and so did a streak that began in September. Woods didnt make anything on Saturday, when he fell five shots behind Geoff Ogilvy, and he didnt make enough on Sunday and Monday, finishing two shots behind.
 
People dont really understand you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments, Woods said. I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. Thats what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things werent going that way this week.
 
Even with the streak over, it is no less amazing how much Woods wins relative to his peers.
 
Among active players, Woods, Vijay Singh and David Duval are the only ones to have strung together at least three straight victories.
 
Duval closed out his 1997 season with three straight wins. Singh won three straight during his nine-win season in 2004. Woods has done it five times'two streaks ended at three wins, one at five, one at six, one at seven.
 
It was going to end at some point, Ogilvy said after stopping the latest PGA TOUR streak at five.
 
Ogilvys only frustration was players being labeled as failures at the expense of Woods winning so much.
 
Its fun to watch the streak and its fun to watch the fans get so excited about stuff, Ogilvy said. The frustrating thing is that people think that were not trying and were flying the white flag. I dont think thats true in any case, really.
 

TRIVIA TIME:
There have been seven winning streaks of at least three PGA TOUR events since 1997. Name the only player who has ended those streaks more than once. Answer below.
 

SWITCH-HITTING SCOTT:
Adam Scott impressed many observers by playing a shot left-handed out of the bushes at Doral on the 17th hole of the second round. He isnt the only player to attempt a shot from the other side, but this was a full swing, and a beautiful one. Scott took the inverted club all the way back to parallel, and advanced it some 50 yards.
 
Apparently, hes quite good with a driver, too.
 
Swing coach Butch Harmon tells the story of Scott playing a practice round with Phil Mickelson at East Lake, asking to try Leftys driver on the 14th. He striped it, leaving him only 20 or so yards behind Mickelson.
 
Harmon was out in the fairway, and kicked Scotts ball forward so that it was nearly 10 yards ahead of Mickelson.
 
Suffice to say, Mickelson was surprised that Scott put it past him.
 
Even better, Harmon waited about four months before he told Mickelson what had happened. No doubt, Lefty was relieved.
 

CUTTING BACK:
Jim Furyk already has played eight times, and he now embarks on the busiest time of his year. Furyk said he will have no more than one week off at a time through the end of the TOUR Championship the last weekend in September, which has made him determined to cut back.
 
But where?
 
The issue we have now is theres a lot of good events, and when theyre crammed together, Ive really struggled making my schedule, Furyk said. It used to be easy. All those events in the fall, I only played one on the schedule (Las Vegas). Those other events were sprinkled in, and those were my weeks off. From now, I dont have a two-week break in the schedule unless I get hurt.
 
He is playing New Orleans because he does not want a two-week break before the Masters. His favorite tracks are Hilton Head, Colonial, Memorial and the Buick Open, and there are cant-miss events like Wachovia, The Players Championship and AT&T National.
 
The British Open is the first of four straight weeks because he is the defending champion at the Canadian Open.
 
Ive got to cut somewhere, but I dont know where, Furyk said. Im playing a lot at events that I think are OK for my game, but Im trying to not be worn out for the events I really love in summer. Next year, Ill do a better job. It should have taken me six months to figure it out, and its taken my two years.
 

CANADIAN SKINS:
Fred Couples and Greg Norman will square off long before the Presidents Cup next year. Both have agreed to play June 16-17 in the Telus World Skins Game, to be held at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in western Canada.
 
Theyve always had tremendous fields for this event, and Im looking forward to going up against the other players, including Greg, Couples said. The event will be held the Monday and Tuesday after the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
 
Couples has played the Canadian skins event eight times and earned $1.11 million, more than anyone. Norman won in 1997 by capturing 13 skins worth $275,000.
 
Other players are still to be announced, although defending champion John Daly will not be playing.
 

TRIVIA ANSWER:
Phil Mickelson.
 
He ended Woods six-tournament streak in 2000 at the Buick Invitational, and Duvals three-tournament streak at the Mercedes Championships in 1998 when it was played at La Costa.
 
The other players who won tournaments to end Woods winning streaks were Duffy Waldorf (00 Disney), Robert Damron (01 Byron Nelson), Henrik Stenson (07 Match Play) and Geoff Ogilvy at Doral.
 
Ryan Palmer ended Singhs streak in 2004 when he won at Disney.
 

STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has nine consecutive top-five finishes on the PGA TOUR, the longest streak of his career.
 

FINAL WORD:
Some people walk away thinking, Geez, that course must be great because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Other people walk away saying, Well, that course must be boring to play because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Everyone seems to be pretty split on the idea whether hard is good.'Geoff Ogilvy.
 
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

Getty Images

McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

Getty Images

What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x