Notes Slimmer Tiger still on road to recovery

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem saw Tiger Woods for the first time since his season-ending surgery, and reported Sunday that the No. 1-ranked golfer was his usual self, except for being about 10 pounds lighter and walking with a slight limp.
 
He lost 12 or 13 pounds after surgery, gained a few back, Finchem said. He looks kind of thin.
 
Woods and Finchem were at Congressional Country Club to speak with the members about the club hosting the AT&T National for six years after the 2012 U.S. Open. Results of the vote are not expected until later this month.
 
And did the commissioner tell Woods how much he missed him?
 
No, I said we missed him ' the collective enterprise, Finchem said with a grin. You guys, tournaments, sponsors, the fans in Venezuela who watch us on TV. Everybody misses him.
 
Finchem said he had no indication when Woods might return, but little doubt how he will return.
 
The doctors set a minimum of six months, so thats what Im assuming, Finchem said. And he seems fine. He seems his usual self. He was limping a little bit at Congressional, but he said he started his rehab and he was excited about that because he had been bored to death.
 
In my mind, its only a question of when he starts coming back. And theres no doubt in my mind hell be the same Tiger hes been, Finchem added.
 
APPLYING SPIN
 
Despite bogeying three of the final four holes to turn a one-shot lead into a withering two-stroke defeat, Phil Mickelson forced a smile and repeatedly said how well he thought he played in his final-round 70 at the Bridgestone.
 
In his first two statements about his round, he described six good shots in the final five holes, and said he hit three great shots at No. 14 and played the 16th hole great.
 
Asked if he could take any positives out of his late slide, Mickelson said, I played great, I really played well. I played great today. I felt like I should have shot 63 or 64, had countless birdie opportunities from 6 to 15 feet and then I make three bogeys on the last four holes and turn a 64 into a 70.
 
So I feel like Im playing well, I just need to get that final piece of scoring down.
 
RYDER CUP UPDATE
 
Steve Stricker fell out of contention with a 75 in the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational and then closed with a 70 to tie for 43rd ' but he actually made up ground in the Ryder Cup race for Americans.
 
Stricker is still No. 8 in the standings ' the top eight are automatic selections ' and only 24 points behind Boo Weekley in the rankings, which end next week with the PGA Championship.
 
There was some jumbling right behind them, although Woody Austin remained in ninth place about 180 points back. That translates to roughly $90,000 in earnings he must make at Oakland Hills.
 
As for the reshuffling?
 
Hunter Mahan birdied his last two holes for a 68 to tie for 10th in Akron, moving up one spot to No. 10 in the rankings. D.J. Trahan tied for eighth at Firestone and moved up one spot to No. 11. Rocco Mediate tied for 52nd and fell two positions to No. 12. They are followed by Sean OHair and Zach Johnson (who switched spots at Nos. 13 and 14) and Brandt Snedeker.
 
STRAIGHT MAN
 
Peter Lonard should be able to afford that ticket back across the pond.
 
The Aussie joked earlier this week that he had to win to afford the airfare to Germany to see a musician friend play a concert.
 
Lonard followed rounds of 69, 66 and 72 with a closing 66 to finish at 7-under 273 at the Bridgestone, good for a tie for sixth with Darren Clarke. Lonard had tied for fourth a year ago in Akron.
 
Asked the secret to his recent success, he cracked: Maybe I hit it straighter than I used to. Maybe Im smarter. I dont know, its definitely not smarter.
 
DATE CHANGE
 
The 2009 Bridgestone will be a week later on the calendar, Aug. 6-9. It will still precede the PGA Championship, which will be Aug. 13-16 at Hazeltine.
 
HES BAA-AACK
 
Josh Stuber, the crunchy-cream pie chef who became a golf celebrity for a weekend, is back working at Firestone Country Club.
 
Stuber was on the loading dock putting pies in a cart during the third round of the 2006 Bridgestone Invitational when Tiger Woods overshot the ninth green. The ball clicked off the cement sidewalk and then caromed all the way up and over the roof of Firestones clubhouse.
 
The ball clanged around on the roof before sliding off and nearly hitting Stuber in the head. He thought someone was making fun of him, throwing a ball his way. After looking around, he picked up the ball and stuffed it into his pocket. Then he hopped in a golf cart and left the course, hoping to cash his weekly paycheck.
 
Back on the course, tour officials, security people, police and almost everyone else started an in-depth search for the ball. A review of a tape taken from a clubhouse security camera showed a man with a white chefs hat picking up a ball. Someone identified that man as Stuber.
 
By the time he returned to the course, Woods had taken a free drop, made a bogey to complete a 6-under 64 and took a one-shot lead. He won the next day in a playoff.
 
Woods later signed the ball for Stuber ' To Josh. Nice catch, Tiger Woods.
 
Stuber later left his job at the course and worked at a Chinese restaurant but recently returned to the cooking staff at Firestone.
 
Thankfully, no shots came even remotely close to him on Sunday.
 
DIVOTS
 
A year after only one person (winner Tiger Woods) finished under par, there were 26 subpar scores. The victory was Vijay Singhs 20th since turning 40, extending his own PGA TOUR record (Sam Snead is second with 17). It was the fourth time that Singh won a tournament the week before a major championship. Singh also became the oldest player ' by more than 7 years ' to win a World Golf Championship event. Paul Caseys 65 was the low round of the day.
 
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."