Notes Tiger in Need of Low Number

By Associated PressJune 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Plenty of players put up low scores in the third round of the Memorial Tournament on Saturday. Tiger Woods wasn't one of them.
Woods shot a 1-under 71 and enters Sunday's final round tied for 10th at 8-under 208. He trails co-leaders David Toms, Fred Couples, Bart Bryant and Jeff Sluman by four shots.
The low scores -- eight players shot 66 or lower in the third round -- proved to Woods that he can go low enough to win.
``Anybody can win this tournament right now, it seems like, because it's so bunched up,'' he said. ``It can be had out there. Guys can go low. Hopefully, I'm one of those guys tomorrow.''
Woods is the only three-time Memorial winner, running the table in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Each of those last two years, he won on a course that was saturated by heavy rains.
This is a different animal. It hasn't rained all week at Muirfield Village.
``The guys will continue to make birdies because the greens are soft. On top of that, they're perfectly smooth,'' Woods said. ``You feel guilty for not make any birdies from 20 feet.''
The greens are so receptive, he said it was easy to shoot at pins -- something he was looking forward to doing.
``I'm going to have to go out and shoot what these guys shot early today and hope that it'll be enough,'' he said.
After shooting 70 in each of the first two rounds at the Memorial, Jim Furyk took advantage of an early tee time to shoot an 8-under 64 in Saturday's third round. He birdied six holes in a row on the back side while shooting a 30.
``I've rarely walked off after nine holes saying, 'I got everything out of that nine holes that I could have,''' he said. ``But on the back nine, I did. I couldn't have scraped one more shot out of it.''
He enters the last round tied for 17th at 6-under 210.
Geoff was the low Ogilvy/Ogilvie in the 11:47 a.m. group in the third round of the Memorial.
Geoff Ogilvy shot a 66. Playing partner Joe Ogilvie had a 77.
Rory Sabbatini was able to shoot a 3-under 69 in the third despite battling a stomach virus. He had to make a stop at hole No. 15 because he felt so ill.
``He's been sick since 2 o'clock in the morning,'' said his wife, Amy, who was following her husband's group.
After signing his card, Sabbatini was whisked away in a golf cart and given intravenous fluids.
``He needs some fluids,'' Amy said.
After Jim Furyk completed his 64, he was met by two youngsters seeking autographs. He signed his name for them, then glanced at their faces.
``You went all 18 with me, didn't you?'' he asked. When they nodded their heads, he took off his cap, signed it and gave that to them as well.
Woody Austin, who moved within a shot of the lead with a 65, wore a loud red Tabasco shirt that featured repeated prints of poker chips and royal flushes.
``It's only the second time I've worn it,'' he said of the Hawaiian-motif shirt. ``I had a couple of people say, 'I like your shirt' or 'Can I have your shirt?' Nothing bad.''
He said he would wear a pattern on Sunday that was ``scenic.''
Scott Verplank incurred a one-stroke penalty in the first round when his ball slipped out of his hand and flipped over his coin marker on the green.
Just his luck, he had another ball mark question Saturday.
Verplank hit his approach into 6 feet at No. 13, then Kenny Perry followed by spinning back an approach that hit Verplank's ball, knocking it about 2 feet away.
The ruling was simple -- Verplank simply replaced his ball where it had been. But just to be sure, he called over official Slugger White.
``I had to tell him I had another ball mark ruling,'' Verplank told Perry on the next tee.
He then demonstrated to Perry what happened to him Thursday.
Ernie Els is even par through three rounds and will not win a second consecutive Memorial Tournament title.
He's OK with that.
``No, that's history,'' he said of his chase for a second straight title at Muirfield Village. ``I just want to play good tomorrow, work on my game, get something out of this tournament at least and then hit the next week.''
He'll play next week at the Booz Allen Classic before heading for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, after shooting a 65 in the third round: ``Five minutes of glory, my five minutes of fame.''
The four-way tie for the Memorial's top spot was the tournament's biggest through 54 holes. Three shared the lead in 1981. ... Only the BellSouth Classic had a bigger logjam through three rounds -- a five-way tie for first. ... Toms used a 5-iron on his ace at the 201-yard fourth hole. ... Sluman hasn't won a regular PGA Tour event since the 2002 Greater Milwaukee, and Couples since the 2003 Shell Houston Open.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
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  • Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.

    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery

    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

    Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

    By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

    “I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

    Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

    According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

    Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

    Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

    “He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

    Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.

    Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes