Notes Tigers Rollercoaster Week

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- An uneven performance on the front nine in Sunday's final round ensured Tiger Woods would be awarding -- not accepting -- the inaugural AT&T National championship trophy.
 
Woods, who entered the day seven strokes off the lead in a tie for eighth place at 2-under par, double bogeyed the 602-yard, par-5 9th hole to fall to 3 over for the round. He finished the round at even par and tied for sixth place at 2 under for the tournament.
 
'It basically put me out of the tournament,' Woods said of the double bogey. 'I had to go out there and play a picture perfect back nine -- and hope.'
 
His early downturn transformed his round from competitive to celebratory, as the massive gallery that followed him in the extreme heat at Congressional Country Club showered him with appreciation for bringing the tournament to the area. He and champion K.J. Choi were the only golfers who received standing ovations coming up the 18th fairway.
 
'I didn't get a 'W,' so that was frustrating in that sense,' Woods said. 'But this tournament, in general, has been a bigger success than anyone could have imagined.'
 
Woods parred the first three holes Sunday but bogeyed the par-4 4th after his approach from the fairway landed well short of the green.
 
His frustration then began to show when he dropped to even with a bogey at the 174-yard, par-3 7th.
 
Woods hit his tee shot in the rough to the left of the green and bladed his second shot over the green and into a bunker. The normally meticulous Woods then stormed over to his ball and hurriedly swiped it onto the green without a practice swing. Still, he sank the 15-foot bogey putt.
 
The momentum from that putt carried over to the par-4 8th, which he birdied despite landing his tee shot in the left rough.
 
But at No. 9, he drove the ball in the rough and hit his third shot in the rough to the left of the green. His ensuing pitch rolled off the green, sealing his fate.
 
Woods finished his round, though, with consecutive birdies and a smile. He was overwhelmingly pleased with the attendance for the weekend, which surpassed 139,000. The galleries -- his, in particular -- were vocal, energetic and knowledgeable.
 
'It was young, it was vivacious, it was special,' Woods said. 'To see that many kids out, that was just like how it was back when I first turned pro.'
 
APPLEBY FALTERS
Third-round leader Stuart Appleby watched his two-stroke lead quickly disappear as he dropped six strokes on his first seven holes. A double bogey on No. 2 and bogeys on Nos. 4-7 led to a 5-over 40 on the front nine en route to a final-round 76. He finished 3 under in a tie for third place.
 
Appleby snapped at reporters after signing his scorecard, pausing only to autograph a ball for a volunteer and ask a marshall which golf cart would take him to the clubhouse.
 
The double bogey at the 230-yard, par-3 2nd hole began Appleby's undoing. His tee shot landed 10 yards left of the cart path near the green, and his second shot reached the green but settled 37 feet away from the hole. He three-putted from there, including a miss from inside 4 feet.
 
STRICKER'S DROUGHT CONTINUES
Steve Stricker will have to wait at least another week to end his winless streak.
 
Stricker, who hasn't won since 2001, held the tournament lead by himself early on the back nine but faltered with bogeys at Nos. 11, 14 and 15 to finish in second place at 6 under, three strokes behind Choi.
 
'It was a great experience, again, but not really the results I was looking for,' Stricker said. 'But I can gain some confidence from this event and, hopefully, one of these times finish it off.'
 
Stricker placed in the top 10 for the sixth time this year. He shot a 3-under 32 on the front nine but fired a 38 on the back.
 
'It was tough putting,' he said. 'These poa annua greens were marked up. They were very difficult.'
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''