Notes Tigers troubles A kinder gentler No 17

By Associated PressMay 10, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' After playing consecutive tournaments for the first time in more than a year, Tiger Woods left knee felt just fine.
His swing, though, wasnt quite right.
Woods, playing in the final pairing with third-round leader Alex Cejka, shot a 1-over 73 in the final round Sunday and finished eighth at The Players Championship.
I just kept hitting those spinners up to the right, said Woods, who failed to win while in the final pairing for the first time since the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. It was frustrating. If I aimed it down the right side, I would still spin it off to the right. And if I aimed it down the left side, I would still spin it off to the right.
It started early, too. Woods bogeyed two of the first four holes while fading shots right on each of them. He pushed his approach shot well right of the pin on No. 1, found the water right with his second shot at the par-5 second, was off the green right at the par-3 third and then found the right rough off the tee at the fourth.
It was more of the same over his next six holes.
Ill fix it, no problem, the worlds No. 1 golfer said. Its just that when youre playing a golf course like this and you dont have it quite right and the greens are this fast, this hard, you can shoot some pretty high numbers. As you can see out there, some guys probably went pretty high.
Only 20 of 70 players broke par Sunday, so Woods thought he still had a shot to get back in the mix until he failed to make birdie at Nos. 11 and 12, which played as two of the easiest holes during the final round.
Although he managed to birdie two of the final five holes, he didnt have a shot at winning the Players for the first time since 2001.
Now, hell take three weeks off before returning to action at the Memorial.
As for his swing, hes not really that concerned.
We know what it is, he said. Its just a matter of me doing it. Sometimes, as we all know playing the game, its hard to do out on the golf course. I just need to do a little better job of it.

FANTASY ISLAND: The infamous island green, No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass, wasnt nearly as menacing as its been in recent years.
Only 30 balls were hit into the murky water during the four rounds, 34 fewer than in 2008 and 63 fewer than in 2007. The four-day total was the tournaments lowest since 29 got wet in 2003. Only six balls missed the 4,000-square-foot putting surface Sunday.
Not coincidentally, the hole played to an average of 3.025. Thats the lowest average since it played under par (2.952) in 1997.

TRANSLATION PLEASE: As eventual winner Henrik Stenson and his caddie, Fanny Sunesson, discussed club selection in Swedish on Sunday in the middle of the 18th fairway, NBC analyst Johnny Miller delivered one of the best lines of the telecast.
Its probably the only part of the telecast Elin Woods is enjoying, Miller said, referring to Tiger Woods wife, a former Swedish model.

DIVOTS: Jeff Klauk, the son of longtime course superintendent Fred Klauk, led the field in driving accuracy. It might not have been much of a surprise because Klauk figures he has played the famed Stadium Course more than a thousand times. NBCs coverage of the third round drew a 2.8 overnight rating and 7 share, up 33 percent from last year. Playing by himself and with the first tee time Sunday morning, Aaron Baddeley shot a 6-under 66 in the calm conditions. He probably didnt know how good it would be. Baddeley ended up tying for ninth, eight shots behind winner Henrik Stenson.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.