Notes Woods still getting in walking shape

By Associated PressMarch 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Tiger Woods insists his surgically repaired left knee is fine.
 
Its the right ankle that was problematic for the worlds No. 1 player on Friday.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is still trying to find his form and strength. (Getty Images)
Woods seemed to be rubbing his right leg often during the second round of the CA Championship at Doral, and said afterward that his only physical problem was that his right ankle is a little sore.
 
He didnt appear too concerned about the issue, even interrupting his own answer to break into laughter.
 
Its just stiff. I havent walked in a while, Woods said after a second-round 70 which left him at 3 under, 10 shots behind leader Phil Mickelson. Its just different. Dude, I tell you what, I need that cart.
 
This week marks Woods first stroke-play event since winning the U.S. Open last summer. He had surgery shortly after winning his 14th major championship and missed about eight months before returning at the Accenture Match Play Championship last month.
 
Most of his practice leading up to Match Play came with the aid of a cart.
 

 
PERRYS DAY: Kenny Perry made eight birdies and no bogeys on Friday, a sizzling performance that shot him up the CA Championship leaderboard.
 
It didnt surprise him. After all, hes played well at Doral before.
 
Last time I played well here, Perry said, I played with Jack Nicklaus on Saturday.
 
Hes exaggerating a tiny bit.
 
Oh, sure, the gist of his claim rings true. The first time Perry shot 64 at Doral was 1991, when he slept on the 36-hole lead and got paired with Nicklaus for the third round. Perry shot 75-77 on the weekend that year, and really hasnt been close to winning at Doral since.
 
He had a final-round 64 at Doral in 2003, finishing fifth in the event where Scott Hoch beat Jim Furyk in a Monday morning playoff.
 
The 48-year-old Perry is at 10-under 134 through two rounds this week, three shots behind Phil Mickelson and one behind Nick Watney.
 
Its been a continuation of my three wins last year and then the win early this year, said Perry, who won at the FBR Open earlier this season. Normally my game only hangs in there one or two weeks, and then I disappear, you know, for a month or two. So Ive been able to hold it together for six months now. Its been fun doing that.
 

 
STENSON STAYS DRESSED: Henrik Stenson stayed out of the mud Friday, and stayed dressed for the entire round as well.
 
Stensons striptease on Thursday, when he hit into the mud at the third hole and removed everything but his boxers and golf glove to play from the muck, is still getting plenty of attention at Doral.
 
Im happy I amused somebody with it, Stenson said.
 
He hit 3-wood off the third tee again Friday, kept it in the grass, and made par on his way to a 73.
 

 
WATNEYS CHARGE: Nick Watney never broke 70 in either of his first two trips to Doral as a pro.
 
Hes making it look easy this time.
 
Watney followed up his opening-round 66 with a 67 on Friday, getting to 11 under and sitting alone in second place, two shots behind Phil Mickelson.
 
Obviously, Im very pleased with the way Im playing, Watney said.
 
You think?
 
Hes been bogey-free through the first 36 holes, the only player in the field to pull off that feat.
 
Watney is off to the best start of his career. Hes in the CA Championship field through FedEx Cup points; hes fifth in those standings, largely from winning the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines last month.
 
Even so, it could be viewed as a mild surprise to see him playing so well this week. Watney missed the cut in 2006 at Doral, when the event was the Ford Championship. The previous year, he tied for 64th, winning $11,275.
 
First prize this week is $1.4 million.
 

 
MOVING UP, MOVING DOWN: The CA Championship leaderboard had a different look Friday.
 
Not at the very top, of course, where Phil Mickelson ' who shared the lead after Round 1 ' took the outright lead at the midway point by two shots over Nick Watney.
 
But there was plenty of big moves ' in both directions.
 
Start with Kenny Perry, who moved up 24 spots into a tie for third after a 64. And he wasnt even the big mover of the second round at Doral.
 
That distinction went to Alvaro Quiros, who matched Perrys 64 for the days best round and moved up 46 spots into a tie for eighth. Other big movers ' in the right direction ' were Thomas Aiken (66, up 42 spots to T-26), Paul Casey (66, up 25 spots to T-15) and Martin Kaymer (68, up 25 spots to T-35).
 
And then there were those headed the wrong way.
 
Retief Goosen was tied for the lead after Round 1; he shot 76 on Friday to fall 34 spots. Boo Weekley (75) dropped 41 places into a tie for 58th, and Richard Sterne fell 40 spots into a tie for 67th after shooting 75. Rory Sabbatini (74, down 35 spots to T-52) and Adam Scott (76, down 32 spots to T-72) also took big hits.
 

 
HERE AND THERE: Adam Scott got a new driver for Fridays round, after hearing a rattle in the brand-new club he had on Thursday. It wasnt a great start with the replacement club; Scott missed six of seven fairways in his opening nine holes, some of them badly, and shot 6-over 42 before making the turn. He rallied slightly and finished with a 76. For the third straight day, the Miami Heat had representation in the group following Tiger Woods. It was former Heat guard Penny Hardaway on Wednesday, current guard Chris Quinn on Thursday and recently retired center Alonzo Mourning on Friday.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - WGC-CA Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-CA Championship
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.