For Once Tiger Comes Up Short in a Major

By Associated PressApril 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A 4-iron wasn't the only thing that Tiger Woods broke Sunday at the Masters.
 
Fractured, too, was the myth that the man couldn't be beaten once he grabbed the outright lead in the final round of a major.
 
Twice before, Woods had been caught and passed. But both times -- in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla and here a year later -- Woods came out on top. In this wackiest of Masters, he held the lead for all of a few minutes after making a birdie at the second hole, then spent the rest of the day trying in vain to catch a rotating cast of characters going by him in Augusta National's passing lane.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods stood tall in the final round but came up a little shy. (WireImage)
'I had a chance, but looking back over the week, I basically blew this tournament on two rounds where I had bogey-bogey finishes,' Woods said, referring to Nos. 17 and 18.
 
'That's 4-over on two holes,' he added. 'You can't afford to do that and win major championships.'
 
Zach Johnson was parked on the 18th green with the winning score of 1-over 289 when Woods walked onto the 17th tee knowing he would need a birdie-birdie finish over those same two holes just to force a playoff.
 
The greatest front-runner in golf made par at 17 after driving the ball into the right rough and trying to float a wedge on the wind at his back and land it close enough to have a shot at a 3. No sooner had the ball landed in a bunker short of the green than Woods said loudly, 'What the hell happened there?'
 
Though he wasn't officially done until his approach shot from the fairway to the final green stopped rolling some 20 feet to the right of the pin, he knew a miracle finish wasn't in the cards the moment the ball left the clubface.
 
'I was sitting in the locker room waiting for Tiger to hit his second shot on 18,' Johnson recalled. 'Before he hit it, I'm like, 'He's done stranger things.''
 
Not this time.
 
Asked whether it was different being forced to play catch-up, something Woods' rivals know only too well, Tiger simply said, 'I'm playing the same holes he (Johnson) is, so if I make the same birdies as he does on the same holes, it's a moot point.'
 
That's true, of course. But there's nobody in the game, no matter what club he has in his hands, that you would rather lay money down on. Woods has been golf's version of Michael Jordan with the basketball in his hands and the clock ticking down, Lance Armstrong with a crushing mountain climb coming into view, Joe Montana with first-and-10 and a minute to go the length of the field. In other words, clutch.
 
This time he was anything but.
 
'He guts-ed it,' Stuart Appleby, the third-round leader and Woods' playing partner Sunday, said with admiration. 'He tried.'
 
But this once, Woods didn't deliver.
 
He looked ready when his tee shot at 11 came to rest on pine straw under a tree on the right side of the fairway. There, Woods took a stance that ensured his follow-through would drive the shaft of the club squarely against the tree's trunk. He swung hard, anyway, bending the shaft so severely that he snapped it a moment later as easily as if it were a twig.
 
After a sensational par there, though, Woods had a brief twinge of regret when he bombed a drive around the corner at the par-5 13th and decided to go for the green in two.
 
'Ironically, on 13, it was the perfect club, that 4-iron. I had to hit a 5-iron as hard as I could over the creek and hook it back,' he said. 'It's not the shot you want to hit.'
 
But he hit that one, too, and just like the recovery at No. 11, pulled it off. The approach landed a half-foot from the top edge of the 13th green, then trickled down to 3 feet. The ensuing eagle putt dropped Woods to 3-over and two strokes behind Johnson. Game on.
 
Anybody who had seen Woods hole an almost-impossible chip from behind the 16th green -- the ball's logo even posed for a deep breath before falling into the cup -- en route to another green jacket two years ago couldn't wait to see what was next. This time, though, most of them watched Woods coming down the stretch by sneaking peeks through the gaps in the fingers covering their eyes.
 
Johnson, though, couldn't bear to do even that much.
 
'I really wasn't looking at the leaderboard,' he said afterward. 'I left that up to Damon (Green), my caddie. I never really knew where I stood.
 
'I said, 'Damon, should I look? Should I look?' I didn't know until the 17th, and then I realized I just had to play solid and go from there.'
 
Turns out Johnson could have peeked much earlier. After the 13th, Woods uncharacteristically ran out of magic.
 
He dunked a second shot at the par-5 15th and had to scramble to make par. He hit a 7-iron to 12 feet below the hole at the par-3 16th and missed that.
 
'It was difficult, very difficult,' Woods said. 'It was the hardest Masters I've ever seen, with the wind, the dryness, the speed of these things. I told a couple guys out here this week, 'I was glad I had metal spikes on, or I would have slipped on the greens, they were so slick.'
 
Woods exited the clubhouse soon after, surrounded by his agent and four security guards, sipping a diet soda and carrying a new driver under his arm. He headed for the driving range and so strong is the legend that's grown up around Woods that a few people following him actually thought he was going to practice.
 
Instead, he used a back entrance to the players' parking lot, started up the car and drove down Magnolia Lane. He knew there was no fixing this one.
 
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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.


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    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.