Putting woes hamper Woods in Round 3

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2010, 3:28 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – All the moves Tiger Woods made in Saturday’s third round of the U.S. PGA Championship were in the wrong direction, leaving him 10 strokes off the lead.

After pulling within five strokes of the lead in the morning and giving the plod-along PGA Championship some badly needed buzz, he had to close birdie-birdie just to stay even for the day and at 3-under 213, trails leader Nick Watney by double digits.

“Today I hit the ball better than I did the first two days. I made nothing,” Woods said. “You have to putt. I stuffed it in there early on the first few holes and made nothing, and also had a few other putts on the front nine. No matter how good you hit it, you’ve still got to make putts. I just didn’t do that today.”

The turmoil in Woods’ personal life has spilled over into his golf game, and he arrived at Whistling Straits fresh off the worst performance of his career. He shot a whopping 18-over 298 and beat only one player in the 80-man field at Firestone – and that’s a place where he’s won seven times.

He’s in danger of losing the No. 1 ranking he’s held for a record 270 weeks in a row, and likely needs to finish seventh or better here to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

But Woods got in plenty of practice before the tournament began – Sean Foley, swing coach for Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan, was often at his side – and was optimistic he was making progress. He made a brief appearance on the leaderboard Thursday, and his 71 was the first time in eight rounds he’d broken par.

He was on the prowl again when the second round resumed Saturday morning, making three birdies on the back nine to get within striking distance of the leaders. With the fog that wreaked havoc on the first two days of the tournament gone and the gusting winds down to a whisper, conditions looked ripe for a Woods’ run.

“With the dots where they are for this afternoon, there’s some really tough pins, but there’s some pretty accessible pins,” Woods said before the third round began. “Pins that you can take, be pretty aggressive at. You’ll probably see some pretty good scores this afternoon.”

There were plenty. They just didn’t come from Woods, even though he had his chances.

He left a 20-footer short on No. 1. After making a great recovery from the rough on the par-5 No. 2, he had about a 10-footer for birdie. But the putt ran alongside the right edge of the cup and refused to drop. As the crowd groaned, Woods rubbed the back of his neck.

He missed another birdie putt on No. 3.

He had trouble on the tee and green on No. 4, driving into such deep rough he had no option but to lay up. He knew it was a bad shot as soon as he hit it, too, trying to jam his driver head first into his bag. But even that wouldn’t drop.

He ran his par putt past the hole, prompting a death stare at the ball. After tapping in for what would be the first of back-to-back bogeys, he muttered to himself, waving his hand in frustration.

“I haven’t driven the ball well except for two weeks this year and, even then, I didn’t putt well those weeks,” Woods said. “So no matter how good I hit it … I didn’t get up and down. It’s just been one of those years.”

But there is, he insists, cause for optimism. He made four birdies on the back nine Saturday afternoon, including ones on 17 and 18. And while he’s well behind Watney, “people have shot 50s before this year.”

“Things are starting to solidify, which is good,” Woods said. “That’s what I’m pleased about. It’s not like I’m working on eight different things. It’s just a couple key things, and it feels a lot better.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.