Record Five-Way Tie at Bay Hill

By Associated PressMarch 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. -- Arnold Palmer was walking into the locker room Saturday morning at Bay Hill when he bumped into Tiger Woods, who recently surpassed him on the PGA TOUR's career victory list by winning every tournament since September.
 
He told me to get off my butt and play a good round, Woods said.
 
He responded with birdies on the three toughest holes at Bay Hill for a 4-under 66 and a five-way tie for the lead. The King must have said something to Mother Nature, too, for blustery conditions that contributed to a series of spectacular crashes late in the afternoon turned the Arnold Palmer Invitational into quite a show.
 
Nine players had at least a share of the lead at one point in the third round.
 
When the zany, windy and splash-filled afternoon finally ended, Woods was in a familiar position as he tries to extend a winning streak that spans seven months and keep alive the ridiculed notion of a perfect season.
 
Woods will be in the final pairing Sunday with Sean OHair, who won last week at Innisbrook and gave himself a chance for another victory at Bay Hill with a 63, a round he finished before the leaders even teed off.
 
They were at 6-under 204, joined by Bart Bryant (68), Bubba Watson (68) and Vijay Singh, whose 73 made this all possible.
 
Singh had a two-shot lead and showed no signs of a struggle until dropping five shots in a four-hole stretch in his front nine of 40. He hit three balls into the water, but chipped in from 30 feet for par on the last miscue to stay in the hunt.
 
It was the largest log jam in the 30-year history at Bay Hill, and the largest on the PGA TOUR since a five-way tie for the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2005.
 
Woods never looked to be part of it until two spectacular shots in the toughest conditions.
 
He carved a 4-iron around the trees to 2 feet on the 15th hole for a birdie, then followed that with a 7-iron that held up against the wind and dropped softly to 3 feet right of the flag.
 
It was one of only three birdies at the 16th, the scene of so much calamity that followed.
 
Ive played my way back into the tournament, said Woods, who finished two hours before the round ended and had no idea he would be in the final pairing for the fifth straight time on the PGA Tour.
 
Woods is 42-3 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, but two of those three losses came when he shared the lead with someone else. He has never started a final round tied with more than one player.
 
And its not just the other four still in the hunt.
 
Sixteen players were separated by a mere three shots heading into the final round. One of them was Hunter Mahan, who bogeyed two of his final five holes and still shot 65. He was one shot behind at 205.
 
By all rights, its anyones tournament.
 
Sort of.
 
Its pretty much Tigers game, Bryant said. When Tiger plays great, hes tough to beat. The guy has won six or seven in a row or something, and hes not playing great and hes tied for the lead. So you figure hes got to play good at some point. But not to say that somebody cant go out and play a great round and beat him. And not to say hes going to play perfect golf, either.
 
Its definitely there for the taking.
 
Over the last two hours, Bay Hill did most of the taking.
 
Singh got it all started by taking double bogey on the par-5 sixth with a tee shot in the water, and another ball in the pond in front of the eighth green that led to bogey. He was the only one who truly recovered. The big Fijian birdied the next two holes, then escaped trouble on the 16th when he chipped in for par from 30 feet after hitting yet another ball in the water.
 
Nick Watney made two eagles, the second one at No. 12 to take a two-shot lead. He came unraveled with a tee shot out-of-bounds, another shot into the water and a putt he missed from 4 feet'all on the 16th hole, leading to a quadruple-bogey 8.
 
He went from the lead to 12th, and wound up in a five-way tie for seventh, only two shots behind.
 
Im closer to the lead than when I started, Watney said.
 
Bryant hit a 4-iron into the water on the 16th, but escaped with bogey when he holed a 12-foot putt.
 
To hit that good of a drive on that tough of a hole, and walk out of there with a double bogey, that would have been a killer, Bryant said. It was a huge putt for me.
 
Carl Pettersson, playing in the final group with Singh, opened with nine straight pars to join the leaders. Then the Swede pulled his tee shot on the 10th and went out-of-bounds, making double bogey.
 
OHair had no such worries, playing most of his round during a lull in the windy conditions. He played superbly, particularly on the back nine when he hit 3-wood to 7 feet for eagle on No. 12, wedge into 4 feet for birdie on No. 13, then holing a chip from 65 feet for birdie on the next hole. He signed for his 63 about 20 minutes before Singh even teed off, not knowing that he would end up in the lead.
 
Woods finally found the right speed on the greens, and it helped that he made birdies in some unlikely spots. Blocked by the trees on the 15th, he played a cut with his 4-iron, then ran to the left to see the outcome, although the cheers told him everything.
 
Got the ball over the left bunker and let the wind bring it back over, and it worked out perfect, he said.
 
All it took was two great shots to get back into the mix, then a series of mistakes to put him in a familiar position.
 
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    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.

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    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. 

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    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.

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    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

    Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    ''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

    ''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    ''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

    Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

    ''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

    The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

    ''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

    Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

    ''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

    The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

    ''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

    He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

    Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

    ''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

    Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

    ''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.