Second Place Not So Bad for Tiger

By Associated PressJune 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Jack Nicklaus figures at least one of his major championship records is safe.
 
Tiger Woods left Oakmont having squandered another chance to win a major while playing in the last group, unable to make but one birdie in the final round of the U.S. Open despite having a short iron for his approach to the green on a half-dozen occasions.
 
The next opportunity -- maybe -- will be at Carnoustie for the British Open, where he is the two-time defending champion. And if he does show up, it will be his first major as a father. His wife is due sometime between now and then.
 
Nicklaus had his first child when he was an amateur, so he won all 18 majors with children.
 
'I think that (record) is probably in pretty good shape,' Nicklaus said earlier this year.
 
The magic number has always been 18 for Woods, who effectively launched his assault on the Nicklaus benchmark when he won four straight majors ending with the 2001 Masters, giving him six at age 25, and he hasn't hit too many dry spells since then.
 
This is not one of them.
 
Sunday at Oakmont was his fourth straight major in the final group, an incredible statistic that gets forgotten because the U.S. Open was his second straight major as a runner-up.
 
Almost as impressive as the 18 majors for Nicklaus are the 19 times he finished second.
 
Is it possible Woods can reach that record before the other?
 
It seems preposterous now, because Woods has 12 trophies and only four consolation prizes. What the last year has shown, however, is that winning starts with putting yourself in position, and no one has done that better, not even close.
 
'My last four majors,' Woods said, ticking off his record, '1, 1, 2, 2. Not terrible, but it could have been a little better.'
 
In an age of instant gratification, it can be difficult to see the big picture.
 
What made Nicklaus such a dominant force in the majors was that he was usually around the top of the leaderboard on the final round, finishing second by making a mistake ('63 British Open), getting outplayed (Lee Trevino, Tom Watson), or simply having too much ground to make up in the final round ('64 Masters).
 
During a quarter-century of contending in majors, he has experienced just about everything.
 
And maybe that's what awaits Woods.
 
The shocker was not that he missed the cut at Winged Foot last year for the first time in a major, but that it took 10 years for it to happen. Woods is 12-0 in the majors with at least a share of the 54-hole lead; one of these times, he won't win. It happened to Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, even Ben Hogan.
 
There have been 29 majors when Woods trailed going into the final round, and he still hasn't won from behind.
 
'I haven't gotten it done,' he said. 'Put myself there, and haven't gotten it done.'
 
That will change, too.
 
What separates Woods from everyone else in the game is the number of times he gives himself a chance, and those are starting to pile up in alarming fashion. In the last 10 majors, Woods has been atop the leaderboard or within two shots seven times.
 
He has lost the last two majors to guys who hardly fit the profile of Tiger slayers. One was Zach Johnson at the Masters, who made all the birdie putts that Woods didn't. The other was Angel Cabrera at Oakmont, who hit all the iron shots that turned out badly for Woods.
 
Cabrera, playing four groups ahead of Woods, was in the fairway on the par-4 11th and stuffed his shot into 2 feet for birdie. Woods was in the bunker and fanned a shot that found the bunker, leading to his only bogey on the back nine.
 
From the first cut of rough on the 15th, Cabrera cut a shot toward the flag that stopped 3 feet behind the flag for a birdie that ultimately was the difference. Woods had a similar lie and put it over the flag, into a shaggy collar around the green, and he had to make an 8-foot par putt just to stay in the game.
 
Even without trophies, Woods hasn't lost his mystique.
 
He had to hole a shot from the 18th fairway at Augusta National to force a playoff with Johnson, and the normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, started having abnormal thoughts watching from the locker room.
 
'Before he hit it, I'm like, 'He's done stranger things,' Johnson said. 'The guy is a phenom.'
 
Woods only needed a single birdie over his final three holes at Oakmont to force a playoff, and as Cabrera watched from the clubhouse, he was making plans for one more round of Oakmont in a playoff.
 
But it didn't happen.
 
Woods did well to two-putt for par on the 244-yard 16th hole. His best chance came at the 17th, a par 4 where the tee box was moved to the front and hole played 306 yards. Woods chose 3-wood and found the right bunker, where it looked as though he would at least give himself a decent look at birdie. He said the ball caught a tiny rock in the bunker, taking off just enough spin that it rolled past the flag, down the bank and off the green.
 
Even as Woods faced a tricky lie between the first cut of rough and the deeper stuff along the 18th fairway, he had only a wedge in his hand. Cabrera was asked if he thought Woods would make birdie, and his answer needed no interpretation.'
 
'Si,' the 37-year-old Argentine said.
 
'Tiger can birdie any hole. He's the No. 1,' Cabrera later said through a translator.
 
But not at this major. And not at the last major.
 
'Finishing second is never fun,' Woods said.
 
But it's not all bad, either. And over the course of his career, it's bound to happen more often.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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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.