Tiger Accordingly Provides Primetime Drama

By Associated PressJune 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- The throngs gathered on the edge of the Pacific straining to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods never doubted this was his U.S. Open, even when they saw him using a putter and sand wedge as impromptu crutches to get out of a deep greenside bunker.
 
The guy carrying a couple of beers and shouting Get in the hole! as Woods teed off on the fourth hole was a true believer, too.
 
By late afternoon Saturday there were undoubtedly some who thought Woods might actually be able to ace the 448-yard hole.
 
He didnt, but give the guy a break. On the day golf moved into prime time, Woods provided NBC more drama than any dozen screenwriters could have come up with.
 
He celebrated, and he hurt. He laughed, and he almost cried.
 
One moment he was making an eagle so sweet it needed a double-armed fist pump to let mere mortals know just how good it was. The next he was buckled over in agony to let us all know how much pain he was in.
 
And when it was all over he walked off the 18th green with a lead in the U.S. Open so improbable that those dozen scriptwriters would have been laughed at for even suggesting it.
 
Put his name on the trophy because he doesnt lose when he has the lead. Give him his 14th major championship, assuming, of course, that he can manage to walk to the first tee.
 
Heck, throw in an Emmy, too, because this guy is more than ready for prime time.
 
Things came to such a stunning conclusion in the early evening on the Pacific coast that it was hard to tell who was happier afterward.
 
Anyone lucky enough to snare a $100 ticket to watch Woods on the back certainly came away ecstatic. Woods himself was smiling at both the ending and the prospect of some ice on his knee.
 
And NBC executives had to be high-fiving each other for coming up with the idea of showcasing the countrys golf championship in prime time with a featured performance by the most brilliant athlete of his time.
 
Hes the best who ever walked on grass, said Rocco Mediate, who had both the lead and a great view of Woods from behind for most of the day. I cant wait to see what happens tomorrow.
 
Whatever happens couldnt top what transpired during the third round of the Open on a day that merely burnished the legend that is Tiger Woods. It couldnt, because this script has already been acted out, and it turned out to be all so real.
 
A day that started with yet another double bogey on the first hole ended with yet another eagle on the 18th that gave him the lead for the first time. That by itself would have been plenty enough for most players, but Woods has such a sense of drama that he had to throw in some subplots just to make sure no one watching around the country gave in to the temptation of going to bed early.
 
He made 3 on a hole where he should have made 6, and where Phil Mickelson made 9. He nearly fell over a few holes later when his knee buckled on the tee shot but still played the last six holes of a brutal golf course in 4 under par.
 
OK, so it wasnt Ben Hogan coming back from a near fatal car accident to win the 1950 U.S. Open. This was just the third round, and just a gimpy knee that has sidelined him since the Masters.
 
But it was a masterful performance no matter how you look at it.
 
I just keep telling myself, if it grabs me, if I get that shooting pain, I get it, Woods said. But its always after impact. Go ahead and just make the proper swing if I can.
 
The left knee wont be any better Sunday, no matter what the 14 doctors, eight therapists and four masseuses that surely must travel in Woods entourage can do for him before he limps to the first tee. Woods himself admits its gotten worse as the week has gone on. If caddie Steve Williams wasnt handing him clubs to climb out of bunkers with Saturday, he was giving him a hand to get up hills.
 
Woods isnt afraid to show that it hurts, though he has to be prodded to talk about it. He would rather describe the curling 70-footer he made for eagle on No. 13 than the state of his knee.
 
Thats how great athletes react to adversity. They tuck it aside, compartmentalize it and get on with their business.
 
Woods will do just that on Sunday, a day that hell begin with a one-shot lead on Lee Westwood and even more of an advantage over a group of other players not exactly known for making final round charges in majors.
 
Hes never lost a major championship taking a lead into the final round, and hes not likely to do so now as long as he can walk.
 
The only question is how much more drama hell provide in winning this one.
 
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.