Tiger Catches Passes DiMarco at Augusta

By Associated PressApril 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods tied a Masters record with seven straight birdies and surged past Chris DiMarco to take a three-stroke lead into Sunday's final round at Augusta National. Woods shot a 7-under 65, one stroke better than the second-round score that got him back in contention. He opened the tournament with a 74.
 
'Not bad, huh?' Woods said, smiling. 'It's been a while, hasn't it? Most majors, you're not going to be making a whole bunch of birdies. You're going to be making a bunch of pars.'
 
DiMarco struggled to a 74 and was at 8 under, followed by Thomas Bjorn, who shot a 71 and was at 7 under. The final round was scheduled to begin around 11 a.m. EDT.
 
The golfers were back on the course at 8 a.m. Sunday to complete the weather-delayed third round, with DiMarco holding a four-shot lead over Woods.
 
Within an hour, Woods was on top - and in position for his fourth green jacket. That would tie Arnold Palmer for second-most victories in Masters history; only Jack Nicklaus, with six, has won more.
 
Woods has played in 10 majors without a win; his last was the 2002 U.S. Open.
 
DiMarco double bogeyed his first hole of the day, No. 10, and struggled to a 41 on the back side. His performance followed the pair of 67s that put him in the lead after each of the first two rounds.
 
Woods birdied the final three holes on the front nine Saturday before darkness halted play. He kept it up the next day with four more birdies in a row, capped by a 10-footer at the par-5 13th that drew a defiant pump of his right fist and pushed his score 13 under.
 
Woods tied the tournament record of seven straight birdies, set by Steve Pate over the same string of holes in 1999.
 
'We've still got a long ways to go,' Woods said. 'The only reason it was yielding birdies are the greens are soft and the pins are in low spots. You could funnel the ball down to the hole.'
 
Woods' birdie streak ended at the 14th, when his second shot funneled to the far right side of the green with the flag on the left. He needed three putts to get down, taking his first bogey of the round.
 
DiMarco, playing one group behind, couldn't take advantage. He also bogeyed 14 to stay two strokes behind.
 
Woods gave DiMarco another chance at the par-5 15th, hitting a fat 6-iron to the edge of the water, his ball imbedded in the muddy bank. He had to take a drop and wound up with bogey.
 
But DiMarco followed suit, leaving his ball in a similar spot next to the water. He, too, wound up with bogey.
 
Woods parred out, while DiMarco dropped another stroke with a bogey at 17.
 
Woods went to the final round with an 11-under 205, followed by DiMarco (208) and Bjorn (209). Six shots off the pace were defending champion Phil Mickelson and Trevor Immelman. Vijay Singh, the world's top-ranked player, was joined by Mark Hensby at 212.
 
'I have to put together something really special if I'm going to have a chance,' Mickelson said. 'There's a 65 out there. I don't know if it'll be enough, but that's what I'm going to be gunning for.'
 
DiMarco's troubles began when his second shot at the 10th went into a bush. He had to take a drop, chipped onto the green and two-putted for the double bogey.
 
Before that, the only blemish on his card was a first-round bogey on the very same hole, his first hole of the tournament. He then went 44 holes with nothing but birdies and pars - the second longest streak without a bogey in Masters history.
 
DiMarco is a perennial contender at Augusta, leading five rounds in five years. He played with Mickelson in the final group a year ago, but faded to a 76.
 
He was paired in the final twosome again, this time with Woods and clinging to a thread of hope.
 
'Look at Tiger,' DiMarco said. 'He even bogeyed a few coming in. He could have birdied a couple of holes coming in and put everyone out of their misery.'
 
Woods was hitting his irons brilliantly, leaving himself plenty of birdie chances. He also capitalized on a break with his final shot Saturday.
 
After teeing off at No. 10, the horn sounded to end play for the day. Woods could have finished the hole, but decided to quit when he saw a big chunk of mud on his ball. That gave him the option of marking the spot with a tee and picking up Sunday with a clean ball.
 
'It was a no-brainer,' he said. 'It was a great break that they blew the horn. ... When we saw that (mud) down there, it was nice to know I could put the tee in the ground.'
 
After finishing the third round, everyone got a short break before playing the final 18 holes. There were no problems with the weather, which plagued the first two days of the tournament. It was sunny day, with temperatures expected to climb into the upper 70s.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.