Tiger Comes Up Short in Bid for Three-Peat

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- As he strolled down the 18th fairway on the final day of the British Open, Tiger Woods doffed his hat to the cheering crowd and flashed that world-famous smile.
 
He was just going through the motions. The claret jug wasn't waiting for him this time.
 
Woods' attempt to become the first golfer in more than a half-century to win three straight Open championships ended quietly Sunday, without providing even the glimmer of a rousing comeback.
 
He teed off trailing third-round leader Sergio Garcia by a daunting eight strokes, and he knew by the turn it was over. Woods needed to go low -- real low -- but he could only manage a 1-over-par 70.
 
'It would have been nice if I would have just hit the ball a little better and given myself a chance,' he moaned.
 
As it turned out, Woods was a mere afterthought on a wild, final day.
 
This Open was about Garcia, missing a 10-footer at the 72nd hole that would have given him his first major title. This one was about Padraig Harrington, beating Garcia in a playoff after knocking not one, but two shots into the Barry Burn on the last hole of regulation.
 
Woods opened with a solid 69, which gave hope to a repeat of his performances at St. Andrews and Royal Liverpool the last two years. Instead, he slumped to a 74 in the second round after one of the worst shots of his career -- a play-it-safe iron off the tee at the very first hole, yanked into the same pesky burn that meanders through much of the course.
 
While Woods did bounce back to break par in both weekend rounds, his iron play simply wasn't strong enough to give him a realistic chance at rallying. He often found himself far away from the cup on Carnoustie's tricky greens, leaving him more concerned with avoiding three putts than making one putt.
 
He did sink a couple of improbable birdies earlier in the tournament, one from 90 feet, the other finding the cup from 100 feet away. But no one, not even the world's greatest player, can expect those kinds of putts to drop on a regular basis.
 
Woods wound up tied for 12th, five shots back with a 2-under 282 total.
 
'I wasn't hitting the ball as close as I needed to all week,' Woods said. 'I was putting beautifully. If I hit the ball in birdie range, I made them. I just didn't hit the ball close enough.'
 
On Sunday, Woods made back-to-back birdies before heading to the par-5, 578-yard sixth -- one of the easiest holes on the course -- with a chance to shave another stroke off his score.
 
A third straight birdie certainly would have sent a shudder through those up ahead, and Woods might have given himself a better shot at one if he had pulled the driver out of the bag.
 
But, considering the wind blowing in his face and the out-of-bounds line hugging the left side of the fairway, he judged the risk greater than the potential reward. It was the sort of calculated decision that has worked so well for him in winning 12 major titles, all of them as a front-runner on the final day. He wasn't about to take some wacky gamble to prove that he could win one coming from behind.
 
He went with an iron.
 
'I couldn't get there in two,' Woods explained. 'If the wind had laid down a little bit, I could have gotten there in two. But the way it was blowing, I would actually struggle to carry the bunkers. It would have been driver, driver and maybe. I figured just play smart and there's plenty of holes left.'
 
Woods ended up settling for par at No. 6. He took a bogey two holes later. There would be no comeback at this major, either.
 
'If I could have gotten one or two more (birdies) by the turn and added a few on the back nine, it would have been an ideal round,' Woods said. 'It didn't turn out that way.'
 
He struck a magnificent approach shot on the difficult closing hole, but his birdie attempt spun around the lip of the cup. Woods rubbed the bridge of his nose, stared back out toward the fairway, then tapped in for a par that seemed to epitomize his week.
 
He's 0-for-the-majors this year, having finished as the runner-up at the Masters and the U.S. Open. He'll head to the PGA Championship in Oklahoma next month with one last chance to avoid his first shutout in the four biggest tournaments since 2004.
 
Until then, there are two people back home in Florida who might make this loss easier to take -- his wife, Elin, and their daughter, Sam, born right after a runner-up finish at Oakmont last month.
 
'It's hard to believe you can miss something so bad only being gone a week,' Wood said. 'But I certainly do miss them. I'm looking forward to seeing them.'
 
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  • Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.