Tiger Cruises to Win at Torrey Pines

By Associated PressJanuary 27, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- Tiger Woods joined the King, and left everyone else at the Buick Invitational feeling like paupers.
 
In his most dominant start to a season, Woods built an 11-shot lead Sunday until his game and the fickle weather turned cold on the back nine. A birdie on the last hole gave him a 1-under 71 and an eight-shot victory, giving him 62 for his career to tie Arnold Palmer on the PGA TOUR list.
 
'I'm sure that there are many, many more coming in the future,' Palmer said. 'There isn't any question about that.'
 
Just like there was no question about the outcome.
 
Woods opened with a 40-foot birdie putt, threw in a 60-foot birdie just to keep a four-deep gallery from falling asleep, and only looked mortal when he made three straight bogeys toward the end of his round.
 
All that did was affect the final margin, not the name on the trophy.
 
Woods finished at 19-under 269 to win the Buick Invitational for the fourth consecutive year, tying a PGA TOUR record for consecutive wins in a single tournament. Woods is the only player to own such a streak at two events, having also won four in a row at Bay Hill.
 
Ryuji Imada matched the best score of the final round with a 67 and was the runner-up.
 
Woods returns to Torrey Pines in June for the U.S. Open, and if this week was any indication, it could be another long week for his peers. The world's No. 1 player now has won six times as a pro at Torrey Pines, and his comment that the Grand Slam is 'easily within reason' looked every bit of that.
 
'What he's going to do is screw the U.S. Open up for everyone else,' Fred Couples said. 'If he had shot 10 or 11 under, the USGA would have said, 'Well, maybe we have it in the right spot.' Now, they may have to regroup a little.'
 
Then again, it might not matter.
 
Woods has won his last two PGA TOUR events by eight shots, and this was the ninth time in his career he has won by at least eight.
 
'I wanted to go out there and make no bogeys and shoot something under par,' Woods said. 'I got half of it right.'
 
The 71 ended Woods' streak of 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, dating to the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He has finished no worse than second since the British Open in July, when he tied for 12th at Carnoustie.
 
Woods planned to leave Sunday night for the Dubai Desert Classic, and he likely won't return to the PGA TOUR until the end of February at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Next in line on the career list is Ben Hogan with 64 victories, and each win moves Woods closer to the record 82 won by Sam Snead.
 
'You'd like to think it's surprising, but it's not,' Charles Howell III said. 'It's Tiger.'
 
Woods is 6-of-12 in his PGA TOUR debuts, but he has never won with such ease. He went back to work after the holidays, and it was as if last year never ended.
 
The only surprise was the weather, a pleasant one at that.
 
The forecast was for heavy rain overnight and into Sunday, with the possibility of a Monday finish. But the clouds cleared as Woods was warming up, and he played the front nine under brilliant blue skies. Only on the back nine did clouds return and temperatures plunge. He closed out his victory under a mixture of rain and clouds, and smile that showed all was right in his world.
 
'He's just much better,' said Couples, who posted his first top-10 finish since the 2006 Masters. 'It's fun to see. I've been on tour for 28 years, and I've never seen this stuff.'
 
Imada birdied his last two holes to finish alone in second at 11-under 277 and was thrilled.
 
'This is the Tiger Woods Invitational, isn't it?' he said. 'I thought he was the host.'
 
The Buick Invitational is the third PGA TOUR event Woods has won six times. The others are the Bridgestone Invitational and the CA Championship, both World Golf Championship events.
 
'My goal going into today was to finish second,' Imada said. 'That's almost like winning the golf tournament to me.'
 
Rory Sabbatini also had a 67 to tie for third with Stewark Cink (73), who joined Joe Durant in the final group and were along for the ride. On the opening hole, with fans lining both sides of the fairway from tee-to-green, Cink and Durant found a fairway bunker and took three shots to reach the green. Woods played safely to the middle, and his 40-foot birdie fell on the final turn.
 
'I'd say this is the best I've seen him play,' Cink said. 'The last couple days, off the tee, the control he had was just really very impressive. The Tiger that we saw a year and two years ago, hitting it sort of all over the place, I think that's a thing of the past. He's got it geared down and he came out and played really well.'
 
Justin Leonard closed with a 72 to finish alone in fifth, 12 shots behind. Phil Mickelson also made his 2008 debut this week, but was slowed by illness and was never a factor. He shot 71 on Sunday and tied for sixth with Durant (75).
 
'Nobody thought too much about winning,' Mickelson said.
 

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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''