Tiger Extends Cut Streak

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Tiger Woods extended one streak and gave himself at least a chance to end another. Woods birdied two of the final three holes Friday at the PGA Championship, where he was in danger of missing his first cut at a major tournament and ending his streak of 128 consecutive cuts made.
 
Tiger WoodsHe's tied with another dozen golfers for 44th place, nine shots behind co-leaders Justin Leonard and Vijay Singh as he aims to avoid tying his longest drought at 10 majors without a title.
 
'I just need to play one of those rounds somewhere in the mid-60s and I should be all right,' Woods said on Friday after his 69 put him at even par for the tournament.
 
Woods' streak of consecutive cuts was on his mind throughout a laborious round in which he didn't make his move until the final six holes, three of which he birdied.

'I was thinking about it a little bit because I wasn't playing well,' Woods said. 'If I was playing well, it would be no big deal, just try and get myself in contention for he weekend. But I wasn't playing well.'
 
And the streak is one he cherishes more than his 331-week reign as the world's top-ranked golfer.
 
'Who cares about the No. 1 ranking? Yeah, it's great and all to be No. 1 in the world, but it's not the end of all things. What is pretty cool is being able to go out there and play that consistently, that hard for that long a period of time,' Woods said.
 
'Because you're going to have your bad days - you saw that today and (Thursday). And you've got to somehow find it within yourself to get it done.'
 
Did he ever.
 
Woods was 2 over when he approached the 16th hole, a par 5 known as 'Endless Bite.'
 
Needing to hit the fairway for any chance at all, and having struggled off the tee all day, Woods delivered his best of the week to set up a 6-iron into the green for a two-putt birdie that put him on the cut line.
 
He backed off his shot on the par-3 17th to check his line, played a safe shot to 25 feet, and raised his arm as it disappeared for another birdie, lightly tapping his fist.
 
When he narrowly missed the 18th green, he allowed himself a smile ... perhaps knowing he at least would spend the weekend at Whistling Straits.
 
Woods began his day at 3 over, birdied the first two holes and cringed when his putt for birdie on the par-3 third hole came up 6 inches short. It would be another 14 holes before he got to even.
 
Woods, whose putter abandoned him Thursday, was done in by his driver on the front nine Friday.
 
The trouble started on No. 2.
 
'Left! Left! Left!' implored Woods as his tee shot went into the right rough.
 
He pounded his driver into the ground on No. 9 when he hit the ball into the tall grass, and again on No. 10, when the rough claimed another shot.
 
But his round was about to turn around.
 
He was short of the green on 10, about 30 yards from the cup. He opened up the blade of his sand wedge and took a full swing, slipping the club under the ball to pop it straight up in the air. The slightest miss and it would be 40 feet long, but it landed 3 feet from the hole for par.
 
If he misses, he's 4 over and all but cooked.
 
Same on 11, a 618-yard par-5, where he went from the left rough to the right rough and had 10 feet for par and sank it.
 
He called it the turning point.
 
'You know, I'm grinding on that putt and made it in there and (I'm thinking) just try to keep this momentum going, just take little baby steps, build on one shot,' Woods said. 'I shot one positive putt and built on it, hit another good shot on the next hole and just built on it. That's kind of how it all started.'
 
After he holed 18, Woods doffed his cap to thank the crowd that had given him and his playing partners, Singh (68) and John Daly (76) a standing ovation coming up the 18th fairway.
 
Then he and caddie Steve Williams shook hands like two businessmen closing a deal after an all-day negotiation.
 
'Yeah, we worked very hard on the back nine trying to plot our way along,' Woods said. 'And we just stayed very focused and very committed to what we were trying to do. It was a nice team effort coming in.'
 
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    Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

    By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

    “I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

    Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

    “If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


    Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


    Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

    Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

    “He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

    As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

    "I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

    Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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    McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

    The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

    McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

    And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

    “I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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    Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

    No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

    Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

    With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

    “This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

    Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. 

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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.