Tiger Leaves 50 Different Runners-Up in His Wake

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
MIAMI -- Davis Love III was the first.
 
He was in a playoff against Tiger Woods when he failed to save par from a bunker and lost the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational.
 
Brett Wetterich was the latest.
 
He was faced with a four-shot deficit against the world's No. 1 player in the CA Championship at Doral. He held his own, kept it interesting as long as he could, but wound up in second place and in the record books as a footnote.
 
Wetterich became the 50th player to be runner-up to Woods on the PGA TOUR.
 
'Guess I had to become some kind of statistic,' he said.
 
At least he's in good company.
 
The 50 victims include 21 major champions and 18 of the top 30 players in the world ranking, a list that goes from A (Stuart Appleby) to Z (Paul Azinger) when allowing for nicknames (Zinger).
 
The milestone even caught Woods by surprise, based on the fact he said nothing for a few seconds and even then had little to offer except for, 'Where do you come up with that?'
 
Matt Gogel (Pebble Beach) is now retired. Frank Nobilo (Western Open) works for the GOLF CHANNEL. Esteban Toledo (Buick Open) is on the Nationwide Tour. The list includes four Ryder Cup captains -- Tom Kite, Hal Sutton, Tom Lehman and Azinger.
 
'I wouldn't have guessed that,' Woods said. 'I would have thought some guys had been there more often than others.'
 
Woods' victory at Doral was No. 56 in his PGA TOUR career, and while 13 players have been runner-up multiple times, there have been 12 tournaments where at least two players tied for second. In two tournaments, there was a four-way tie for second.
 
That puts Brian Gay on the list.
 
'Who?' Woods said. 'When did I beat him?'
 
That would be the 2002 Buick Open, along with Toledo, Fred Funk and Mark O'Meara, the only time on tour Woods' best buddy from Isleworth finished second to him.
 
Considering the record Woods has compiled, it might be a badge of honor to be runner-up. Better yet is to never be on that list, something David Duval once mentioned. Duval and Woods were rivals once, trading the No. 1 ranking during the summer of '99. At THE PLAYERS Championship that next year, it was mentioned to Duval that he had never been runner-up to Woods.
 
'Nope. And I won't be,' he said.
 
That didn't last long.
 
He might have finished second at the British Open in the summer of 2000 at St. Andrews if he could have escaped the Road Hole bunker in fewer than four attempts. His luck ran out in 2001 at the Masters, when Duval missed putts inside 12 feet on the final two holes to finish two shots behind as Woods captured his fourth straight major.
 
Only three major champions from this decade have stayed off the list -- Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton and Geoff Ogilvy, although the latter had done it overseas.
 
'I was runner-up to him in the Johnnie Walker,' said Ogilvy, who finished three behind in Thailand seven years ago. 'He's had 50 guys on this TOUR? That's pretty amazing. If anything, it shows how much he's won, especially for a guy in his early 30s.'
 
Ogilvy contemplated this for a few more seconds.
 
'Who's finished second the most?' he added. 'That would be interesting.'
 
That would be Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, five apiece.
 
Els is generally known as Woods' favorite whipping boy, probably because some of his runner-up finishes were dramatic and all of them came in such a short span of time.
 
Starting with the Disney Classic in 1999, Woods won nine of the 16 events on the PGA TOUR, and Els was a runner-up in five of them. It's hard to count the U.S. Open and British Open because the Big Easy was a combined 23 shots behind. It's hard to forget Kapalua, where they matched eagles on No. 18 in regulation, birdies on No. 18 in the playoff, and Woods finally outlasted him with a 35-foot birdie putt that the locals still try to make, without much luck.
 
'He's probably going to be bigger than Elvis when he gets into his 40s,' Els said that day.
 
Singh never had it that bad, and his Avis moments were spread out. Perhaps the most noteworthy came outside Atlanta in 2003 at the American Express Championship, when they were vying for the money title and there actually was a race for PGA TOUR player of the year. Woods beat him by two shots that day.
 
'Here's a better stat,' Ogilvy said. 'Who's won the most times with him in the field?'
 
No surprise there, either -- Singh with 13 victories, followed by Mickelson at nine.
 
Now, it doesn't always work both ways, because Woods has been a runner-up 20 times on the PGA TOUR. He has been second to Singh and Mickelson three times apiece, with Lefty winning the tiebreaker.
 
Singh beat him at the Deutsche Bank in 2004 to take away the No. 1 ranking. Mickelson ended Woods' winning streak at six at the 2000 Buick Invitational, and he became one of only three players to beat him when Woods had a share of the 54-hole lead at the Tour Championship later that year.
 
It all started with Love hitting 8-iron into the bunker and missing a 6-foot putt for par. It was Woods' fifth tournament as a pro.
 
'As disappointed as I am, I'm that much happy for him,' Love said. 'He's a great, great player, and he's great for the tour.'
 
Wetterich might have spoken for the other 49 players after his runner-up finish at Doral.
 
'Finishing second,' he said, 'is not a bad thing.'
 
Related Links:
  • List of 50 Different Runners-Up
     
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."