Tiger Left To Ponder What Might Have Been

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- If only Tiger Woods could have a do-over on those two shots at Pinehurst.
 
Then think what might have been.
 
Woods coasted to a five-stroke victory Sunday and his second major championship of 2005, winning the British Open at the home of golf after taking the Masters in April.
 
If he hadn't flubbed a chip and missed a short putt at the U.S. Open last month, Woods could be going for the Grand Slam at the PGA Championship next month.
 
``That's just the way it goes,'' Woods said, thinking back to his runner-up finish to Michael Campbell at Pinehurst. ``I just didn't have a very good putting week. It happened at the wrong time.''
 
Woods' timing was right on at the Old Course.
 
He took control with a 66-67 start, scrambled Saturday when a couple of shots wound up in the bushes, then finished it off with a 2-under 70 -- the only player in the final seven groups to break par on a day when the ocean breezes picked up and the flagsticks were flapping in some devilish locations.

``It was Tiger's week,'' said Campbell, who held on for a two-stroke win in the U.S. Open but finished seven shots back at this Open.
 
Make no mistake -- Woods is back, looking just as dominating as he did at the start of the millennium.
 
``It's amazing,'' said Scotsman Colin Montgomerie, the popular runner-up at St. Andrews. ``Can he achieve the impossible? He's on his way.''
 
Two days after Jack Nicklaus bade a teary farewell to the majors, stopping to pose atop the Swilcan Bridge on his way up the 18th hole, Woods passed over the hallowed stone arch with purpose in his step.
 
While the Grand Slam is out reach -- for now -- he did wrap up the ``Nicklaus Slam,'' going 4-for-4 when the Golden Bear played in golf's biggest events for the last time.
 
Woods became just the third player to win 10 major professional titles, passing the halfway mark on the way to Nicklaus' record of 18. The only guy in between, Walter Hagen at 11.
 
Just as they did on Friday for Nicklaus, thousands of fans squeezed onto balconies and pressed their faces against windows to capture a historic moment. This one remains a work in progress.
 
Nicklaus watched the final round from his home in North Palm Beach, Fla.
 
``He never looked like there was a chance for him to lose,'' he said. ``It was a pretty awesome performance.''
 
Woods and Nicklaus are the only players to win the career Grand Slam two times over, and the only Americans to win the British Open twice at storied St. Andrews.
 
``There's a lot of things that make him special,'' said Woods' swing coach, Hank Haney. ``Like all great champions, he can raise his game when he needs to.''
 
Woods turned to Haney to help overhaul his swing for the second time, looking to dominate the way he did on the way to winning seven times in 11 majors starting with the 1999 PGA Championship.
 
``I've been criticized for the last couple of years. 'Why would I change my game?' This is why,'' Woods said. ``First, second and first in the last three majors. That's why.''
 
Woods had a star-studded group behind him on Sunday -- major winners, highly ranked players, seasoned vets who knew their way around this revered patch of Scottish seaside.
 
None made a serious charge. None seem capable of beating Woods when he's at his best.
 
``I don't think it's impossible,'' said Jose Maria Olazabal, who played in the final group with Woods and wound up six strokes behind. ``But it's close to impossible.''
 
Woods will go to Baltusrol as an overwhelming favorite to pull even with Hagen and win three majors in a year for the second time -- not bad for a guy who's still five months away from his 30th birthday.
 
Woods already claimed the ``Tiger Slam,'' becoming the only golfer to hold all four major titles at the same time. But it wasn't a Slam in the purest sense, since he won the last three titles of 2000 and didn't win the Masters until the following year.
 
But this guy tends to get whatever he wants, whether it's the Nicklaus record that everyone thought was untouchable or the modern Grand Slam, which has never been done.
 
``Jack's got 18, now I have 10,'' Woods said. ``When I first started playing, I didn't think I'd have this many majors before the age of 30. There's no way. No one ever has.''
 
That's why he turned to Haney to work on a swing that already seemed flawless. It was a grueling, frustrating process that led to Woods going 10 majors without a win, equaling the worst drought of his pro career.
 
It paid off in the end -- and everyone else finds themselves playing for second.
 
Again.
 
``It's no disgrace finishing second to Tiger Woods,'' said Montgomerie, cheered on all day by flag-waving Scottish fans but unable to mount a charge on Woods.
 
The winner never trailed over the final 63 holes, turning in the first wire-to-wire victory at the Open in 32 years. The ``Big Five'' everyone talked about at the start of the year is down to one.
 
Montgomerie didn't seem too upset about the outcome. At least his career is back on track after he seriously contended in a major for the first time since the 1997 U.S. Open.
 
``My career has been longer than most,'' Montgomerie said. ``It's nice that it's having a little bit of a resurgence now after three years really in the wilderness.''
 
Woods never drifted that far off course, but the decision to tinker with his swing did make him vulnerable in the majors.
 
``He just wanted to get a plan,'' Haney said. ``He never asked low long it was going to take, or when are we going to get there.''
 
Is Woods there yet?
 
``I don't think there is a 'there,' `` Haney said. ``That's the great thing about him.''
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 134th Open Champoinship
  • Daily Photo Gallery
  • Open Championship Trivia Challenge
     
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.