Tiger Lefty Advance at Match Play

By Associated PressFebruary 20, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureTUCSON, Arizona -- Tiger Woods produced another incredible comeback in the desert Wednesday, playing the final five holes in 5-under par to turn what looked like certain defeat into an unlikely victory in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Woods fell behind J.B. Holmes on the first hole when his tee shot sailed into the desert and out of play, and he was three holes down with five to play after taking another penalty shot from the desert.
 
But he turned it around quickly, winning the next four holes, capped by a 35-foot eagle putt on the 17th. He escaped with a 1-up victory on the 18th when Holmes missed an 8-foot birdie putt.
 
I just kept telling myself, even when I was 3 down, theres still a chance to win in regulation, Woods said. I was just going to have to start playing a hell of a lot better. Then all of a sudden, putts started falling in from everywhere.
 
It started with a 15-foot birdie on the 14th, followed by a meaningless 18-foot birdie on the 15th, when he only needed two putts to win the hole. The first overhand fist pump came at the 16th when he made a third straight birdie from just over 20 feet to square it for the first time since they shook hands on the tee to start the match.
 
The loudest roar came on the par-5 17th, which Woods reached in two with a 5-wood from the rough. He holed his long eagle putt for his first lead of the match, then held on to avoid what would have been a shocking departure.
 
Holmes, whose big drives kept pressure on Woods the entire match, was helpless at the end.
 
I got beat, Holmes said. Playing the best player in the world, 3 up with five to play, I just said, Dont do anything stupid. Make him beat you. And he did.
 
Woods shot 30 on the back nine in his first tournament since he shot 31 on the back nine of the Dubai Desert Classic to overcome a four-shot deficit and win his fourth straight official tournament.
 
For some reason, momentum just goes your way, Woods said. Sometimes the run is early in the round, sometimes middle or late. It just so happened that in the last two rounds, it was late. But at least it happened today. At least I had a run. I wasnt playing good enough to win the match unless I had a run.
 
None of the top four seeds had an easy time at Dove Mountain.
 
Ernie Els, the No. 4 seed who changed his mind last week and decided to enter a tournament that has been so vexing, shot 40 on his opening nine and was soundly beaten, 6 and 5, by Jonathan Byrd. It was fourth straight time Els has lost in the first round.
 
Second-seeded Phil Mickelson, the winner Sunday at Riviera, held off Pat Perez 1 up. Third-seeded Steve Stricker needed 20 holes to beat Daniel Chopra, a small measure of revenge. Chopra beat him in a four-hole playoff at the Mercedes-Benz Championship last month.
 
Four of the top eight seeds were gone after the first day of the Match Play, one of the most chaotic days in golf. Jim Furyk (No. 6) continued to struggle with his game, losing to Colin Montgomerie, 3 and 2; Justin Rose (7) fell to Rod Pampling, 2 and 1; and Rory Sabbatini, who played college golf at Arizona, lost to Bradley Dredge, 4 and 3.
 
You can never really fancy your chances in this format, Lee Westwood said after making eight birdies in a 3-and-2 victory over Brandt Snedeker. This is the kind of week where you unpack, but you dont move stuff too far away from your suitcase.
 
Woods appeared to have his bags packed.
 
He had said on Tuesday that when players fall behind two or three holes, they generally lose. That looked certain when Holmes took a 3-up lead through five holes, and he staved off one charge with a birdie on the ninth to stay 2 holes ahead.
 
Woods had to take an unplayable lie in the desert on the 13th, swatting the bag with his driver after taking his drop.
 
Then came a charge that sent cheers resounding across the desert fauna, starting with his birdie on the 14th. Holmes three-putted from the back of the 15th to hand Woods the next hole, and appeared to have the advantage on the 16th when Woods right foot slipped on his downswing, and his shot spun back 20 feet below the hole.
 
It was just one of those things where everything kind of turned my way, Woods said. Very, very fortunate to advance.
 
Next up is Arron Oberholser, who is playing with an injured shoulder. He made his 08 debut by beating Mike Weir, 3 and 1.
 
The Woods-Holmes match was among only eight that went the distance, the fewest number since 2002.
 
The blowouts came from Woody Austin, who birdied his first four holes against Toru Taniguchi; Niclas Fasth, who holed a bunker shot for eagle on No. 1 and buried Richard Green of Australia; and Byrd making Els wish he had taken that holiday in South Africa.
 
All won by a 6-and-5 margin.
 
You just dont know what to expect in match play, Fasth said. Its like flipping a coin. It really doesnt matter who you play, except that nobody wants to play Tiger in the first round.
 
For the longest time, Woods looked like a pushover.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Brackets - WGC-Match Play Championship
  • 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.

    Getty Images

    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.