Tiger Maintains Three-Shot Lead

By Associated PressSeptember 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Tiger Woods never liked tournaments where birdies were required simply to keep up. He managed just fine Saturday at the TOUR Championship, where a 6-under 64 only allowed him to keep his three-shot margin at the pushover known as East Lake.
 
Even after a week of low scoring because of soft, slow greens, the third round was mystifying.
 
'I can't remember too many golf courses that have been easier than this one,' Woods said.
 
Zach Johnson flirted with a 59 until he hit into a bunker on the par-3 18th hole and had to settle for a par and a course-record 60. Mark Calcavecchia shot a 63 and only picked up one shot on the world's No. 1 player.
 
Woods was watching and laughing from the par-5 15th fairway as Calcavecchia made eagle to join him atop the leaderboard, but that didn't last long. Woods birdied his next two holes, and missed a 7-foot birdie on the final hole that put him at 19-under 191.
 
It was the lowest 54-hole start in Woods career, and it left him poised to win at East Lake for the first time. Woods has never lost a professional tournament when leading by more than one shot going into the final round.
 
As for the FedExCup?
 
Phil Mickelson still has a mathematical chance, but the odds are about the same as winning the lottery without buying a ticket. Lefty's only hope was winning the TOUR Championship and having Woods finish lower than second by himself. Mickelson shot 70 and was 13 shots behind, so assuming he doesn't shoot 56 on Sunday, the $10 million goes into Woods' retirement account.
 
All that remains, even if Woods doesn't win his seventh tournament of the year, is how low the scores will go Sunday. The tournament record is 17-under 263, set by Bart Bryant two years ago.
 
'If you made a bunch of pars, you were going to get run over, so it was nice to make some birdies and get out there and still maintain the same size lead I had starting out the day,' Woods said. 'You see the rounds today -- 60, 62 -- and guys were taking it deep. I was hoping that I could make some birdies myself and basically shoot something in the mid-60s.'
 
Calcavecchia was briefly tied after making an 18-foot eagle on No. 15, but he missed the 16th fairway and had to lay up short of the green, and he failed to birdie the last two holes.
 
He will play with Woods for the first time in the final pairing, although it's quite a consolation prize.
 
Calcavecchia, at 47 the oldest player in the 30-man field, has become so tired during this four-week stretch of the PGA TOUR Playoffs that he was in last place and teed off as a single in the final round of his last two events. When he finished at Cog Hill on Sunday, he assessed his chances at East Lake this way:
 
'Somebody is going to finish first and somebody is going to finish 30th, and I know who the favorite is for that.'
 
Even playing in the final group doesn't change is outlook on the first part of that equation.
 
'If I play like I did today, I'll have a lot of fun, even if it's not enough,' Calcavecchia said. 'He'll probably keep me relaxed to some degree a little bit. But it's a round of golf with Tiger Woods. It's where you want to be. It's a good spot to be in.'
 
The sliver of hope in his favor?
 
Woods is 40-3 on the PGA TOUR when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and two of those losses came at East Lake -- in 2000 when he was tied with Vijay Singh and was overtaken by Mickelson, and in 2004, when he was tied with Jay Haas and both were blown away by Retief Goosen.
 
But a three-shot advantage is daunting, especially the way Woods is playing. His average score is 65.7 in these playoffs.
 
'That's a pretty big hill to climb,' Calcavecchia said. 'If he was hitting a few foul balls, it might help. But every time I turned around, he was 40 yards ahead of Woody Austin in the fairway. So it's pretty hard to screw up with a pitching wedge into every par 4 and reaching every par 5 easily.'
 
Austin's bark turned into a whimper.
 
He turned heads at the PGA Championship when he suggested he outplayed Woods the day the world's No. 1 player shot 63 and Austin shot a 70. Austin said Friday evening that Woods is 'not hard to beat' as long as he doesn't have a big lead and the other guy is playing well.
 
Austin was within two shots after a tap-in birdie at No. 2, then hit his next approach to within 6 feet. Woods followed with a wedge that spun back to 6 inches for birdie, Austin missed his putt, and that was that.
 
Austin would up with a 69, a score not posted until Austin confirmed that when he stuck his putter behind his ball on the 15th hole, he did not attempt to hit it. He wound up eight shots out of the lead.
 
'I played like an idiot,' Austin said. 'I'm embarrassed. But I didn't do anything wrong on 15.'
 
Sergio Garcia did nothing wrong. He shot a 64 and didn't make up any ground, finishing at 14-under 196. Johnson, meanwhile, was close to perfect. He stood on the 18th green with a chance to shoot 59, but nerves got the best of him and he deposited his 2-iron into the bunker and had to settle for par and a 60.
 
Woods' only bogey came with a wedge in his hand when he missed the seventh green to the right into a bunker. He picked up short birdies on the ninth and 11th, and when Calcavecchia challenged him, Woods answered with back-to-back birdies.
 
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    Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

    By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

    A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

    The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

    The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

    Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

    Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

    "This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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    LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

    By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

    The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

    While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

    The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

    The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

    An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

    The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

    The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

    “Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

    While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

    The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

    The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

    For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

    Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

    Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

    Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

    Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

    March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

    March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

    March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

    April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

    April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

    May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

    May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

    June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

    June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

    June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

    June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

    July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

    July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

    July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

    Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

    Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

    Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

    Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

    Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

    Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

    Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

    Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

    Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

    Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

    Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

    Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

    And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

    Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

    Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

    Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

    Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

    In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

    THE MAJORS

    Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

    Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

    Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

    Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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    U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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    The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

    Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

    Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

    Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

    Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

    Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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    PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

    Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


    TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

    AT&T Pebble Beach

    Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

    Travelers Championship

    Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

    Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


    FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


    PHOTO GALLERIES

    Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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    Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm