Tiger Ready to be a Dad - Wants Open First

By Associated PressJune 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- The 2 a.m. feedings. The sleepless nights. Those first tiny baby steps and the first mumblings of 'Da-da.'
Tiger Woods is so eager to be a dad, it wouldn't be a surprise if he reached for his yardage book and pulled out Dr. Spock instead -- there's no hiding that I'm-soon-to-be-a-father beam.
Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods chats with Bubba Watson during Tuesday's practice session. (Getty Images)
Ask about the baby that wife Elin expects to deliver next month, and Woods says, 'This is far more important than any game of golf.'
'Your nights are going to be a little more awake,' Woods said Tuesday, contemplating what fatherhood will mean to the world's No. 1 golfer. 'My practice sessions are going to have to be tailored around a little bit, have to move things around.'
Before he becomes Pops Woods, however, there's the matter of this week's U.S. Open.
Woods played his seventh practice round Tuesday at Oakmont, and for all of the fretting and fussing about how difficult it is, he seems eager to confront one of the few world-class championship courses he hasn't played in competition.
'I've had success in the past on difficult golf courses before, yes,' he said.
To Woods, playing Oakmont is far easier than the much more difficult test he had a year ago at Winged Foot, barely a month after his father, Earl, died of cancer.
Woods knew he was losing his dad and spent considerable time with him during his final days -- and, because of it, didn't play between the Masters and the U.S. Open.
That Woods missed the cut in a major for the first time by shooting a 76-76 might have been the result of where his mind was, not necessarily where his golf game was.
'I wasn't quite ready to play until I got to the U.S. Open -- probably not exactly the best tournament to come back to,' Woods said. 'So this year, I'm going to be a father, you know, shortly, and I think it's a complete polar opposite of where I was last year at this time.'
Woods, seeking his 13th major championship, tied for 15th at the Memorial two weeks in his last tournament tuneup for Oakmont. But he has won nine of his last 13 tournaments, and he's the runaway No. 1 in the world rankings, more than doubling No. 2 Phil Mickelson in the standings.
Johnny Miller, the 1973 Open champion at Oakmont, especially likes what he is seeing from Woods this week: the work ethic, the attitude, the confidence.
'Felt good vibrations from Tiger Woods,' Miller said. 'He looks like he's right on his game.'
Another edge to Woods: Oakmont's toughness. Sergio Garcia says it should be a par 78, not a 70, and that almost certainly means someone else can't run away with the tournament. Especially with the leader boards likely to be showing more black than red by Saturday.
While Woods hasn't played Oakmont competitively, not many others have, either -- this is the first Open there since 1994, and only 12 in this field played back then. Woods has played as many or more practice rounds there than anyone, too, beginning in April.
'I'm pleased with the things that I've been working on and pleased at the progress that I've been making in my practice rounds,' Woods said. 'Honestly, (I'm) really looking forward to Thursday.'
A 667-yard par 5? A par 3 that stretches to nearly 300 yards? The fastest greens the 31-year-old Woods has seen in his career? And he's looking forward to this?
'No, I think it's fantastic,' he said. 'This golf course is, without a doubt, difficult. We all know that. But it's also fair. I just think that we're going to see what happens on pin locations, because they can go crazy on pin locations and make it impossible. But if they put pins in generous spots, I think it will be just a fantastic test.'
If Woods finds himself in position to win Sunday, perhaps he can draw extra motivation from this: It's Father's Day.
After all, what better way for Woods to welcome his first-born into the world than as a three-time U.S. Open champion? Woods enjoyed what he considers to be the perfect bringing-up-a-child primer, and he credits it with helping him in every golf tournament of his life.
This one, too.
'My parents loved me unconditionally, no matter what,' he said. 'My parents always told me they loved me every night. I was never afraid to go out there and push myself to the limit. And if I failed, so what?'
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.