Tiger Revealing Major Hole in Resume

By Associated PressApril 11, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When the historians look back one day and chronicle everything Tiger Woods has done, it might not be at the top of the list.
Heck, it might not even be a footnote.

For now, though, you have to wonder.
When is the player who has done everything else going to come from behind in the final round and win a major?
When is Woods going to act like Arnold Palmer at Cherry Hills, Nick Faldo at Augusta National? When will he give us goose bumps like Jack Nicklaus did 20 years ago when he came roaring out of nowhere to win his sixth green jacket?
A small quibble, sure. Woods has provided enough thrills, done more for golf over the last decade than 99 percent of players will ever do in their lifetimes.
But there is a hole in his resume.
He's a frontrunner, maybe the best ever. When he goes to bed the Saturday night of a major without a lead, though, he's Clark Kent instead of Superman.
Sunday's final round at the Masters did nothing to change that.
Woods started two back, finished three back. It looked closer than it was because for much of the back nine he was five or six back.
'I felt today was the day,' Woods said of his failure to win from behind. 'If I had just putted normal, it might have been.'
It wasn't, but perhaps that was asking a lot. Woods would have had to shoot 67 to tie Phil Mickelson, 66 to win.
This is Tiger Woods, though. And great players are expected to do great things.
Especially on Sundays when the shadows lengthen in Amen Corner and the world is watching.
That's one reason Woods looked so frustrated as he fell way off the lead early on the back nine, then missed short eagle putts on the 13th and 15th holes that might have gotten the crowd roaring and given him a spark.
'I just putted atrociously,' Woods said. 'I was so in command of my golf ball from tee to green.'
If it seemed familiar, it was.
Woods missed short putts down the stretch to fall out of contention in the final round of last year's U.S. Open, and short-circuited what looked like a brilliant comeback with a three-putt in the 2002 PGA Championship to lose to Rich Beem.
That, of course, is golf. A missed putt here, a fluffed chip there is all that separates major championship winners from the Tim Herrons of the PGA Tour.
And, in the grand scheme of things, it's important to note that Woods has played in 37 major championships and has 10 trophies on his mantle. That's winning almost one in every three, by far the best of any player alive.
It's just that this is Tiger Woods, and, well, we expect even more.
The fans who got up early Sunday morning to watch Woods play the final nine holes of his rain-delayed third round certainly did. So did the thousands who came later expecting to see a shootout between the best player in the world and some of the better players in the world.
The better players did their part. Woods didn't do his.
The swing he revamped twice over the years to the great consternation of others wasn't to blame. Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens.
His irons on the back nine were impeccable, two of them nearly setting up eagles on the par 5s and another nearly flying in the hole on the par 3 16th where his chip-in touched off so much celebration in his win last year.
'Best I've hit it in years,' Woods said. 'Final round of a major, it's the way you want to hit it.'
Oh, but for that putter.
The stats looked bad enough. Woods needed 33 putts, averaging a full two on every green he hit in regulation. When he needed the putter the most on the final eight holes, it let him down the most.
Up close and personal, it was even uglier. So much so that caddie Steve Williams tossed the offending club to Woods' agent as they came off the 18th green with some parting instructions.
Woods wasn't in the mood to give the club a last-minute reprieve.
'This one may have to be fixed,' he said.
A few years ago, the putter may not have made it to the car. But Woods is 30 now, and he came here more reflective about both life and golf because his father is losing his fight against cancer at his California home.
This was the first Masters that Earl Woods couldn't be in Augusta with his son, and Woods said his father's illness has made him realize that there are worse things than hitting bad shots or missing putts.
That being said, this one had to hurt. Woods is ultra-competitive in anything he does, and it has to burn deep inside if anyone even suggests there is something he has not accomplished on a Sunday afternoon.
He's too good to go another 10 years without winning one from behind. He's too driven to let too many chances escape.
For now, though, there remains a glaring hole in his resume.
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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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."