Tiger Survives Tough Road Game Test in St Andrews

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- For a brief moment, the rocking, rollicking, howling mob sat on its hands.
Say what you want about Scots being boisterous, they know golfing etiquette. The place got so quiet so all of a sudden that you could hear the distinctive ``clink'' made by the coin clanking off the others already at the bottom of Tiger Woods' pocket.
Woods had just used it to mark his ball on the 13th green at the Old Course. And as he settled over a 6-footer for par little more than two-thirds of the way through his round alongside Colin Montgomerie at the British Open, there was the sense that the entire country was holding its breath. And praying for Woods to miss.

Which, on balance, may be only a slight exaggeration.
``It's so exciting and so lovely to feel the warmth of support from a whole nation,'' Montgomerie said, ``because golf is our national sport here.
``It might not be in your country,'' he added, ``but golf is, in this country.''
If Woods needed reminding that Saturday was going to be a road game, he didn't have to wait long. His tee shot barely landed in the first fairway when the ``clack, clack, clack'' of shoes pounding down the stairs of a fast-emptying grandstand told him the size of his usual huge gallery was swelling by the moment. Every grandstand the rest of the way around the course was packed, and the throng filling each rose to its feet every time Montgomerie strolled past.
``I expected it. It should be that way,'' Woods said. ``He's native born, he's never won a major championship and this is the home of golf.''
There's even more to the story.
Montgomerie grew up at Royal Troon on the other side of this British isle as the son of the club secretary and the most-promising golfer this golf-mad land had seen in a long time. Ever since, everything from his diet to his clothes to his facial expressions to his divorce have been grist for the tabloid mill. And then there's that 0-for-54 streak in the majors, a few punctuated by such spectacular crash-and-burn endings they make ``Braveheart'' look PG-rated by comparison.
And so, young men in the gallery don Montgomerie fright wigs with frighteningly exaggerated blond curls and don't feel the least bit silly. And blue-haired matrons scream ``Go on, Monty!'' with such ardor it's a wonder they don't faint dead away. And then there's the matter of Woods being cast as the perfect villain, the overwhelming overdog, a golfing version of the roundly hated -- at least in Scotland -- English King Edward.
But expecting Woods to turn tail in that hostile environment?
Even Montgomerie knew that was too much to ask.
``He copes with the pressure and the situation around him, with being Tiger Woods, incredibly well,'' Montgomerie said.
Some days, though, it's tougher than ever and the third round was one of those. In what felt like a Ryder Cup atmosphere, Woods three-putted for bogey at No. 2, drove his ball into gorse bushes at the sixth and ninth, and dropped to his knees often enough watching putts curl away from the hole at the last instant. It's a miracle he didn't gore himself with his own putter.
After a handful of the early starters got hold of the Old Course, the stiffest winds of the week rolled in off St. Andrews Bay in the afternoon and restored some of the Old Course's teeth. The greens dried up and drives skidded off the fairways like tabletops, making it tough to judge how far tee shots were running. And always, there was that wall of noise, plus the occasional Saltire, the Scottish flag, snapping in the breeze.
``Obviously,'' Woods said afterward, ``the people should be rooting for him and they were. Then again, they were very gracious. They applauded when I hit a quality shot and sometimes a quality shot would be 30 feet. That's all you can ask for.''
Woods had to make three nervy putts at the three closing holes -- the first two to save pars, the third to set up a tap-in birdie -- to card a 1-under 71. That left him at 204, with a 2-shot lead over Jose Maria Olazabal heading into the final round.
After a 70 that wasn't nearly as steady as it looked on the scorecard, Montgomerie was another stroke back at 207. He spent parts of the day soaking up cheers and striding the fairways with his head held high, and others, red-faced, studying the tips of his shoes,
``It was quite an unbelievable situation to find myself in here,'' Montgomerie said. ``The crowds have been quite fantastic. I'd like to do well for them tomorrow, especially.
``It would be fantastic,'' he added, ``if we could get though this together.''
Woods, on the other hand, still feeling very much alone, wasn't in the mood to look too far ahead.
``Today,'' he said without any hint of emotion, ``was tough.''
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

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    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

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