Tiger wins for first time in Australia

By Associated PressNovember 15, 2009, 10:04 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods gave the record crowds at the AustralianMasters everything they could have wanted with his victory Sunday, except adefinitive answer when he would return.

“I promise it won’t be as long,” Woods said to yet another warm ovation.

Woods took the lead for good with a 7-iron to within four feet for birdie onthe fifth hole, and he hardly missed a shot the rest of the way for a 4-under 68and a two-shot win over Australia’s Greg Chalmers .

He won for the seventh time this year, and the 82nd time worldwide in hiscareer. Woods now has a trophy from every continent where golf is played.Australia, the 13th country where he has won an individual event, had been themissing link.

“I’ve never won down here, so now I have won on every continent, except forAntarctica,” Woods said. “I haven’t played the Antarctica Four-Ball yet. Butto have won on every playable continent, it’s something I’ve always wanted todo. And now I’ve done that.”

It had been 11 years since Woods last competed in Australia, at the 1998Presidents Cup. Since then, he has won 13 majors and 72 times around the world,becoming the face of golf and one of the most famous athletes in the world.

More than 100,000 fans who passed through the gates of Kingston Heath gavehim rock-star treatment.

Woods put on quite a show.

One day after he lost his swing and nearly fell out of contention, Woods hitevery fairway and only ran into trouble when a photographer standing too closeclicked twice in the middle of his swing, leading to his lone bogey.

Starting the day in a three-way tie for the lead, Woods began his finalround with a 3-wood to the par-5 first hole that landed next to the hole androlled 30 feet away, producing the first of many roars from thousands of fanssurrounding the green, some of them perched in trees.

After his birdie on the fifth, he followed with his most exquisite shot ofthe day—from 82 yards away to a firm green just over a ridge, the pin on aslope feeding toward a deep bunker. Playing a 56-degree wedge for a flattershot, it bounced 30 feet from the flag, checked slightly and trickled down theslope to 2 feet.

“It came off perfect,” he said.

Chalmers, who hasn’t won on his native soil since 1998, found consolation inhis runner-up finish. It was one of the biggest weeks of golf in Australia,energy not felt since the glory days of Greg Norman .

He stayed within range of Woods on the back nine, but failed to convert acouple of good birdie chances and shot 70.

“It was like a football crowd brought to the golf, and for us as players, Ihave only experienced that a handful of times, and I’ve never experienced it inAustralia at all,” Chalmers said. “That was special. It really was veryexciting, and it made you play better. Even though I finished second, I’mthrilled that he’s here. I wish he would come every couple of years. I’m sure weall do.”

Asked on live television, the closing ceremony and in his press conferenceabout returning, Woods only said, “I would love to.”

“I want to come back, no doubt,” Woods said.

He said he would go over his 2010 schedule during the holidays, althoughAustralians are assured of at least seeing him in two years at Royal Melbournefor the Presidents Cup.

Woods received a $3 million appearance fee to play in the AustralianMasters. Half of that fee was paid by the Victorian government, which estimatedthe economic return at $20 million.

“He over-delivered,” said Ian Baker-Finch , the former British Openchampion helping out with local TV analysis.

Woods wasn’t too shabby on the golf course, either.

One week after he fell apart in the final round at the HSBC Champions inShanghai, Woods sorted out his swing problems overnight and was precise as everaround Kingston Heath. He saved par with a 10-foot putt on the ninth, and hereached the 574-yard 12th hole into the wind with a 3-wood for a key birdie.

The only mishap came on the 13th, with a sand wedge in his hand.

“I thought I was in control of the tournament after I made that birdie on12,” Woods said, “and then a photographer took the control right away fromme.”

The photographer, standing unusually close, took two pictures in the middleof his swing, and the ball sailed right of the green. Still fuming on the par-514th, he failed to make birdie and left himself open to Chalmers cutting intothe lead.

On the next hole, however, Woods hit an 8-iron that had the crowd buzzingduring its entire flight, the cheers getting louder as it covered the flag androlled 6 feet beyond the hole. He made the last birdie he needed.

The result was Woods slipping into a jacket after winning the Masters—thisone Australian gold, not Augusta green, but it will do. He finished at 14-under274 and earned about $250,000 from a purse that was half the size of hisappearance fee.

American Jason Dufner , who received an exemption between tournaments inAsia, shot 70 and tied for third with Frenchman Francois Delamontagne (69).James Nitties , part of that three-way tie for the lead going into the lastround, shot 73 to finish fifth, while fellow Australian Adam Scott recorded hissecond straight top 10 finish with a 69 to tie for sixth.

Asked what legacy he would leave behind, Woods smiled and said, “I got a W.That was the goal this week.”

No matter the country, the time zone or the size of the gallery, that’s onething that doesn’t change.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm