Tigers aura strong at least outside the ropes

By Associated PressNovember 10, 2009, 9:17 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods made news simply by walking off hisprivate jet.

A large photo of Woods, dressed in black shorts and a red Stanford cap, wassplashed across the front of The Melbourne Age on Tuesday morning. Imagine whatit was like when he actually put a golf club in his hand. Even Woods was alarmedto see an estimated 7,000 fans covering every inch of space available atKingston Heath to see his first appearance Down Under in 11 years.

Not long after he played nine holes with Craig Parry , the course wasvirtually empty.

“Nothing more to see for the day,” one fan said as he headed for the exit.

Combine that with a week in camera-happy China, where caddie Steve Williamsset the golf bag down to use the restroom, and it was surrounded within secondsby some 50 fans. Just more evidence that Woods’ aura is larger than ever.

At least outside the ropes.

His mystique on the golf course has been a different story over the lastthree months.

It’s always best to look at the big picture with Woods, and that continuesto illustrate his dominance in the game. Eight months after reconstructive kneesurgery, unsure how his left leg would respond to practice and play, Woods wonsix times on the PGA Tour and finished out of the top 10 only three times in 18tournaments. Even without winning a major, he considers 2009 a success.

The latest snapshot, however, is worthy of attention.

Woods, the best closer in golf, had gone five years without losing a PGATour event when he was atop the leaderboard through 36 holes. He has lost hislast two tournaments from that spot, both times watching Phil Mickelson posewith the trophy.

The last four times Woods has played in the final group, he has won only onetime—the BMW Championship outside Chicago, where he went into the final roundwith a seven-shot lead.

The latest mishap was the HSBC Champions, and while it’s no shame to spotMickelson a two-shot lead and fail to win, it was the manner in which Woods soquickly became an also-ran.

With a chance to cut the lead to one shot on the second hole, he missed a4-foot birdie. With Mickelson safely on the green about 18 feet from the cup onthe par-3 fourth, Woods pulled his tee shot into the water and made doublebogey. Two holes later, Woods was just about 30 feet from the flag and justinside Nick Watney , giving him a good read on the putt. Instead, he ran it 10feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey.

If not for a 10-foot birdie on the ninth, he would have gone out in 40. Sucha score is not unusual with Woods in the final group. It’s just that it usuallybelongs to another player.

“Just one of those days,” Woods said.

They happen to everyone. They used to happen less frequently to him.

Woods was in the final group of the Tour Championship, two shots behindKenny Perry , but didn’t have a one-putt birdie until the 16th hole, and by thenit effectively was too late to catch up to Mickelson.

It dates to the final round of the PGA Championship at Hazeltine, whereWoods built a four-shot lead going into the weekend, still had a two-shot leadagainst unheralded Y.E. Yang , and lost for the first time in a major whenleading going into the final round.

Woods has won four of the last 12 majors—that’s more than any of his peershave won in their careers. He also has finished runner-up in four of the last 12majors, this after finishing second only twice in the previous 40 majors.

“You’re not going to win them all,” Woods said Tuesday, noting that JackNicklaus was runner-up a record 19 times. “The whole idea is to give yourself achance in each and every one. I did that three of the four—I gave myself achance. And unfortunately, just didn’t get it done. You learn from it.”

Even so, his missed chances in regular tournaments—The Barclays, TourChampionship, HSBC Champions—raises the question of whether Yang’s victory atHazeltine chipped away at Woods’ mystique.

Remember, Woods had lost only one tournament in his career when leading bymore than one shot going into the final round, and that was nine years ago inGermany against Lee Westwood . It had never happened in a major, the tournamentsthat mean the most to Woods.

“He’s normal. He was always going to do that,” Geoff Ogilvy said earlierthis year. “I don’t think everybody is going to stand on the tee and say, ‘He’sgoing to give me a chance.”’

Ogilvy, however, said something could be taken away from Yang’s victory.

“The best thing about it is that the media will stop giving Tiger thetournament after 36 holes,” he said.

Maybe not. But the show still starts with Woods, whose appearance inMelbourne has made his $3 million appearance fee—half of that paid by thegovernment—a non-issue among the Australian media.

The tournament has been a sellout for months, with tickets capped at 100,000for the week. John Brumby, the Victoria premier, sat with Woods in a pressconference Tuesday and said more than 35 percent of the tickets were sold topeople either out of state or overseas. He said the economic return would be atleast $19 million.

That part of Woods’ appeal hasn’t changed.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.