Tigers Late Rally Comes Up Short

By Associated PressJune 19, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- The birdie putt dropped from 5 feet, Tiger Woods pumped his fist in excitement, and the roars echoed through the tall Carolina pines.
Deep into the back nine on Sunday, the U.S. Open was finally on.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods birdied the 72nd hole, but it still wasn't enough to defeat Michael Campbell.
Woods stalked to the 16th tee, just two shots behind Michael Campbell. Everyone else had fallen back, and now it was a two-man duel between the greatest player of his time and a journeyman who had never lived up to his potential.
The massive gallery cheered wildly as Woods made his way to the tee. History was in the making, a 10th major championship for Woods and a chance at the Grand Slam - or was it?
What the crowd got was an anticlimactic ending that did nothing to add to Woods' legend.
The club that bedeviled Woods all week long cost him dearly when he missed putts on the 16th and 17th holes to see his unlikely bid for a third Open title fail and see an even more unlikely champion crowned.
Down eight shots at one point on the front nine, Woods made a game of it with Campbell while the rest of the field slid backward. But by the time he coaxed a final birdie putt into the cup on the 18th hole, it was too late.
'I just didn't putt well,' Woods said. 'I played well today, but I just didn't putt well. I couldn't get the feel of the pace of the greens.'
Woods, who began the day on a bad note by making bogeys on the first two holes, came roaring back with the birdies he couldn't make all week in front of an excited crowd just waiting for something to happen in an Open no one seemed able to take.
After making just six birdies while playing defensively in his first 57 holes, Woods let loose and made six in his last 15, including four on the back nine after Campbell played his way into the lead.
Woods was trying desperately to get to even par, which he figured might be good enough to win. It was, but it was Campbell who finished with the score, not Woods.
'I'm sure people didn't give me a chance to win the tournament after my start,' Woods said. 'I figured I could get back to even and see what happens on the back nine.'
What happened could have been the kind of finish legends are made of. Woods has had them before, and for a few holes it seemed like he might have one again.
He had talked the day before about knowing how to win under the ultimate pressure test in golf, and how he knew how to be calm when it counted the most. All he had to do was catch a player who had no experience with this kind of thing, the kind of player Woods had stared down many times before.
You don't intimidate other players with bogeys, though. And the two Woods made on the 16th and 17th holes cost him any chance.
'I just wanted to hang in there and stay patient,' said Woods, whose round of 69 was his only under-par round of the Open. 'In hindsight we all know even-par would be in a playoff.'
Woods was 4-over at the turn, but made a birdie putt on the 10th hole and then another on the 11th after stiffing an iron to 4 feet. He then made three straight pars, missing birdie putts on 13 and 14, before hitting a beautiful iron shot to 5 feet on the par-3 15th.
When the putt went in, Woods punched the air with his first, a declaration that the game was on and a warning to Campbell that he was in the chase.
'I knew Tiger was coming after me,' Campbell said.
Woods, who has never won a major from behind in the final round, promptly hit his drive into the rough on the next hole, then recovered with an iron shot in front of the green. He chipped up poorly, though, and missed an 8-footer to fall three behind.
Figuring he had to birdie the last two holes to have a chance, Woods hit a 7-iron to about 25 feet on the par-3 17th and made a run at the cup. His speed was off again, though, as he ran it 6 feet by and missed the putt coming back for a second straight bogey that all but ended his hopes.
'I was trying to make it, but not with that speed. I just pulled it,' Woods said. 'And the second putt I blocked it. So somewhere in between I would have been great.'
Woods ended up with 28 putts, eight less than a day earlier. But the putter cost him dearly when it most mattered, just as it had the entire week.
Hitting the ball was another matter. He hit 16 greens on Saturday, 12 more on Sunday when the pins were tucked on ledges. To Woods, that was vindication for the changes he has made to his swing over the past 16 months.
'I've come a long way for all the people who slammed me for making the changes,' he said. 'Now you understand why I did it.'
Woods came a long way on Sunday, too. Long enough that he was feeling the pain of coming close, but never getting close enough.
'If you feel you had a chance to win and you didn't take that opportunity to win the tournament, then it's disappointing,' Woods said.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

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    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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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.