Wetterich Leads Tiger Lefty Close

By Associated PressSeptember 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Brett Wetterich emerged from the pack with a 15-foot eagle Sunday and held on for a 6-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead in the Deutsche Bank Championship but no room for error.
 
The second straight week of these PGA TOUR Playoffs delivered a surprising leader in Wetterich, who has not been in serious contention since March. And it looks as if it will be the second straight week of a final round up for grabs among an All-Star cast of contenders.
 
Wetterich was at 13-under 200 and will play in the final pairing on Labor Day with Arron Oberholser, who had to scramble for par after hitting into the hazard on the 18th to shoot 66.
 
But of all the errors on the closing holes, perhaps the most significant belonged to Aaron Baddeley. He went for the green out of the bunker and wound up with a bogey, a shot that enabled Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to be paired in the second-to-last group.
 
Woods and Mickelson played together the first two days, and Lefty needled him again by noting that Butch Harmon pointed out a few habits by the world's No. 1 player that made Mickelson chuckle.
 
Mickelson scrambled brilliantly throughout the sunny day, six times saving par with putts in the 6-foot range that kept his round together. He finished with a birdie on the 18th for a 68, putting him two shots behind at 202.
 
Another shot behind was Woods, the defending champion at Deutsche Bank who is making his first start in these playoffs. Woods was fuming as he left the 18th green with a 67, after three-putting the last two holes to spoil an otherwise solid day.
 
But with mistakes by Wetterich, Baddeley and Oberholser down the stretch, he wasn't as bad off as he thought. A year ago, Woods turned a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory over Vijay Singh.
 
This one doesn't figure to be a duel, not with a dozen players within five shots of Wetterich's lead.
 
The playoffs got off to a rousing start last week at The Barclays, which featured 10 players within three shots of the lead along the back nine of Westchester until Steve Stricker birdied the last three holes for the victory.
 
This could be more of the same.
 
U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera eagled the last hole for a 65 to reach 9-under 204, while Stricker made a 60-foot eagle on the 18th hole that swirled all the way around the cup and gave him a 69, putting him in the group at 205.
 
Wetterich, one of the most powerful players in golf, made the Ryder Cup last year as a rookie and turned heads recently when he earned a spot in the Skins Game. But he is capable of explosive stretches, and he showed that Sunday by twice giving himself eagle putts, one on the 298-yard fourth hole. He only made one, at the par-5 seventh, but it propelled him into the lead and he never gave it back.
 
'If I go out and shoot 5 under like I did today, it's going to be hard to beat me, unless someone really plays a good round of golf,' Wetterich said. 'I'm going to go out and try to make the best score that I can. And if someone catches me and beats me, then they did.'
 
His biggest shot might have been for a par.
 
Wetterich drove into the trees right of the fairway on No. 5 and had to drop a half-dozen times, from the hazard line, then the cart path, then a rubber mat covering some television cables. The ball finally back in play, he hit 5-iron from 220 yards to 5 feet and made the putt.
 
'I got myself out of a pretty big jam there,' he said. 'From there on, I got myself out of trouble and didn't get in any more trouble, and made a few birdie putts. And it resulted in a good score.'
 
There's a big jam behind him, however, and there's probably where the largest crowds will be.
 
Mickelson finished two shots better than Woods over the first two rounds, when Vijay Singh joined them based on playoff rankings. He later revealed that he found the secret to playing better against his longtime nemesis.
 
Lefty now works with Harmon -- Woods' first swing coach -- and says Harmon told him to look for nuances about Woods. Mickelson didn't say what they were, only that they made him laugh.
 
'He (Harmon) told me a couple things that he likes to do, and I was kind of watching for it, and I chuckled throughout the round when I'd pick up on it,' Mickelson said after the second round. 'I think that working with Butch has really helped me understand how to get my best golf when I play in the same group as Tiger. And I'm hoping I have a chance to do that on Monday.'
 
He gets that chance, even though both have chasing to do.
 
Woods was tied for the lead for about two minutes after jump-starting his round with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 8, followed by two straight birdies from about 20 feet to reach 10 under. About that time, Wetterich reached the 600-yard seventh hole in two shots and made the 15-foot eagle to take command.
 
Woods added another birdie on the 12th, but his work was undone with a three-putt bogey from about 50 feet on the 17th, and having to settle for par after three-putting the 18th from the other side of the green.
 
'Instead of being two or three back, I'll be five or six back,' Woods said. 'I'm going to have to actually shoot a really low round tomorrow, and hopefully, it will be enough.'
 
A few mistakes by the guys behind him might have helped him out. But like everyone else, it figures to be a mad scramble on Monday.
 
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  • Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.