Woods Delays Return Skips Memorial - COPIED

By Associated PressMay 30, 2006, 4:00 pm
Still coping with the death of his father, Tiger Woods decided Friday to skip the Memorial Tournament for the first time, meaning he will be coming off the longest layoff in his career when he goes to the U.S. Open.
Woods had until 5 p.m. Friday to enter the Memorial, and tournament officials held out hope until the final minute.
'We're respecting his decision to come back when he's ready,' tournament director Dan Sullivan said. 'There's always disappointment when a top player doesn't come to a tournament. Hopefully, he'll come back next year.'
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Tiger Woods has won the Memorial Tournament three times, from 1999-2001.
For the last 10 years, the Memorial has always counted on having two of the biggest names in golf -- Woods, a three-time winner at Muirfield Village, and tournament host Jack Nicklaus.
Nicklaus did not enter for the first time since the tournament began 30 years ago. He said last year he was ending his competitive career in the British Open at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut.
'Kind of a double barrel,' Sullivan said.
The Memorial still has a strong field, with seven of the top 10 players from the world ranking, minus only Woods, David Toms and Luke Donald. The headliner shifts from Woods to Masters champion Phil Mickelson, playing the Memorial for the first time since 2002.
Woods has not played since he tied for third at Augusta National on April 9. His father, Earl, died May 3 in California, and Woods already has missed two tournaments he typically plays -- the Wachovia Championship and Byron Nelson Championship.
It was thought he would play the Memorial to give him one tournament before the U.S. Open on June 15-18. Indications late this week from Woods' camp are that he will play at Winged Foot.
Woods has never missed the Memorial since his first full season on the PGA Tour in 1997, winning three straight years from 1999-2001, and finishing no worse than a tie for fourth over the last three years.
Aside from the four major championships, the only tournaments Woods has never missed are the Bay Hill Invitational, The Players Championship, the NEC Invitational and the Tour Championship.
The Memorial is one of the premier events on the PGA Tour, created in 1976 with Nicklaus as the host and the Masters as somewhat of a blueprint. Nicklaus is often tinkering with the course, caddies where white coveralls, there are no volunteers carrying scoreboards with each group and the staff at the club wears green jackets.
It is sold out again this year, although this will be the first time officials see how much of a difference it makes having Woods.
'It will be an interesting gauge,' Sullivan said. 'But I think there's enough star power on tour -- Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh -- that the tour is as strong as it's ever been.'
The Memorial starts Thursday with Bart Bryant as the defending champion.
Related Links:
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.