Woods Feels the Pain Just Misses Par

By Associated PressJune 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Tiger Woods grimaced and pursed his lips, unable to disguise the pain Thursday in the U.S. Open.
 
No, it wasnt his left knee, though that was still tender from surgery.
 
It was the three-putt to end his round at Torrey Pines, leaving him four shots behind a pair of surprising leaders and one behind Phil Mickelson.
 
Nothing torments Woods more than that.
 
He expected soreness in his knee. He didnt expect his first double bogey in 416 holes.
 
What no one saw coming'certainly not the gallery that stood a dozen deep to watch the All-Star pairing of Woods and Mickelson'was Kevin Streelman and Justin Hicks tied for the lead at 3-under 68.
 
To make two double bogeys and a three-putt and only be four back, thats a great position to be in, Woods said after his 1-over 72, because I know I can clean that up tomorrow.
 
The leaders have some history at Torrey Pines that takes some explaining.
 
Streelman was an unknown rookie when he got into the Buick Invitational in January as the third alternate and wound up in the final group with Woods in the third round. His world ranking was No. 1,354, and he closed with rounds of 75-77 to slip back into oblivion until he emerged anew at Torrey Pines this week.
 
I do enjoy this golf course, Streelman said.
 
Hicks played at the Buick Invitational, too'but it wasnt the same guy whose name was atop the leaderboard of the U.S. Open. Turns out theres another Justin Hicks, a club pro in San Diego, who qualified for the PGA Tour event. He showed up in the gallery to watch Justin Hicks, the Nationwide Tour player, fire off six birdies on his opening nine and hold it together.
 
A lot of weird stuff going on out there today, Hicks said.
 
That includes the star pairing of Woods and Mickelson that brought enormous crowds outside the ropes and more than 100 media inside the ropes. Woods made his first double bogey since September, worked his way onto the leaderboard and then made another.
 
Mickelson, the guy who carried two drivers in his bag at the Masters when he won his first major, didnt have any in his bag for the U.S. Open. He still managed to reach both par 5s on the back in two, both times settling for birdie on his way to a 71.
 
I felt like with the fairways being firm like they were today, all I needed was a 3-wood, Mickelson said.
 
Stranger still was the eclectic mix of players who managed to break par.
 
Hicks is No. 722 in the world ranking, tied with Streelman, who is No. 608. Right behind was Eric Axley (No. 503), who has bittersweet memories of this place. His caddie, Steve DuPlantis, was killed by a car while crossing the street at the Buick Invitational. He shot 69 and was tied with Stuart Appleby, Rocco Mediate and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els was among 11 players who managed to break par at Torrey Pines, the public golf course along the bluffs of the Pacific that held its own. A year ago at Oakmont, only two players broke par in the opening round.
 
Even so, the focus was on Woods and Mickelson, playing together in a U.S. Open for the first time since 1999.
 
Rarely has there been so much speculation over Woods, who had surgery to clean out cartilage around his knee April 15, two days after the Masters. He had not played a competitive round since then, much less walked 18 holes.
 
But it didnt take him long to get back into the rhythm of major championship golf.
 
Getting into the flow of the round, it helps when you hit six shots on the first hole, he said.
 
Woods hooked his opening tee shot into rough so deep he could only gouge a sand wedge back into the fairway. The eye-opener came on the flip wedge to the back pin, the ball landing just beyond the flag and hopping six feet high, not landing until it was in more cabbage behind the green. He chipped 6 feet by and missed the putt.
 
It was his first double bogey since the opening round of the BMW Championship last September.
 
I figured youre going to make bogeys out here, Woods said. I just happened to make two on the very first hole.
 
The plan was to get back to par, which is where everyone wants to be at a U.S. Open, and Woods got there with a 5-iron from a fairway bunker to two feet on the tough fourth hole along the bluffs, a tee shot that slowly rolled down the ridge to five feet on the par-3 eighth, and two powerful swings on the 612-yard ninth to the collar of a bunker, from where he chipped to three feet for birdie.
 
As for the knee?
 
There was no question it was hurting, especially when he took a huge cut from the rough on No. 12 and went after his tee shot on the 18th hole, a drive so long and straight that he had only 7-iron for his second shot.
 
Its a little sore was about all Woods offered after his round, adding that he felt similar pain during his practice rounds.
 
But he was back to playing golf, continuing his pursuit of the 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus, and what really made him sore was dropping shots with careless mistakes.
 
Woods saved par with a 15-foot putt on the 12th to stay 1 under and was poised to go lower when he found the fairway on the 13th hole, which played only 539 yards with the Pacific breeze at his back. But his 6-iron didnt carry like he imagined, coming up short of the elevated green and rolling back some 100 yards down the hill. He bladed a wedge over the green and had to make a 12-footer to save par.
 
Then came his second double bogey, going from a fairway bunker to short of the green, a stubby chip that didnt clear the collar of rough, and a chip seven feet past the hole.
 
Those two 6s, I didnt take care of both par 5s on the back nine, Woods said. As I said, plenty of holes to go. Were all going to make mistakes out here.
 
Mickelson made his share, starting with a three-putt bogey on No. 5 for the first of three straight bogeys.
 
He was four behind Woods through 12 holes, tied with him two holes later after a two-putt birdie on the 13th and a beautiful approach to three feet on the 14th. Each birdied revved up the gallery even more, the cheers evenly divided for Woods, a six-time winner of the Buick Invitational, and Mickelson, who grew up in San Diego.
 
It was pretty interesting to tee off at 8 oclock and have this many people out here, Mickelson said.
 
They saw just about everything but the guys leading the tournament.
 

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.