Woods Four Off the Pace after Day 1

By Associated PressApril 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The strokes that counted had all been accounted for by the time Tiger Woods stuck two tees into the practice green just off the first tee and began absent-mindedly stroking four-footers.
 
Caddie Stevie Williams came by with a handful of bananas, and Woods paused to peel one and devour the contents before going back to the business at hand.
 
This wasnt as much a practice session as it was therapy. Woods had putted decently all day, and there certainly wasnt anything wrong with the symmetrical stroke that always seems so ideally suited for the slick, rolling greens of Augusta National.
 
A few minutes earlier, he had pronounced himself satisfied with a round that seemed pedestrian by the high standards of the greatest player in the game. That was for public consumption anyway, though the odds are the talk Thursday night at the house Woods is renting for the week was more about opportunities that got away.
 
After the round, he putted a few balls without much purpose, running one up a hill and leaving another well short. Woods didnt even bother to finish them off, picking up his balls after less than 10 minutes on the green and heading for the clubhouse. Four security guards and two sheriffs deputies quickly formed an escort around him to keep any overly curious patrons away.
 
The first round of his first major of the year was now officially over. Woods was either on his way to a fifth Masters title and the historic first leg of the first Grand Slam of the modern era, or he wasnt.
 
The scoreboard certainly didnt tell the story. On a day when Augusta National seemed primed for a picking, Woods shot as pedestrian a 72 as he could put together to stand four shots behind perennial first-round leader Justin Rose and Trevor Immelman, another player who wont be getting fit for a green jacket on Sunday.
 
The odds are still good, however, that Woods will. A check of the record books will show that he rarely posts a good score on Thursday at Augusta National, where he hasnt broken par in the first round for six years. Hes never led after the first round, never shot better than 70.
 
Yet he always seems to be in the mix on Sunday afternoon, and the oddsmakers who made him an astonishing even money against the field this year arent about to begin sweating now.
 
Neither is Woods, who put the best spin possible on a round that could have ' make that should have'been better. It was as if he was trying to convince himself as much as others that even par wasnt such a bad number even when a lot of other players thought otherwise.
 
Its good, Woods said. I kept myself in the tournament. Im right there. With the weather supposed to be getting more difficult as the week goes on, Im right there.
 
Woods watches the weather as closely as he watches the changes to Augusta National that the green jackets who run the place try to slip in every year. He was right. Wind and thunderstorms are forecast for Saturday, temperatures are expected to drop, and Woods believes he handles adverse conditions better than anyone in the field.
 
The last time he won here, three years ago, he was down by seven shots after the first round, and seemed out of it. But a cold front moved in, the rains came, and Woods rode a spectacular streak of seven straight birdies in the rain-delayed third round to win his fourth Masters.
 
Woods could have made it easier for himself this time, though it wasnt all his fault. A metal pole on the bleachers behind the eighth green turned a probable birdie into par, and a ball that just trickled over the 13th green off a hooking 4-iron was the difference between possible eagle and eventual bogey.
 
I thought it was sweet, Woods said. It was 214 into the wind, right to left, and I just hit a big sweeping draw in there, one of the best swings I made all day.
 
Woods recovered to chip in for eagle on the par-5 15th, but he was a mere spectator for the greatest shot of the day. He was on the elevated sixth tee watching when Ian Poulter knocked in an 8-iron for a hole-in-one on the nearby 16th, sparking the biggest roar of the day.
 
All in all, it was a typical Woods opening round at the Masters.
 
He plays cautiously, not only to get a feel of the course but to get a feeling of what the players around him are doing. Then he goes back home, digests it all, and figures out a game plan that will bring him to the 18th green on Sunday with the green jacket waiting for him.
 
Nobody does that better than Woods. Nobody does it at all.
 
Theyre all just scrambling to shoot the best score they can, no matter what it takes or what the conditions are. They have to, because theyre overmatched before they get to the first tee.
 
A researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, studied 363 tournaments from 1999 to 2006 and came to the conclusion that other players shoot nearly one shot worse at any tournament Woods is entered in. Theres a ton of equations and graphs to explain why, but the bottom line seems to be that Woods intimidates other players.
 
You dont need to be in graduate school to figure that out. One look at the muscular Woods, striding down the fairway and wearing a shirt whose stripes matched some of the azalea bushes, was enough to intimidate three Zach Johnsons should they have the nerve to look.
 
Woods didnt need to practice his putting after his first round. He didnt need to work on his swing.
 
Hell be there on Sunday for one reason alone. He is Tiger Woods.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
  • Leaderboard - The Masters
  • Video - The Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm