Woods Gets Back in Contention

By Associated PressApril 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Guess who finally showed up at the Masters.
Tiger Woods.
Woods looked more like his old self Friday than the guy who's been struggling to find his swing the past few months. He made impossibly long putts, dazzling chips and even a few circus shots and finished with a 3-under 69, climbing back to even par for the tournament -- and within striking distance of the lead.
'I'm still here,' said Woods, who is six strokes behind leader Justin Rose. 'You've just got to take baby steps. I tried to get back to even par and thought that was reasonable, certainly viable, with the way I was shooting.'
That alone is a major accomplishment. Usually the poster child for perfection, Woods' game has been in disarray recently. He hasn't won a major since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, and a birdieless round Thursday had him fighting to make the cut for a second straight tournament, as well as the second straight Masters.
The three-time champion's opening 75 was the fifth straight round he had failed to finish below par in a major -- the longest stretch of his career.
Woods appeared to be in trouble again Friday when he missed a makable 8-foot par putt on the par-4 11th. After the ball rolled past the hole, Wood took a baseball-like chop at his ball, checking his swing as the crowd gasped.
'It was a terrible putt,' he said. 'I had all the momentum going for me at that point. It was a big putt I thought I had to make, and I didn't do it.'
He was so disgusted he chucked his ball into the water after tapping in for bogey. But when he tossed the ball, he apparently got rid of his bad karma right along with it.

Two holes later, he two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie. Then, on the par-5 15th, he chipped within 8 feet and rolled it in for another birdie. His best shot came on the par-3 No. 16, when his tee shot hit 8 feet shy of the pin and rolled slowly back down to the edge of the green, leaving him a 40-foot putt for birdie.
Woods took a solid whack at the ball and it rolled ever so slowly toward the hole, losing speed with every inch. But it went just far enough.
When the ball dropped into the hole, Woods screamed and pumped his fist several times. The crowd whooped and hollered, thrilled to finally see the Woods they're used to.

He looked as if he might get on one of his patented roles with a monster drive on the par-4 17th, coming within 70 yards of the flag on the front of the green. But the wind took his approach shot, carrying it over the back of the green. Woods was stunned, even throwing a few blades of grass in the air to make sure he'd gauged
the wind right.
He rallied nicely with a masterful chip within 2 feet and tapped in to save par.
His woes weren't over quite yet, though. His tee shot on the 18th sailed high and far right, clipping a tree and dropping into the rough off the 10th fairway. He actually had a clear shot to the green -- except for the large oak tree whose branches blocked his way.
So Woods simply went over the tree, clearing it and landing 20 feet from the pin. He two-putted for another par, making his 121st straight cut.
'(Thursday) was a bit of a difficult day, but I hung in there,' Woods said. 'I played really well today. I knew I had to get myself into it and make some birdies. I missed a couple of short ones I should have made, but overall, I performed really
And just think of what might have been if he'd made a few of those short ones. Woods missed several putts within 10 feet, and his eagle putt on the par-5 No. 2 lipped out.
But after his recent struggles, Woods will happily take it.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - The Masters Tournament
  • Full Coverage - The Masters Tournament
  • Masters Photo Gallery
  • Tee Times
  • Arnold Palmers 50th Masters
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.