Woods trying to close out victory Down Under

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2009, 7:56 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)—Tiger Woods has been saying since he first showed upon the PGA Tour that he plays only to win.

Lately, he has been making just as many headlines when he loses.

In the 268 official tournaments that Woods has played around the world as apro, he has never gone three consecutive events without winning when he held atleast a share of the 36-hole lead.

That streak was in jeopardy Sunday in the Australian Masters, where Woodslooked to be in control with a three-shot lead until stumbling to an even-par 72in the third round to fall into a three-way tie with the Australian duo of GregChalmers and James Nitties .

For that, Woods was thankful.

“I played myself into a tie for the lead, and I could have easily playedmyself straight out of the tournament,” Woods said Saturday. “But I grinded, Ihung in there and turned it around. That’s a huge positive.”

He took a lousy session on the practice range onto the course at KingstonHeath, and it never got any better.

Woods blocked a 3-iron on the opening par 5 and failed to make birdie forthe first time all week. He came up short of the third green with a wedge andthree-putted from the fringe for a bogey. He missed the seventh fairway well tothe right, and short-sided himself in a bunker on the eighth, both times makingunlikely pars.

The low point came at the 13th, where he was so angry after another shotsailed to the right that he slammed his driver into the ground and it bounced upand into the gallery. A surprised fan caught the club and returned it to him.

“That was my mistake,” Woods said. “I got hot after a bad tee shot andlet go of the club.”

The reaction will be far worse if he fails to win the Australian Mastersafter going into the final round tied with two players who are not among thegolf’s elite.

Nitties just finished his rookie season on the PGA Tour and easily kept hiscard, although he is No. 223 in the world ranking. Chalmers, who hasn’t won inAustralia in 11 years, also finished among the top 100 on the PGA Tour moneylist and is No. 194 in the world. His goal this year was not to return toQ-school.

Two shots behind them were Jason Dufner and Cameron Percy .

Woods was the 36-hole leader at the Tour Championship only to be passed inthe third round by Kenny Perry and beaten in the final round by Phil Mickelson .Then came the HSBC Champions last week in Shanghai, where Woods was tied withNick Watney after 36 holes, both were passed by Mickelson and Lefty went on towin again.

In the Australian Masters, where Woods faced lesser competition, he has farmore to lose.

Of his six victories this year, the easiest might have been the Buick Open.He had the lead going into the final round, but 12 of the 13 players within fiveshots of the lead were ranked outside the top 100. He had more to gain than hedid to lose.

When that was mentioned to Woods after he won by three shots, he agreed.

“Plus, you had a golf course where anyone could get hot and go low,” hesaid at the time.

That probably won’t be the case at Kingston Heath, which can be difficult tonavigate in only a slight breeze. This is old-style golf, more about angles thanpower. Whenever Woods missed a shot over the first two days, he at least missedon the right side. Not so on Saturday, when he had to work for pars and droppedtwo shots, usually by hitting in the one place he couldn’t.

“I hit some really good shots out there, but also I hit some terrible golfshots,” Woods said. “It was either-or. There was no gray area. I didn’t reallyhave any borderline shots.”

Chalmers and Nitties don’t have the pedigree, which is not to suggest theyare incapable.

Nitties played bogey-free in the third round, although he cringed after somany putts that burned the edge of the cup. Chalmers rolled in some big putts inthe middle of his round to take the lead, only to give it back with two shortmisses at the end.

They were at 10-under 206 and will be in the final group before a hometowncrowd.

The gallery has turned out in record numbers this week, their first chanceto see Woods in Australia since 1998, no guarantee of seeing him again until thePresidents Cup in 2011 at Royal Melbourne, assuming he qualifies.

No one was sure what to expect in terms of a gallery favorite Sunday.

At a World Golf Championship in Spain a decade ago, Woods battled down thestretch with Miguel Angel Jimenez , and the Spanish gallery cheered when Woodshit a chip into the water on the 17th at Valderrama and made triple bogey. Theyroot for their own in Spain.

Nitties believes the gallery will root for a good show.

“You can hear the roars are huge for Tiger and the roars are huge for us ifwe hole a putt, which is awesome,” he said. “I wouldn’t like it if everyonewas going against Tiger or an American guy or a European guy. Obviously, Tigergets massive roars because he does special stuff. But the crowd is really hopingthat we do well, and hoping that Tiger does well.”

It’s the golfing public that might not go so easy on Woods if he doesn’twin.

Alas, he is not the only one facing such pressure. One online betting agencyin Australia was so sure Woods was going to win that it paid out all its bets—$150,000—after he took a three-shot lead after the second round.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

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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.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.