Day 2 Tiger Makes Major Statement

By Brian HewittDecember 30, 2007, 5:00 pm
Day 2Editor's note: In the holiday spirit, the Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 2
It was Sunday August 12th in Oklahoma and it was the last chance for Tiger Woods to make a major statement in 2007.
Zach Johnson had stood up to Woods in the heat of the final round in April to win The Masters. Angel Cabrera had done the same Sunday on the back nine of the U.S. Open at Oakmont. And Woods had been a non-factor at the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is now just five professional major wins shy of Jack Nicklaus' record. (Getty Images)
So the PGA Championship was the last chance for Woods to win a major championship and make a major statement and not have to endure the seven month wait until the next major during which the inevitable Tiger Slump stories would surface because he had gone an entire calendar year without winning a Grand Slam event.
Actually Woods two-shot victory over Woody Austin at Southern Hills in Tulsa made several statements. For his part, Austin added a few statements of his own that underscored how Woods dominance has other players making comments that dont always make sense.
On Friday Woods had gotten hotter than the searing conditions. And Austin, in a left-handed, back-handed, off-handed, ham-handed kind of way paid Woods a compliment.
I watched (Woods round on TV), Austin said after posting a 70 that was seven shots higher than Woods 63. And I had it inside him all day long. I outplayed him by at least four or five shots, and he beat me by seven.
Huh? Outplayed him by seven?
Woods second round 63 actually just as easily could have been 62 which would have been an all-time 18-hole record for a major championship. But his very makeable birdie putt on the final green decided, after going almost three quarters of the way down into the hole, that history would have to wait. Woods had to settle for a 63 that he promptly insisted was a 62 1/2.
Mad, Woods said in the press room when asked how he felt. I was just trying to get myself back into this tournament. And lo and behold, here I am.
We know by now that Woods doesnt think'or at least doesnt want us to know he thinks'about records. Play good golf and win tournaments, he mantras, and the records will take care of themselves. So we shouldnt have been surprised, when, pushed for more quotes on the 63, Woods simply said, A 62 would have meant I had a three-shot lead instead of a two-shot lead.
Tiger remained in the lead after 54 holes, a fact that highlighted one of the most amazing stat streaks currently alive in golf anywhere: Woods entered the final round of the PGA with a perfect 12-for-12 mark when leading or sharing the lead in majors with 18 holes remaining. Make that 13-for-13.
There were anxious moments Sunday. Austin, whose fame would grow later in the year at the Presidents Cup, hung on doggedly. And Ernie Els, who would finish in third place, three back of Woods, kept the pressure on as well with a closing 66.
Theres a lot of good in my game, said Els, who also fired a 69 Saturday. Im not quite where I think I can be. But if I can get to the next level where I want to be, maybe I can at least give him a real go, a run for his money. Because someone needs to step up.
The him to whom Els referred was, of course, Woods. And Els testament to Woods stature at the top of the game made more sense than Austins verbal meanderings.
I need to start winning tournaments and that will create confidence, and winning becomes almost like a habit, Els added. Look at Tiger.
Just try not to stare.
Related Links:
  • Tiger Claims 13th Major Title
  • Golf Central Special: Tiger Closing in on Jack
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.