How High is Up for Tiger

By Brian HewittJanuary 29, 2007, 5:00 pm
In the end, Andrew Buckle buckled under the pressure. Jeff Quinney juggled possession of the lead. And Charles Howell three-putted the 72nd green when a two-putt birdie might have applied heat on Tiger Woods.
In the end, Tiger Woods won.
For the seventh straight time in a PGA TOUR event.
For the 55th time in his career in a PGA TOUR event at the tender age of 31.
His final round Sunday 66 in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines South, the same course at which they will play the 2008 U.S. Open, was brilliant. And it was the low round of the day.
But it was more about how his presence on the first page of the leaderboard late in the fourth round these days has an increasingly daunting effect on his opponents than it was about how he somehow manages to continue to improve.
CBS-TVs David Feherty said it best on the air Sunday when, all about him, Tigers challengers were losing their heads. Its kinda like being at a Stones concert and singing along, Feherty said. You feel like your part of it. But no one else notices.
Right now on the PGA TOUR nobody is going to notice anybody else but Tiger Woods. At least, that is, until somebody comes along and stops what feels like an inexorable march towards (and past) Byron Nelsons PGA TOUR victory of 11 straight official wins set way back in 1945.
I know this sounds crazy, one prominent golf psychologist told me late last week. But I wouldnt be surprised if Tiger Woods doesnt lose a tournament all year.
Right now everybodys trying to figure out where Woods will play next in America. Its Dubai next week in the Middle East, not a PGA TOUR event. After that its probably either the Nissan Open at Riviera next month or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships in Tucson the following week.
I dont know, Woods said moments after his win at the Buick Invitational had pushed his career (on course) earnings past $66 million dollars. Dubais a long way and itll probably take forever for me coming back. Id love to take some time off and get adjusted to the time and see what happens from there.
Its not inconceivable, if the win streak remains intact, that he will tie Nelsons record at the Masters in April and break it at Nelsons tournament in April.
Has anyone ever commanded the Big Stage in golf the way Woods is now? Soon Woods streak will command the attention of the entire sporting world.
Meanwhile, beware the bounce back. Woods only hiccup Sunday at Torrey Pines was a bogey on seven which he promptly followed with a birdie at eight and an eagle on nine. The latter is a par-5 in excess of 600 yards. Woods second shot stopped 26 feet from the hole.
A former European Tour player, who had competed against Woods in college, once told me if PGA TOUR events were 90 holes Woods would never lose.
Tiger had two bogeys early in his first round Thursday at Torrey Pines North course. But he knew he had more than three and a half rounds to recover. Which he did. With relative ease.
Give him four days these days and he will reel in the field.
This is why the match play event might be the most dangerous obstacle to this streak. He can shoot the equivalent of a 66 and get beat by a hot player who shoots the equivalent of a 65 on that one day.
Anyhow, the streak lives. The momentum of the story builds. And those of us who appreciate the state of the art in golf remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be living in the time of Tiger Woods.
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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.