Just When You Thought

By Brian HewittFebruary 20, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureDifficult to do justice - with the printed or spoken word - to what went down late Wednesday in the first match between Tiger Woods and J.B. Holmes at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
The shorthand: Woods, the No. 1 player in the history of mankind, was 3 down with 5 to play against Holmes, a strapping Kentuckian, longer than Woods himself and stronger than Makers Mark.
Woods birdied from 14 feet 1 inch to win the 14th. Woods birdied from 17 feet 5 inches to win the 15th. Woods birdied from 21 feet 9 inches to win the 16th. And Woods eagled the uphill, 601-yard 17th hole to win the 17th. When Holmes missed a 10-footer on the last, Woods had won the match of the day.
Everything just kind of turned my way, Woods said after producing another series of those moments that only he seems to be able to summon.
There was, at one point Wednesday, a strong possibility, if not the likelihood, of all four top seeds losing. This is not, of course, what the PGA TOUR, or anybody else for that matter, had in mind when they created the WGC events a decade ago.
But late Wednesday, first-seed Ernie Els already had lost to Jonathan Byrd; first-seed Woods was 3 down to Holmes; first-seed Steve Stricker was all square with Daniel Chopra and first seed Phil Mickelson was 1-up over Pat Perez.
Stricker birdied the 20th hole to outlast Chopra who had outlasted Stricker to win the Mercedes-Benz Championship earlier this year. Mickelson also lived to fight another day, holding off Perez and preserving his one hole lead at the end of 18 holes.
The shot of the day for Woods: My vote is the rocket ship he hit from the right rough on the 17th from more than 250 yards with a 5-wood out of a dicey lie.
It came out just like a bullet, Woods said. The decisive eagle putt followed.
And Woods, per usual, came out smelling like a rose.

The first big upset Wednesday was 15th-seeded Colin Montgomerie, finishing with five straight 3s, to upset No. 2 seed Jim Furyk.
Montgomerie was 1-down after two holes but bounced back with a birdie 2 on the second and never trailed thereafter.
Montgomerie, who turns 45 in June, has failed to advance past the round of 16 in seven previous appearances in this event.
I enjoyed the challenge of seeing where I am, seeing where my game is, Montgomerie said. anybody, as we so rightly know, can beat anybody on any day.

Yes, Monty, anybody can beat anybody on any day. Or, if youre Ernie Els, anybody can beat you in the first round of this event.
This time it was Jonathan Byrd, a 16th seed, knocking off the feckless Els, top-seeded in his bracket, 6 and 5.
It marked the fourth straight time Els has shown up in this event and lost in the first round. This time, much was made of Els last-second decision to jet over from London, committing to this event at the 11th hour.
Maybe it was the jet lag. Byrd won three of the first four holes (winning two holes with pars) and was 6-up at the turn.
He obviously helped me out a good bit, Byrd said when asked how Els played. I consider it an upset. But anybody can lose out here.

The first match to end on the first day was Sergio 3 and 2 cruise over Aussie John Senden. The match concluded on the 16th hole with Garcia burying a 5-footer with his belly putter.
Turns out Garcia had two putters in his bag during the round. He started out using the more conventional of his two flat sticks. And I went for it for pretty much the whole round, he said. But then I started not feeling quite as comfortable. I hit a couple of not-very-good putts. So I decided to go with safe route for the last couple of holes. If I would have practiced it a little bit more, then I probably would have gone out with only one putter.
Garcia said he started feeling good on the practice green Tuesday with the short putter while working with short game guru Stan Utley. But its different, the putting green is, than when youre out there on the heat of battle and the pressure is on, Garcia said. So I wanted to take, like, you can call it a safety net, just in case I didnt feel quite as comfortable.
What a play, said an admiring Paul Casey, also a first-round winner, of Garcias choice to put two putters in the bag. I didnt use a 3-iron today. Didnt use a 4-iron either. There you go. Maybe I should take a look'maybe I should take three putters.

Ian Poulter, who edged past Soren Hanson 2 and 1, was in a mild tizzy Tuesday when his driver broke.
Found a perfect driver last week, new Cobra driver was working great, he said. I was standing on the range about five or six shots into the driver and the head comes flying off. It just snaps. Its one of those things that happens every couple of years. So it was a panic on Tuesday afternoon to try to find a driver thats actually going to suit me. Ive managed to do that, which is great.

Woody Austin, a 6 and 5 winner over Toru Taniguchi, doesnt wear the shirts with the hot sauce bottle pattern on them anymore. The company, he said, got tired of the criticism. For his part, Austin said, he liked the shirts.
How can I be so bad off, he said. Im not the one showing up in lavender purple pants and I dont show up with giant white belts and burgundy-colored shirts and Fedora hats. I dont show up with a tie. I dont understand how a fun, colorful shirt is so bad as opposed to all that.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.