Tigerless Golf

By Brian HewittMay 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Another weekend without Tiger and another weekend with more than one event that was must see if you consider yourself a serious golf fan:
Actually there will be two more weeks without Tiger now that he has announced he wont be back until the U.S. Open. Maybe there are a few players who hope Tiger wont be ready for Torrey Pines. And the U.S. Open is our national championship, an event that doesnt need Woods presence to prop up its credibility.
That said, there is no good reason to wish Woods wont be in San Diego in two weeks. Unless
Unless it turns out Woods recently surgically-repaired knee isnt ready for the rigors of a USGA set-up. If thats the case'and Tiger will make the final determination'the best thing for all parties involved should be for Tiger to protect his future at the expense of playing in the present.
The problem is Woods might not really know how his knee is going to react until he gets to Torrey Pines. And he might not REALLY know until the championship begins.
Bad knees are like bad backs and bad wrists and most other injured areas. When there is contact, the weakest area feels the pain. If and when Tiger feels the need to gouge a ball out of U.S. Open rough, theres no way his left knee, if it isnt fully healed, isnt going to experience the shock.
One teaching pro, who works with several top-ranked TOUR pros, recently told me he thinks Woods is the smartest player in the history of the game and maybe the smartest athlete of all time. Hard to argue with that. Thats why I think Woods will make the right decision. And when he does, I will not second guess him.
I, for one, am hoping the knee is ready.
Meanwhile, back at the BMW PGA Championship, the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the LPGA Corning Classic and Senior PGA Championship:
  • Phil Mickelson is now the presumptive favorite for Torrey Pines. He has won there before and he was pretty much hitting on all cylinders when he won (again) at Colonial Sunday. Phil can be maddening this way. Just when you think hes at his best, he often shows us his worst. But he has now won the Hogans Alley double this year (Riviera and Colonial). And only Hogan (1947), Snead (1950) previously achieved this feat. So, you go, Phil. Your next U.S. Open victory will be your first. What better opportunity to exorcise the demons of Winged Foot and 2006?
  • Luke Donald fired a final-round 65 Sunday at Wentworth at the BMW PGA Championship to climb all the way up to a tie for third. This is the same Luke Donald who lost in a playoff at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines four years ago. Add his name to the short list of players to watch at the U.S. Open. You can also add the name of two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. Goosens world rank has plummeted in the last 18 months. But he carded a stylish 66 Sunday at Wentworth to finish tied for sixth.
  • And while were on the subject of Euro golf, why is it that Miguel Angel Jimenez can fluff a chip on the 72nd hole and need his putter three times on the 73rd hole at Wentworth, yet never seem to miss anything in Ryder Cup play? Jimenez birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Oliver Wilson and virtually assure himself a spot on Nick Faldos European squad for Septembers Ryder Cup matches.
  • Heres why I liked the Senior PGA so much this time around despite the fact that tough weather and tough course set-up made par a rumor: There were lots of interesting names'Langer, Haas, Sluman, Norman, OMeara, Sindelar, Simpson et. al.'on the leader board all week long. And anytime Oak Hill gets showcased on a big stage it makes me think of Stranges U.S. Open win there in 1989, Americas galling Ryder Cup defeat there in 1995, Hank Kuehnes win at the U.S. Amateur in 1998 (the field included Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell, Aaron Baddeley and defending champion Matt Kuchar, just to name a few), and, of course, Shaun Micheels winning 7-iron on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship in 2003. Oak Hill is a great routing with highly-challenging green complexes.
  • Watching Justin Leonard hustle his way to a closing 67 at Colonial Sunday to sneak up on a T33 reminded me of his final round there in 2003. If Leonard had birdied the 72nd hole, he would have signed for a Sunday 59 which would have made Kenny Perrys victory the third biggest story of the week behind No. 2 Leonards 59 and No. 1 Annika Sorenstams brave showing against the men.
  • Finally there was Leta Lindley defeating Jeong Jang in a one-hole playoff at Corning. The knock on Lindley has always been that she cant drive her way out of a paper bag. Well take this critics: Lindley is now a winner on the LPGA for the first time in her 295th career start and has the check of $225,000 to show for it. The race isnt always to the longest.
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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

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''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.