Woodland leads Spieth; Woods has first career MDF

By Doug FergusonJanuary 26, 2014, 1:45 am

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods was right. The South Course at Torrey Pines is playing about as tough as it did for the U.S. Open in 2008.

But that's the only similarity.

Woods won that U.S. Open. He won't even have a tee time in the final round at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Gary Woodland used power to his advantage Saturday – oddly enough, everywhere but on the par 5s – to pick up five birdies in his round of 2-under 70 that gave him a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and Marc Leishman going into a final day that won't include Woods.

Instead of getting back into the tournament, the defending champion and eight-time winner at Torrey Pines delivered a shocking performance. Woods went seven straight holes making bogey or worse and wound up with a 79, matching his worst score on American soil.

Woods left town without speaking to reporters and with an ''MDF'' next to his name, which probably should have been ''OMG.''


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, videos and photos


That's the PGA Tour's acronym for ''made the cut, did not finish.'' Because more than 78 players advanced to the weekend, there was a 54-hole cut for top 70 and ties. Only one other player, club pro Michael Block, had a worse score than Woods.

''You get going south on this golf course, you can definitely put up some numbers in a hurry,'' Woodland said when he heard about Woods' score. ''I don't think he's too concerned about it.''

There's plenty for everyone to be concerned about at Torrey Pines – a beast of a course, thick rough, rock-hard greens, and nearly two dozen players so close to the lead that Sunday could be wide open.

Woodland was at 8-under 208. It was the highest 54-hole score to lead this tournament since Dave Rummells at 4-under 212 in 1993.

Spieth had a one-shot lead to start the third round and it was gone quickly. He missed a 30-inch par putt on the opening hole and took a double bogey on No. 5. His biggest putt might have been a 6-footer for par on the 14th, and Spieth looked confident the rest of the way to salvage a 75.

Leishman had a relatively boring round of 72 on a gorgeous day along the Pacific – one birdie, one bogey, 16 pars. That might be what it takes on this monster of a course that features rough that might even make the USGA blush.

''If you let bogeys worry you on that golf course, it's going to be a pretty long day,'' Leishman said. ''You don't have to do a whole lot wrong to have a bogey.''

The average score on the South through three rounds was 74.24, compared with 74.97 during the U.S. Open. And keep in mind, the field for the Farmers Insurance Open is almost entirely PGA Tour or European Tour players.

San Diego native Pat Perez, who used to work the practice range as a teenager during this event, salvaged a 72 and was two shots behind with Morgan Hoffman (72). Ryo Ishikawa had a 69 and was in a large group at 5-under 211 that included Nicolas Colsaerts (75) and Andres Romero of Argentina, whose 67 was the best score of the day.

''When you play with Gary, who hits it 40 yards farther than I do, it doesn't look that hard,'' Perez said. ''Where he hits it is unbelievable. But it was a lot harder today.''

Twenty-two players were separated by four shots going into Sunday.

Everything was in place for a good show except for the tour's two biggest stars. In the first network telecast of the year – and the first Sunday in golf without going against the NFL playoffs – Woods was out of the tournament and Phil Mickelson pulled out Friday night after making the cut because of muscle pain in his back.

Woodland has been heading north since winning the Reno-Tahoe Open last year. He contended at The Barclays, lost in a playoff in Malaysia and now feels confident about who's in charge at San Diego. Yes, the South is a beast. But the Kansas native hits it a long way.

Then again, he made par on all of them, including a three-putt pars on the sixth and 18th holes. That was OK, for Woodland had nothing more than a wedge in on No. 1, and he collected a pair of birdies on the par 3s. His only lapse was a double bogey on No. 17 from a bad lie in the bunker and a three-putt.

''If I drive the ball in play, I'm playing a little different golf course than most guys are playing,'' Woodland said.

Spieth, with a chance to move into the top 10 in the world with a win, hits the ball plenty far. He just wasn't very straight. The Texan pulled his opening tee shot and struggled to find fairways the rest of the day. He hit only five of them.

The steady finish left him confident about collecting his second PGA Tour win.

''Only one shot back and a bunched leaderboard,'' Spieth said. ''It's going to take a good score tomorrow. ... I'm excited about tomorrow. I had some great saves down the stretch today, so take that momentum.''

Woods thought he had some momentum, coming off a birdie on the 17th hole and in the fairway on the par-5 18th with a shot at the green. He went into the water and made double bogey, then made another double bogey on the first hole with a three-putt. It was his first time with back-to-back double bogeys since the 2011 PGA Championship. And it only got worse from there.

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.