Woods failure to make Tour Championship only appropriate

By Doug FergusonSeptember 13, 2010, 11:33 pm

LEMONT, Ill. – Leave it to the PGA Tour to find the upside of Tiger Woods missing out on the Tour Championship.

In a press release Monday promoting the 30-man field at East Lake, it notes that Woods’ failure to qualify for the last playoff event guarantees there will be a new FedEx Cup champion this year.

Phil Mickelson said it “absolutely” will be strange not having the world’s No. 1 player at the Tour Championship, although it’s nothing new. Woods has only played East Lake twice in the past five years, skipping in 2006 after a long year coping with his father’s death and in 2008 when he was recovering from knee surgery.

The difference, of course, is that Woods couldn’t play the Tour Championship even if he wanted. He needed to shoot 65 in the final round of the BMW Championship, and it took him until the 17th hole just to get under par for the final round, and the tournament.

In an explanation he offered three times Sunday – to NBC Sports, XM Radio and the rest of the media – he blamed only himself.

“I didn’t play well in the beginning of the year and I didn’t play well in the middle of the year,” he said.

He said he is starting to play well now, but that only shows how far he had fallen. Woods tied 12th at The Barclays, tied for 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship and tied for 15th at the BMW Championship.

Three straight weeks out of the top 10 used to be called a slump.

Now it’s called progress?

But there are other examples of Woods’ weird year on the golf course.

He has gone seven consecutive tournaments out of the top 10, the longest stretch of his career. His previous worst was five straight tournaments out of the top 10. That was in 2001, between victories at the Memorial and Firestone.

And to get an idea of how he is playing, just look at when he is playing.

Woods is typically among the last to arrive because he is in or close to the lead so often. This year, he has teed off before noon in the final round at nine of his 12 tournaments.

The exceptions were the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. That includes Quail Hollow, where he didn’t even make it to Sunday after missing the cut with the highest 36-hole score of his career.

As he walked down the eighth hole at Firestone on Sunday, Woods could look to his left at the back nine that was empty. That’s never happened before. Then again, he’s never been the second group off on Sunday.

Another first came at Ridgewood in the opening playoff event. Because of his FedEx Cup ranking – No. 112 – Woods teed off so early that he was the first player to hit a shot in the tournament.

“That’s how far I’ve fallen,” he said, a rare glimpse of his self-deprecating humor.

On Saturday morning at Firestone, caddie Steve Williams saw a reporter and asked the whereabouts of another golf writer.

“I never thought this would happen,” came the reply, “but he actually has a later tee time today than Tiger.”

Should anyone find this the least bit shocking?

This is no time to take pity on Woods. He’s the one who created this mess he’s in. But only Woods knows what’s going on inside his head and with his swing.

He split with swing coach, Hank Haney, in May and spent the next three months working out the settlement in a split with his wife.

Woods appears ready to take on a new coach with a new concept. Previous swing changes have taken Woods some 18 months before he figures it all out. Even, he still managed to win at least one tournament, threaten in a couple of others and have time to eat lunch before his final round, not after it.

Perhaps the only shock is that he’s still No. 1 in the world ranking. That’s as much a reflection of Mickelson, who has had 11 tournaments with a mathematical chance to take over. The next comes at the Tour Championship, and the scenario for Lefty to be No. 1 will not depend on Woods because he won’t be there.

They played together in the final round at Cog Hill for the first time all year, tied at even par. Mickelson was five shots ahead after seven holes, as Woods walked with his head down, not looking the least bit like he was having any fun.

Woods rarely does unless he’s winning.

“You tell that his game is inches from turning because his speed is back and his putter looks great,” Mickelson said. “I mean, his game is not far off at all. It looks very close to being right there.”

That’s another measure of how far Woods has fallen – his biggest rival can only offer an encouraging word.

They might still meet again, though certainly not as a partnership at the Ryder Cup. That didn’t work even in good times. Mickelson is the defending champion in Shanghai at the HSBC Champions, where a year ago he took a two-shot lead into the final round and buried Woods.

For Woods, the HSBC Champions is more meaningful than ever. It will be his last chance this year for a PGA Tour victory (this World Golf Championship only counts as one if a PGA Tour member wins it). Woods has gone 14 consecutive seasons with at least one tour victory, three years away from the record held by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

And it’s not a streak that Woods can start over.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.