Woods misses cut at Congressional

By Doug FergusonJune 27, 2014, 10:03 pm

BETHESDA, Md. - Tiger Woods was back. Just not for very long.

Woods missed a 36-hole cut for only the 10th time on the PGA Tour with a game that showed signs of rust from being out of competition for more than three months. Right when he was poised to make a run, Woods made four straight bogeys on the back nine at Congressional to end any hopes of playing the weekend at the Quicken Loans National.

He shot a 4-over 75 on Friday and missed the cut by four shots.

It was the first time he missed the cut and saw it as a positive, starting with the fact he could play. He had back surgery March 31 and had hoped to return for the British Open next month. Instead, he played the Quicken Loans National because he felt strong enough, and because it benefits his foundation.

''I came back four weeks earlier than we thought I could,'' Woods said. ''I had no setbacks. I got my feel for playing tournament golf. I made a ton of simple, little mistakes - misjudging things and missing the ball on the wrong sides and just didn't get up and down on little, simple shots. Those are the little things I can correct.''


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Marc Leishman of Australia turned potential bogey into unlikely birdie when he holed out from 127 yards on the par-5 ninth hole on his way to a 5-under 66 and a four-way share of the lead going into the weekend.

Oliver Goss, another Aussie who is making his second pro start, had a bogey-free 66 and joined Leishman at 6-under 136 along with Ricky Barnes (69) and Patrick Reed (68), who already has won twice this year.

Woods was 13 shots behind at 7-over 148.

It wasn't the largest 36-hole gap from the leaders in the previous nine times he missed the cut on the PGA Tour. It just looked that way.

Woods took two shots to get out of a plugged lie in a bunker on the fifth hole and made double bogey. He three-putted for par on the next hole and never looked more sloppy than on the short par-4 eighth. He was in perfect position after hitting a big drive, 61 yards from the hole at the right angle. His pitch was too strong and left of the flag, leaving him a downhill chip from the collar. He hit that 7 feet by and missed the par putt.

Even so, the damage came after consecutive bogeys around the turn. His tee shot went into a hazard on No. 11, forcing him to punch out. He hit a wild hook off the tee on the 12th, and his second shot was headed for a bunker until it was suspended in the grass on the lip of the sand. He hit a poor chip from below the green on the 13th. And from the 14th fairway, he missed the green and hit another poor chip.

Four bogeys, no time to recover.

And he didn't sound terribly worried. Woods took encouragement from not feeling any pain in his back, and from swinging as hard as he wanted with his driver. That's what concerned him about playing this week. Turns out it was the two shortest clubs in his bag - the wedge and putter - that did him in.

It was surprising to see Woods go straight from the range to the tee in both rounds. Most players give themselves a few extra minutes in the chipping area.

''The short game was off,'' Woods said. ''I've been practicing on Bermuda grass, and I grew the grass up at my house and it was Bermuda. But come out here and play rye, it's totally different. And it showed. I was off. I probably should have spent more time chipping over on the chipping green than I did. But that's the way it goes.''

If it was lack of competition that hurt Woods, he faces a minor dilemma. He is not playing next week at The Greenbrier Classic - Woods said he is taking his two children on a vacation - and it might not be prudent to cram in a bunch of tournaments so soon after back surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve in his back.

His next tournament would appear to be the British Open at Hoylake, where he won in firm, dry conditions in 2006, when he hit driver only one time all week.

He didn't sound worried.

''I need to get back into competitive feel and just to feel it - to hit shots and shake some stuff off and see how things work,'' he said. ''One thing I was worried about was hitting driver at a competitive speed, and it was fantastic. I let it go and it was no problem at all. But I made so many little mistakes, which was something that I can rectify and get that fixed for the British.''

His last act as tournament host is to present the trophy, and that could be anyone.

Ten players were separated by only two shots going into the weekend, and there was only a nine-shot differential from first to last place. Former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose had 65 to get within three shots of the lead.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.