Woods takes the lead in his tournament

By Doug FergusonDecember 3, 2010, 5:24 am
Chevron World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Those streaks of good play from Tiger Woods keep getting a little longer.

In one of his most complete rounds of the year, Woods missed only two greens and putted for eagle four times Thursday on his way to a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy in the Chevron World Challenge.

Woods made it all the way until the 18th hole before an old flaw crept into his new swing. He popped up his tee shot, forcing him to pitch out from behind a tree and two-putt from 50 feet to escape with bogey. Even so, he matched his best score of the year, and was atop the leaderboard for only the second time in his troublesome season.

About the only club that didn’t cooperate was his new putter, although that’s nothing new. If anything has held Woods back from at least having a few chances at contending, it’s not making many putts.

Great iron play made up for that at Sherwood Country Club.

“It’s not too often you can say I shot 65 and only made one putt, but that’s kind of what I did today,” Woods said. “I only made one putt and it was on 9. The rest were either two-putts or kick-ins. It was a good ball-striking day.”

The putt on the par-4 ninth was from about 15 feet with significant break. Equally impressive were some of his shots into the par 5s, particularly the 3-iron into No. 2. Woods hit it so clean that he twirled the club, a sure sign of a good shot.

He hasn’t done much twirling this year.

“I have not,” Woods said. “Usually, it’s point which way the ball is going to go – incoming somewhere.”

McDowell and McIlroy, the Northern Ireland duo who lost only one match at the Ryder Cup, would have been tough to beat in fourballs at Sherwood. They were paired together had would have had a best-ball score of 61. On their own, each settled for a 66.

“A lot of birdies out there between us,” McDowell said, and that includes a pair of eagles on the par-5 11th.

Dustin Johnson faltered on the back nine and shot a 69, along with Stewart Cink, who is trying out a new putter and a new putting grip with an eye toward 2011. Luke Donald and Camilo Villegas each had a 70, and no one else broke par.

With warm temperatures and a clear sky, the greens were quicker than usual. Sherwood has its share of trouble that is not hard to find, and that accounts for a few high scores. Anthony Kim is bringing up the rear at 79.

This is Woods’ last chance to win a tournament in 2010, but it looks more like he is geared toward next season. It was his second straight 65, having closed with that score in the Australian Masters a few weeks ago.

This round, however, was different.

In Australia, he made two eagles on the last four holes and played his final six holes in 6-under par for his 65. In his singles match at the Ryder Cup, he played the last seven holes in 7 under.

This time, Woods looked solid from start to … well, almost the finish.

“It was beautiful, wasn’t it?” he said of his tee shot on the 18th.

Woods missed a few shots along the way, making one amazing par on the 12th from behind the green with a flop shot that lipped out. But whenever his swing got loose, he fixed the problem during the round, not on the range the next day.

“It’s like what I told you guys earlier in the week, it’s a process,” he said. “I was putting together streaks of holes earlier – two, three, four, five holes of this – and then I’d lose it for a little bit. Eventually, I needed to get to a full round and then eventually, a full tournament. And today was a full round, so that’s a good start.”

Woods has won his tournament the last two times he played, missing in 2008 because of knee surgery and last year because of the crisis unfolding in his personal life.

Previous wins have put a ribbon on a great year. This might be different.

“If you play well, it does give you a shot of confidence,” Woods said. “I’ve played well in this event. I’ve won it a few times, and I’ve gone on to get off to quick starts the following year. Late in the season, a lot of guys are either traveling, not practicing or playing all over the globe. But for me, if I can end the year on a high note, it does give you a shot of confidence going into your practice sessions. Because you know what you were doing was working.”

Some of his peers took notice, especially seeing him at 8 under with two holes left in his round.

“I heard he had been playing well, although I didn’t see him hit a shot,” Cink said.

Ian Poulter, who had a 72, offered this on Twitter: “No2 played well today, 7 under par and leading the field at the chevron world event, not far from his best going to take some beating.”

That was a tweak at Woods having fallen to No. 2 in the world. The question has always been how long it would stay that way.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.