Careers of Jones Tiger Eerily the Same

By George WhiteApril 11, 2001, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods was 21 when he won his first major championship - the Masters. So was Bobby Jones when he won his first major - the U.S. Open.
Woods didnt win a major when he was 22. Jones won the U.S. Amateur, which was considered a major in those days. When Tiger was 23, he won his second major, the PGA Championship. Jones at 23 won his third, the U.S. Am.

At age 24, Woods won three legs to the Slam ' the U.S. Open, the British Open and again the PGA. By then he had caught up with Jones at five majors apiece. Jones at 24 won the U.S. Open and the British Opens.

At age 25, Tiger has just won the Masters, his sixth major and the one that completes the Straight Slam. The six jewels put him one ahead of Jones, who before the end of his 25th year would win two more, the U.S. Amateur and the British Open.
The similarities between Jones career and that of Woods are eerie. Of course, by the time Jones was 28, it was all over. He won the Grand Slam in 1930 and retired at a very young age with 13 majors. He couldnt afford to travel after 1930, since he insisted upon remaining an amateur.
But by 1930, he had decided to give the Grand Slam one big try. The USGA helped by picking up his ship fare to Great Britain ' he was playing in the Walker Cup the week before the British Amateur. Charles Price covered the details in A Golf Story.
The first two legs of the Slam, the British Amateur and the British Open, were the most difficult for Jones. Woods breezed in the first two, the U.S. Open and the British Open, winning by 15 shots and eight shots, respectively. Tigers last two have been tighter. Jones last two were a little looser.
Jones had to compete in seven matches to win the British Amateur that May at St. Andrews and only his finale, against Roger Wethered, was a breather. That one ended 7 and 6 in the 36-hole competition.
However, in the fourth round he played defending champion Cyril Tolley and went to the 18th and final green before he won, 1-up. Jones placed a stymie inches in front of the cup and Tolley couldnt negotiate it. He won the fifth and sixth rounds on the 18th greens, also.
The British Open was two weeks later and Jones broke the Royal Liverpool course record by 10 strokes in winning.
Jones played the U.S. Open in June in 100-degree temperatures in Minneapolis and was rolling along until he reached the 71st hole. Ahead by three strokes, he came to a long par-3 with perhaps 15,000 fans watching ' and lost his tee shot.
He suffered a double bogey and went into the 72nd hole ahead by just one. Groans were audible in the gallery when he left his approach some 40 feet short of the hole. In danger of going into an 18-hole playoff the next day with Macdonald Smith if he three-putted, Jones stroked a roller toward the cup ' and it went in for birdie!
The U.S. Amateur was next, and Jones was never in trouble, defeating Gene Homans in the final, 8 and 7 at Merion. Jones had had enough. He put down his clubs and walked away, two years before his 30th birthday.
In 1930, Arnold Palmer was an infant in a little coal-mining town in Pennsylvania. Gary Player wouldnt be born for five years, Jack Nicklaus 10. Tiger Woods wouldnt be born for 45 years and it would be 71 years before anyone would win four straight majors.
Is the feat more difficult today? Yes, probably so. Amateurs of 70 years ago are much better than what amateurs are today, but in two of the four majors, Jones didnt have to face Walter Hagen or Gene Sarazen or Paul Runyan or Tommy Armour or Leo Diegel. They were professionals. Competition didnt come from around the world as it does today, only then from the U.S. and Britain. And there were much fewer golfers, only three million then as opposed to perhaps 10 times that much today.
Still, Jones did everything that he was asked. He won his four straight majors, and he did it in one year.
That is considered more difficult than Woods feat of winning four straight in two calendar years, but I think the opposite. You can easily lose the edge in the long layoff between the PGA and the Masters. To win four straight in the same year requires getting on a hot streak and riding it out for five months.
Of course, they both are superhuman feats, done by two superhuman people. Was Jones the best? Was Woods?
Well never know. The games are only vaguely similar. Woods accomplished a more spectacular feat, but how can we not say that Jones would have done it also, had golf been the same in that era?
At any rate, we know Tiger has done something that will live through the ages. No less a luminary than Byron Nelson said so, intimating that this was the greatest feat ever in golfing history.
'It's at the top of golf accomplishments - absolutely,' Nelson told The Dallas Morning News. 'From my standpoint, it is more unbelievable than winning 11 in a row.'
Nelson, of course, won those 11 straight in 1945, by far the longest win streak in history. His career was just beginning as Jones' was coming to a close.
'I never thought I would ever see anybody win four straight majors,' he continued. 'It is remarkable.'

Age 25, and neck-and-neck, Jones against Woods. We, my friends, are on the verge of something spectacular.
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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

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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

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''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

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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.