Tiger on Another Level - Again

By George WhiteJuly 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
He said it was the best way for himself ' Tiger Woods ' to win the golf tournament, and you had to believe he thought it was the really best way for everybody. This was no-nonsense golf. It also was 'Tiger Golf.'
 
You also had to believe that, even as Chris DiMarco a couple of times crept to within one shot of him, Woods always had something extra to call upon. When he gouges out a lead, you just dont catch him. His competitors get close ' tantalizingly close sometimes ' but no one can ever get over that massive hump when he is clinging to the top rung.
 
Last year it was Colin Montgomerie at this tournament. Yes, he got within a shot of tying Tiger the last day. This year it was DiMarco. But both times, Woods just kept adding to the pressure, twisting the noose little by little, until finally he had snuffed the life out of all his competitors.
 
Sunday he shot the quietest 67 Ive ever seen. There really was no brilliant flashpoint, no one moment that would stand out as the focal point of this tournament, no 200-yard holeouts or 50-foot putts. But it was a masterpiece of a man doing whatever he had to do to stay out front. If he had been required to sink a 50-footer to keep that lead, I dont doubt for a second that he would have done it. If he had to hole out from 200 yards again, he probably would have done it, too.
 
Have you ever seen a bully pilfer a kids cap and hold it just barely out of the kids frantic lunges? Thats Woods and DiMarco all over again, the Masters in 2005, the British Open in 2006. Remember the 99 PGA when he held off Sergio Garcia? The 2001 Masters when he did it to David Duval? The 2002 Masters when Retief Goosen was the foil? Never has the tour seen such a bulldog as when Tiger gets a nose in front. Hes absolutely tenacious.
 
It happened again last week. Ernie Els on Friday kept Woods from running away. On Saturday it was Garcia ' and Tigers own three-putts. And on Sunday it was a brilliant round by DiMarco. But throughout, I know there wasnt one chance in a hundred that anyone else was going to win. Oh, if a quirk had happened and Tigers ball took an unlucky bounce into one of those bunkers yes, then the unlikely might have happened. But Tiger Woods isnt going to let ANYONE beat him straight up when he gets the lead in a major.
 
What is it about him that causes him to change to fifth gear on such occasions?
 
I don't intend to do it on purpose; that's not one of those things where I can turn on the switch, said Tiger, who obviously doesnt understand it fully, either. It just takes an awfully lot of intestinal fortitude when someone rushes up beside you and looks you in the eye, and you have the wherewithal to switch gears and pull back ahead.
 
I believe in the way I play golf, that you turn the switch on the first hole and you have it on the entire time, he said. And you don't try any harder on each and every shot. You have the same effort level, you give it everything you have on every shot.
 
But champions reach a new plateau in situations like this. And like Woods said, he certainly doesnt do it consciously. He puts forth the same effort from the first hole to the 72nd. But when conditions state that he must find another level or else go down to defeat, Tiger has been able to find that other level ' witness the three straight birdies that he was able to make after DiMarco crept up Sunday.
 
For some reason, in my past I've seemed to pull things off at the end, he says, and I think that's just due to I feel comfortable being there. I've been there enough times. I've had enough success that I feel comfortable being in that situation.
 
Tiger tries to explain it by saying it is simply the experience of being there enough times. He feels a certain calmness when hes faced with someone whose about to wrest away the championship, and he can thus slip it into overdrive. But that isnt it, most assuredly. You can see it visibly in his face and in his posture ' and that look certainly isnt calmness. He looks very stressed ' but when he has that look of being stressed out, then you know that hes about to do something thats going to win the tournament.
 
He's got an uncanny ability to, when somebody gets close to him, to just turn it up another level, said DiMarco.
 
It's just - it's hard to catch him. And you've got to give it your all. Obviously you've got to go out there and do it.
 
DiMarco had said Saturday that he was going to have to climb a high mountain if he ' or anyone else ' was going to win. Stats don't lie, he said firmly. Obviously he's a pretty good front-runner the guy has a knack for winning, so it's going to be tough to beat him tomorrow.
 
DiMarco indeed played a beautiful round of golf, shooting a 68 under the greatest pressure imaginable. But there was always this sneaking suspicion that if Tiger had to shoot a 67, he would shoot a 67. If he had to shoot a 65, he would shoot a 65. And if he had to somehow figure out a way to shoot 63, then somehow he would do that.
 
He's the best, said Nick Faldo, who himself was the best for about 10 years. He's mentally the toughest. He's the most trained for what you have to put up with. He plays from the first tee with The Tiger Show for 72 holes. All of a sudden the guys who play with him tomorrow (Sunday) are going to get out there with 60 cameramen and it will be a different world for them, and he is in the same mode all the time.
 
That's what the great champions of any sport have; Bjorn Borg and others have been able to do this. They are in the same mode from the moment they walk out until the moment they finish.
 
Tiger has lost plenty of majors, even missed the cut this year in the U.S. Open. But he never, ever gets beat in a two-man horse race. Simply said, he always wins when he sees the barn in a major.
 
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  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


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    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: