Whew Tiger Barely Creeps Past the Knife
Tiger Woods slipped under the cut-line at the Cialis Western Open by coming up with a couple of key birdies late in the day Friday. Had it not been for that bit of excellence, he would have had to call it quits after 125 consecutive tournaments in which he had not missed a cut.
Woods was slip-sliding away after his 12th and 13th holes - Nos. 3 and 4 at Cog Hill. He went double bogey and bogey on those efforts, and suddenly he was 3 over. The cut-line was at 1 over. Unless he turned it around - and right away - he was gone lock, stock and driver.
But Tiger, as he has done so often in his career when he simply, absolutely had to, got off the bogey train just in time. He nailed a couple of crucial birdies. He had made just one all day long, but he hunkered down on his 15th (No. 6) to get one, then came right back at his 16th (No. 7) to breathe life into his tournament hopes.
The streak began in 1998 after he had failed to show up for the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which had been postponed from February until August. That event makes a cut after three rounds.
He also missed the cut by one stroke in the 1997 Bell Canadian Open ' the only 'real' missed cut of his career. He shot a 76 to miss that one after shooting a 70 the first day.
Actually, its not a cuts-made streak since a number of the events (five now on the PGA Tour per year) have no cuts. Included in his streak of 125 no-cuts are 25 tournaments in which there were no cuts.
Byron Nelson had the old record of 113 straight tournaments without missing a cut ' though the records are choppy with incomplete newspaper results. But it was a far different game in those days back in the 40s. On the one hand, the competition may not have been as difficult with World Way II ongoing. But on the other hand, many tournaments paid only the top 20 players. Nelson was in the money at least 113 straight times.
Tiger eclipsed that mark by not missing a cut all the way until the Tour Championship, the last tournament of last year. Fridays close call was a nail biter indeed, but it was not Woods scariest moment. In the 2002 Buick Invitational, he was one off the cut coming to the 36th hole (No. 18), but he birdied the hole, holing a curling 6-footer to make it right on the number. At the 2001 PGA Championship, he was two off the cut after the 14th hole. However, on No. 15 he made a 40-footer to pull within one, hit the cut-line with a 30-footer on 16, then ended up with another closing birdie to make the cut by one.
The record is iffy about when Tigers record streak begins. If you count the next tournament he played after the Canadian in 97 ' the Walt Disney ' the streak is up to 129. But the 98 Pebble Beach throws a monkey wrench into the equation. Pebble Beach that year was a 54-hole tournament which, thanks to torrential downpours, was decided seven months after it began. Woods chose not to return to the Monterey Peninsula, but its unlikely he would have made the cut anyway. His score of 76-72 was 14 strokes behind the leaders and he would have had to shoot a 65 to make the cut. Pebble Beach is a 54-hole cut, not the traditional 36.
Woods camp accepts the Disney in 97 as the start of the steak, but the PGA Tour counts the week after Pebble Beach ' the Buick ' as the beginning. Woods is credited as withdrawing.
Included in his 11 starts this season are seven finishes in the top 10. However, he tied for 46th at Bay Hill, where he had won four consecutive times, and finished in a tie for 17th at his most recent outing, the U.S. Open.
Tiger finished third or fourth in the three tournaments prior to the Open, primarily thanks to brilliant putting. He stands third in that category on the tour rankings, and that roller has saved many a bogey from becoming a reality. However, his driver has kept him constantly in trouble ' he ranks 160th in fairways hit. And more telling, perhaps, has been his record on the par-3s. The par-3s is a good indication of how you are hitting your irons. Woods is 145th in that category.
And so he goes on with his record now at 126. He has, indeed, been lucky. But lets face it ' every time he seems like it will surely, certainly end, Tiger comes up with a way, a will, to keep the streak alive. And so far, thats 126 straight times of playing on the weekend. Thats 126 straight times of making the cut. And nobody else in history can say that.
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18