Erratic drives, not putts, doom Woods in Round 3

By Will GrayAugust 2, 2014, 5:40 pm

AKRON, Ohio – After another erratic effort off the tee, Tiger Woods found himself on the wrong side of par again at Firestone Country Club.

Woods struggled with his driver all day, and after a 2-over 72 fell to 1 over after three rounds at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

An eight-time winner and defending champion at Firestone, Woods managed just one birdie, a kick-in following a flagged iron shot at the par-3 fifth hole. After finding only one of nine fairways with the driver during a second-round 71, Woods missed the target with each of his first six drives Saturday, including a wayward drive at No. 6 that led to a double bogey.

Despite the difficulties, Woods’ post-round concerns were focused on his efforts on the greens.

“I did not putt well again,” Woods said. “I hit it pretty decent today, which was nice. I just didn’t putt well at all again today. I couldn’t get comfortable with my setup, and unfortunately it just kind of worked out that way.”


WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, videos and photos


His comments came as a surprise, considering the fact that he took only 26 putts during the third round – his lowest total of the week. Of course, it’s easier to take fewer putts when you hit only seven of 18 greens in regulation, as Woods did.

As the number of rounds left in his Ryder Cup audition continue to dwindle, Woods relied on some familiar answers following his ninth competitive round since back surgery.

“I just need more reps,” he said. “Still continue to stay at it because I’m actually getting better the more rounds I’m playing. I’m actually getting my feel back.”

While Woods painted a relatively rosy picture, the stat line this week has been decidedly less optimistic. He hit just six of 14 fairways during the third round – and went 2-for-9 with the driver – bringing his week-long accuracy off the tee to 42.8 percent.

Compare that with last year, when Woods found the fairway 62.5 percent of the time en route to a seven-shot victory.

Despite the drop-off, his comments sounded more like a player working through a small issue on the range than one who has batted .167 with the big stick the last two days.

“I actually smoked it coming home, which is nice. I figured something out there. Unfortunately, too little, too late,” he said. “If I continue doing what I was doing coming into today, I’ll be just fine.”

Mired in the middle of the leaderboard, Woods now needs to win next week’s PGA Championship to have any chance of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs. His prospects for a captain’s pick from Tom Watson for next month’s Ryder Cup squad remain unknown, though his results off the tee this week probably aren't helping his cause.

This week's performance is also showing a striking similarity to the script from his last start at the Open Championship: a solid, sub-par opening round to move into the fringe of contention, followed by over-par efforts that dropped him further down the standings as his accuracy off the tee dwindled.

If he has concerns on any of those fronts, though, Woods certainly didn’t display them in his post-round reflection.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said. “It took me a while to get my playing feel back again. I’m starting to get the feel of my hands to hit the ball the right distance. That’s something I didn’t do a very good job of at Congressional.

“Each day, I’ve done better with my hands and the feel, and getting the right number.”

While his iron accuracy has shown signs of improvement, not even Woods can conquer Firestone from the rough. That’s right where his drives have put him, and whether he wants to admit it, that’s why he has faded from contention this week on a course where he has traditionally dominated.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.