Woods (76) hits new low on the Old Course

By Jay CoffinJuly 16, 2015, 3:45 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ second swing of the day found a watery grave in the burn in front of the first green. The next 73 swings – plus the penalty stroke – weren’t much better.

On a benign morning at the Old Course – where David Lingmerth shot 29 on the first nine holes and Dustin Johnson torched it for a 65 – Woods struggled with every facet of his game and shot 4-over 76. Before Thursday, Woods’ worst score as a pro here in the Open Championship was 73.

Seriously, nothing went well.

Woods hit a wedge shot poorly on the first hole that found water and hit a terrible 9-iron on the second that left him scratching his head. He hit irons off the tee and gave up massive yardage to playing competitor Jason Day, missed short putts and made a three-putt bogey on a par 5, which are the holes he overpowered for more than a decade. He made five bogeys and one birdie and is tied with 65-year-old Tom Watson.

Many around here consider this round worse than his opening-round 80 last month at the U.S. Open. That round was terrible, no doubt about it, but Chambers Bay was difficult and others weren’t exactly lighting it up. Besides, much wasn’t expected from Woods that week because of his terrible play two weeks earlier at the Memorial.

This was supposed to be different.


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Woods played better at The Greenbrier two weeks ago and tied for 32nd. He believes he played well and says he came here with confidence that he would contend for another claret jug. Others weren’t so sure considering how easy Greenbrier played and the lack of top players in the field. At any rate, Woods got four more rounds under his belt that week, which is something he desperately needed.

The Old Course twice has been Woods’ playground with victories in 2000 and 2005. Good vibes from those two tournaments, coupled with a little more pep in his step had some believing this could be a week that Woods would play well. Not contend, but play well. The man who was out there Thursday did not appear to be ready to contend anytime soon. He looked completely uncomfortable, despite what he said was a great warm-up session on the practice range.

Yet, in Woods trademark tone, he refused to let himself believe that he shot himself out of this tournament.

“I’m so far back and the leaderboard is so bunched that in order for me to get in there by Sunday, I’m going to have to have the conditions tough and then obviously put together some really solid rounds,” Woods said.

That’s not going to happen. He may play better on Friday, but the round will have to be quite a bit under par in order to have the chance to even play on Sunday. Reality is, Woods is now a combined 21 over par in his last five major championship rounds.

Day had a front-row seat and found it all extremely difficult to watch.

“It’s a little unfortunate to see him struggle like this because, I mean, it’s just tough to see your idol struggle,” Day said.

“Today he was just struggling a little bit getting into the greens. He just wasn’t hitting it close enough. He made a few mental errors around the greens and then just tried to press from there. It’s just difficult to do.”

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.