Woods misses second straight cut in a major

By Jay CoffinJuly 18, 2015, 7:46 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Tiger Woods slapped it around the Old Course for the better part of three days. Sure, he made it to the weekend in the Open Championship, but only because of weather delays.

Woods now has missed the cut in consecutive majors for the first time. This also marks the first time he’s recorded three missed cuts on the PGA Tour in a season as a professional. He missed only five cuts on Tour from 1997-2009.

Over 36 holes on a benign Old Course, a place Woods made his own personal playground with victories in 2000 and 2005, he collected only three birdies and made 10 bogeys. Woods shot 76-75 for a 7-over-par total and tied for 147th place. He missed the cut by seven shots.

“I hit the ball solid, it’s just that it wasn’t getting through the wind,” Woods said in a comment that left some scratching their collective heads. “I don’t know what was causing that, and it’s something that we’re going to have to take a look at.”

Dustin Johnson didn’t seem to have a problem with hitting the ball through the wind. He leads at 10 under. Neither did Woods’ playing partners Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen, who are both three shots off the lead.

Woods completed 12 holes of his second round on Friday and was well off the cut line when he returned on Saturday. When play finally resumed in the afternoon after a 10-plus-hour wind delay, Woods promptly made three consecutive bogeys. He made birdie on the 16th and appeared to have another one in the bag on the home hole, but he failed to get up and down from just in front of the green.

“I’m just not scoring,” he said. “Every opportunity I have to make a key putt or hit an iron shot in there stiff with a short iron and get some momentum going. I haven’t done that.”

After poor performances at the Memorial and the U.S. Open it seemed like Woods made progress two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, where he tied for 32nd place. But the Old Course was not kind to the three-time Open champion as he looked as rusty, ragged and as uncomfortable as he has at any point since the Masters.

Yet as poorly as Woods is playing, he still contends that he’s looking ahead, even when others continue to wonder if and when he’ll find enough form to contend. He will fall outside the top 250 in the Official World Golf Ranking by the time he tees it up in the Quicken Loans National in two weeks.

His goal?

“Hopefully win that event so I can get into a place that I know very well,” Woods said, referring to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. If not, his next appearance will be the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, a place that will eat Woods alive if he doesn’t play better than he did this week.

As for this week, it was a time of goodbyes for former Open champions Nick Faldo and Tom Watson as both played their finals Opens at the Old Course.

Woods was asked if he’ll be back to St. Andrews the next time the Open returns, which will likely be in 2021 when the championship celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“I’ll probably have less hair then,” he quipped, “and hopefully a little better game.”

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.