Woods withdraws from Torrey with back injury

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 5, 2015, 10:41 pm

SAN DIEGO – The questions surrounding Tiger Woods’ game grew louder Thursday when he withdrew during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open because of tightness in his lower back.

Grimacing after each errant drive, Woods walked off Torrey Pines – site of arguably his greatest triumph – after only 11 holes on the North Course. He was 2 over par for the day, and once again near the bottom of the leaderboard. 

Woods was only six days removed from his worst round as a pro, an 11-over 82 that resulted in a missed cut (by 12 shots) and last-place finish at the Phoenix Open. After that round, he denied having an injury, saying that he was “fine” and that his back was “not an issue anymore.” 

First-round play was suspended for nearly 2 ½ hours Thursday because of fog, and Woods said his back tightened up during the delay.

“It just never loosened back up again,” he said during a 90-second interview in the players' parking lot, “and when we went back out it just got progressively tighter.” 

Woods hit the green on the par-3 third hole, his 12th of the day, before deciding to call it quits.

“He toughed it out a lot more than any other playing competitor; they would have dropped off earlier,” said Billy Horschel, who was grouped with Woods. “But he’s a fighter, he wants to get the rips in, he wants to play well, and he kept trying to play through it, hoping that it would loosen up. 

“I think it was getting there and then we had to wait when we made the turn and from there it was real tough to see him walk and even make swings.” 

After two months of speculation about Woods’ woeful short game, the focus once again shifts to a familiar subject: his health.

The former world No. 1 said that this is a “different” pain than what he experienced last spring, when he decided to undergo a microdiscectomy in his lower back. 

Timeline: Woods' injuries | Photos: Tiger's back injury at Farmers

“It’s just my glutes are shutting off,” he said. “They don’t activate, hence it goes into my lower back. I tried to activate my glutes the best I could, but they never stayed activated.”

In the six PGA Tour events since returning to competition last July at the Quicken Loans National, Woods has three missed cuts, two withdrawals and a 69th-place finish.

This was the ninth withdrawal of his PGA Tour career, but his third in his past eight starts.

Woods’ opening round here began ominously, with a bogey on the opening hole (No. 10) after a skulled pitch shot. He appeared to grab his back for the first time after going hard after a driver on No. 11, but he chipped in to save par. He dropped another shot on the next hole, when his tee shot flew so far right it came to rest on the 13th tee box. 

Gingerly picking up his tee and ball, Woods carded a birdie on 16, made the turn in 1-over 37 and added a birdie on No. 1. But by that point the pain was so intense that Horschel had begun picking up Woods' tee and retrieving his ball out of the cup. Woods made double bogey on his 11th hole of the day, and five minutes later he was gone.

“It’s frustrating that it started shutting down like that,” he said. “I was ready to go. I had a good warmup session the first time around, and I stood out here and got cold and it started deactivating again.”

Said Rickie Fowler, the third player in the group: “It’s tough to see. It’s hard to play when anything’s hurting.” 

His upcoming schedule is now even more of a question mark. Woods had already plunged to No. 56 in the world, and he needed a high finish at Torrey Pines to move back into the top 50 and ensure his participation at the World Golf Championships event at Doral.

Woods’ next scheduled start is the Feb. 26-March 1 Honda Classic.  

Tiger Woods Starts Since 2014 Farmers Insurance Open

Tournament Scores Finish
2015 Farmers Insurance Open +2 thru 11 WD
Waste Management Phoenix Open 73-82 Cut
2014 Hero World Challenge 77-70-69-72 T-17
PGA Championship 74-74 Cut
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 68-71-72 WD
Open Championship 69-77-73-75 69th
Quicken Loans National 74-75 Cut
WGC-Cadillac Championship 76-73-66-78 T-25
Honda Classic 71-69-65 WD
Omega Dubai Desert Classic 68-73-70-71 T-41
Farmers Insurance Open 72-71-79 T-80
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.