Long Day for Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
SANDWICH, England (AP) -- Tiger Woods approached the group of spectators on the first hole of the British Open with an urgent question.
 
'Did you guys see where it went?'
 
All eyes were on Woods as he teed off in pursuit of the Open title. Fans lined the fairways straining for a view, even a glimpse of Woods. The best player in the world had to be wishing they paid more attention to his ball.
 
Woods came to the Open hoping to break a mini-slump of no wins in his last four majors. Now he was in danger of shooting himself out of the tournament almost before it began.
 
With one swing, he lost a ball -- and his cool -- on his way to a triple-bogey seven.
 
Other players might have given up. Even Woods was forced to find a way to regroup.
 
'It was a little disconcerting,' Woods said.
 
Seventeen holes later, Woods made his way in with a 2-over 73. He managed to overcome not only the lost ball on the first hole but also three straight bogeys on the back nine.
 
Now, the only job he had left was to try to convince himself that the whole thing was a positive experience that might actually turn out for the best.
 
'I've kept myself in the tournament,' Woods said. 'I had 17 holes to get it back. At least I got one back.'
 
Woods ended the day five shots behind unlikely first-round leader Hennie Otto, but he did have some reason to be happy.
 
Despite spraying the ball off the tee all day into knee-high rough and deep bunkers he stayed within striking distance in an Open where howling wind and unlucky bounces can alter the leaderboard at any moment.
 
With a leader as unlikely as Otto, players getting hurt, and a gaggle of scores in the 80s, Woods was definitely still in the hunt.
 
He couldn't have imagined a worse start. He, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald teed off on the 442-yard par-4 first hole that also haunted many of his fellow players.
 
A few groups earlier, Jerry Kelly hacked it from rough to rough before sinking a 15-footer for an 11.
 
Unlike Woods, he found his ball every time he hit it.
 
For five minutes, Woods, his playing partners, and about two dozen others paced the deep rough off the first fairway looking for his wayward tee shot.
 
At first, Woods had a perplexed look on his face.
 
Quickly, it turned into a frown.
 
The British Open has always been known for its quirks. Woods predicted before play began there would be some ugly bounces on the mounds of Royal St. George's.
 
But the best player in the world losing his ball on his first tee shot of a major championship? With thousands of people watching?
 
Unthinkable.
 
'It's frustrating when the forecaddies tell us they saw where the ball went in and heard it go in but we just couldn't find it,' Woods said.
 
The ball went into rough that was no more than ankle high, but was matted down and thick. By the rules of golf, Woods had five minutes to find it.
 
'Over here, this way,' spectators shouted, leading Woods in several directions.
 
It was no use. Woods got into a golf cart for the lonely trip back to the tee to hit again, but not before an expletive came out of his mouth.
 
By now, Woods was angry and still had to hit another drive. He put it just past his first drive, but this time the marshals were right there waiting and found it quickly.
 
He ended up with a triple bogey, then walked quickly to the second tee with his head down.
 
Woods would make a birdie on the fourth hole and play the rest of the front nine 1-under. But he kept hitting his driver in bad places, angrily banging it on the ground after hitting it into the right rough on the seventh hole.
 
Woods has struggled with the driver off the tee even while winning four tournaments this year.
 
'These fairways are tough to hit but I have to say the majority of drives I hit today weren't very good and the ones I hit well didn't end up in the fairways, either,' Woods said.
 
The driver got him into even more trouble on the back nine, with drives into bunkers leading to two of three straight bogeys. But Woods came right back to sink long birdie putts on the 15th and 16th holes to keep his round in check.
 
He nearly dropped a 90-footer from off the front of the 18th green that hit the back of the hole and popped out.
 
Woods wasn't nearly as unhappy about that break as he was about the lost ball.
 
'If it doesn't hit the hole it's probably OB,' Woods said.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.