Tigers Back -- Way Back

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods wasn't supposed to be in this position -- needing a 3-foot putt to make the cut at the Masters.
 
Woods sank the testy putt Saturday morning to complete the second round, ensuring that he'll be around for the rest of the weekend.
 
But his pursuit of an unprecedented third straight victory at Augusta National is in serious jeopardy. Woods finished the second round with a 1-over-par 73, leaving him 5-over for the tournament and 11 strokes behind leader Mike Weir.
 
No one has ever come from more that eight strokes back after 36 holes to win the Masters.
 
After the putt dropped in, Woods pursed his lips, gave a quick tip of the cap and rubbed his brow. He didn't smile until later.
 
'That putt was either going in or going off the green,' Woods said.
 
'No doubt about it,' he added, rolling his eyes.
 
Woods obviously was relieved to have a chance to play two more rounds. If history is any indication, though, he'll be handing out the green jacket to someone else Sunday night.
 
Weir, trying to become the first left-hander in 40 years to win a major championship, went into the third round Saturday afternoon with a four-stroke lead.
 
He completed a 68 in the morning, giving him a two-round total of 138. The 6-under total made him one of just four players to eclipse par at the halfway point, a testament to the soggy, elongated course that has brought most of golf's best players to their knees.
 
Woods stands at 149. Jack Burke overcame an eight-shot deficit after 36 holes to win the 1956 Masters, but no one has ever come from further back.
 
Woods may have to settle for extending his streak of cuts made to 102. He's now 11 short of the tour record held by Byron Nelson.
 
Finishing up at No. 9, Woods had to scramble just to make the necessary par. He knocked his tee shot under the pine trees on the right side of the fairway, then punched a 5-iron into a bunker on the left side.
 
But he was able to get up and down, blasting out of the sand to 3 feet and making the putt. At least now he won't have to hang around all weekend just to give out the green jacket, a fate that befell the first man to win two straight majors.
 
After winning at Augusta in 1965-66, Nicklaus failed to make the cut in '67. He missed out by shooting a second-round 79.
 
'It's not a lot of fun when you're used to winning and you're struggling just to make the cut,' Nicklaus said.
 
Nick Faldo is the only other golfer to win two straight Masters, in 1989-90.
 
Unless Woods can pull off an incredible comeback this weekend, he'll have to settle for tying the record.
 
The 5-foot-8 Weir isn't a big hitter. Certainly, he's not the sort of player who's supposed to be leading at Augusta, where the course was stretched to 7,290 yards last year. After five days of rain earlier in the week, the course has been playing even longer.
 
But the 32-year-old Canadian bolstered his score by making a bunch of 5- and 6-foot comebackers after sliding putts past the hole. Those are the shots of a Masters champion-in-the-making.
 
'I have always felt like the next step for me is to try to contend in major championships,' said Weir, who bogeyed just three of the first 36 holes. 'So far I'm doing it. We'll see if I can do it all week.'
 
The most immediate pursuers were not Woods, but Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland at 142, followed by Phil Mickelson and amateur Ricky Barnes at 143.
 
Barnes, who played with Woods, was six strokes better than his partner.
 
Woods was upset early. In good position for birdie on the second hole, his first of the day, he could only get his 67-yard pitch to 20 feet and had to settle for par.
 
'I've got a name on my bag. I should be able to get it closer than that,' he said.
 
Woods had a 7-foot birdie putt to get to 1-over -- at the time only six strokes out of the lead -- but he pulled that one and flung his putter into his bag.
 
'From there, things got progressively worse,' he said.
 
At the par-3 fourth, Woods pulled his tee shot into a bunker, then skulled out of the sand, across the green and into another bunker, making double-bogey.
 
Then it really got bizarre.
 
At No. 6, another par-3, Woods wound up chipping from on the green and putting from off the green, making bogey to slip to 5-over -- right on the cut line.
 
He answered with a wedge to 6 feet for birdie at the seventh, then had his first three-putt of the tournament at the next hole. After missing a 3-footer for par, he had to make a 6-footer for bogey.
 
While Woods is capable of making up 11 strokes, the most imposing number is 42 -- the number of players between the world's best player and the lead.
 
Yet Woods wasn't giving up.
 
'You never know,' he said. 'If I can get to even par at the end of the day, things are looking all right.'
 
The start of the tournament was delayed until Friday by all the rain. Woods started with a 76 -- his worst opening at a major since he was a 20-year-old amateur playing the U.S. Open in 1996.
 
Only 18 players were able to get in 36 holes Friday. The rest of the 93-player field returned Saturday morning to complete the second round.
 
While they were finishing up, Martha Burk's supporters gathered on a grassy patch of land along Washington Road, a half-mile from the front gate to Magnolia Lane.
 
Jessica Terlikowskia, a 25-year-old full-time activist from Washington, said thousands of people support Burk's cause to admit a female member at Augusta National. But only a few hundred people -- including those who oppose Burk -- were expected to picket outside the club.
 
'This is not just one woman battling Hootie,' Terlikowskia said, referring to Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson. 'It's definitely to show that she's not alone, and that many people recognize that for women to reach full equality, we have to have access to all places.'
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook sank a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without making a bogey on the Plantation Course or the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    Cook was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back.

    Bubba (64) fires his lowest round of 2017

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:12 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Bubba Watson’s plan when he left the Dell Technologies Championship in September was to take a few months off and come back fresh in 2018

    Those plans changed after a few weeks.

    “What we figured out was the mental side, preparing for kindergarten - not for me, for my son - preparing for [wife] Angie's knee surgery. It's been a tough go,” Watson said.

    “Being home and being with the family and everything, I realized how much I missed the game of golf, and that's why I wanted to come and play in these tournaments.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    The plan has paid off this week at the RSM Classic, where Watson is tied for 12th place after a second-round 64 on the Seaside course moved him to 7 under par.

    Watson, who tied for 51st two weeks ago in Las Vegas, got off to a quick start on Day 2, playing the opening nine in 29. Despite a miscue at the 14th hole, when his tee shot wedged into a tree, he was solid coming in for his best individual round this year.

    The left-hander was particularly sharp with his ball-striking after what has been a difficult year.

    “I want to play golf now and right now I'm swinging at it pretty nicely,” he said.

    S.H. Park (65) builds three-shot lead at LPGA finale

    By Doug FergusonNovember 17, 2017, 9:58 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Golf felt so easy to Sung Hyun Park that only when she took out her card to catch up on her scores did she realize she had closed out the front nine with five straight birdies at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Park kept right on attacking.

    The 24-year-old from South Korea added a 30-foot eagle putt late in her second round and finished with a 7-under 65, giving her a three-shot lead going into the weekend at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Nothing seems to bother her, even the chance to cap off an amazing rookie season by sweeping all the big awards on the LPGA Tour.

    ''To be honest, I don't feel quite as nervous as I thought I would,'' Park said through an interpreter. ''After the first shot, after the first hole, I felt a lot more comfortable. I'm not feeling as nervous as I thought I might be going into today.''

    Leave that to the players chasing her.

    Even with a three-putt bogey on the final hole, Park was at 12-under 132 and was three shots clear of Caroline Masson (66) and Sarah Jane Smith (69).


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    More importantly, none of the other players in the chase for the $1 million Race to the CME Globe bonus or any other big award was within five shots of Park, who is trying to become the first rookie since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win LPGA player of the year.

    Lexi Thompson, who leads the Race to the CME Globe and the Vare Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average, shot a 67 and wound up losing ground. She was six shots behind and must stay within 10 shots of Park to win the Vare.

    So Yeon Ryu, who leads the points-based award for player of the year, managed a 71 with her sore right shoulder but was 11 shots back.

    The other two players who need to win the tournament to collect the $1 million bonus also had their work cut out for them. Brooke Henderson had another 70 and was eight shots behind, while world No. 1 Shanshan Feng shot 73 and was 11 shots behind.

    Park was in control, only she didn't see it that way.

    ''I don't think it's quite that far of a lead,'' Park said. ''Two, three shots of a lead can change at any moment. We will have to see what's in store for this weekend.''

    Park began her big run with an 18-foot birdie on No. 5, got up-and-down for birdie from just off the green at the par-5 sixth, holed a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 7, and then closed out the front nine with birdie putts from 8 feet and 15 feet.

    ''I actually didn't know that I was going five birdies in a row,'' Park said. ''Come hole No. 10, I realized that I hadn't been jotting down my scores as diligently, and so I realized it a little bit later on. And it felt great.''

    That gave her the lead by one shot over Suzann Pettersen, except that Pettersen faded badly on the back nine.

    Pettersen dropped four shots in a three-hole stretch by getting out of position off the tee and she shot 39 on the back nine for a 70 to fall five shots behind.

    ''I feel like I'm playing good,'' Pettersen said. ''Three bad drives on the back nine cost me four shots. That should not be possible on this course, where the fairways are about 100 yards wide.''

    Park was honored at an awards banquet Thursday night as the LPGA rookie of the year. Now, she has more awards in her sights. A victory would give her the award for player of the year. She would capture the money title, which she leads over Ryu. And depending on how the weekend goes, she might be able to surpass Thompson in the race for the Vare Trophy.

    Thompson did well to recover from two bogeys on her opening three holes.

    ''I hit a few really erratic shots in the beginning. It wasn't a good start to the round,'' Thompson said. ''Just tried to stay positive and find something that could work for the last 14, 15 holes.''

    Lydia Ko fell six shots behind in her bid to avoid a winless season. She was one shot behind going into the second round but managed only three birdies in her round of 71.

    Park, meanwhile, had everything going her way. Even when she pulled her drive on the par-5 14th into a sandy area with a root next to her ball, she picked it clear and sent it through a goal post of trees back to the fairway. Three holes later, she blasted a drive and had only a 7-iron into the green at the par-5 17th, which she hit to 30 feet and made the long putt.

    Does anything make her nervous?

    ''I hate spiders,'' she said. ''But in terms of golf, I always get nervous to this day on the first tee. I can feel my heart pounding.''

    It's a feeling that doesn't appear to last very long.

    Korda sisters poised to make a run at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 9:47 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Jessica Korda wasn’t feeling well making her way around the CME Group Tour Championship battling congestion Friday, but the leaderboard walking to the ninth tee gave her a nice lift.

    That’s where she saw younger sister Nelly’s name tucked right next to hers.

    They were within a shot of each other amid hard charges up the leaderboard, with Nelly playing just in front of her.

    “I was like, 'Dang!’ It was good to see,” said Jessica, 24. “It’s fun to see her playing this well. I know what she puts into it. I’m kind of jealous of the rookie year she’s having, because mine sucked.”

    Nelly, 19, is looking to put a special ending on her first year on tour. She posted a 6-under-par 66, good for a tie for fourth, six shots behind Sung Hyun Park (65). Nelly has given herself a weekend shot at her first victory.

    Just a year ago, Nelly was here as a spectator, watching her sister.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    “I found it funny,” Nelly said. “I was walking to the range on Tuesday, thinking just last year, people were asking me, 'When are you going to be out here?’ It seems surreal to be out here, playing alongside my sister and the best players in the world.

    “Being in contention is really, really special.”

    Jessica shot 68 and sits a shot behind her sister.

    Nelly said seeing the leaderboard gave her a lift, too.

    “Maybe it amps me up just a little bit,” Nelly said. “It’s a friendly competition. Even though we want each other to succeed, we also want to beat each other. I think she would say that, too.”

    Jessica is seeking her fifth LPGA title. She’s coming off a tie for third at the Blue Bay LPGA last week.

    Jessica is 35th on the LPGA money list this year, with $515,521 in earnings. Nelly is 51st, with $388,983 in earnings.

    “I definitely look for Jess on the board,” Nelly said. “We’ve very supportive of each other.”