Welcome Back -- Tiger Wins Debut

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
Playing in his first competitive event in nine weeks, Tiger Woods entered the final round of the Buick Invitational with a one-stroke lead. Just two back, and in the same ultimate group, was his arguable nemesis, Phil Mickelson.
For further spice, there was the predicate matter of verbal equipment jousting between Americas top-2 players.
Drama, you have life.
Sundays Opening Act: Woods birdies three of his first six holes.
Drama, you are dead.
Woods got out of the gates quickly to extend his overnight lead, and then maintained a steady pace for an impressive 4-under 68 on the difficult 7,607-yard Torrey Pines South Course. He crossed the finish line at 16-under-par 266, tying the 72-hole tournament record.
'I couldn't have asked for a better start,' said Woods, who had knee surgery on Dec. 12.
Sweden's Carl Pettersson, making his second start as a tour member, shot 69 to claim second place at 12-under. Brad Faxon had an even-par 72 to finish alone in third at 11-under.
Mickelson also had a 72 to finish six back with first-round leader Arron Oberholser (71) and Briny Baird (71).
'He showed no signs of any problems with his knee,' Mickelson said of Woods. 'I thought 3- or 4-under would be a really good round, and he ended up shooting 4-under, so it would have been really tough to catch him.'
Woods won his 35th career PGA Tour title -- his second at the Buick Invitational (1999) -- and claimed victory in his first event of the season for the third time. He picked up $810,000 to close within a million dollars of Ernie Els' lead on the money list.
He also upped his PGA Tour record of converting 54-hole leads into victory to a remarkable 27 out of 29.
Mickelson, in the 2000 Tour Championship, was the last player to knock Tiger from his third-round pedestal.
But this Sunday showdown was supremely one-sided, and in favor of the pole-sitter.
The normally explosive Mickelson was subdued, parring his first 10 holes. He scarred his scorecard with bogeys at 11 and 12. The three-time champion never got closer than the two strokes by which he started the final round trailing.
He caused a stir last week when he was quoted as saying Woods was stuck with inferior equipment.
For the record, Woods bettered Mickelson in every statistical category Sunday. He outdrove him on the two official measuring holes (298 yards to 292); hit more fairways (9 to 6); hit more greens in regulation (14 to 12) and had fewer putts (28 to 30).
''He flew it by me a couple of times today, but I hit more fairways,'' Woods said. ''I wasn't trying to pound it out there because I knew the rough was pretty high. I felt like it was more important to get the ball in play.''
Woods won five of the 14 events ' and finished ahead of him 12 times ' in which they competed together in 2002; Mickelson won none.
Woods is again one up in 03.
'I always enjoy competing against him,' Mickelson said of playing alongside Woods. 'My success rate has not been that great, but I still enjoy the challenge.'
Thanks to his quick start, Woods increased his overnight lead of one over the almost forgotten Faxon to three. That advantage stayed intact as the final threesome made the turn; no one would get closer the remainder of the way.
Woods laced a 4-iron from 231 yards to three feet on the par-3 11th to get to 15-under; four clear of anyone else.
He punctuated his victory with an extraordinary birdie at the par-4 15th.
After missing the fairway off the tee, Woods hit a 4-iron approach shot from the thick rough through a pair of trees, under their branches, and then got the ball to rise over the greenside bunker and land gently 20 feet behind the hole -- which was 200 yards away.
He made the putt, pumped his fist and parred his final three holes.
The victory was similar to many of the ones he posted last year on tour. Woods won five times, all while holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
Three times he started Sunday leading by one or tied at the top. Each time he shot no better than 69 and still increased his margin of victory.
Related Links
  • Tiger Woods' Winner's Press Conference
  • Full-field scores from the Buick Invitational
  • Full coverage of the Buick Invitational
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''

    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: