Harrington leads Grand Slam with opening 66

By Will GrayOctober 23, 2012, 10:14 pm

Despite being a last-minute addition to the field, Padraig Harrington fired a 5-under 66 Tuesday to take a two-stroke lead at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Harrington, who was named as a replacement for injured British Open champion Ernie Els over the weekend, carded seven birdies against a pair of bogeys at the Port Royal Golf Course. A three-time major winner, the Irishman last played in this exclusive event in 2008, when he lost in a playoff to Jim Furyk.

Harrington leads by two shots over Masters winner Bubba Watson, who opened with a 3-under 68 Tuesday. The leader by one shot after nine holes, Watson had the most adventurous round of the four-man field, recording an eagle and five birdies to go against four bogeys.

'It was nice to get off to a good start,' Harrington said. 'I had a 15-footer at the third and kind of lost my focus a bit on the line and drove it through the line and then hit a bad putt coming back, a terrible bogey. I wasn't feeling great. You need to be making the birdies at that stage.'

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson finds himself in third place after a 2-under 69 in his opening round, three shots off the pace set by Harrington. In contrast to Watson, Simpson began his day with six consecutive pars before making four birdies, with his lone bogeys coming on the final hole of each side.

Defending Grand Slam champion Keegan Bradley had a rough start to his round but battled back, ultimately shooting a 1-over 72. A replacement for PGA champion Rory McIlroy, who is in Shanghai this week for the BMW Masters, Bradley played his first six holes in 4 over before birdieing three of the next four holes to help salvage his round.

'I've been six shots back before with less time, so I look forward to going out tomorrow and just making a million birdies and having a good time,' Bradley said. 'I played very well. I could have really let it slip away and fought back and had a bunch of lip-outs too, and the round could have been better than it was.'

The 36-hole exhibition will conclude Wednesday from Southampton, Bermuda, with the winner taking home $600,000 from a $1.35 million prize purse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.