Howell continues surge toward Masters at Honda

By Randall MellFebruary 28, 2013, 9:55 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Charles Howell III is seeing commercials begin to appear promoting The Masters in six weeks.

“The ads are already running on ESPN in almost a cruel way,” Howell cracked.

Cruel if you haven’t yet won a spot in this year’s Masters.

That’s part of Howell’s quest in a run of outstanding play this season. If Howell is going to make another return to his hometown Masters, he needs to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after the Shell Houston Open’s completion on March 31.

Howell is 64th in this week’s world rankings. He started the year No. 119, and he’s been climbing hard with strong play. He tied for third in his 2013 debut at the Sony Open, finished second in his next start at the Humana Challenge and after that tied for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open. Howell knocked off Tiger Woods in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last week.

And now Howell is off to a strong start at the Honda Classic. With a 3-under-par 67 Thursday, Howell moved onto the leaderboard, three shots off the lead.

Howell’s quest will be aided if he gains a berth in next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. Howell is eighth on the FedEx Cup points list. He needs to stay among the top 10 come Sunday night to get into Doral next week, or crack the top 50 in Monday’s world rankings.

It’s a straight forward challenge for Howell.

“I know if I want to play in the Masters, I've got to play really good golf coming ahead,” Howell said. “Getting in next week would be a nice step to that, but it will still take a lot of good golf.”

Howell, who grew up in Augusta, Ga., is looking to play in his ninth Masters. He’s dealing with the pressure this quest gets.

“Once we start playing, I forget about it,” Howell said. “The golf courses in Florida are so tough, it almost forces you, a bit, to worry more about the task at hand than something else.”

Getty Images

Watch: Tiger's drive startles strolling duck

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 7:21 pm

Tiger Woods split the eighth fairway with a 287-yard, 3-wood on Sunday and startled a duck (goose?) who was merely out and about for a stroll at PGA National.

The duck (goose?) walked away under its own power, and Woods followed up with a wedge to inside 9 feet and his third birdie of the front nine.

Getty Images

Watch: Tiger's Sunday birdies at the Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 6:40 pm

One day after he left a barrage of birdie opportunities out on the golf course, Tiger Woods worked his way into red figures early on Sunday.

Seven off the pace to start the day, Woods found the first fairway, hit the first green and rolled in a 20-footer for his firist birdie of the day.

After narrowly missing a 10-footer for what would have been another circle at the par-5 third, Woods came right back at the fourth, flying an approach from 148 yards to 9 feet and finishing the job.

Getty Images

New-look Korda wins after serious jaw surgery

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 6:31 pm

If the pictures of Jessica Korda from the Honda LPGA Thailand cause you to do a double-take, you're not alone.

Korda's world-class talent was on full display this week in Asia, where she won by four shots, but so too was her new-look face. The 24-year-old underwent serious jaw surgery in December, a final attempt to address a significant overbite that led to ailments ranging from facial cramping to headaches to sleep apnea.

The procedure was intense. Doctors first broke her nose, then broke her jaw in five different places - three on the top, and two on the bottom. She now has 27 screws in her face, and the physical result still requires some adjustment for a woman who now has five career LPGA wins.

"I look at pictures of myself and I don't feel like I look like that person," Korda told Golfweek. "I don't know who that is. And then I look at pictures of my old self and that doesn't look like me either."


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


The Dec. 7 surgery left Korda unable to eat, with her mother reportedly feeding her through a syringe for "weeks." Korda's facial structure before the surgery was such that she was only using 20 percent of her teeth when chewing food.

But despite returning to practice only six weeks ago and still dealing with lingering numbness in her face, Korda promptly dusted a world-class field in her first start back. She shot 25 under for the week, highlighted by a second-round 62, leaving the likes of Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn in her wake.

After a difficult winter, Korda's look may have changed but her game clearly remains unaffected.

"Coming in after surgery, I didn't know what to expect," Korda told reporters. "Obviously when I look at myself, I still don't feel like I look like myself yet. That will come. I'm just very, very happy. All the hard work I was putting in in the off-season when I could has paid off rather quickly."

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 25, 2018, 4:45 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.