Tiger impresses the Golden Bear

By June 3, 2012, 11:45 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods thought he hit a perfect shot at 16.

No, not the chip that disappeared into the hole for an unbelievable birdie, but the tee shot at the par 3 that Jack Nicklaus redesigned two years ago to add drama to the tournament.

It was the second of three birdies Woods made in the final four holes at Muirfield Village en route to a closing 5-under 67 to win the Memorial Tournament for a fifth time. Woods finished at 9 under par, two shots ahead of Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero.

On the tee, Woods looked to the right of a precarious left-side pin with an 8-iron and hit the shot he wanted. It carried too long, setting up a shot that Nicklaus afterward called the best he had ever seen under the circumstances.

'It was nice to see him get a break,' caddie Joe LaCava said after the round. 'Not that he needed a break, but he played so well all week that it was nice to see that one go in.'

'I was jacked. I know people think I don't show it, but I was really excited.'

Woods thought he needed one more birdie to avoid a playoff with someone in the final pairing: Sabbatini or the fading Spencer Levin.

He thought he had it at 17, gesturing like he would make a 15-foot birdie putt. But it didn't fall.

With the tournament in his hands, Woods practically replayed his tee shot at 16 with his approach to the last. This time, the result matched how he imagined it.

Leaving 9 feet for birdie and a certain win, Woods was received with resounding applause and cheers from a crowd that, earlier in the day, seemed keen on a second PGA Tour win for his playing partner, Rickie Fowler.

Jack Nicklaus was there to see it all. He stood with the crowd and applauded the man about to join him just behind Sam Snead on the career PGA Tour wins list. A tear was in the Golden Bear's eye.

Of course, the last putt fell. How could it not? Nicklaus watched calmly knowing what would happen, then went to the green for a moment with the champion and now.

LaCava had an inkling it would happen, too.

'I texted a buddy of mine a few weeks back and bet him that Tiger would have three wins through the U.S. Open,' he said. 'And I told him I thought it would be great if he did it at Jack's place.'

After they shared words, including a request from Nicklaus to return twice next year for this event and the Presidents Cup, the host returned to his perch at the last hole. He winked as he sat down, aware the chase toward his major tally will resume with gusto in two weeks at The Olympic Club.

On this day, however, the number to celebrate was 73, not 18.

Someday, Woods may play the role Nicklaus did - hosting the player who passes him on the wins list.

Asked how he might feel that day at the AT&T National sometime in the mid-21st century, Woods said with a smile, 'I'm just hoping to be alive then.'

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."