Tiger Tracker: Day 2 vs. Nick Watney

By February 23, 2012, 10:44 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – Tiger Woods, the fifth seed in the Sam Snead bracket, faced fourth-seeded Nick Watney in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard tracked the Day 2 match on site at Dove Mountain, hole-by-hole. (Day 2 running blogScoring | Day 1 Tiger Tracker)

No. 18 (par 4, 480 yards): Woods misses a 5 1/2-footer at the last for birdie to lose his match to Watney, 1 down. 'I struggled with pushing my putts all day and that was a push,' he said. It is the second time in Woods' last three WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship starts he's failed to advance to the third round. (Final score: Watney wins, 1 up)

No. 17 (par 4, 482 yards): A putt that didn't break to the valley may have cost Woods a chance to keep playing at the WGC-Match Play, at least ultimately. Woods' birdie attempt from 27 feet at the 17th hole slipped by without breaking toward the valley, as most putts do, and Watney holds a 1-up lead with one to play. (Score: Watney 1 up through 17)

No. 16 (par 3, 247 yards): Watney airmailed the 16th green, and the hospitality tent, and made bogey while Woods two-putted from 67 feet to cut his disadvantage to just one hole. (Score: Watney 1 up through 16)

No. 15 (par 4, 343 yards): On Wednesday, Dove Mountain's drivable 15th hole was out of reach for most in the WGC-Match Play field. On Thursday, with a helping wind, Woods carved a 3-wood onto the green but his golf ball rolled back off the front. Woods got up and down for birdie, but Watney matched his birdie and remains 2 up. (Score: Watney 2 up through 15)

No. 14 (par 4, 449 yards): The ever-present white SUVs that dot the landscape at Dove Mountain are the best indication you may be in trouble. Little surprise then that a large SUV rolled up just as Tiger was running his 7-footer for birdie past the hole at the 14th in his match against Watney. Watney remains 2 up with four holes to play. (Score: Watney 2 up through 14)

No. 13 (par 5, 583 yards): Another missed opportunity for Woods at the 13th hole after Watney failed to birdie the par 5. Woods chipped his third shot to 9 feet and missed his attempt low to remain 2 down. (Score: Watney 2 up through 13)

No. 12 (par 3, 219 yards): Watney, known in Tour circles as 'Rube' for the often-blank expression on his face, could easily be read on the 12th hole when he rolled in a 17-footer for birdie to extend his lead over Tiger to 2 up. The fist pump said it all. (Score: Watney 2 up through 12)

No. 11 (par 5, 659 yards): It was the kind of play one expected of the Tiger Woods-Nick Watney match - Woods roping a towering fairway wood approach at the par-5 11th to 35 feet, Watney getting up and down from in front of the green for birdie to remain 1 up.Although the hole was halved, from the cheers, it felt like someone won. (Score: Watney 1 up through 11)

No. 10 (par 4, 493 yards): It will be recorded as a loss of the hole, but it seemed much more troubling. Tiger's adventure at the 10th hole began when his fairway wood tee shot found an awkward lie in a bunker left of the fairway, his next shot came to rest under a Jumping Cholla and his left-handed chip traveled just 10 yards. In the end, it added up to a 1-up lead for Watney with eight to play. (Score: Watney 1 up through 10)

No. 9 (par 4, 476 yards): Nine holes down in the Tucson desert and the Tiger Woods-Nick Watney match remains scoreless, so to speak. Watney had a chance to move ahead but pushed his 8 1/2-footer for birdie at the ninth. (Score: AS through 9)

No. 8 (par 5, 576 yards): The day's marquee match has been reduced to a parade of pars and little to cheer. After winning the seventh with a par, Watney misses his birdie attempt at the par-5 eighth and Woods can't convert from 8 feet as the match remains all square. (Score: AS through 8)

No. 7 (par 4, 486 yards): Woods dropped back into an all-square knot with Watney on Day 2 at the WGC-Match Play after making a bogey at the seventh hole. Despite a lukewarm putter Woods has been particularly sharp off the tee, missing just a single fairway so far. (Score: AS through 7)

No. 6 (par 3, 185 yards): Tiger's day so far has been about putts, some made but most missed, and things didn't change at the par-3 sixth. From 35 feet Woods misses his lag putt badly but holes the 4-footer for par to remain 1 up on Watney. (Score: Woods 1 up through 6)

No. 5 (par 4, 536 yards): Although neither player is on cruise control, Woods escapes a double-crossed drive at No. 5 with a 12-footer for par. Watney matches and Woods goes to the sixth with the lead. (Score: Woods 1 up through 5)

No. 4 (par 4, 342 yards): In a match-play special, Woods hits driver just short of the green at the 342-yard par-4, runs his chip 10 feet by and misses the birdie putt. By contrast, Watney laid up with an iron off the tee, hit his approach long and three-putted to give Woods his first lead of the match. (Score: Woods 1 up through 4)

No. 3 (par 3, 208 yards): As best we can tell, the only words exchanged by Woods and Watney have been, 'that's good.' Of course, one couldn't be certain Watney was giving Woods his 1-footer for par at No. 3 or referring to his twisting 40-footer that set up the tap in to keep the match all square. (Score: AS through 3)

No. 2 (par 5, 574 yards): Tiger misses another putt at No. 2, a 13-footer for eagle, but it doesn't hurt him when Nick Watney fails to convert his birdie effort from 5 feet. The match moves to all square as the winds begin to build on Dove Mountain. (Score: AS through 2)

No. 1 (par 4, 460 yards): Not a lot of small talk between Tiger Woods and Nick Watney on No. 1 at Dove Mountain. May be a quiet day for Match 44, but both players off to goods start hitting opening fairway. Watney rolls in 12-footer for birdie for a 1-up lead at Dove Mountain. Woods talked about the need for a fast start in an 18-hole match earlier this week but his slow start on Wednesday didn't hurt him. (Score: Watney 1 up through 1)

Watch live coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Golf Channel, Thursday/Friday 2-6PM ET; Saturday noon-2PM ET; Sunday 8AM-1PM ET. NBC coverage can be seen live Saturday/Sunday, 2-6PM ET.

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”