Tiger Tracker: Pebble Beach

By February 9, 2012, 9:42 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Tiger Woods competed with pro-am partner Tony Romo at Spyglass Hill in Round 1 of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, beginning on No. 10. Jason Sobel is on site and tracked Tiger with hole-by-hole reports and some Twitter commentary (click for full Tiger Woods coverage).

Conclusion of Round 1: Tiger Woods opened with a solid 4-under 68 on the most difficult of the three courses in this week's rotation. After hitting 11 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and rolling 29 putts, perhaps the biggest sign that Woods is regaining his old form is the fact that he felt 'frustrated' following the round. That may be, but his frustrations didn't show up on the scorecard and that 68 leaves him in good shape entering the final three rounds.

No. 9 (par 4, 431 yards): On his last hole of the round, Woods belted a driver stinger down the right side of the fairway to conclude a great day swinging it off the tee. His approach looked like it was going to be tight, but instead of spinning, it released to about 15 feet past the hole. He pushed his birdie putt to the right and two feet past, but cleaned up for another par – his 10th of the day. (4 under through 18)

@JasonSobelGC: Tiger Woods opens his PGA Tour season with a 4-under 68. Only took five hours, 41 minutes. Strangely enough, ams don't speed things up.

No. 8 (par 4, 399 yards): Woods found another fairway off the tee, but left an iron shot short for a third straight hole. His approach stopped 40 feet below the hole. He left the birdie attempt three feet short, but converted from there for another par save. (4 under through 17)

No. 7 (par 5, 529 yards): Woods hit driver on a line, straight down the left side of the fairway on this par-5. Going for the green in two, though, he came up short of the green and watched his ball roll back down the slope toward the pond. The bad news was that it wound up inside the hazard line; the good news was that it wasn't wet. In fact, Tiger was able to have a decent stance and flew one right at the hole, only to watch it bounce and roll 12 feet past. He then made the birdie putt for a huge momentum-swinger. What could have easily been par or worse if his ball didn't hold up in the hazard turned into his sixth birdie of the day. (4 under through 16)

@JasonSobelGC: Tiger Woods nearly hit second shot on the par-5 seventh into water. Hung up inside hazard line. Up and down for birdie. Must be good karma.

No. 6 (par 4, 416 yards): Woods pounded another drive down the right side of the fairway, but a slightly chunky short iron shot that was coupled with a small gust of wind in his backswing left him just barely on the front of the green with a back-right hole location. On his 80-foot – yes, 80 – putt for birdie, Tiger left it about 10 feet short. But he holed the second putt for a big par save, avoiding a third bogey for the round. (3 under through 15)

No. 5 (par 3, 183 yards): Another routine par for Woods, as he again showed nice distance control. Knocked his tee shot on the 197-yard par-3 to pin-high, 25 feet left of the hole, then two-putted from there.
(3 under through 14)

@JasonSobelGC: Scenery is so captivating at the fifth green that you barely notice Tiger Woods about to hit his putt.

No. 4 (par 4, 370 yards): Woods easily finds another fairway with an iron off the tee at the short par-4. From there, though, he made his worst swing of the day so far, flying the green long and left and landing in a sandy waste area where his ball rested in a depression from a footprint. He blasted off the slope in the middle of the narrow, kidney-shaped green, but could only manage to get it within 30 feet of the hole. He lagged a delicate par attempt to two feet, but that's a second bogey of the day for Woods – all due to a miscue with a short iron from the fairway. (3 under through 13)

@JasonSobelGC: After birdie on 3, Tiger was laughing and joking with playing partners. After bogey on 4, it's like a death march to next tee. Makes sense.

No. 3 (par 3, 152 yards): More efficient distance control from Woods on the short par-3. Pulled his iron shot 20 feet left of the pin, but made his longest putt of the day, sinking a lengthy one that he knew was good all the way, his arm raised while the ball was only halfway to the hole. That's now five birdies in 12 holes today. (4 under through 12)

@JasonSobelGC: Par-3 third hole at Spyglass. Not a terrible piece of real estate.  http://lockerz.com/s/182213415

No. 2 (par 4, 349 yards): Woods split the fairway yet again, finding the short stuff on yet another short par-4. He missed the green with his approach, but only on a technicality, as it came to rest just a few inches onto the fringe, some 12 feet from the hole. His birdie effort never looked good, though, as he pushed it about 3 feet past the hole. Tiger did make the comebacker for par, which will look like a one-putt in the statistics. (3 under through 11)

No. 1 (par 5, 595 yards): Third missed fairway of the day for Woods, but not by much, as his ball lands about a yard off the right side of the fairway on the long par-5. From there, he gave it a mighty rip, trying to reach the green in two. He did so – and then some. His ball landed in the collection area behind and to the right of the green. From there, Woods hit a beautiful flop shot to 5 feet and sank the putt for his fourth birdie of the round so far. (3 under through 10)

@JasonSobelGC: Colleague nearly stepped on Tony Romo's ball in the rough. Romo eluded the pressure and made birdie. Who says he can't beat a good defense?

No. 18 (par 4, 408 yards): With barely a breath of breeze here at Spyglass, Woods doesn't need his patented stinger – but it's working anyway. Banged a 3-wood stinger into the fairway on the closing hole, then hit a rare approach that didn't find its target, flying the green and landing in the rough just over the back. Decent chip from there helps him get up and down to save par and make the turn in 34. (2 under through 9)

@JasonSobelGC: Can't wait to ask Tiger Woods and Arjun Atwal what it's like being the short-knockers in their four-man pro-am group.

No. 17 (par 4, 325 yards): Yet another good sign for Tiger – he hit a perfect, piercing long iron stinger off the tee at the short par-4, a go-to shot he's often employed throughout the years. From there, he stiffed a flip wedge to 8 feet and sank the delicate downhill putt for his third birdie of the day. (2 under through 8)

@JasonSobelGC: Female fan just pointed at Tiger Woods and asked, 'Is that Tiger Woods?' Must be a holdover from last week in Scottsdale.

No. 16 (par 4, 476 yards): Woods used 3-wood off the tee and finds the left side of the fairway. Continuing a theme from the round, his iron shot landed just about pin-high, 20 feet from the hole. Tiger made another strong birdie effort, but had a second putt of the day lip out. Yet another tap-in par. (1 under through 7)

@JasonSobelGC: Tony Romo forced to punch out of woods, then has ball batted back by a tree. Mike Shanahan expected to start that tree at DE next season.

No. 15 (par 3, 130 yards): Woods has struggled with his distance control at times during the past two seasons, but it's looked nearly perfect over the first six holes so far today. On the downhill 130-yard par-3, he knocked one to pin-high, but missed the 25-foot birdie putt to settle for another par. Even so, that distance control should have him very optimistic thus far. (1 under through 6)

@JasonSobelGC: Carne Asada shredded chicken tacos on the 15th teebox at Spyglass. And yes, that's Tony Romo grabbing a snack.

No. 14 (par 5, 560 yards): Another hole, another overcooked driver for Woods. After pulling his tee shot into the left rough, he was forced to lay up well short of the pond guarding the green. His third shot into a tucked right hole location landed 15 feet above the hole, but his birdie attempt barely missed, leading to his second par of the day. (1 under through 5)

@JasonSobelGC: Every time an amateur hits a good shot and gets a 'Well done right there' from Tiger, it sounds like it's scripted from his video game.

No. 13 (par 4, 441 yards): Woods' first 'miss' of his young PGA Tour season didn't miss by much. He overcooked his driver off the tee and found the left fairway bunker on the par-4 hole. He could only blast his approach from the bunker to 30 yards short of the green. From there, Woods hit a nice pitch that spun and stopped about 8 feet above the hole. His par attempt caught the lip and stayed out for his first bogey of the day. A bit of a sloppily played hole, all started by a pulled drive. (1 under through 4)

@JasonSobelGC: First bogey of the PGA Tour season for Tiger Woods. Don't worry, though. His partner made par. You heard it here first: Tony Romo is clutch.

No. 12 (par 3, 178 yards): Woods' distance control looks impeccable today. On the downhill 178-yard par-3, he knocked one to the exact distance, 12 feet right of the hole. Left with a slippery birdie putt, he overplayed the left-to-right break and kept it hanging off the left side of the hole. First par of the PGA Tour season for Tiger. (2 under through 3)

@JasonSobelGC: Tiger Woods makes par on his third hole of the season. Perfect game is over. You can now talk to him again.

No. 11 (par 5, 528 yards): Woods pounded driver down the left side of the fairway, then hit an iron from 180 yards on the par-5 to pin-high, about 15 feet right of the hole. His eagle attempt had the right line, but stopped about 6 inches short of the hole, giving him a tap-in birdie. (2 under through 2)

@JasonSobelGC: Tiger Woods taps in for birdie to move to 2-under through two holes. Still pitching perfect game. Trying to birdie every hole this season.

No. 10 (par 4, 407 yards): Let it be remembered that Tiger Woods started off his 2012 PGA Tour season on the right foot, hitting a fairway wood off the 10th tee with a low cut that found the right side of the narrow fairway. From there, he nearly jarred an approach shot, as the ball danced around the stick before settling a few feet away. He made the birdie putt to get into red numbers on the leaderboard right away. (1 under through 1)

@JasonSobelGC: Tony Romo makes bogey on the opener, but his partner cards birdie. Like getting bailed out with a big running play on third down.

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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”