Watney passes Garcia to capture Barclays title

By Ryan LavnerAugust 26, 2012, 9:50 pm

With its $10 million bonus and major exemptions, the FedEx Cup playoffs offer struggling players a chance to salvage disappointing seasons.

Nick Watney was more than happy to take a postseason mulligan at The Barclays.

On a day when Bethpage Black didn’t play nearly as fast and fiery, Watney made three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn Sunday to pull ahead, thwart Sergio Garcia’s bid to win back-to-back events and capture his first title of the season.

With a birdie on the last, Watney finished at 10-under 274, three shots clear of Brandt Snedeker. Garcia and Ryder Cup hopeful Dustin Johnson were another stroke behind.

“I’m just very, very happy right now,” Watney said. “It’s been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten.”

Though Watney likely wasn’t on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s radar prior to The Barclays, his convincing, playoff-opening triumph at Bethpage Black – the fifth Tour title of his career – will be impossible to ignore. So will Snedeker’s runner-up finish. Love will announce his four captain’s picks on Sept. 4.

Watney, 31, seemed assured of making that squad at the beginning of the season. After all, last year, he won twice, led the regular-season FedEx Cup race, earned $5.29 million and finished the year ranked 12th in the world ranking. Through 21 events in 2012, however, Watney hadn’t cracked the top 5 in an event while slipping all the way to 35th in the world.

The trajectory of his season changed dramatically at The Barclays, and the victory rocketed him to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points race, putting him in line for the $10 million bonus.

Garcia, meanwhile, ended more than a four-year winless drought on Tour with a victory last Monday at the Wyndham Championship, and nearly picked off his second title in six days at The Barclays. But on Sunday, he got off to a bogey start, and his two-stroke lead evaporated by the time he stepped to the third tee.

The turning point came on the 10th hole, where Watney holed a 4-foot birdie putt – his third birdie in four holes – and Garcia three-putted from 20 feet, turning a one-shot lead into a three-shot cushion.

Though Watney made two consecutive bogeys, on Nos. 11 and 12, he returned his lead to three shots with a birdie on 14.

Garcia moved to No. 10 in the FedEx Cup standings, but will not play next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in order to rest for the season’s closing stretch.

Tiger Woods ended an uneven week with his worst round of the tournament, a final-round 76 that included three birdies, six bogeys and a double. Afterward, he did not talk with the media. The T-38 finish at Bethpage Black dropped Woods from first to third in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Watney and Snedeker, respectively. 

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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.

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TT postscript: One birdie in casual pro-am round

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:15 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are a few observations after watching Tiger Woods’ pro-am round Wednesday at the Honda Classic:

• As expected, the stress level was minimal at PGA National. He had a short warmup (considering it was still freakin’ dark when he was about to tee it up, at 6:45 a.m.) and generally took little time contemplating shots, except for a few clubs off the tee.

• Tiger spent a lot of time chipping, pitching and putting after completing a hole. No surprise there. He didn’t play a practice round Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn’t competed here since 2014. Gotta get in that work.

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• He hit six drivers Wednesday. That’s probably one or two more than he will in competition, depending on wind direction. Two of those drives found the fairway. The other four were varying degrees off-line in the right rough, none more wild than his push slice on the difficult sixth hole that was probably 60 yards right. At least it was playable over there – water runs all the way down the left side.

• It’s not quite a stinger, but he hit more than a few 2-iron shots off the tee, with a sweet, little draw. That’ll play quite nicely here.

• We said it for a few rounds at Torrey Pines, and then again for one day at Riviera, but here goes: Woods appears to have taken the left side of the course out of play. Whether that remains true after playing under “game speed” this week, who knows?

• Woods made only one birdie, after getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 third. His pro-am stat line, for those interested: 7 of 14 fairways, 12 greens and 31 putts and shot around 2 over. Again, he was not really trying.

• Best shot of the day? His fairway-bunker shot on the sixth hole (while playing his second ball). He skied a mid-iron from 187 yards to kick-in range. A little more of that, please.