Will Woods win any majors this year?

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 18, 2012, 3:20 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – After sharing the 36-hole lead, Tiger Woods posted scores of 75-73 on the weekend to finish six off the pace. With at T-40 at the Masters and a T-21 at the U.S. Open, we ask: Will Woods win a major championship in 2012?

By JASON SOBEL

Will Tiger Woods win a major this year? Well, it all depends...

Which Tiger are we talking about here? The cool, calm, confident dude who grabbed a share of the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open? Or the Tiger who ballooned on the weekend, getting lapped by playing partners and amateurs and a cornucopia of unknowns?

What’s that? They’re the same guy? Oh, well in that case, my mind is made up.

Hell no.

Winning major championships takes talent, sure, but it also takes patience and consistency. Woods’ recent Jekyll and Hyde routine has shown neither lately – and each of the next two venues will require those in droves.

At both Royal Lytham and Kiawah, weather could – and likely will – become a factor during the tournaments. Tiger has displayed a propensity for getting more frustrated with increasingly changing climate conditions, which certainly doesn’t bode well for his chances.

Can he win one of the remaining two? Yes, because he’s in the field. Technically, every competitor is a contender.

But will he? Based on what we’ve seen lately, the answer is no.


By REX HOGGARD

Sure, he tied for 21st at The Olympic Club, only a slight improvement over his tie for 40th at the Masters, and that third-round 75 at Olympic was not exactly the stuff that wins major championships. But given the venues and variables for the year’s final two Grand Slam gatherings we’ll take Tiger Woods and the percentages.

Those who think Woods won’t win major No. 15 haven’t been paying attention. Whether you like the new swing or not there is no debating its effectiveness. Even under pressure, U.S. Open pressure, Woods ranked sixth in fairways hit and seventh in greens in regulation on the Lake Course.

No, what cost Woods his fifth Open title was his putting. He needed 29, 31, 34 and 29 putts for Rounds 1 through 4, respectively, and ranked 61st in putting out of a field of 72 players who made the cut.

But the putting contest portion of the major championship window has passed. Wind and rain at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, site of this year’s British Open, and wind and heat at Kiawah Island, the PGA Championship venue, will keep green speeds at more reasonable levels and mitigate Woods’ short-game woes of late.

Woods lost the Masters and U.S. Open because of his putting, but it will be his ball-striking that will lift him to victory at the British Open or PGA.


By JAY COFFIN

Easy answer. No. In golf’s most important tests, Tiger Woods' game is still not consistent enough to capture glory.

He’s good enough to win events like Bay Hill and the Memorial, where all aspects of his game don’t have to be crisp to beat fields that are either less-than-stellar or not in major mode.

Take the Memorial for instance, Woods hit plenty of fairways and greens but his putting was horrendous. He tied for 42nd in putting, which is good enough to win a Tour event, but not a major. Also that week, the game’s biggest names – Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, etc. – were not interested in giving their best effort.

Here at The Olympic Club, Woods drove the ball well again, but his distance control on iron shots inside 125 yards was atrocious. His putting wasn’t great either. All aspects must click for major glory.

Another rationale is the two venues, Royal Lytham & St. Annes for the British Open and Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship. I can’t imagine that weather will be great at either place, with wind being the most dangerous element.

If he does win a major it’ll be the British Open and it’ll be because he’s on the correct side of the draw with the weather. But I’m not counting on it this year. His game isn’t sharp enough.


By RANDALL MELL

If you are doubting Tiger Woods can win a major this year, your doubt is justified.

If you believe he can win one, your faith is justified, too.

We’ve seen reasons the last six months or so to doubt and believe, but I’m picking Tiger Woods to win the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes next month.

As disappointing as his weekend free-fall was at the U.S. Open, Woods is on a rising-and-falling learning curve of late that ought to have him on the upswing again going to the British Open.

Woods is putting important pieces back together, pieces good enough to win, as we saw at the Chevron World Challenge, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial. Yes, between each of those wins, there have been setbacks, but look at his winning rebounds. Look at the way he held on at Bay Hill, the way he finished off a Muirfield Village.

You can look at Woods’ performance at The Olympic Club and see weaknesses under pressure in his game, the troubling wedge play and chipping, and his less than dependable putting. You can also step back and see the upwardly mobile trend this season, the general overall improvement.

Woods may never be the dominant player he was, but if Webb Simpson can shake off a sluggish start this year and win, if Jim Furyk and Ernie Els can bounce back from swoons to contend again, there’s no reason Woods can’t summon what it takes to win a major again.

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

 

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “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.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''