Woods (76) continues to struggle on major weekends

By Jay CoffinJune 16, 2013, 12:13 am

ARDMORE, Pa. – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Remember last year, when Tiger Woods had his weekend woes at major championships? Remember that he would play well for two days then falter over the final 36 holes while in contention?

Well, that happened Saturday at the U.S. Open. Woods entered the day at Merion tied for 13th place, only four shots behind leaders Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel and essentially threw away all chances at winning major No. 15.

The third round began with such promise when Woods made birdie on the opening hole – as did playing partner Rory McIlroy – sending the Philadelphia fanatics into an instant tizzy. But he never made another birdie and collected seven bogeys (including one at the last hole) to shoot 6-over 76 and slide into a tie for 31st place.

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“It certainly is frustrating,” Woods said. “At Augusta I was pretty close and I had the lead at one point and I hit that flag and ended up in the water.

“I'm playing well enough to do it and unfortunately just haven't gotten it done.”

Last year Woods averaged 70 over the first 36 holes of majors and 72.875 over the final 36 holes. He’s now failed to break 70 over the weekend of any major since the 2012 Masters.

This year was supposed to be different. At least most everyone thought so.

Woods won four times on the PGA Tour before June 1 for the first time in his illustrious career. He’s a different player now than he was 52 weeks ago. He’s dominant, he’s winning, he’s intimidating. He’s back. The only thing missing is a major championship victory for the first time since the 2008 U.S. Open.

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what went awry for Woods Saturday – so we’ll begin with everything. Everything was a touch off.

Woods’ wedge play and distance control were off all day. On short holes like Nos. 8 and 10 he couldn’t get a pitching-wedge approach anywhere near the hole. In fact, Woods missed a 5-footer for par on the 10th, which played a mere 280 yards. Many of the leaders attempted to drive the green, Woods laid up and made bogey.

Putting was not good either. Woods struggled to read greens for the third consecutive day and never looked comfortable – especially over the aforementioned 5-footer. Woods missed a 2-footer on the 16th hole. Yes, 2 feet.

So, in honor of Woods’ putting woes this week, let’s play a little game. Find the common thread among places Woods has played poorly this year.

'We had four different green speeds out there and I couldn't believe how slow they were the first two days. Yesterday, I couldn't believe how fast they were. And then today, it was another different speed again,' Woods said at the Masters.

'This week I obviously didn't putt well. I had bad speed all week. I thought the greens didn't look that fast, but they were putting fast. I could never get the speed of them,” Woods said at the Memorial where he finished 65th.

'The green speeds are a little faster than they were Wednesday [during the Pro-Am], but it's an adjustment I need to make,” Woods said at the Honda Classic.

Here Saturday at the U.S. Open, Woods said: “I didn't make anything today. I just couldn't get a feel for them, some putts were slow, some were fast and I had a tough time getting my speed right.”

Woods’ longtime rival Mickelson figured out Merion’s nuances and will take the lead heading into the final round. So have other world-class players like Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose and Steve Stricker, who all are inside the top-three of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, Woods shot the high score in his group. McIlroy shot a mediocre 75 and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who Woods has played with four times this year, shot a solid 72 on a tough day.

No doubt, the day was tough. That’s why many here in suburban Philly expected the game’s most mentally tough player to make some noise. He didn’t. Until he does, many will continue to wonder if he ever will.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.