Woods, Singh battled blustery conditions on Day 2

By Jason SobelAugust 11, 2012, 1:25 am

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Like all good tragedies, this story is more compelling at the end, so let’s start at the bottom of the leaderboard and work our way up to the likes of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh at the top.

Ah, yes. Bottom’s up. No doubt that will be a popular refrain this weekend for Doug Wade, an affable club pro from Dayton, Ohio, who shot 93 on Friday – one stroke off the worst score in PGA Championship history. And Michael Frye, an assistant pro from Sedona, Ariz., who bested him by three shots despite a quad, two triples, three doubles and a partridge in a pear tree. And D.A. Points, who plays the PGA Tour for a living, though it wasn’t evidenced by his 13-over start through the first seven holes.

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If misery loves company, then there may have been an entire congregation of players holding hands in the locker room singing “Kumbaya” together. In the second round at the Ocean Course, the buzzword of the day went from “Paspalum” to “carnage” as tempestuous, blustery winds prompted scorecards with numbers more often viewed on local weather reports ‘round these parts. The midsummer weather reports – and the high temperature of the day.

“It's one of the toughest setups I think I've seen at a major championship in a long time,” said Graeme McDowell, who shot 76, but remains only four strokes behind Woods, Singh and Carl Pettersson. “It was a tough setup on a calm day, and with a 30-mile-an-hour wind across this course, you've got a serious test of golf on your hands.”

The scoring average for the day was 78.11, the highest single-round scoring average in tournament history by nearly two full shots. There were more scores in the 90s than the 60s. Only 17 of the 152 competitors who finished beat their score from the previous round. The number of double bogeys or worse surpassed the number of players.

But I digress. Working our way further up the leaderboard, we find Matt Kuchar with an 82, Rickie Fowler with an 80 and Hunter Mahan with an 80. World-class talents united by second-class scores, each rendered a wind-blown, cut-missing trunk-slammer by day’s end.

World No. 1 Luke Donald had his bags packed, too, easily behind the cut line when he completed his morning round, only to be unpacking when he squeezed into the weekend rounds late in the day.

Everyone’s favorite opening-day story, John Daly, stumbled to a 77. Wearing colorful trousers adorned with multiple index fingers to raise prostate screening awareness, he represented a cause his fellow players could sympathize with.

As we keep winding our way up the leaderboard, though, a funny thing happens when we approach the top. Maybe the most compelling part of a tragedy isn’t the end. Or maybe the carnage wasn’t a tragedy at all.

Despite seemingly haunted scores that looked like golf’s version of Friday the 13th on the 10th of August, the top of the leaderboard more greatly resembled The Shining, thanks to plenty of stars in the mix entering the final 36 holes.

Woods and Singh – tied for the lead at 4 under with Carl Pettersson – will square off in the final pairing of the third round, a heavyweight title fight on one of the game’s grandest stages.

Of course, it wasn’t without a fight on Friday, either.

Woods birdied only one of the four par-5 holes and on No. 16 putted from near the front of the green to way off the back, needing to chip back on to save par. That may not sound like a great escape during any normal round, but this was hardly normal, his 1-under 71 just one of five scores below par on the day.

“I thought going out today, anything even par or better was going to be a good score,” Woods explained. “That was my goal. So I went out today and I accomplished that.”

Be very, very careful, fellow competitors. Woods has made a career of accomplishing his goals, which means his 15th major championship could arrive by sundown on Sunday.

“Hey, I'm right there with a chance. I like that,” he said. “I'm playing better to where I'm going to give myself chances in major championships. I'm right there. So we have got a long way to go and I don't know what the forecast is for tomorrow, if it's going to blow like this or not blow like this, but if it's anything like this over the weekend, with no rain, it's going to be tough.”

It’s going to be tough alongside his old nemesis, as well. Singh posted the lone sub-70 score on Friday, a 3-under 69 which considering the conditions could have been the equivalent of a 63 on any other day.

With three major titles of his own, the 49-year-old can offer some valuable perspective on not only trying to play in whipping winds that blew away most of the field, but trying to contend in them.

“We didn't expect wind like this,” he said after a round that featured five birdies against just two bogeys. “This is really strong winds. Yeah, I love contending in the majors, but you just contend with yourself and try to make a score if you can.”

Perhaps that’s the secret to avoiding a tragedy that befell so many others. Contend with yourself. Try to make a score. It sounds simple yet zen-like, an abridged version of what every player is attempting to accomplish.

In the end on Friday, the best part of the story wasn’t at the bottom after all. It was right at the top, compelling tales of overcoming tragedy amidst the carnage.

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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 6:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

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“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.