Tigers Back

By Jay CoffinMarch 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Was Tiger Woods ever really gone?
 
Sure didnt seem like it Sunday at Bay Hill where golfs biggest stud did what nearly everyone expected him to do, he erased a five-shot deficit to Sean OHair and won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the sixth time when he dropped a 15-foot birdie putt that made the ground shake.
 
The drama. The putt. The fist-pump. All is right in the world of golf again.
 
Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer
Tiger Woods is congratulated by tournament host Arnold Palmer once again. (Getty Images)
No matter what Woods did at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it was going to the biggest news of the week. If he wouldnt have won wed be heading to the Masters sniffing Azaleas with the anticipation of Woods collecting his first victory since last years U.S. Open.
 
Since he did win, it sets up Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson hype heading into Augusta that reaches heights weve never seen before. For the first time, both of the games two biggest draws will drive down Magnolia Lane in peak form.
 
But anything other than a Woods victory here at Bay Hill wasnt an option. Especially when, while he was standing over his putt on the 18th green ' darkness close behind ' he heard someone scream out the dreaded p-word.
 
Yeah, some guy yelled out playoff, Woods said. And. . . .
 
The rest is history.
 
OHairs five-shot lead was whittled down to two after the third hole and down to one after seven. But an OHair birdie on the ninth gave him a two-shot lead with nine remaining. Woods most crucial shot of the day was a 15-foot par save on the par-3 14th hole, then he followed with a 25-footer for birdie on 15 that tied the ballgame.
 
Woods took his first lead in a Tour event since the U.S. Open when OHair made bogey on 16, gave it back with a bogey on 17, then made birdie on 18 to capture his 66th PGA Tour title.
 
It was unbelievable drama, said Zach Johnson, the third member of the days final group with Woods and OHair. I tried to stay in my own world. . . but its kind of hard when youre seeing what youre seeing.
 
Too much Tiger, too much Tiger, too much Tiger. The media hears those criticisms often. But such thoughts are ridiculous. There were more people following Woods during his four rounds than followed everyone else combined during the same span.
 
When we write about him, people read. When we talk about him, people listen. When hes not at an event and we still talk about him, people still listen. Anyone who has something negative to say about the coverage he receives just doesnt get it. No one else can do the things he can do with a golf club in his hands. No one.
 
Its not like its the Tiger show and Im just out there to watch him, OHair said, with Woods standing in the back of the room awaiting his turn to speak with the media. And I think thats the one thing the media thinks about the guys out here, and its not about that. Were trying to win golf tournaments, and he just happens to be that good.
 
Yes, he is. So good that he has the ability to make people think he never left.
 
Its like Stevie (Williams) was saying out there, this feels like we hadnt left, Woods said. You just remember how to do it. It hasnt been that long for me, but you just have that feel of what to do and its a matter of getting it done.
 
Was he ever really gone?
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.