Difficulty Awaits Tiger and Company

By Mercer BaggsMarch 21, 2001, 5:00 pm
Tiger Woods thrives on difficult courses. He loves the tough conditions. Needless to say, hes looking forward to competing in this weeks Players Championship.
 
Hes won at Augusta, Pebble, Medinah, Valhalla, St. Andrews, Muirfield Village and Firestone.
 
Hes won in the rain, in the wind, in the heat, in the cold and even in the darkness.
 
Yet, this is one of the few events to escape his grasp ' at least, thus far. Coming off a win at last weeks Bay Hill Invitational, Woods is highly motivated to make it two in a row before heading to the Masters.
 
I feel pretty good, Woods said. This is one of the best fields in golf that is assembled throughout the year, and played on a very demanding golf course. Thats a nice combination to have, and to finish on top that week, that would be very satisfying.
 
This is Tigers fifth start on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass. Last year, he finished runner-up to Hal Sutton. Playing his final seven holes on Monday due to rain, Woods eagled the par-5 16th to pull within one of Sutton. But, as you may remember, the 1983 Players champion emphatically stuck his approach shot on the par-4 18th to eight feet to seal title No. 2.
 
If Wednesdays conditions were any indication ' and according to the Weather Channel, they were ' players can anticipate four days of survival.
 
The winds are up in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The temperatures are chilly. And, with the wet weather earlier in the week, the course is playing long.
 
The course is playing very, very difficult this year, said Colin Montgomerie, who has four top-10s in seven Players starts. The greens are drying out nowscoring will be very difficult. Very difficult.
 
Said 1992 champion Davis Love III: Its going to play extremely long. So you might get easier greens (if they stay damp), but youll be hitting longer clubs into them.
 
Advantage Tiger.
 
I think with the conditions the way they are, I think the person who is driving the ball the best and really controlling their irons this week is obviously the person who is probably going to win, said Woods.
 
Having ended an 0-for-8 winless streak on the Tour last week in Orlando, Woods is confident in his game. So much so, that he didnt arrive to the course until late Wednesday morning. He played a practice round with Mark OMeara and David Duval, meaning he got in only 18 holes of course preparation before he tees off at 1:00pm ET on Thursday.
 
I feel pretty good about (my game), Woods said. I had two really good days at home of nice, solid work.
 
All I was trying to do was get the feeling back like I did. I hit the ball pretty good today in the wind. Well see what happens when weve got to play.
 
Though Woods played 18 holes on Wednesday, his practice partner, Duval, only made it through three. Duval hit an errant tee shot on the par-4 4th hole and felt a twinge in his right wrist. He decided to walk off the course for precautionary measure.
 
David did not want to play that many holes to begin with, said Woods. Its cold out here, and the last thing you need to do is go out there and play when you are hurt when its cold. Thats the worst thing to do, because it gets stiff and you can do more damage.
 
Duval, who had been suffering from an ailing back, skipped last weeks tournament because of the aching wrist. He said he injured it over-practicing.
 
Duval is scheduled to tee off in the first round at 12:40pm. Currently, 45 of the top 50 players on the Official World Golf Ranking are in attendance.
 
Read a Transcript of Tiger Woods' Wednesday Press Conference
Getty Images

PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

Getty Images

Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.