Price Putts Way to AmEx Lead

By Mercer BaggsNovember 9, 2000, 5:00 pm
An old putter produced some classic results for Nick Price Thursday at the WGC-American Express Championship.
Using a variation of the flatstick that produced three major titles, Price carded 11 birdies and two bogeys for a 9-under-par 63 and the first-round lead in Sotogrande, Spain.

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Price's performance must have inspired his playing companion, Padraig Harrington. The Irishman produced seven birdies for a round of 6-under-par 66. The lone blemish on Harrington's card came in the form of a bogey 5 at the home hole.
American Scott Hoch and Scot Andrew Coltart are tied for third at 5-under-par. Defending champion Tiger Woods is eight shots off the pace after opening in 1-under-par 71. Tiger's round included three birdies over his first four holes; however, a series of missed putts plagued him throughout the day.
'I had five lipouts today, I didn't really play bad,' Tiger said, who birdied the 18th for his 44th consecutive round at par or better on the PGA Tour. 'The putts just weren't going in. It usually doesn't add up to low scoring.'
Woods was 3-under through nine holes, but bogeyed 12, 13 and 17. The bogey 6 at the penultimate holes was the result of a 6-iron from 203 yards, which caught the front of the green and rolled down the sharply sloped bank into the water.
The incident was similar to that which transpired in the final round a year ago, when Woods hit the green on his third shot only to watch his ball inexplicably roll into the pond. The resultant triple bogey forced a playoff, which Woods won over Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Seeking his first PGA Tour title since the 1998 FedEx St. Jude Classic, Price started quickly in Spain by carding five birdies over his first seven holes. A bogey at the par-4 8th slowed his momentum, though it hardly derailed him. Upon making the turn, Price strung together four straight red numbers beginning at the 11th. He did drop a shot at the par-3 15th, but the 43-year-old winner of 40 worldwide events concluded his remarkable round by birdying the 16th and 18th holes.
'It was a great round of golf,' Price said after coming within one stroke of matching Bernhard Langer's course record. 'Any time you make 11 birdies, you've got to be doing a lot of things right. Today, I hit the ball great. I holed a lot of putts in the six to 14-feet range. I guess you could say that I had a lot of fun out there.'
For the round, Price hit 12 of 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens in regulation; and needed only 24 putts.
Earlier in the year, Price fired a first-round 63 to take the 18-hole lead at the Advil Western Open. In fact, he led by three shots over his closest competitor.
Sound familiar?
Price is in the same position this week, though he's hoping for a different result. After opening in 9-under-par at the Western Open, Price could only manage five strokes to par over his next three rounds combined. He finished in second place, losing in a playoff to Robert Allenby.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in round one was Franklin Langham. Langham is tied with fellow American Chris Perry and Canadian Mike Weir for fifth place at 4-under-par. Last week, the University of Georgia product finished 28th in the 29-man Tour Championship field in Atlanta.
Elsewhere, none of the top contenders in the European money race made a strong move to cross the finish line first come Sunday. Thomas Bjorn (fourth on the Volvo Order of Merit) carded a 2-under-par 70. Michael Campbell (fifth) and Lee Westwood (second) each opened in even-par 72.
Current Order of Merit leader Darren Clarke posted a first-round 74, one shot lower than Colin Montgomerie. Monty's reign as seven-time Order of Merit champion effectually came to an end on the 17th and 18th holes, which he played in a combined 3-over-par.
Ernie Els will not be able to capture the European money title. The South African, third in earnings, was forced to withdraw Thursday due to an ailing back. Els said he aggravated an old injury when he helped a pensioner lift his luggage off a carousel at the Orlando airport on Sunday night.
'It's an old problem,' said Els, who played nine holes in 2-over-par before withdrawing. 'I'm going to take the weekend off and get some more treatment and if it is ready I'm going to Bangkok (for next week's Johnnie Walker Classic). If not, I'm going to have to withdraw from that.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

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While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm