Tigers Defense in Doubt

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 31, 2001, 5:00 pm
When golf's messiah walks by, you're supposed to part like the Red Sea for Moses. Such was not the case Wednesday at Pebble Beach.
Coming off the 18th green following a practice round with Mark Calcavecchia, Tiger Woods was mobbed by fans and autograph seekers. Nothing unusual. But this time, one patron broke ranks.
'I was walking off the green, a lot of fans just kind of got on top of me, one guy ran right in front and I stepped on his ankle, and my weight going forward, and his weight coming towards me, just hyper-extended my (left) knee,' said Woods, who also added, 'And then he yelled at me for not signing an autograph.'
After the incident, Woods went to the fitness trailer. The diagnosis? Sprained ligaments. The prognosis? Wait and see.
'I can't hit balls today, no way,' said Woods. '(I'm) a little bit concerned, yes. Because obviously if I can't rotate and can't let it go, then obviously I can't go.'
What seemed improbable - Tiger not defending his title - is now possible. It's also a huge blow to the tournament, especially after what he accomplished in 2000. No, he didn't cure lepers or give sight to the blind, but what he did do was near miraculous.

Last year, Tiger overcame a seven-shot deficit with seven holes to play to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Four months later he won the U.S. Open, also contested at Pebble Beach, by a still incomprehensible 15 strokes.
In two events - at one site - golf's greatest furthered his legend to a boundless extreme. Pebble Beach and Tiger Woods. It's like Ruth and Yankee Stadium. Magic and the Forum. It's Showtime.
'I love playing here,' Tiger said. 'I played here once when I was very little and then played here in the State amateur, and came back here and played a couple of times in college here and there. But I've always enjoyed it. I just enjoy being out here, seeing the beauty of it.'
What Tiger has seen in his practice rounds with Calc has been a course that looks everything like it did a February a year ago, and nothing like it did last June.
'It was weird because looking at the golf course, it looks so different than it did in the Open,' said Woods. 'Obviously, the rough was up, most of the fairways were so much more narrow than they are now. They moved the fairways quite a bit for the tournament back to where they normally are for the AT&T.'
Though Tiger couldn't make it to the range, he did meander to the practice putting green where he traded swipes with good friend and Pro-Am partner Jerry Chang.
The scene was similar Tuesday night. Dusk had fallen, yet Woods and Chang were putting away - more in leisure than in work. The only difference between the two was the crowd. Hundreds watched and snapped photos on Wednesday. Tuesday night it was just a handful of passers-by, all of who stopped to ogle, of course, and some of who were rewarded with an autograph.
It's been well documented that putting is the key for Tiger. When he putts well, he wins. Such has not been the case in 2001. Yet Woods isn't trying to change anything on the practice green, he's just trying to get back that magical feeling.
'I don't feel like I'm hitting the ball terrible,' Tiger said. 'I feel I'm hitting it all right, the putts are just grazing the edges. Last week I had 14 lip-outs for birdies in the first two rounds. That's a lot of lip-outs for birdies. Pretty soon, hopefully, they will start diving in.'
And, hopefully, Tiger will at least get the chance to strike those putts come 8:50a.m. PT, when he is scheduled to tee off with Chang, Mark O'Meara and Ken Griffey, Jr., at Spyglass Hill.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Wednesday at Pebble Beach, the PGA Tour officially handed out its 2000 awards. Tiger Woods was given the Nicklaus Award for Player of the Year, the Arnold Palmer Award for seasonal money winner, and the Byron Nelson Award for lowest stroke average. Paul Azinger was awarded the trophy for Comeback Player of the Year. Michael Clark II was given his trophy for Rookie of the Year. And Spike McRoy was honored for being named the 2000 Buy.Com Tour Player of the Year.
*David Duval said he doesn't know if he'll be using the Nike irons he first put in play at last week's Phoenix Open, where he shot rounds of 70-73 to miss the cut. Said Duval: 'I think it's important to use clubs under tournament conditions because you play a little bit differently (than in practice rounds.)' Prior to signing an agreement with Nike, Duval played the Titleist 962B irons.
*Actors Chris O'Donnell and Clint Eastwood won the 3M Celebrity Challenge match. Playing a five-hole alternate-shot skins format, O'Donnell and Eastwood racked-up $15,000 to better the team of actor Kevin Costner and singer Glen Campbell, who won $14,000. The teams of Huey Lewis-Tommy Smothers, Bill Murray-Michael Bolton, Joe Pesci-Clay Walker and Ray Romano-Kevin James were all shutout.
*Don't expect any yo-yo tricks from Tommy Smothers. The noted comedian said he has been told not to use the novelty item during the Pro-Am competition.
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API purse payout: What Rory, Tiger, field made

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

Rory McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and collected one of the biggest non-major paychecks of the year. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Bay Hill.

1 Rory McIlroy -18 $1,602,000
2 Bryson DeChambeau -15 $961,200
3 Justin Rose -14 $605,200
4 Henrik Stenson -13 $427,200
T5 Tiger Woods -10 $356,000
T5 Ryan Moore -10 $320,400
T7 Marc Leishman -8 $249,992
T7 Kevin Chappell -8 $249,992
T7 Luke List -8 $249,992
T7 Sean O'Hair -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Rodgers -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Reed -8 $249,992
13 Chris Kirk -7 $186,900
T14 Kyle Stanley -6 $137,950
T14 Charles Howell III -6 $137,950
T14 Sam Horsfield -6 $137,950
T14 Bud Cauley -6 $137,950
T14 Grayson Murray -6 $137,950
T14 Byeong Hun An -6 $137,950
T14 Rickie Fowler -6 $137,950
T14 Charley Hoffman -6 $137,950
T22 Brian Gay -5 $89,000
T22 Harris English -5 $89,000
T22 Jason Day -5 $89,000
T22 Graeme McDowell -5 $89,000
T26 Tom Hoge -4 $59,319
T26 Martin Laird -4 $59,319
T26 Emiliano Grillo -4 $59,319
T26 Tommy Fleetwood -4 $59,319
T26 Francesco Molinari -4 $59,319
T26 Keegan Bradley -4 $59,319
T26 Zach Johnson -4 $59,319
T26 William McGirt -4 $59,319
T26 John Huh -4 $59,319
T26 Talor Gooch -4 $59,319
T36 Alex Noren -3 $41,919
T36 Kevin Na -3 $41,919
T36 Brandon Harkins -3 $41,919
T36 Brian Stuard -3 $41,919
T36 Austin Cook -3 $41,919
T41 Ian Poulter -2 $30,305
T41 C.T. Pan -2 $30,305
T41 Adam Scott -2 $30,305
T41 Aaron Wise -2 $30,305
T41 Kevin Streelman -2 $30,305
T41 J.B. Holmes -2 $30,305
T41 Jamie Lovemark -2 $30,305
T41 Ollie Schniederjans -2 $30,305
T49 Lucas Glover -1 $21,965
T49 Ernie Els -1 $21,965
T49 Hideki Matsuyama -1 $21,965
T49 Chesson Hadley -1 $21,965
T49 Sam Burns -1 $21,965
T54 Li HaoTong E $20,470
T54 Mackenzie Hughes E $20,470
T54 Brian Harman E $20,470
T54 Billy Horschel E $20,114
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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 19th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.