Two Shots for Tiger One for Us

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 27, 2006, 5:00 pm
For Tiger Woods, the 69th Masters Tournament was decided by two shots. For everyone else, it will be remembered for just one.
 
For me, its by far the drive and the iron, Woods said in his Masters teleconference last month when asked what stood out most about last years victory at Augusta National.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts to winning his fourth Masters title and his first major in nearly three years.
Woods was referencing his tee shot and approach shot on the first hole of his sudden-death playoff with Chris DiMarco.
 
Coming off back-to-back bogeys to force the extra session, Woods piped a 3-wood down the center of the 18th fairway and then hit an 8-iron 15 feet over the flag. He then converted the birdie putt for his fourth green jacket.
 
To step up there and hit my two best golf shots all week, Woods said about his drive and approach, that gave me so much confidence going down the road into the other major championships and other tournaments, because I was able to pull out my best stuff when I absolutely needed to.
 
Tigers performance on the 73rd hole of the tournament was validation for all of his swing changes with instructor Hank Haney. It also trumped the bogeys on 17 and 18 in regulation ' and allowed his chip-in on 16 to take on near mythical proportions.
 
Though Tiger, who went on to also win the British Open in 2005, counts his two playoff shots as the most important of the tournament ' and the most important of his season, he readily admits that it is his chip-in on the 16th hole that is the signature shot of last years Masters.
 
And since he was able to overcome his subsequent stumble and win the event, it's not only one of the most memorable shots in all of major championship history; it's not tainted with failure.
 
Woods entered the 70th hole with a one-stroke lead over playing competitor DiMarco. The two were locked in a match-play situation, well clear of the rest of the field.
 
DiMarco hit first and put his 7-iron tee shot about 20 feet short of the hole. Woods then pulled his 8-iron long and left of the green.
 
His ball nestled some 40 feet from the flag, near the edge of the second cut of rough, but not right up against it.
 
I knew it was going to be virtually one of the most difficult shots you could possibly have on the whole golf course, Woods recounted.
 
From where he was, Woods was unable to take a direct route to the hole. Instead he had to play a shot well left and somehow hope that he could get his ball to finish inside of DiMarcos.
 
I thought I had an opportunity to put the ball inside of Chris, which was about 15 feet. And to be honest with you, thats all I was trying to do, he admitted.
 
Woods surveyed the situation intently. He paced around the green and picked out a spot of daylight at which to aim.
 
Said CBS analyst Lanny Wadkins, Theres a good chance he doesnt get this inside DiMarcos ball.
 
Standing over his ball, following three practice chips, his eyes darted back and forth, taking everything into account, becoming comfortable with it all.
 
He then pulled the trigger.
 
The ball skipped hard onto the green and around hole high it took a right-hand turn and tracked towards the hole like it had a homing device.
 
A shade over 14 seconds after the ball left Tigers wedge, it stopped. For two seconds, the ball lay almost motionless on the edge of the cup. And then it dropped.
 
The crowd exploded. Woods and caddie Steve Williams attempted two rather disjointed high-fives. Woods yelled, Come on! DiMarco said, Good shot.
 
In you life, said CBS commentator Vern Lundquist, have you seen anything like that.
 
The birdie gave Woods a two-stroke advantage over DiMarco, who narrowly missed his birdie effort on 16. A couple of missed fairways on 17 and 18 cost Woods a chance to win the event in regulation, but he recovered with two near perfect swings and one perfect putt in the playoff.
 
The final swings are the one most special to Woods, for they are the ones that ultimately won him the Masters, and the ones that gave him the confidence to finish 2-1-4 in his next three major championships.
 
But its his second shot on 16, his 61st shot of the final round ' thats the one that will live forever in the minds of everyone else.
 
Related Links:
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

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

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry