Westwood Woods Ride Different Trains of Thought into Bay Hill

By Mercer BaggsMarch 14, 2001, 5:00 pm
You'll have to forgive Lee Westwood if golf's not at the forefront of his mind. You see, his wife, Laurae, is expecting their first child in less than a month.
Westwood can't wait. It's the preeminent thought in his mind, and well it should. There's only one problem. His wife's due-date is April 6th - the Friday of the Masters.
'I don't go (to Augusta) if the baby has not arrived,' said Westwood on his prospects of missing the Masters. 'I may go if the baby has arrives before. The first child, you don't know what to expect and you don't know how you're going to feel. So I'm going to take it as it comes and see how I feel when the baby arrives.
'She might say, 'Look, I've covered it for nine months. Now it's your turn to feed.''
For now, future feeding times are consuming him more than eventual tee times. This week, he'll play in his first stateside event of the season, the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Fla.; and just his second tournament anywhere in 2001.
'Golf has not really taken much of a priority over the last few months,' said Westwood. 'I think where children and family are concerned, golf pales in comparison.'
Westwood will compete in the U.S. for the fortnight. Following Bay Hill, he'll make his way, with the rest of the world's best, to St. John's County next week for the prestigious Players Championship. And with the Masters in doubt, he's looking forward to the next two weeks.
'I've got a fairly care-free attitude at the moment,' said Westwood, who has been pleased with his practice sessions since his last tournament, the Dubai Desert Classic, two weeks ago.
'Both courses (Bay Hill and the TPC at Sawgrass) suit my game. I've played well (at the Players) a couple of times; finished fifth and sixth, I think. So, you know, the formula has been there, and hopefully I can keep playing the way I've played over the last couple of days.'
Take a Virtual Tour of the tournamant course at Bay Hill.
In all, Westwood expects to play in six or seven U.S. tournaments this year. He's also got a keen eye on retaining his Order of Merit title on the European Tour. But the future is a little hazy right now. Westwood can't see much farther the first week of April.
It seems everywhere the 27-year-old Englishman goes, baby talk follows. During his Wednesday press conference, Westwood was in the middle of answering a question when he cell phone went off.
'Maybe that's her on the phone right now,' Westwood said in reference to a call from his wife. 'It might be it. It's ringing. No. It's not. That would have been weird.'
While golf is currently secondary to Europe's top player, it's the primary focus for the World's No. 1.
Tiger Woods is set to defend his title this week in his residential hometown of Orlando. This is Woods' ninth PGA Tour start since his last victory, the 2000 Bell Canadian Open.
Free Video - Registration Required Tiger talks about his chances this week at Bay Hill
If Westwood ever tires of answering baby questions - and by the way, he doesn't yet know the gender - Woods has to be down right exhausted from answers the inane questions about his 'slump.'
'The funny thing is, my stroke average is actually lower right now than it was last year at this time,' said Woods.
Last year at this time, Woods was a two-time seasonal winner, tops on the money list and brimming with confidence. This year, he's without a title and 19th in earnings, though the confidence is still there.
'I went over my stats the other day and I'm 75-under this year through six tournaments. That's not bad,' said Woods. 'I'm pretty proud of the fact that I've played that consistent.
'The only problem is I just haven't got the right breaks at the right time, and you need to have that in order to win.'
Everything seemed to go Tiger's way in 2000; namely his final-round come-from-behind victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
'I wasn't really supposed to win Pebble Beach,' he said. 'I had a good round at the end, but I needed some help and I was able to get some help. That's what you need to have happen. I haven't really had that or I've messed up on my own.'
The latter was the case in Tiger's last start, the Dubai Desert Classic. Woods took a one-shot lead into the final round and was tied with Thomas Bjorn entering the par-5 72nd hole; where he made double bogey and finished in a tie for second.
'The problem was I was trying to hit a high sweep,' Woods said about his tee shot on the 18th that wound up in the trees to the right. 'People don't realize you've got to hit a 20-yard hook off the tee in order to keep the ball in the fairway. I tried to hit the ball from the inside and left it hanging out to the right.
'To be honest, the third shot (into the water in front of the green) is the one that really surprised me. That shot, a little 9-iron up over the palms, I hit right at the flag, playing for a flyer, and the ball just didn't fly. It was right on line. It really surprised me, it didn't get there.'
That's the way things have gone for Woods in 2001. As was the case a year ago, the unexpected seems to always happen. This year, however, it's not been in Tiger's favor.

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Highlights: Woods shoots Saturday 69 at API

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 8:40 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies Sunday, including one at the home hole, to shoot 3-under 69 and move to 7 under par for the week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

When he walked off the golf course, he was four off the 11-under pace set by Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau, all of whom were still on the course.

"I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help," Woods told Golf Channel's Steve Sands in a post-round interview. "But my responsibility is to go out there and shoot a low one first."

Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Tiger to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

He quickly returned to 6 under for the championship when he hit an approach from 186 to inside 10 feet at the par-4 11th and walked in the putt:

Following four straight pars, Woods for the second day in a row made an unlikely birdie at the par-5 16th after missing the fairway to the right and declining to layup.

Woods would drop one more shot coming in when his ball fried in the front bunker at 17, leading to a bogey, but this closing birdie at 18, his sixth of the day, got him into the clubhouse 3 under for the round and 7 under for the week. It also elicited a rare straight-down fist pump.

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Two-time major champ Pettersen pregnant

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 7:14 pm

PHOENIX – Suzann Pettersen is pregnant with her first child.

Pettersen’s husband, Christian Ringvold, confirmed the news with Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz.

Pettersen, 36, who married Ringvold in January of 2017, is due in the fall. The 15-time LPGA winner and two-time major champion has yet to make her first start this year. She’s an eight-time Solheim Cup veteran.

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

It was a 3-under 69 on Saturday for Tiger Woods for a 7-under total through three rounds. We tracked him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.