Woods Adds Fifth Major to Resume
Woods was one of 22 players who had to finish their final rounds on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass on Monday due to a suspension of play the day prior.
Tiger captured the one prestigious event that had eluded him in his five seasons on Tour by carding a 2-under-par 34 over his final nine holes for a final-round composite of 5-under-par 67.
Its special to win this championship, said Woods. Its not a major. But to win you have to beat the best field of the year on a very tough course. I'm just fortunate enough to come out on top.
At 14-under for the tournament, Woods finished one shot clear of Vijay Singh, who was temporarily tied for the top spot until a triple bogey 7 at the 14th cost him a chance for the million-dollar first-place prize.
Bernhard Langer finished in third place at 12-under. The two-time Masters champion notched five birdies and three bogeys over his final nine holes for a final-round 68. Langer was in search of his first stateside victory since donning the green jacket in 1993.
Its Langers third-career top-3 finish at The Players without a win. The only European player to ever win this event was Sandy Lyle in 1987.
Jerry Kelly double bogeyed the final hole to drop from a share of third place into solo fourth. Still, the $288,000 he collected was nearly double his previous career-best paycheck on the PGA Tour.
I leave here disappointed, Kelly said. Yeah, good check, good week. So what? We all want to win, and thats it.
Before the beginning of the final round, Kelly ' who led Woods and Singh by two shots ' said Tiger would have to do something special to beat him.
Such was not the case on Monday.
Woods woke up with a one-shot lead over his playing companion, Kelly, and his rival, Singh. Following a three-hour weather delay on Sunday, Woods birdied the 1st, chipped in for eagle on the par-5 2nd, and the completed his day by converting a blind birdie putt in the dark at the par-5 9th.
Last year at this event, Woods and Hal Sutton were forced to complete their final seven holes on Monday. Though Tiger cut a three-stroke deficit to just one, Sutton eventually prevailed.
At 10:00am ET, Woods set out for a bit of redemption. After nearly spinning in his approach shot to the par-4 10th, Woods tapped in for birdie to immediately stretch his advantage to two shots.
That was as close as Kelly would get to Tiger for the rest of the day. After missing only five fairways off the tee over his first three rounds, the 54-hole leader went from accurate to erratic.
Kelly missed six of the seven fairways on the back nine; none bigger than the one he failed to hit at the par-4 18th. After finding the gnarly right rough, Kelly tried to force an iron to the green. The long, thick grass turned the face of his club over, resulting in a hooked approach into the water.
I was trying for the miracle shot a little bit, he said. I learned youve got to play your game and not play for second, not play for third, just play you game all the way through. And I did that up until 18.
Tigers stiffest ' and only competition on Monday ' came from Singh. The transplanted Floridian, who lives just five miles from the venue in Ponte Vedra Beach, birdied the 11th and 13th holes to tie Woods for the lead at 13-under-par.
Tiger quickly retook sole possession of the lead by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the 12th to move to 14-under. Woods caught a break on that hole when his tee shot kicked out of the rough and into the fairway, thus allowing an opportunity to shoot for the flag.
The tournament was ultimately determined by one shot at the par-4 14th. Brimming with confidence, Singh snap-hooked his tee shot into the water. He knew it as soon as he hit it, dropping his club on the follow-through and kicking it while it lay on the ground.
Having to hit his third shot from the tee box, Singh posted a triple bogey and fell four shots back of Woods at 10-under.
Made one bad swing and thats all it takes, said Singh. I was feeling really comfortable out there. You cannot make mistakes like that. And that was it.
Singh bravely tried to mount a comeback. Just off the green in two on the par-5 16th, Singh used the toe of his putter to pop in an eagle from the collar of the fringe. He then stuck his tee shot on the treacherous par-3 17th to within four feet and converted the birdie putt.
Following a clutch par save at the 18th, Singh signed for a round of 4-under-par 68 and waited on the sidelines at 13-under.
Despite a birdie at the par-5 16th, Tiger wasnt out of the woods just yet. He still had to navigate the 17th, which he double bogeyed in the second round. Just trying to find land on the island green, Tiger hit a 9-iron. His ball caught the putting surface, and then kicked hard left into the greenside rough. His ball stayed dry by a mere foot.
I knew when I hit it, I hit it the ball the right distance. From there, it is up to the bounce. I hit it soft over there and it rolled (to the fringe), and I got a horrible lie over there. Woods said.
Woods chip shot came up six feet short of the hole; however, he rammed home the par putt to remain two up with one to play.
At the 18th, Tiger opted for a 2-iron. Thursday, he hit 3-wood into the water. This time he avoided the hazard, but found the penal left-hand rough. Knowing he needed only a bogey to win, Woods successfully laid up and then placed his third shot 25 feet below the hole.
With the engraver already carving his name into the side of the trophy, Woods allowed the man to finish the job by two-putting for victory.
After eight Tour starts without a win, Woods has now triumphed in successive weeks (Bay Hill Invitational). He also claims the top spot on the seasonal money list. The $1,080,000 first-place check pushed Woods to over $2.25 million for the year.
As the Florida Swing comes to a halt, Woods will head back to his residential home in Orlando for a little rest, before starting again his preparation for the Masters Tournament in next week. Woods will be trying to win his fourth consecutive major in Augusta.
You can't really look at the fact that I have a chance to win four consecutive majors,' said Woods. 'I'm going to treat it just like I do every major. I'm going to try and win the golf tournament.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*This was Tiger Woods 26th career PGA Tour victory. Hes now tied with Henry Picard at 19th on the All-Time PGA Tour winners list.
*This is the eighth time in Tigers career that he was won in back-to-back starts.
*Woods joins Jack Nicklaus as the only men to win all four majors and The Players Championship. He and Nicklaus are also the only men whose PGA Tour win-count is more than their age. The 61-year-old Nicklaus has 70 career wins. The 25-year-old Woods now has 26 Tour titles.
Full-Field Scores from The Players Championship
Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief
A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.
The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.
The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.
Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.
Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.
"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."
LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse
The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.
While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.
The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).
The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.
An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.
The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.
The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.
“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”
While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.
For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.
Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:
Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million
Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million
Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million
March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million
March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million
March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million
March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million
April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million
April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million
April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million
May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million
May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million
May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million
May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million
June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million
June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million
June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million
June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million
July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million
July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million
July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million
Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million
Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million
Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million
Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million
Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million
Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million
Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million
Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million
Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million
Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million
Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million
Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million
Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth
Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.
And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.
Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.
Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent.
Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.
Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.
Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.
In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.
Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)
U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)
The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)
PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)
TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS
AT&T Pebble Beach
FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18