Woods Looks to Stay King of the Hill
Woods enters this weeks event in his surrogate hometown of Orlando, Fla., as the two-time defending champion. And, like last year, he enters the event winless on the PGA Tour.
Tiger on his 2001 Bay Hill win
Slump. That word hung over Tiger like a singular cloud in the Sunshine State. Questions rained upon him as to why the worlds No. 1 player hadnt won in eight consecutive starts ' dating back to the 2000 season.
He silenced critics with a one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson. It proved to be the first of three straight titles, culminating with a fourth consecutive major championship victory at the Masters Tournament.
Now, Woods steps to the Bay Hill Club and Lodge winless since the WGC-NEC Invitational in August. For the record, thats eight starts without a win.
Woods can only hope that the similarities between last year and this one continue.
Leading Sergio Garcia by a stroke entering the final round in 2001, Tiger found his primary rival ahead of him in Mickelson. The lefthander shot a 6-under-par 66 to take the lead, saving par on the 72nd hole with a near hole-out from 60 yards.
One stroke back, with three holes to play, Woods hooked his drive four feet from the out-of-bounds fence on the par-5 16th. Using a 7-iron, he easily cleared the pond guarding the severely tiered green, placing his ball onto the back shelf. He two-putted from there to regain a share of the lead.
Following a par on the par-3 17th, Woods again pulled his drive badly on the par-4 18th. It appeared to be heading out of bounds until it hit a spectator in the neck and dropped next to the cart path. A woman picked up the ball and immediately dropped it. Woods got a free drop, anyway, because his feet were on the cart path.
On trampled grass, 195 yards from the green, Tiger nuked a 5-iron through the stiff breeze, over the water, 15 feet from the hole.
Then, with 1997 winner Mickelson waiting in the wings, he made the winning putt to finish at 15-under 273.
It was ugly,' Woods said. It was not a pretty round of golf, but I got the ball in the hole. I was able to get some wonderful breaks down the stretch.
Those were the kinds of breaks given to him throughout the 2000 season, but ones missing in '01 until Bay Hill.
Tiger went on to win five times last season, earning nearly $5.7 million to go along with his third straight Player of the Year award.
While Woods will headline this years field, hes not the lone star in the state.
Ernie Els enters the tournament as the hottest player on the planet, having won the Genuity Championship two weeks ago, as well as last week's Dubai Desert Classic. He's also the 1998 Bay Hill champion.
Other participants include David Duval, Garcia, Retief Goosen, Davis Love III, Buick Invitational champion Jose Maria Olazabal, Match Play victor Kevin Sutherland and Vijay Singh.
The purse is $4 million, with $720,000 going to the winner.
Full field and tee times for the Bay Hill Invitational
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted 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. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.