Woods Plays Self Into Contention at Bay Hill

By Mercer BaggsMarch 16, 2001, 5:00 pm
Tiger Woods day began with a grimace, but ended with a smile. Woods flexed his left elbow in pain after an awkward first shot to his second round of the Bay Hill Invitational. But 66 strokes later, Tiger was a much happier man ' and just two shots off the lead.
 
The defending champions 67 has him at 6-under-par for the tournament, just two swings more than fellow former Bay Hill winner Paul Goydos, who shot his second-straight round of 68 earlier in the morning.
 
Five players share second place at 7-under, including Chris Perry (66), Sergio Garcia (66), Scott McCarron (70), Fulton Allem (67) and Grant Waite (71).
 
Waite was the only one of the five overnight leaders to break par in the second round. All five played in the afternoon on Friday. And all five struggled.
 
Phil Mickelson dropped from 6-under to 3-under, then made his way to 7-under, before dropping back down to 5-under, and finishing at 6-under.
 
Three-over on his round through 11 holes, the 1997 Bay Hill champion holed his approach shot for eagle at the par-5 12th. That led to back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14.
 
Just one off the lead at 7-under, Mickelson bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17, but ended his day with a birdie on the par-4 finishing hole for an even-par 72.
 
Mickelson is tied with Woods and four others at 6-under. Also in that group is Mark Calcavecchia, who, like Mickelson, followed an opening 66 with a Day-Two 72.
 
Fellow first-round co-leader Steve Pate is now in a tie for 13th place after a 1-over-par 73; while Dennis Paulson slipped from a first-place to into a tie for 19th following a 3-over-par 75.
 
Woods was in a much more gracious mood following Round Two than he was after opening in 1-under-par 71. Tigers first round ended on a sour note, with a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 8th (his 17th hole of the day). It was his first triple since the third round of the 2000 U.S. Open, - a span of 1,201 holes.
 
After signing his scorecard, Tiger made a beeline for the exit, forgoing autographs and interviews.
 
If Thursdays round was emotionally painful, Fridays started with a bit of physical discomfort.
 
Well, when you almost hit your right foot coming down, its not going to feel good, said Woods, describing his opening tee shot. It was like a half shank/skank out to the right, like a dying quail.
 
I hit (my second shot) up there on the green from theretwo-putted and got my four.
 
The swing proved to be an anomaly, as Tiger made the turn in 3-under-par 33 and then added two more birdies on the back nine for a bogey-free round.
 
Obviously, Ive left a couple of shots out there, just because of the fact that I made triple, said Woods, who addressed the media after his round. But I feel like Im hitting the ball really crisp and I really feel, you know, pretty good over my putts.
 
Tiger didnt need any luck on Friday, but Goydos did. Appropriately enough, he was wearing a hat with Lucky stitched on the front.

Goydos tee shot to the par-5 16th hit a cart path and kicked into the fairway. He eventually birdied the hole and finished the day with the lead at 8-under-par.
 
For some reason, this is the luckiest place for me. The ball seems to bounce my way, said Goydos.
 
Sporting the cap given to him by his wife, Goydos followed up an opening-round 68 with yet another 4-under-par performance. In eight full seasons on the PGA Tour, Goydos has earned one career victory ' the 1996 Bay Hill Invitational. Last year, he collected his best finish of the season in this event, a tie for 10th.
 
I think its a function of Ive putted well here, said Goydos, whos averaging 24 putts through two rounds this year. The key to playing in the wind is putting.
 
For me, making putts is kind of like an antibiotic for the rest of my game. I start doing things better after it starts. And I dont worry if its not.
 
Goydos putting virus hasnt been apparent thus far in Orlando, Fla. After making the turn in 4-under-par 32, he added another birdie to his card at the par-4 13th. He then recorded back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes, before redeeming himself with the fortunate birdie at the 16th.
 
Perry was wearing a sentimental hat of his own in Round Two. Perrys lid was a simple white cap with the Bay Hill insignia. Though is did have a couple of unique features ' Arnold Palmers autograph and a slew of umbrella pins (Palmers personal logo).
 
Perry bought the cap when he learned that he would be playing with the tournament host over the first two days.
 
I played with Mr. Palmer in my first U.S. Open in 1982 as an amateur at Pebble Beach in a practice round, but this is the first time Ive been paired with him in competition, said Perry. This is a thrill, to be paired with The King and to play quite well.
 
Perry rode his enthusiasm to a second-round 6-under-par 66, good enough to tie him for second place with, among others, Garcia, who also shot 66.
 
Garcia stumbled to a 1-under-par 71 on Thursday afternoon. His back nine (holes 1-9), included three consecutive missed birdie putts from inside six feet, a double bogey at the par-5 6th and a bogey at the par-4 8th.
 
Friday, the 21-year-old Spaniard steadied himself with a front-nine 2-under 34, and then birdied six of nine holes on the back. He also recorded a pair of bogeys on the inward half, with the last coming on the par-4 finishing hole.
 
After missing the green to the right with his approach shot, Garcia was forced to play a mini-bunker shot from the sand near the adjacent rocks. He played it too delicately, however, and failed to reach the green. He then two-putted from the fringe for a bogey 5.
 
Ive been playing these two days really well, said Garcia, who has been working on his backswing with his father and has been using a set Titleist irons, which hes owned for over two years but never used before.
 
The putter has let me down a little bit on the front nine. But other than that, Im really happy with the way Im hitting the ball.
 
Through two rounds, Garcia is 8-under on the back nine and 1-over on the front.
 
Like Goydos and Perry, Garcias hat serves more purpose than just to appease his sponsors. Garcia said he went back to Spain to get his hair trimmed and his regular barber was sick. Instead, another stylist took the shears to his head.
 
The result?
 
It didnt work so well, he said. So when I came back home, my dad said, I think youd better take it all off. So I just did.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*Among those two shots off the 36-hole lead at 6-under-par is local favorite Robert Damron. Damron grew up in a house off the 10th fairway at Bay Hill, where his parents still live. Damron now owns a house of his own near the 12th hole. Friday, he tied the competitive course record by shooting 6-under-par 30 on the front nine en route to a 66.
 
*74 players made the cut, which fell at 1-over-par. Its the highest cut of the 2001 season.
 
*Thursday, the morning group was a cumulative 23-under-par, while the afternoon players were a combined 107-over. Friday, the morning group was 10-over, while the afternoon players were 51-over.
 
Click here for full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational
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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

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."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

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

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

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.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


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.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm