Up-and-down day means no bogeys for Woods

By Randall MellSeptember 7, 2012, 10:05 pm

CARMEL, Ind. – Big drives and birdies, they’re sexy in golf.

They’re the showstoppers, the highlight-reel hogs.

Tiger Woods has won his 74 PGA Tour events with a lot of big drives and birdies, but he might not have won any of them without a magical short game.

At his best, Woods could get up and down from just about anywhere on the planet. At his best, he looked like he could even get up and down from hell, or at least hellish lies.

In Friday’s second round of the BMW Championship, Woods conjured some of that old magic, some sleight of hand that would have made The Great Blackstone envious.

With a scrappy 5-under-par 67, Woods showed Rory McIlroy how to make pars when your ball’s disappeared, or at least can’t be seen in rough as leafy as cabbage.

Woods gave the “kid” a clinic on scrambling.

McIlroy and Woods put a jolt into this FedEx Cup playoff weekend, keeping their names near the top of the leaderboard in the second round at Crooked Stick, but they battled there together in different ways

At 12-under 132, they’re tied for second with Ryan Moore, a shot behind Vijay Singh.

McIlroy shot 68 Friday. He did it with some spectacular shots, with some terrific highlight-reel action. He made six birdies and an eagle, but he also made four bogeys.

Woods less spectacularly posted the better score with fewer birdies and no eagles. Woods did it with a bogey-free round.

Given some of Woods’ misses Friday, that was impressive.

“I fought hard,” Woods said. “I didn’t have much today.”

McIlroy made the more spectacular full shots, but Woods made fewer mistakes, or at least he cleaned up his mistakes better.

“I’ve been able to grind,” Woods said. “Just kind of fighting it around here.”

Woods missed five greens Friday but never failed to get up and down. He saved par every time.

McIlroy failed to get up and down three times after missing greens. The two times he did save par after missing greens, he rescued himself from sloppy chips with his putter. He holed 15-foot and 17-foot putts to make those saves.

“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday but was able to get it around,” McIlroy said. “It seemed like every time I missed the green, I missed it in the wrong spot and left myself difficult chips. But I took advantage of the opportunities that I did give myself.

“I just think I’m putting so well that any time I do get a look on the green for birdie, I’m sort of making those.”

McIlroy and Woods are putting a giant buzz in these playoffs.

Last week, McIlroy won the Deutsche Bank Championship, holding off Woods in hot pursuit of him in the final round.

They opened this week in the same Thursday-Friday pairings by virtue of both being among the top three in FedEx Cup points. McIlroy’s first, Woods is third. They would have been paired for a third consecutive time Saturday if the pairings had been made in twosomes, as originally planned. Instead, with bad weather expected Saturday, tee times were moved up with threesomes going off the first and 10th tees beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

McIlroy will go off in the final threesome with Singh and Ryan Moore at 1:01 p.m.

Woods will go off in the second-to-last grouping with Lee Westwood and Bo Van Pelt at 12:50 p.m.

Asked how his confidence is with a chance to win his third elite event in a month, McIlroy beamed.

“I’ve always felt that confidence was a big part of my game,” he said. “When I’m high on confidence, I play well. When I don’t have much, I don’t play so well. So having a stretch like this, where I’m high on confidence really helps. This is probably the most confident I’ve been in a long time.”

McIlroy got off to a hot start Friday, making birdies at the first and second holes. He stuffed a wedge to 2 feet at the second. At the sixth tee, he hit a 7-iron from 200 yards to 3 feet and made birdie. At the ninth, he drilled a 6-iron from 216 yards to 5 feet and made eagle.

McIlroy made bogeys failing to get up and down after missing greens at the seventh, 14th and 16th holes. He made bogey at the fourth with a three putt.

“I’ve put myself in great position going into the weekend,” McIlroy said. “I just need to try to find a little more consistency. It wasn’t bad out there, just a couple missed tee shots and a couple missed iron shots.”

Woods’ driver wasn’t as sharp as it has been in his last three starts, but he is clearly driving the ball with confidence. The return of his short game bodes well for this stretch run of big events through September. His putting looked good again Friday, too.

“I made my share of nice par putts,” Woods said. “That’s what keeps rounds going, and it can turn the tide and get momentum going in the right direction, even though you’re struggling.”

Woods and McIlroy are both riding some strong momentum into the weekend.

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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