Passing the Baton

By Randall MellMarch 13, 2011, 4:42 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – As NBC’s telecast of the WGC-Cadillac Championship was coming on the air Saturday, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were preparing to leave the stage.

They were moving out of the way with the next generation thundering in behind them.

That’s what it felt like.

In the larger view of the game, that’s what it feels like on this World Golf Championship stage, where the best of the best try to shine.

With Woods and Mickelson playing the 18th hole as the third-round telecast began, the game’s next wave was storming the leaderboard.

Look at the top eight going into Sunday’s final round at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral.

Dustin Johnson (-13), Luke Donald (-11), Matt Kuchar (-11), Nick Watney (-11), Adam Scott (-10), Rory McIlroy (-10), Francesco Molinari (-10) and Hunter Mahan (-10) are all within three shots of each other.

The average age of the bunch? 28.5 years old.

Woods is hardly an old man at 35, but he’s older than anybody in the top eight.

Mickelson is 40 and not-so-long-ago diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

Woods begins Sunday 11 shots back, Mickelson 13 back.

 

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson
Woods and Mickelson shot Saturday rounds of 70 and 72, respectively, falling to T30 and T42 through three rounds.
Barring a final-round miracle, Woods will leave Doral winless after 16 months. The TPC Blue Monster is one of his playgrounds. He’s never finished outside the top 10 playing here, but that’s looking likely.

 

Mickelson's winless drought is nearing a year as his title defense at the Masters approaches.

If anything, Woods further emboldened his youthful competition with those two terrible swings with his driver in Friday’s second round and with his balky putter through three rounds. His high-handicapper’s duck hook that nosedived in the rough before reaching the women’s tees at No. 2 and his infield-fly rule pop-up at the 14th were still being talked about Saturday.

“The drives at the second and 14th were a shock,” Butch Harmon, Woods’ former swing coach said while visiting the NBC TV booth during Saturday’s telecast. “This is Tiger Woods, not a Nationwide Tour player trying to get his card.

“If I’m Tiger Woods, I’m a little frustrated I’m not seeing more consistency.”

Woods’ next start is the Tavistock Cup, an unofficial event Monday and Tuesday on Woods’ home course at Isleworth Country Club outside Orlando. The familiarity of that setting and the comfortable nature of that event should help Woods.

“If he doesn’t play well there, then I think there are some real problems,” Harmon said.

Doral seemed like an ideal setting to spark a rebound in both these players. Woods has won on the Blue Monster three times, Mickelson once. They staged a terrific duel here in ’05, the first of Woods’ Doral victories. They were paired together in the first three rounds this week, but even that didn’t ignite returns to form.

Woods shot 2-under-par 70 Sunday, Mickelson 72, but neither stopped to discuss their rounds with media.

The world rankings are a measure of what’s happening to this once dynamic duo.

No. 1-2 at the start of last year, they’re both sliding fast with Woods at No. 5 and Mickelson No. 6. Given who’s on the leaderboard this weekend, it’s possible that Woods could get bumped all the way down to No. 10 in the world come Sunday night. Mickelson, Casey, McIlroy, Stricker and Kuchar all have chances to move ahead of Woods in the world rankings, depending how Woods closes.

Today’s top players aren’t writing off Woods and Mickelson, but they’re gaining confidence and momentum with a wide open battle for No. 1.

“When you talk about Tiger and Phil, they are always going to be in the mix, maybe not every week, but they are going to be in the mix because they are great players,” Johnson said. “ They have been great players for a long time. But there's a lot of good young players coming up right now that you are going to see at the top of the leaderboard a lot.”

And in the spotlight on golf’s grand stages.

 

 

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


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Vandalism

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Finances


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Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


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Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm