Rough day for Tiger Saturday at Olympic

By Randall MellJune 17, 2012, 3:52 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Honk if you passed Tiger Woods Saturday at the U.S. Open.

With 13 players moving ahead of Woods in the third round, that’s one noisy leaderboard they’ve got at The Olympic Club.

Tied for the lead at the start of the third round, Woods must have felt as if everyone was passing him.

With a 5-over-par 75, Woods equaled his worst third round in 15 U.S. Opens as a pro. He will begin Sunday five shots off the lead.

Only eight players posted worse scores than Woods on Saturday.

Once the sleekest, sportiest roadster in golf on “Moving Day,” Woods didn’t have his hood up on the roadside Saturday, but he knows his engine needs some work if he’s going to win his 15th major championship.

The good news is that he believes he can have his roadster purring again come Sunday.

“I'm definitely still in the ball game,” Woods said. “I'm only five back, and that's certainly doable on this golf course, for sure.”

Woods has never come from behind after 54 holes to win a major. He has won all 14 of his major championships with the lead going into the final round, or at least a share of it.

The game plan that worked so well for Woods on Thursday and Friday won’t be abandoned. Woods believes his engine just needs a little tune up, not an overhaul. 

“I was still doing the same thing, I just didn't make the pars,” Woods said. “I kept leaving myself in tough spots. I didn't really have that many birdie putts today. They were all lag putts, that or these breaking putts. I didn't have very many good looks.  It's just frustrating when I know I can put myself in position to have a few good looks, at least a few more, and I got to bury those [tough putts].”

Woods day didn’t seem like it could end a whole lot worse, until he walked off the 18th green and accidentally jammed his hand into a camera held by a photographer. Woods shook his hand as if he had hurt it, but he later reported to media that he is fine. He was out on the practice putting green shortly after his round, showing no lingering effects from the incident.

With so many players making moves around Woods on Saturday, the disappointment had to be doubled.

Olympic was rocking more than it has all week with John Peterson making a hole-in-one at the 13th, Ernie Els pitching in for eagle at the 17th, Fredrik Jacobson making three birdies in a row and Lee Westwood closing out a nice charge with a birdie at the 18th.

With all those roars erupting around him, Woods mustered a single birdie. Westwood made five of them passing Woods. Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old amateur, made four of them passing Woods. 

“Today, I felt the course played probably the fairest of the last couple of days,” Els said posting 68 to move into a tie for fourth. “I felt there was a bit more moisture in there, and the flag positions were fine, If you played proper golf, today you could shoot under par.”

Instead of roars, Woods heard mostly groans Saturday, too many of them with galleries feeling his pain as he missed shots.

After stubbing a short chip shot at the 18th, barely getting his ball onto the green, Woods was enveloped in groans from the masses jammed along the hillside above the hole. The same thing happened at the eighth hole, where Woods missed a 3-foot putt for par. He had to back off his bogey putt to let the buzz fade before finishing out.

Woods never got in rhythm, making bogeys at two of the first three holes, four of the first eight.

Jim Furyk outplayed Woods in their pairing as the final group off, posting a round (70) five shots better than Woods to move into a tie for the 54-hole lead with Graeme McDowell.

Still, Furyk isn’t discounting Woods.

“I don't think he looked that far off,” Furyk said. “It's just stuff happens at U.S. Opens sometimes.”

Woods will be looking to make it good stuff on Sunday and race past all those guys who passed him on Saturday.

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TT postscript: Tiger (E) survives difficult day

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 6:40 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are some observations after watching Tiger Woods’ even-par 70 in the first round of the Honda Classic:

• Whew, that was tough. Like, by far the most difficult conditions Woods has faced this year. The wind blew about 20 mph all day, from different directions, and that affected every part of the game, especially putting.

• And though the stats aren’t necessarily pretty – half the fairways hit, just 10 greens – this was BY FAR his best ball-striking round of the new year. He even said so himself. When he walked off the course, he was just four off the lead.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

• Woods had only one bad hole Thursday. It came on the par-5 third hole, his 12th of the day. He blew his driver into the right bunker. He had to lay way back, to clear the lip of the bunker. And then he tugged his third shot just barely in the greenside trap. And then his bunker shot didn’t get onto the green. Then he chipped on and missed a 4-footer. A truly ugly double bogey.

• The driver is still a concern – he found the fairway only once in five attempts. But only one of those misses was way off-line. That came on the 12th, when he double-crossed one way left.

• Though the driver is uncooperative, he has showed a lot of improvement with his 3-wood. The four times he used it, he controlled the ball flight beautifully and hit it 300-plus. His 2-iron is making a comeback, too, in a big way.

• After this round, he should have a little wiggle room Friday to make the cut, barring a blowup round. It’s playing tough, and the 36-hole cut should be over par. Tiger needs four rounds of competitive reps. If he plays like this Friday, he’ll get them. 

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 5:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).