Where in the World is Woods

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2011, 6:57 am
2005 WGC Accenture Match Play

MARANA, Ariz. – Phil Mickelson vs. Rickie Fowler is good fun all by itself.

Two charismatic West Coast players from different generations will square off Thursday in the second round of the Accenture Match Play Championship.

That’s what a tough and gritty first round of matches gave us Wednesday at The Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

It also brought us more angst about where Tiger Woods’ game is headed with Woods being eliminated by Thomas Bjorn.

It delivered signs that a changing of the guard may be imminent with so much young talent making statements.

And it revealed that world No. 1 Lee Westwood is feeling like he deserves a little more respect.

Here’s a rundown of highlights and lowlights from Day 1 in the desert:

WGC-Match Play TV Schedule
(All times Eastern)

Golf Channel_new
Thurs: 1-6 p.m.
Fri: 1-6 p.m.
Sat: Noon-2 p.m.
Sun: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

NBC Sports
Sat: 2-6 p.m.

Sun: 2-6 p.m.

Tiger bounced in another setback

When Woods pushed his tee shot right and into the desert scrub brush with a 3-wood to lose at the 19th hole, he brought more scrutiny over where his game’s headed as he builds a new swing.

Even Tiger’s former swing coach weighed in with skepticism.

“For all the talk of Tiger’s poor driving the last six years,” Hank Haney wrote on his Twitter account, “I have never seen him drive it out of play with a match or tournament on the line.”

After defeating Woods, Bjorn appeared to give the 14-time major championship winner a spirited pep talk as they shook hands.

“That’s between me and Tiger,” Bjorn said. “What I will say is that the game of golf needs him back at his best. I want to see him back at his best because I think it’s much more fun to go up against him when he’s absolutely at his peak.”

Bjorn acknowledged it wasn’t a pretty victory.

“You just didn’t know what was going to happen, didn’t know who was going to hit a bad shot next,” Bjorn said. “It was one of those days where we’re not proud of the way we played, but I’m proud of the way I hung in there.”

Woods, a three-time winner of the Accenture, leaves after the first round for just the second time in his 10 starts.

Tiger’s slide in world rankings

With his first-round elimination, Woods will bump down at least one spot in the world rankings to No. 4 next week and could slide as far as No. 8.

No. 4 Graeme McDowell, a 3-and-2 winner against Heath Slocum, is a lock to move ahead of Woods in the next rankings.

No. 5 Mickelson, No. 6 Paul Casey, No. 7 Rory McIlroy and No. 9 Luke Donald all have chances to move ahead of Woods.

Mickelson vs. Fowler

There’s more than a ticket to the third round in the offering if Mickelson defeats Fowler Thursday. There’s passage to a place Mickelson hasn’t been in almost 14 years.

If Mickelson defeats Fowler, he’s guaranteed to move ahead of Tiger Woods in the world rankings.

Mickelson, 40, hasn’t ranked ahead of Woods since April 6, 1997, the week before Woods won his first Masters in that 12-shot romp.

Mickelson’s got to get through Fowler to get past Woods, and Fowler’s proving a formidable match-play opponent in his fledgling professional career.

No. 1 wanting a little more love

Lee Westwood, holding the top spot in the world rankings for a 17th consecutive week, played well in his 3-and-2 victory against former Accenture champ Henrik Stenson.

Westwood, though, wondered afterward via Twitter if anyone noticed.

Apparently, he was informed he didn’t get much TV time.

“For anybody wondering, I am playing in the Match Play,” Westwood wrote. “And I did win 3 and 2. Thanks Golf Channel.”

Little respect for elders

Matteo Manassero, the youngest player ever to qualify for the Accenture at 17, defeated 44-year-old Steve Stricker.

It was Stricker’s birthday Wednesday.

“Heck of a scalp you’ve taken there,” a European Tour media rep told Manassero opening the post-match news conference.

“I am surprised because I beat the eighth-ranked player in the world,” Manassero said. “It’s a big achievement for me.”

Manassero is now the youngest player to win a match.

Among the youth advancing with Manassero: Jason Day (23), Fowler (22) and McIlroy (21).

Roaring Rory

In a rapid fire prediction column for the 32 first-round matches, this writer picked Rory McIlroy to lose.

Actually, the pick was that a player who’s won twice in his last six PGA Tour starts (Jonathan Byrd) would win.

McIlroy was impressive, defeating Byrd, 4 and 2, prompting this writer to pledge to go home tonight and write 100 times, “I will not pick against Rory McIlroy again.” It’s penance for poor prognostication. McIlroy can move to No. 3 in the world with a victory, and he’s looking like one of the top three players in the world already.


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

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.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

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

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.