Newsmaker of the Year: No. 9, Tiger Woods

By Rex HoggardDecember 7, 2016, 5:40 pm

(Editor's note: is counting down the top 10 newsmakers of 2016. Take a look at why each item made our list, along with a collection of their top stories from the year. Click here for the full list and release dates.)

For a man accustomed to living his high-profile life in the most intense punchbowl, 2016 was a study in relative ambiguity for Tiger Woods.

Look no further than this list,’s annual top-10 newsmakers, for proof of this vastly new reality. In 2013, when he won five times on the PGA Tour, he was second on the list, and he came in third in ’14. Even last year, he was the second-most influential headline producer, and that was without a Tour victory or even a top-10 finish in a major championship.

But for Woods and those who follow his every move, 2016 was a void of conflicting facts and uncertainty after he began the year on the DL following multiple back procedures.

He first surfaced virally in February when he posted a video on Twitter swinging a 9-iron in a simulator with the caption, “Progressing nicely.”

In March at a golf course opening in Houston he was promptly upstaged, and upset according to various reports, by Taylor Crozier. The 11-year-old made the first hole-in-one at Bluejack National’s par-3 Playground loop and beat the 14-time major champion 32 to 35 in a 10-hole match.

Two months later, things became even more surreal when Woods took three swings during a charity event at Congressional Golf Club and put three balls, from 102 yards no less, into a water hazard and promptly broke the internet.

At September’s Ryder Cup, he embraced a new role as vice captain of the U.S. team, leading the pod that included newfound kindred spirit Patrick Reed. He also successfully assumed the role of bit player, safely staying out of the spotlight for the vast majority of the week.

A week later, he committed to play the Safeway Open, the Tour’s wraparound lid-lifter. Three days later he withdrew from the event, saying in a statement his game was “vulnerable.” He also passed on a trip to Turkey to play a European Tour event, leading to rampant speculation that he’d suffered a set back in his recovery.

But those rumors of demise proved to be greatly exaggerated when he finally returned to competition at last week’s Hero World Challenge. Although his results were mixed, rounds of 65 and 70 sandwiched between a 73 and 76, he sounded upbeat after finishing 15th out of 17 players.

As comebacks go it wasn’t Woods’ best, but there were plenty of signs of progress.

“It feels good to be back out here playing again, competing and trying to beat these, the best players in the world. I missed it,” Woods said. “I’ve had some very, very difficult times, and have some great friends that have helped me over the times to get me to this point, and I’m just so thankful to be back here playing again.”

After 11 months of obscurity, Woods was finally back in the spotlight.

Stops and Starts: Tiger's Long Road Back

Feb. 24: 'Progressing nicely': Woods shows off swing in simulator

May 16: Hits Three Balls in Water at Quicken Loans Media Day

June 26: Woods: 'Don't know if I will' play in 2016

July 19: Woods WDs from PGA, won't play this season

Announces Return Then WDs From Safeway

Sept. 7: Woods 'hopes' to play Safeway

Oct. 10: Tiger WDs, game 'vulnerable'

Assistant Captain at Ryder Cup

Oct. 1: Tiger convinces Love to play Reed-Spieth in afternoon

Tiger on Ryder Cup: Bonds will last a lifetime

Woods: 'Just trying to do my role'

Woods Returns at Hero World Challenge

Nov. 29: Woods admits he didn't know if career was over

Round 1: Shoots 1-over 73

Round 2: Dazzles with bogey-free 65

Round 3: Starts hot, fades to 2-under 70

Round 4: Closes with 4-over 76

Dec. 4: Woods hopes for 'full' 2017 schedule after return

Dec. 4: Woods leaves Hero with hope for future

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.