No lemonade for Woods

By Rex HoggardNovember 12, 2011, 6:46 am

SYDNEY – This was what Tiger Woods was talking about on Tuesday when he was asked to explain the next step in the evolution of a comeback. This would be the ultimate litmus test for all that south Florida lab work. This, more so than those opening salvos in the Southern Hemisphere, would be the ultimate “tell.”

Those squeaky-clean cards of 68-67 were easy on the eyes, but ultimately Woods needed to find out if he could grind out a score like he did pre-November 2009. Could he take a lemon game and turn it into under-par lemonade?

“My bad rounds need to be under par, not over par,” Woods said Tuesday. “You need to turn a 73, 74 into a 68 or a 69. That’s something I haven’t done through this stretch and I’m looking forward to being able to do that again.”

On Saturday at the Australian Open the third round went to lemons.

Woods, who began a bright, breezy day one clear of the pack, went south quick – a rope-a-dope entrance of three consecutive bogeys. Let the record show Woods turned a “70 or 71,” his words, into an unsightly 75.

A day that began with Woods looking to win his first event of any kind in two years ended with the former Man of Steel looking for help just to land low American honors when the circus bolts New South Wales for next week’s Presidents Cup and the unfriendly confines of Royal Melbourne.

Woods finished at 6 under, a half-dozen adrift of front man John Senden, who slapped a 63 on The Lakes in Round 3.

“Shooting 75s (is) never fun,” Woods reasoned.

Not fun for Woods or what seemed like all of Oz which was poised for something special on Saturday. Instead of magic the masses were treated to something much more mundane.

It’s a measure of how savvy Australian golf fans are that as the afternoon wore on Woods’ gallery diminished from a few thousand to a few hundred.

Woods rebounded following his sloppy start with a birdie at the fourth, which would account for half of his under-par holes for the day. He turned in 38 still within three shots of the lead with The Lakes’ downwind run waiting – a drivable par 4 (No. 13) and three par 5s.

If he pressed, like he did on Thursday, he could salvage the day. He could turn this 75 into something more palatable. But he bogeyed the par-5 11th after hitting into the outback, parred the 13th following a good drive and failed to birdie the par-5 17th for the third consecutive day.

The highlight of his inward loop was an eagle putt that lipped out at the 14th hole and resulted in his lone birdie on the back nine.

For Woods, Saturday was a day of missed opportunities. There was a 10-footer at No. 10, 25 feet at No. 16, 6 feet at No. 17 and 18 feet at the closing hole, all for birdie. To pinch a line from the late Seve Ballesteros, he missed, he missed, he missed, he missed.

“I missed every putt on the high side on the front nine and compensated on the back and missed every putt on the low side,” said Woods, who has struggled on the Australian greens, posting totals of 29, 30 and 34 putts, respectively, this week.

Peter O’Malley, who was paired with Woods, rolls all his putts from 6 feet and in with his eyes closed, true story. It just looked like Woods was navigating the quirky greens with his squeezed shut on Saturday.

Throughout Woods’ prolonged slump one of the most telling statistics has been his pedestrian scoring average. In a limited schedule this season he is averaging 70.46 per loop, his highest average ever and just the second time in his career he’s trending over 70 strokes a round.

Throughout the “comeback” there have been flashes of the old red shirt, but his inflated scoring average is a telling indicator. The man who once won with his “C” game now struggles to break par when the stars aren’t properly aligned.

“The round should have been an easy 71, no problem,” Woods said. “If I make a couple putts and take care of the par 5s it’s a decent round.”

Instead, Saturday’s effort is probably a deal breaker. It’s not so much the distance between Woods and Senden as it is the would-be champions assembled between himself and the top spot.

Jason Day has been a rare bright spot for Greg Noman’s Internationals this week and is alone in second place at 10 under, Nick Watney is another shot back and Steve Williams . . . eh, Adam Scott is looming a stroke behind Woods.

Woods needs something special on Sunday to deliver the slump buster, but even that wouldn’t completely answer the $1 million question. To twist the old cliché, you can’t win an event on Saturday but you can certainly prove a point. Of everything that Woods missed on Day 3 it was a missed opportunity that he will likely remember the most.

Watch Australian Open final-round coverage Saturday at 8PM ET on Golf Channel.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.