Par-5 failures doom Woods again

By Rex HoggardApril 7, 2012, 8:48 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – On Friday following an unsightly 75 Tiger Woods retreated to Augusta National’s palatial practice tee for solace and answers well past twilight. After Saturday’s 72 he ducked into a dark-as-night SUV and raced down Magnolia Lane, leaving only questions and his title chances in his wake.

For just the third time in his professional career at Augusta National Woods is over par through three rounds and, barring a dramatic change of fortunes, his title chances appear over as well.

“I need help from the guys this afternoon . . .,” he figured following another pedestrian day from tee to green. “I’d like to say it’s poor driving . . . but it’s just one thing after another.”

As sharp as Woods looked last month at Bay Hill on his way to a five-stroke drought buster he has appeared almost as lost this week.

In short, many people’s pre-tournament favorite has become a middle-of-the-pack fixture this week.

He didn’t start that way on Saturday. There were birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 to inch his way toward red figures, but one too many loose shots and lag putts stymied whatever steam he could muster.

Bogeys at Nos. 6 and 9 undid all of Woods’ early handiwork and nine consecutive pars to close his round must have felt like a back-nine 40.

There were flashes of progress, perfect drives at Nos. 10 and 15, for example, only to be marred by wide approach shots. At the 10th his approach sailed right of the green, at the par-5 15th he pushed his second into the bunker right of the green.

Still, both swings had the appearance of improvement over Friday. As far as we could tell it was Sean Foley on the backswing and follow-through, as opposed to that Hank Haney-Foley swing he had on Thursday.

“I got here and for some reason fell into my old patterns,” Woods said.

“Old patterns” is code for the residual parts of Haney’s teaching, a schizophrenic action he has reverted back to since he began working with Foley before the 2010 PGA Championship.

“I have to be honest,” Haney tweeted following Thursday’s round. “I didn’t see my backswing, but it was nice to hear my name mentioned.”

But if the no-man’s land between actions is the illness that will likely cost Woods his fifth green jacket this week, his play on Augusta National’s par 5s has been the chronic symptom.

When Woods’ bunker shot at the 15th stopped 25 feet short of the hole and he two-putted for par it completed a remarkable episode in Woods’ Masters career. Prior to this year Woods had posted just two rounds without birdieing a par 5 at Augusta National. He’s already doubled that effort this week following Saturday’s 0-for-4 effort.

Before this week Woods had played Augusta National’s par 5s in 133 under – compared to his lifetime total on the par 4s (26 over) and par 3s (23 over) – and in the last three years he’s been 10 under (2011), 15 under (2010) and 11 under (2009), respectively, on the par 5s. This week he’s 1 under.

“Unfortunately, I did not play the par 5s very well today,” Woods reasoned without a hint of irony.

It all added up to his worst Round 3 position (40th) ever as a professional and leaves virtually no chance he will wrest himself from the Masters schneid and win the year’s first major for the first time since 2005.

It was all enough to make one wonder if caddie Joe LaCava glanced over his shoulder on the 18th hole as his man’s birdie attempt raced by to the leaderboard and his old boss Fred Couples’ unlikely spot atop the field?

Of course, things could be worse for LaCava this week. He could still be on Dustin Johnson’s bag, who withdrew with a back injury before play began.

The last two years Woods has finished tied for fourth with a one-dimensional swing and a psychological storm brewing around him, and he’s proven himself adept at surprising the status quo with a Sunday surge.

Yet as Woods wheeled down Magnolia Lane Saturday afternoon one got the feeling that even he’d seen enough. Instead of the practice tee, where he’d bolted to following Thursday and Friday’s rounds, he said he was going to work out. Maybe he’ll find some answers in the gym.

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.