On Tiger's orders?

By Rex HoggardJuly 29, 2011, 2:28 am

Four weeks ago, before a packed house at cozy Aronimink Golf Club, Tiger Woods told anyone who would listen, or ask, that it would be his doctors – not his ego or his status in the game’s history books or even his overwhelming desire to change the conversation – that would decide when he returned to the competitive fray.

Let’s hope it was the collective doctors that prompted Thursday’s announcement that Woods will play next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and by default next month’s PGA Championship.

Let’s hope the left knee and Achilles injury he sustained under the famed Eisenhower Tree at Augusta National are rested, rehabbed and ready for Tiger 2.0 because the alternative will do no one any good. Not TV executives hungry for the ratings boost Woods brings, not the fans who have lined fairways hoping for the best but seeing something south of that, and certainly not for Woods.

Another front-nine 42 and early exit from Firestone, like the short work week that sent him packing from May’s Players Championship and onto the disabled list, will make only the bloggers happy.

What Woods needs, what golf needs, is a player who has completed his due diligence with his personal and physical issues, not a desperate star who has fallen to 21st in the world golf ranking and is sickened by the thought of watching another major from his couch.

It has been 11 weeks since Woods darted off property at TPC Sawgrass in a cloud of uncertainty and when he resurfaced at this month’s AT&T National he sounded like a changed man, like a man who had come to grips with his own physical limitations and opted for the long view.

“I'm being smarter this time,” he said at Aronimink. “All the years of playing when my knee wasn't very good and playing through it, you know, unfortunately I broke my leg and still played. That's not exactly smart. I'm going to do it differently this time. I am going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready, which is different for me.”

This was not, it seemed at the time, the same man who informed his medical team on the eve of the 2008 U.S. Open that not only was going to play the national championship but he was going to win it, broken leg and all.

Whether there was a similar conversation this time with the assembled medical minds may never be known. He said via his website on Thursday that he was “excited to get back out there” and that he “recently began hitting practice balls.”

Woods’ swing coach Sean Foley told GolfChannel.com on Wednesday morning that the two haven’t worked together on the practice range since The Players.

“I have seen him since then but we have just been chatting and setting a game plan for the future,” Foley said via text message. “This time off has been an excellent opportunity for us to put in place a plan with the big picture in mind.”

Firestone certainly makes sense. He’s won seven times on the Ohio layout and the World Golf Championship has no cut, which means he’s guaranteed a four-round rehab start before heading south to Atlanta Athletic Club, site of next month’s PGA. But then the South Course likely looked like easy pickings last year when he rolled into town looking for answers only to finish next-to-last in the field. A few days later he and Foley began officially working together.

The timing of Woods’ return to Tour life is even more curious considering his high-profile firing of longtime caddie Steve Williams last Wednesday. Even more surprising is news that Williams will be replaced by Woods’ friend Bryon Bell, who was implicated in media reports as an accessory to Woods’ marital transgressions in 2009.

More so than a stable left leg and a working grasp of Foley’s reworked action, Woods needs a calm mind if he is to start anew and reclaim his spot atop the world’s pack.

Woods, of all people, took the long view when quizzed about a possible timeline at Aronimink, saying, “There's no timetable. That's hard for me. I've always been very goal-oriented about when I'm going to play, how I'm going to peak, how I'm going to get ready, how my practice schedule is going to be, and I'm not doing that this time.”

For Woods, for the game, let’s hope this time is truly different.

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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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 hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked 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.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

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 the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

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 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. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

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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Phil 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.