Woods misses Wells Fargo cut

By Rex HoggardMay 4, 2012, 7:40 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Had the media known things were going to turn out this way, they may have made a bigger deal out of Tiger Woods’ decision to sidestep his traditional pre-tournament press conference.

But it’s too late for that now following Woods’ tie for 76th at even par, a stroke adrift on the wrong side of the cut.

On the rare occasions in the past when Woods’ name has been associated with the cut, it was in relation to the 10-shot rule at some events – as in, if I can just get within 10 shots of Woods (the lead), I’ll be fine.

But even that truth has succumbed to the new reality.

On Friday at Quail Hollow, Woods fought his swing and his putter, finished 11 strokes behind playing partner Webb Simpson and suffered the ultimate indignity of having his golf ball pilfered on his 14th hole.

It marked Woods’ second consecutive missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship and the first time in his professional career he’s missed more than one cut in a PGA Tour event.

For the record, Woods said his Wells Fargo woes can be attributed to his play on Quail Hollow’s par 5s, which he rounded in 2 under. But that’s the “what,” not the “why.”

Much will be made of Woods’ free drop at the fifth hole, the aftermath of a circus-like atmosphere that featured a fan pocketing his golf ball.

“Think about me telling (Woods) he’s got to go back (to where he hit his second shot on the par 5) based on the evidence,” said Tour official Mark Russell, who made the ruling on the fifth hole. “Then I think it would be the other way around. You guys would be telling me, ‘Have you lost your mind?’”

Even those paired with Woods agreed. “It got picked up by a fan for sure,” Geoff Ogilvy said. “Don’t think there was any doubt.”

But Woods’ quick work week isn’t about a lost ball so much as it is lost confidence.

Amid cries of “he’s back” following his Bay Hill breakthrough earlier this year swing coach Sean Foley offered a cautionary comment, “We’re only 50 percent (to where he wants Woods’ swing to be).”

For two hot and humid days in North Carolina, Woods looked halfway home, hitting just 6 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and needing 33 putts.

“It all has to do with my setup,” Woods said. “If I get over the golf ball and I feel uncomfortable, I hit it great. It's just that I get out there and I want to get comfortable, and I follow my old stuff, and I hit it awful. All the shots I got uncomfortable on, I just said, ‘I'm going to get really uncomfortable and make it feel as bad as it possibly could,’ I striped it.’”

It’s a concept Foley alluded to earlier this week when he told your correspondent that, like his other students, it takes constant reinforcement to groove a new action.

“He can be like, ‘I feel good now (over the ball).’ And I can (pushing motion to the chest) and he’s like, ‘Whoa.’” Foley said. “That’s the thing that changes.”

At Augusta National – where Woods finished tied for 40th, his worst showing at the Masters as a professional – the problem was alignment and posture and it stands to reason that it was similar suspects at Quail Hollow. That he explained the phenomenon as needing to feel “uncomfortable,” however, is strange new territory, but not entirely unexpected.

Any change, particularly one as dramatic as what Woods embarked on with Foley, is difficult and that it would manifest itself under pressure is also predictable. Following his 1-over 73 on Day 2 Woods offered a familiar warning for the drumbeat of doubt that has followed Bay Hill.

“If you think about it, with Butch (Harmon) it took me two years, and with Hank (Haney), it took me almost two years before old patterns are out,” said Woods, who began working with Foley before the 2010 PGA Championship. “It takes time to get rid of old patterns. It takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions of golf balls, but eventually it comes around. I've had my share of successes, and I know it's coming.”

Whether Woods has embarked on the correct path is for history to decide because golf eschews instant analysis. But Woods did get one thing right on Friday; it is becoming uncomfortable, on and off the golf course.

Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship.

The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for an overall 15-under 201. The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

Rose is chasing his second Race to Dubai title but leading rival Tommy Fleetwood is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

U.S. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit crown, is tied for 13th on 10 under.

Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”