Woods puts together solid back-to-back rounds

By Rex HoggardNovember 11, 2011, 2:23 am

SYDNEY – We’ve seen this before, way back in 2006 when Tiger Woods bunted his way around Hoylake to one of the most tactically profound victories.

But that was two surgeries, a swing change and a sex scandal ago. A lifetime for those scoring at home and ancient history to all those who wish to write him off, or worse declare his slide into irrelevancy complete.

It’s fitting on many fronts that Woods would emerge from that wildly public slump here at the Australian Open. Fitting that on Remembrance Day the former world No. 1 has not forgotten who he was or what he could do. Fitting that it’s been two years to the week since his last victory of any kind – the 2006 Australian Masters.

On Friday Woods signed for a 5-under 67 that, all together now, could have been even better. “Felt it could have been 8, 9 (under) deep,” he figured.

No, this isn’t Hoylake, where Woods eschewed driver and put on a ball-striking clinic, and this isn’t the Open Championship, but with a 9-under total and a one-stroke lead it somehow seemed just as profound.

Sure, they tend to go the full 72 in these types of championships and there is no shortage of marquee names looking to make a game of it this weekend, but for a golf public that has had its fill of pedestrian play from Woods, 9 under never looked so good.

For two years we’ve waited and far too many have speculated. Sean Foley’s swing has been dissected and unfairly dismissed. On Friday Woods conceded there has been no epiphany with the new swing, just a steady digestion. Yet just past noon in the Sydney suburbs he hammered his second shot at the par-5 eighth hole into the breeze and to 35 feet from the hole.

“Hit that good,” Woods smiled. “Had 230 (yards) front from a hanging lie and I had to start it at the bunker, hammer it and let it slide 3 yards.”

Done, done and done.

He didn’t make the eagle putt, but somehow it seemed he didn’t have to. For all those who wondered if Woods would ever rediscover the mojo that delivered 14 majors in a decade of work it was the type of shot that sent a message.

“He hit some shots that the top 1 percent of Tour players can’t. Especially on (No. 8), a low bullet . . . not many guys can hit that,” said Jason Day, who was paired with Woods for the first time in his young career for Rounds 1 and 2 at The Lakes.

This was the swing he’d perfected in the lab back home in south Florida but had struggled to bring to his day job. This was the confidence that had missing.

For the second consecutive day he worked the confined and quirky Lakes layout like a surgeon, punching the new-and-improved stinger into the wind, playing the percentages with irons off many tees and when he did hit driver (just three times) he executed nearly flawlessly.

He played 29 holes this week without a bogey and despite another pedestrian putting day (30 putts) found himself atop a leaderboard for the first time since Sunday at this year’s Masters.

Since Woods officially teamed with Foley prior to last year’s PGA Championship he’s preached patience and process, a truth compounded by extended stays on the DL in consecutive years.

Whether he “owns” the new action remains to be seen, but through two turns in Oz the action no longer appears mechanical or forced.

“I have way less thought now and more reaction to the target and that’s a very good thing,” Woods said. “I was close to what I have now at Augusta, but it still wasn’t there. I have to understand this motion and it’s taken some time to get here.”

Maybe even more compelling is that Woods has emerged this week despite all the slights against him of late, be they real or perceived, or maybe it’s because of them.

From his estranged former caddie Steve Williams to Greg Norman, it’s become good sport in our sport to announce the end of the road for the former alpha male. Woods took the high road on Friday when asked if he enjoyed any additional satisfaction from his play.

Others, however, know better.

“Tiger is known for shoving things down people’s throats and he’s certainly done that now,” Day said.

The only question remaining is whether the one-time closer can remember how to finish. It’s been 24 months since he last had to shut down the side when it counted, on a Sunday. Along with a completely retooled swing some suggested he would need to rediscover how to finish.

The next 36 holes will answer that question, but Woods had no doubts on Friday.

“It comes back,” he said. “I’ve been there a few times and understand how to do it and all the things that can happen I’ve experienced a lot of them.”

This is not Hoylake and no one is willing to declare the comeback complete just yet, but as he marched toward the eighth green it was impossible not to consider that the wait was finally over.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.