World of Possibilities

By Rex HoggardJune 6, 2009, 4:00 pm
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DUBLIN, Ohio ' Say what you will about the new Tiger Woods, he may not hit fairways ' an apparent myth according to ShotLink even at the driving range known as Muirfield Village ' or collect major titles like others horde bottle caps, but hes sure entertaining.
Consider that Saturday 68 at the Memorial. What it lacked in splash and sizzle it more than made up for with a healthy dollop of suspense. The new Tiger Woods is imperfect, inasmuch as a 14-time major championship winner can misfire.
Tiger Woods
Things no longer are simply a walk in the park for Tiger Woods. (Getty Images)
Since surgery and subsequent rehab and remakes, the world No. 1 has mixed some uncertainty amid all that superiority. And while the overall scorecard remains incomplete just a quarter pole into the major championship season, the new Tiger Woods makes for good theater.
Woods is still the best of his generation, probably of all time, and still capable of winning with a B swing against the deepest A list fields. And while that rebuilt knee and remade swing may still be works in progress, the mind that the late Earl Woods molded to steely perfection remains.
We dont want to copy his golf swing or his putting stroke, Davis Love III said. We want to know how hes better mentally.
But the truth is in the track record. No excuses necessary. The player who has historically entered final rounds with a 2-up advantage on name recognition alone is still getting used to all the new parts and pieces. And that uncertainty has its own appeal.
Its a difficult reality to grasp, but one thats opened up endless possibilities. The guy who collected four consecutive majors, who won the Masters by 12 and the U.S. Open by 15, is still better than the rest of the lot, but there is a question mark born from history.
The guy who entered the final round of the WGC-CA Championship nine shots back finished tied for ninth. The guy who started the final turn at Augusta National seven back finished tied for sixth. The guy who took the field for the fourth quarter at Quail Hollow, perhaps the closest thing there is to a home game for Woods, two shots adrift went home with fourth-place earnings.
And then there was The Players, and a familiar foreshadowing. Woods played his last three holes on Saturday in 3 under to earn a spot in the final group, came out flat on Sunday, carded an outward 38 and signed for eighth place.
So it is there will be an asterisk attached to Sundays proceedings here at Muirfield Village. Woods sets out in the final round four strokes behind Mark Wilson and Matt Bettencourt, who had his golf clubs pinched in Dallas last month and threatened to steal the Memorial with a third-round 68.
The learders are hardly a pair of fearsome frontrunners, but then ' as his 2009 resume suggests ' Woods is still working to rediscover the closers gear thats led him to 19 54-hole comebacks.
Woods is still even money when hes within a tap in of the lead, just not the lock he may have been before all the cutting.
I have to play well, Woods said when asked his title chances. Thats the difference between being out front and trailing. If youre out front, you play poorly, getting off to a poor start, you can still win. If youre trailing and you get off to a poor start you can play yourself out of the golf tournament.
It was all but inevitable, what with major surgery and a major swing change in the same news cycle. But dont bet against Woods finding his come-from-behind form. There is simply too much talent and mental toughness for that. In the mean time, savor the show.
Truth is we like the new Tiger Woods, the guy who follows his worst round of the year (second-round 74) with one of his best (Saturdays gritty 68) to move back into contention. Or the guy who played Nos. 11-15 in 4 under Saturday before slipping with an untidy three-putt at the 17th.
You cant three-putt from 15 feet, Woods calmly reasoned. Should have been more disciplined on my read and my speed, and I let it get away.
Similarly hes let a handful of hardware opportunities get away from him this season. Hardly cause for concern given the circumstances, but it has opened up a world of possibilities for those who have made careers chasing him and a world of storylines for those who watch.
Tiger Woods is still feared, he may just be slightly less fearsome than he used to be. Simply put, the New York Yankees make the world go around, the Phillies make it fun.
Memorial week is the one-year anniversary of the news. The Thursday before last years Memorial was when doctors informed Woods he had a double stress fracture in his left tibia. Seems like a lifetime ago.
The leg is still healing, as is his game. Both will come around before we know it. In the meantime, enjoy the show.

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.