Tiger Looking Good

By Rich LernerJune 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Teeing off at seven a.m. local time with Bubba Watson and Stanfords Jordan Cox, Tiger played just nine holes Tuesday morning after going 11 on Monday. Afterwards he sat for the State of the Knee Address, and the questions were always longer than the answers.
 
Have you walked 18 holes since Sunday at Augusta?
 
No.
 
If this hadnt been a major this week, would you have played?
 
Yeah.
 
Do you feel like your knee is fully recovered or are you finding youre still holding back when you play?
 
Is it fully recovered? Probably not.
 
During any of these practice rounds has there been a shot or anything that you felt a twinge or anything that would give you concern or something you didnt like the way that your knee felt?
 
Its a little sore, but not anything I havent felt before.
 
Heres what I saw and heard. If you didnt know hed had surgery, youd swear he just won Memorial by seven shots. He looked that good.
 
Flawless, said Jordan Cox, the Stanford golfer who played alongside Woods the last two days.
 
Awesome, said swing coach Hank Haney.
 
Haney told me Tiger hasnt had to change his swing in any way to compensate, and that hes played well before when he hasnt been 100 percent.
 
Remember, too, that Tigers coming off one of the best stretches of his career.
 
Told there are some who believe theres no way he can return without a competitive round and win this week, Tiger said, Ive heard that before.
 
Hell likely just practice on Wednesday and that has nothing to do with his knee. This is the routine hes used since winning the British Open at Hoylake in 2006. He plays Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then practices Wednesday.
 
After what I saw, I see no reason to remove Tiger as the favorite. Hes not the prohibitive favorite he may have been had he not had surgery, but hes still the favorite.
 
As for the golf course, players seem to love the set up. One veteran observer told me it might actually be the easiest U.S. Open course hes seen in 30 years. But a lot could change if the greens firm up with the expected sunshine later in the week.
 
On another note, last night Tim Rosaforte reported on the story of mini-tour qualifier Bobby Collins. I caught up with Collins today and his interview will air tonight on Live From beginning at 7 ET. Collins was playing a pro-am in March at fabled Seminole in South Florida with the owner of the NFLs Houston Texans Bob McNair. On a windy day, Collins played lights out on the first nine. He approached McNair on the first fairway, his 10th hole of the day, and asked him a question that may well have rescued his career.
 
Tune in tonight.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.