Bogey leaves sour mark on Tiger's sweet 67

By Ryan LavnerMay 10, 2013, 12:51 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – In the 12 years since he last won here, critical moments such as these had so often eluded Tiger Woods.

Late Thursday afternoon, he was 6 under as he stood on the tee of the 124-yard 17th hole. The warm sun was still beating down. The hole location was in one of the most accessible spots on the island green. The wind, as usual, was swirling.

Would Woods summon his usual magic? No, far from it. His tee shot with a wedge rode the wind and wound up long and right of the hole, some 55 feet away. Flummoxed, he threw a few blades of grass into the sticky air. The crowd groaned.

Upon reaching the green, Woods squatted on the opposite side of the hole, he and caddie Joe LaCava trying to find the proper line, somehow. Up and over the ridge his ball would need to go, near the fringe, and then back down the hill again, with the pond looming if his putt carried too much speed. Anything inside 5 feet would be better than most.

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Video: Highlights of Woods' opening 67

The spectators so desperately wanted the putt to drop, if only so they could roar like it was 2001 again. But rest assured, Woods was quite pleased with his long-range lag to 3 feet, a tap-in par to press forward. In the 12 years since he last won The Players, he hadn’t enjoyed a day quite like this.  

The course that has largely befuddled the world’s top player was laid bare Thursday, defenseless, and it took a bare-knuckled beating from the strongest field in golf. At day’s end, 67 players were under par, including 33 with a round in the 60s.

One of those players was Woods, after a 5-under 67. It was a surprise not that he was in form after a three-week layoff, but that he played so well despite his suspect history here.

Among the eye-opening stats:

• Never in 15 previous tries had he broken 70 in an opening round;

• His Players scoring average of 71.4, his worst in any event in which he’s played 50 or more rounds;

• And the 67 was his best score here since the final round in 2007

But on a windless, warm day when the ball flew farther than expected – even his 5-wood traveled about 300 yards, he estimated – Woods took advantage of each of the four par 5s and ran off four birdies in a row around the turn.

In fact, he was 30 feet away from notching his first bogey-free round on the Stadium Course, only to be undone by an 8-iron on the 18th hole that flew 200 yards – pin-high – and bounded over the back, leading to a stubbed chip and bogey.

“This is a tricky golf course,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to make a bogey around here. I think that’s kind of what Pete (Dye) had intended, and I’m sure that most of the guys throughout their career really haven’t had too many other days that are spotless on their cards.”

Spotless or not, Woods finds himself four shots back of surprise leader Roberto Castro, a 27-year-old who matched the course record in only his third career tour around Sawgrass. One shot ahead of Woods is Rory McIlroy, the world No. 2 who has found his game after months of hibernation. Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson each shot 67.

Woods was a runner-up here in 2000 and a champion in ’01, but not much has gone right since – one top-10 finish in 10 attempts. Recently, he has a T-40 and two WDs.

“It’s one of those courses where they’ve got some tough lines,” he said, “and if you’re not playing well, you’re going to get exposed.”

Woods tried a scaled-back approach Thursday, not least because the ball was flying in the humid, 85-degree air. On only four holes did he hit driver, and he peppered most fairways with a 3- or 5-wood.

Indeed, Woods found himself in trouble only once, on the 459-yard 14th. His tee shot sailed well right, into the gallery, and his ball came to rest on the left edge of the cart path. Taking little time to assess his option – surely to the delight of armchair rules officials everywhere – Woods dropped in the pine needles, slashed out short of the green, took another drop from a sprinkler head, and then nearly chipped in. Ho-hum par.

A hole later, he faced a 4 1/2-foot par putt with a massive spike mark in his line. After holing the putt, he chose not to pump his fist but rather to stand in place and tap, tap, tap down the bump.

“It kicked it off-line but it worked out in the end,” he said. “I got lucky.”

Woods, of course, wasn’t so fortunate on the 18th. In a collection area behind the green, he opted for the 56-degree wedge instead of the 60-degree, the 4-iron or even the putter. The grain snagged the bottom of his wedge, however, and the ball landed a few feet short of the putting surface.

Was it a deflating bogey, a sour note to end an otherwise brilliant day?


But now 12 years removed from his last win here, Woods can delight in simply seeing his name near the top of The Players leaderboard.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.