Ailing Woods Leads Grand Slam

By Sports NetworkNovember 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 PGA Grand Slam of GolfPOIPU BEACH, Hawaii -- Tiger Woods, a five-time winner of this event, overcame a stomach virus and an ankle injury on Tuesday to post a 5-under-par 67 and take the first-round lead of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poipu Bay Golf Course and Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa.
 
Michael Campbell
Michael Campbell fired a Day 1 73 in his first Grand Slam of Golf appearance.
Phil Mickelson, the reigning PGA Champion, struggled horribly on his way into the clubhouse and surrendered his spot atop the leaderboard. The defending champion is alone in second place at 2-under-par 70.
 
Michael Campbell, the U.S. Open winner, also played poorly down the stretch and is in third at 1-over-par 73.
 
Vijay Singh never fully recovered from a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 11th and shot a 3-over-par 75, which is good for fourth place.
 
This two-round tournament is reserved for the 2005 PGA Tour's major championship winners. Since Woods won both the Masters and British Open, Singh got into the field based on his performance in the four majors.
 
Everyone struggled early in the first round, as both Woods and Singh bogeyed the first. The wind was howling, but the quartet made birdie at the par-5 second.
 
Woods continued to play poorly early on, as he three-putted from 12 feet for a bogey at the third. Mickelson became the first player to reach 2 under par as he rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the fourth.
 
Woods and Singh collected birdies at the par-4 fifth as both converted putts of less than 5 feet. Campbell made a routine par, but Mickelson made a mess of the hole. The two-time major winner hit a massive drive, but chunked his wedge short of the green. Mickelson chipped to 4 feet and two-putted for the bogey.
 
The wind was directly into the players at the par-5 sixth and Woods was the only one to make birdie. He came up short with his second, but hit a wedge to 6 feet and sank the birdie putt. That birdie knotted the foursome at 1 under par.
 
Mickelson ascended up the leaderboard starting at the par-3 seventh. He ran home an 18-foot birdie putt to move to minus-2, but Woods and Campbell went backwards. Woods missed the green, then missed a 12-footer for the save. Campbell three-putted from 65 feet for bogey.
 
Mickelson and Woods both birdied the eighth as Mickelson hit a sand-wedge to 10 feet and Woods drove the green at the par-4 hole. Woods two-putted from 90 feet to get under par for the event.
 
All four parred the ninth, but Woods and Campbell made up ground at No. 10. Woods holed a 20-foot, right-to-left breaker for his birdie, while the U.S. Open champion kicked in a 2-footer.
 
The par-3 11th proved to be a crucial hole, as the international duo was all over the place. Campbell knocked his tee ball into a greenside bunker, but Singh would have gladly taken that spot. He hit his ball into the water on the left, then did it again from the drop zone. Singh missed a 9-footer after he finally reached the green, so he settled for a quadruple-bogey. Campbell made a pretty decent bogey from a buried lie in the trap, while Mickelson made a par.
 
Woods sank a 12-foot birdie putt at 11 to join Mickelson at 3 under par.
 
Singh bogeyed 12 and 13 to fall to plus-5, eight shots behind the co-leaders. Woods and Mickelson both missed makeable birdie tries at 13, but remained two ahead of Campbell.
 
All four players made birdie at the par-5 14th, although at least one player squandered a solid opportunity for eagle. Campbell left himself with 4 feet for a three, but missed the putt and settled for a birdie.
 
Campbell bogeyed 15 from behind the green, then the players stepped up to the 501-yard, par-4 16th, which was playing into the wind. Mickelson and Campbell both pulled fairway-metals into a hazard with their second shots, while Woods and Singh safely reached the long green. Mickelson pitched his fourth after a drop to 3 feet and Campbell hit his fourth to 10 feet. Woods and Singh two-putted for par and Mickelson and Campbell both made their bogey saves.
 
The 17th provided more problems for Mickelson and Campbell. Both ended up short of the green, although Campbell's ball bounced off a wall to land in that spot. Mickelson's pitch barely advanced to the green and Campbell chipped to 6 feet. Mickelson missed his 10-footer for par and Campbell missed for his third consecutive bogey.
 
On 18, Woods had a tough lie and elected to lay up with his second. The decision paid off as he played his third to nine feet and converted the birdie putt.
 
Woods seemed more happy the round was finally over. Early on Tuesday, Woods had to be carted off the course as he felt extremely ill. He got through it and is in position for title No. 6 in this event.
 
'It was a very interesting round of golf today,' said Woods, who won last week's Dunlop Phoenix in Japan. 'I survived it. I was trying to not have to run to the bushes. That wasn't very good.'
 
Singh also made birdie and Campbell had a great look at birdie from 8 feet, but his putt did not fall.
 
Mickelson hit his second in the water at the closing hole, but pitched his fourth shot to 2 feet. His par putt rolled in the cup, but he is three behind in his bid to successfully defend his title.
 
If anyone has a good chance, it's probably Mickelson. He fired a 59 in the final round last year to win by five over Singh.
 
'I just feel rusty,' said Mickelson, who has not played competitively in six weeks. 'Tomorrow, it doesn't feel like a 59 is coming out. It just doesn't feel like it.'
 
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:







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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."