Give Him Five Woods Defends AmEx

By Sports NetworkOctober 5, 2003, 4:00 pm
WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Tiger Woods only needed a 2-over 72 on Sunday to win his third World Golf Championships-American Express Championship title in the last five years. He finished at 6-under-par 274 and earned a two-shot win over Vijay Singh, Stuart Appleby and Tim Herron.
 
Woods' picked up victory No. 5 of 2003 and that marked the fifth consecutive season with that many wins. He titled in this event in 1999 and last year but the victory on Sunday gave him 39 and ties him for ninth on the all-time list with Gene Sarazen and Tom Watson.
 
Woods, who ran his career mark to 30-2 when he holds at least a piece of the 54-hole lead, moved to the top of the money list thanks to the $1,050,000 first prize. With all of those accomplishments, Woods probably vaulted to the top of the list for PGA Tour Player of the Year with a month of tournaments left.
 
But that wasn't what had Woods talking.
 
'People have no idea how big a win this is,' said Woods. 'It's not about the Player of the Year award or money title. This is Stevie's 100th win as a caddy.'
 
Steve Williams, who has carried Woods' bag for several years, also caddied for Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd in his career but on Sunday it was Woods' ability to scramble for pars that sent him to the winner's circle.
 
The Crabapple Course at Capital City Club played hard and fast all week with rough that was very penal. Sunday was no different as Woods took a two-shot lead into the final round.
 
Singh trailed by two as the players headed to the turn and the ninth hole seemed to be going his way as he hit one down the fairway. Woods drove into the rough then landed in a greenside bunker and could not save par from seven feet. Singh hit a poor approach and three-putted to make a bogey of his own and remain two back.
 
At the 10th, Woods once again missed the green but hit a beautiful pitch to four feet. Singh three-putted for another bogey while Woods holed the par save to go three ahead.
 
Herron got within one with a birdie at the 12th but Woods, who played with Singh in the final pairing Sunday, kicked in a short birdie putt at the par-5 12th hole to go back ahead by two.
 
Woods was ahead by two when he missed the green at the par-3 13th. He chipped to seven feet and drained the par save to keep Herron at bay. Herron bogeyed three holes in a row from the 14th to fall off the pace and Singh never mounted a charge so it left Woods against the course if he was to visit the winner's circle.
 
At the 14th, Woods drove into the right rough and his approach ran through the green. He chipped to eight feet and missed the putt right but two holes later, while three up on Herron, Woods did not hit the green in regulation. From a difficult lie with the ball well above his feet, Woods pitched to 10 feet and sank the putt to stay ahead as Herron's bogeys extended the lead to four.
 
Woods hit a terrible wedge from the fairway at 17 and his approach came up short in the rough. His chip left him with 15 feet for par and Woods missed but it didn't matter. He bogeyed 18 as well to finish with a two-shot win instead of four.
 
'I hit it pretty good all week and putted pretty good,' said Woods. 'Today I hit it decent but I made nothing. I just couldn't quite make a putt. I enjoy playing in tournaments when you can shoot par every day and have a chance to win.'
 
Appleby shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday to sneak into his share of second place. Herron finished with a 1-over 71 and Singh posted a 2-over 72 as the group shared second at 4-under-par 276.
 
David Toms fired a 5-under 65 to take fifth place at 3-under-par 277, while Padraig Harrington (66) and K.J. Choi (73) tied for sixth place at minus-1.
 
Paul Casey and Retief Goosen shared eighth place at plus-1, followed by Fred Couples and Spain's Ignacio Garrido, who tied for 10th place at 2-over-par 282.
 
Related Links:
  • WGC-American Express Championship Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - WGC-American Express Championship
  • Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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:







    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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."