Guess Whos Back -- on Top

By Sports NetworkSeptember 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Deutsche Bank ChampionshipNORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods certainly put himself in position for his fifth consecutive victory.
On Friday, the No. 1 player in the world fired a 5-under-par 66 and is alone in the lead after the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC of Boston.
Justin Rose
Justin Rose is trying to reverse a tough year by winning this week.
Woods has won his last four starts on the PGA TOUR, including his third British Open title and his third PGA Championship. He also notched wins at the Buick Open and last week in a playoff at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
There was also a concern for jet lag as Woods left Sunday night with his Ryder Cup teammates for a practice session at The K Club in Ireland. He returned on Wednesday, played the pro-am on Thursday and was on the first tee Friday morning.
'I feel good now,' acknowledged Woods.
Not feeling good at the moment would be those under him on the leaderboard.
Bob May, who lost to Woods in a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship, Justin Rose, Joe Ogilvie, Nathan Green and this year's winner in Hilton Head, Aaron Baddeley are knotted in second place at minus-4.
This is the only scheduled tournament on the TOUR with a Monday finish to take advantage of the national holiday in the U.S. Woods is also heavily involved in the tournament as several of his charities benefit this week.
Since this is Woods' event, it's a little strange he has never hoisted the trophy. That may be moot come Monday afternoon, because the way Woods is playing now, someone will have to play amazing golf to beat him.
He wasted little time on Friday as he birdied the first hole. The No. 1 ranked player in the world rattled off back-to-back birdies from the sixth, including a chip-in at No. 7, to reach 3 under par.
On the second nine, Woods flew out of the gate. He drained a 12-footer for birdie at the 10th hole that put him in a tie for the lead with several players at 4 under par.
Woods found trouble at the 13th when his drive rattled through some tress and came to rest in the rough. He hit a poor second shot, then pitched to five feet and missed the par try.
'I hit three bad shots right in a row,' admitted Woods. 'And then I got it going.'
Woods birdied the 14th to get back to 4 under par then caught a good break at the par-5 closing hole.
He landed in the fairway off the tee and had a lie that set up a left-to-right shot. Woods thought his 3-wood approach rolled into a hazard, but it found a bunker instead. He got up and down for birdie and put himself in an extremely familiar position - atop the leaderboard.
'I got a lot out of my round today,' said Woods, who tied for 40th last year. 'I played very conservatively on the front nine because of weather, but I'm in control of my golf ball.'
Winds swirled on each hole and heavy rain is expected for the weekend.
Former British Open champion Todd Hamilton, Jason Gore, Peter Lonard, Nicholas Thompson, Robert Karlsson, Michael Allen and one of Woods' Ryder Cup teammates, J.J. Henry, are knotted in seventh place at 3-under-par 68.
Defending champion Olin Browne opened with a 2-under-par 69 and is part of a group tied for 14th place along with Kenny Perry, 2003 PGA champion Shaun Micheel and 1996 U.S. Open winner Steve Jones.
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.