Lefty Starts Strong Tiger Struggles

By Sports NetworkAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion, posted a three-under-par 67 on Thursday and is part of a logjam tied for the lead after the first round of the 87th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Stuart Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Stephen Ames, Trevor Immelman and 2003 British Open winner Ben Curtis are knotted with Mickelson atop the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had a rough opening round at Baltusrol, posting a 5-over 75 that leaves him eight strokes off the lead.
The leaderboard is tight below those in first as well with 11 players tied for seventh at two-under-par 68.
Davis Love III, the 1997 winner, 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington, two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, Bernhard Langer, Jesper Parnevik, Heath Slocum, Greg Owen, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez, Ben Crane and John Rollins all posted 68s on Thursday.
One name not near the top of the leaderboard is that of the No. 1 player in the world.
Tiger Woods' quest for a third major championship in 2005 hit a snag on Thursday. He opened with a five-over-par 75 and is tied for 113th place.
'Every hole you could say there's something that I did wrong on the hole to not make birdie,' admitted Woods, who won this title in 1999 and 2000. 'That was frustrating.'
Woods began on the back nine Thursday and promptly bogeyed No. 10. He added bogeys at 14 and 18, then fell to four-over par for the championship with a bogey at the fourth.
Things got worse for the reigning Masters and British Open champion. Woods lipped out a seven-foot bogey putt at the seventh to move to plus-six. He rebounded at the eighth with a three-foot birdie putt, complete with a mock bow and tip of the hat after the putt fell.
'I've got to stay patient and build on it each and every day,' said Woods, who can become the first player in history to win three majors in one year twice. 'Patience helps and at least I'm still in it. There won't be too many guys under par by the end of the week and hopefully I can get myself there over the next three days.'
Mickelson drove into the rough on his third hole and had to chip back into the fairway. He made bogey at the hole, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a three-foot birdie putt at the fifth.
Things were interesting for Mickelson on the sixth. He hit a tree off the tee, then elected to play up the 17th fairway with his second shot. The No. 4 ranked player in the world hit a spectacular lob-wedge to five feet, but missed the par putt.
The lefthander picked up some steam around the turn with a pair of 35-foot birdie putts at the ninth and 10th holes. He was one-under par for the championship, but Mickelson kept it going with his putter.
At the 14th, Mickelson drained another long birdie putt, this time from 30 feet. He reached the green in two at the par-five closing hole and two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie and a share of the lead.
'There's a lot of good scores, don't get me wrong, and I'm very happy to be one of them,' said Mickelson, a three-time PGA Tour winner this year. 'It wasn't quite as stressful a round. I was able to keep the ball in play and hit a lot of greens in regulation and was able to make a few putts.'
Mickelson came within five strokes of winning the Grand Slam last season, but this year has not been close to that level of success. He took 10th in the Masters, but tied for 33rd at the U.S. Open and shared 60th at St. Andrews.
'I felt very confident last year going into the majors,' said Mickelson. 'I feel similarly this week in that the biggest difference is I feel like I know which way my misses are going to be with each club. I struggled a little bit this year missing it both ways in the majors, and the penalty for a miss is so great that I couldn't play effectively doing that.'
Appleby, who lost a playoff in the 2002 British Open, collected three birdies in his opening nine, the back side at Baltusrol. He bogeyed the first hole, but made back-to-back birdies from the rough off the tee at five and six.
The Australian was at four-under par, but ran into trouble with a bogey at the eighth. He went over the green with his approach and could not save par, dropping him into the logjam in first.
'The course has potential to get more difficult, but the greens generally are very round, so there's not many pins that can hide behind bunkers,' said Appleby. 'Everything is pretty visible from the fairway, unusual for a lot of the courses we play, even in normal tournaments.'
Sabbatini was one-over at the turn, but caught fire on the back nine. He sank an eight-footer for birdie at the 11th, then chipped in for a birdie at No. 12.
The South African closed the round with back-to-back birdies at the par-five closing holes. He ran home a 10-footer at the 650-yard 17th, then a 15-footer at the last.
'It's a course that really can give a lot, but it can take it away in a blink,' said Sabbatini. 'If you do have a birdie putt, really try to make some out there and capitalize on the situations because it kind of alleviates that stress on you.'
Ames was also one-over at the turn, but birdied three holes in a row from the 10th. He bogeyed 15 when he drove left of the fairway, but Ames, like Sabbatini, went birdie-birdie for his share of the lead.
Immelman, a 25-year-old South African, opened on the back side and broke into red figures quickly with a four-footer at No. 10. He dropped a shot at the 11th when his tee ball found the rough, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th.
He parred his next five holes, but made the turn at two-under par with a birdie at 18. Immelman drove it in the tall grass, but laid up short of the green at the par-five closing hole. He hit a wedge to 15 feet with his third to set up the birdie.
On the front side, Immelman played steady with seven consecutive pars. He collected his only birdie of the opening nine at the eighth, when his wedge stopped six feet from the hole.
'All in all, it was a pretty solid day for me,' said Immelman, who tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for 15th at the British Open. 'My putter really kept me in it, and I enjoyed it out there.'
Curtis recorded his first birdie at the fifth when his six-iron from a fairway bunker stopped four feet behind the hole. He parred the next eight holes around the turn.
At the 14th, Curtis knocked a nine-iron to 12 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. He parred 15, then got to minus-three with a spectacular tee ball at the par-three 16th. Curtis hit a three-iron to a foot at the 230-yard hole and tapped in the putt for his 67.
Defending champion Vijay Singh closed with back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18 to shoot even-par 70. He is tied for 28th.
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  • 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.

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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.