Slump Buster Woods Wins Western

By Sports NetworkJuly 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Tiger Woods capped off a dominating performance at the 100th Western Open Sunday with a closing 69 to secure his 38th career victory on the PGA Tour in wire-to-wire fashion. Woods finished the tournament with a record 21-under-par 267 total, five shots clear of reigning PGA Champion Rich Beem.
Woods carried a six-shot lead into the final round at Cog Hill's Dubsdread Course thanks to a Saturday 65. On Sunday, the top player in the game picked up where he left off, hitting his approach to three feet at the par-4 first for an early birdie.
At the par-3 second, Woods drained a 15-foot birdie putt to make it two in a row but he found trouble with a bogey at the par-4 fourth.
He recovered with a birdie at the very next hole and ran home a 20-footer for birdie at the par-4 seventh. Woods then converted a lengthy putt from the fringe for a birdie at the par-4 eighth to move to 22-under and open a 10 shot lead over the field.
Woods wasn't slowing down on the inward half and sent his second shot over the pin and watched as the ball spun back inside three feet of the cup at 10. He converted the short birdie putt and walked over to the 11th tee moments before play was halted due to storms moving through the area.
After a weather delay of over 90 minutes, Woods returned to the course and was unlucky off the tee at the par-5 11th. He played his second shot from the rough back onto the fairway but floated his third over the putting surface and into a bunker.
Woods blasted out and the ball stopped five feet short of the hole. He calmly drained the par save to keep on moving at 23-under par.
The 27-year-old had a putt from the same distance to save par at the par-3 12th and converted. At the par-4 13th, after hitting driver off the tee, Woods hit a 7-iron in to 10 feet and two-putted for par.
Woods left his tee shot in a bunker short of the green at the par-3 14th. He blasted out eight feet beyond the hole but this time his par save rolled past the cup for a bogey. His lead over Beem stood at five moments before play was delayed for a second time.
Beem picked up two birdies and one bogey on the front side but the reigning PGA champion caught fire early on the inward half. He notched a birdie at the par-4 10th and hit a remarkable second shot through the trees to three feet at the par-5 11th.
Been rolled in the short eagle try and followed that up with a birdie at the 12th to move to 16-under.
At the par-3 14th, Beem dropped his tee shot within 15 feet and made the putt for another birdie.
Players returned to the course after another delay of over one hour and 20 minutes and Woods coasted to the clubhouse.
'It's just hard to get into a physical rhythm,' said Woods. 'Mentally you're fine, it's just getting into a physical rhythm because you've got to warm up again. This time we didn't get to warm up.'
Despite a bogey at the last, Woods became the first player in the history of the PGA Tour to win at least four tournaments for five consecutive seasons.
Woods has been dominant throughout his career when taking at least a share of the lead into the final round, winning 29 of the 31 events in which he has done so. After a brilliant victory at the Western Open, where talks of a slump were left behind, Woods will head east across the pond in search of his first major of 2003 at the British Open.
Mike Weir, the Masters champion, and Jim Furyk, the U.S. Open winner, joined 2002 Western Open champion Jerry Kelly in a tie for third place at 14-under- par 274.
Robert Allenby and Cliff Kresge shared sixth place at minus-6, followed by Fredrik Jacobson, Chad Campbell and Dudley Hart, who tied for eighth at 12-under-par 276.
The Western Open was the last stop on the PGA Tour for players to earn exemptions into the British Open. The top-seven finishers on the British Open money list, which consisted of events through the Players Championship, that got into the British Open in two weeks were: Jonathan Kaye, Rory Sabbatini, Duffy Waldorf, Kresge, Joey Sindelar, Joe Durant and J.L. Lewis.
Exemptions also went to the top-eight finishers in this week's Western Open, who weren't otherwise exempt at that list included: Hart, Scott McCarron, Skip Kendall, Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Jose Coceres, Chris Smith and Tom Byrum.
Related Links:
  • Team Bio: Tiger Woods
  • Full Coverage of the 100th Western Open
  • 100th Western Open Leaderboard
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    Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

    Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

    Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

    Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

    Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


    Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

    Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

    Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

    Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

    Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.