Tiger in Charge at American Express

By Sports NetworkSeptember 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 WGC American Express ChampionshipCHANDLER'S CROSS, England -- Tiger Woods fired a 7-under 64 on Friday to stay in the lead after two rounds of the World Golf Championships - American Express Championship. The defending champion stands at 15-under-par 127 and is five clear of the field at The Grove.
Woods went 3-2 last week at the Ryder Cup and was the American team's leading scorer, but the week before at the HSBC World Match Play Championship on the European Tour, the No. 1 player in the world lost in the first round to Shaun Micheel.
Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk will start the third round trailing Ryder Cup partner Woods by five.
This week is a return to the PGA TOUR, where he was won five consecutive events dating back to the British Open in July. He acknowledged earlier in the week that he believes his streak ended with the loss to Micheel, the PGA TOUR sees differently and Woods is well on his way to No. 6 in a row.
'I'm off to a good start so far but again, we're only at the halfway point,' said Woods, who has won 21 of 23 times since 2000 when he's owned at least a share of the 36-hole lead. 'On top of that, with the conditions the way they are and the greens as smooth and soft as they are, you are going to have to keep making birdies.'
Woods' partner in all four team sessions last week, Jim Furyk, carded a 6-under 65 and is tied for second place with fellow American Ryder Cupper Stewart Cink (67) and European player David Howell (66). The trio is knotted at 10-under-par 132.
Padraig Harrington, who began the second round tied for second place, only managed a 2-under 69 on Friday. He is alone in fifth place at minus-9, followed by Brett Quigley, who posted a 7-under 64 to complete two rounds at 8-under-par 134.
Woods began on the back nine Friday and wasted little time in breaking into red figures. He ran home a 12-footer for birdie on his first hole, then parred his next seven holes before reaching the par-5 18th tee.
Woods eagled the hole to cap off a brilliant round on Thursday, but on Friday, he kickstarted another strong round. His second landed about 10 feet behind the stick and he drained the eagle putt to make the turn at 3 under par.
'That got things going from there,' said Woods, referring to his putt at 18.
Woods reached the par-5 second green with his second and two-putted for a birdie from 35 feet. He parred the third hole, then, with the top of the leaderboard getting crowded, went on a birdie tear.
He birdied the par-3 fourth and rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the fifth. That birdie sent Woods to 14 under par, and thanks to some mistakes from his closest competitors, gave him a four-shot cushion.
The defending champion padded the advantage one hole later. His drive landed in the right rough, but Woods hit his approach to 12 feet. The 12-time major winner sank the birdie putt, and parred out for a five-shot lead with two rounds to play.
'I hit the ball really well again today,' acknowledged Woods, who won this year's British Open and PGA Championship. 'I've given myself a bunch of chances and I've hit the ball in range to make a bunch of putts, which was nice.'
With Woods' amazing record in the lead, coupled with the amazing run of golf he's on now, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Woods will visit the winner's circle on Sunday.
One other factor that certainly tilts things in Woods' favor is his record in World Golf Championships events. He has won 11 individual titles in these events and has an explanation for his success.
'It's basically very similar to major championships,' reasoned Woods. 'You've got great fields, granted, they're not full fields. It's always nice to play the best players in the world.'
Furyk flew out of the gate on Friday with seven birdies through his first 13 holes. He dropped a shot at six, and with Woods soaring past everyone, Furyk found himself in a distant second.
Cink reached 11 under par with a birdie at six, his 15th on Friday, but trouble loomed at No. 8. He bogeyed that hole and had a makeable birdie shot at nine, but missed.
Howell mixed seven birdies with two bogeys for his 66 and he has as much to play for as anyone. Howell trails good friend Paul Casey for the Order of Merit title with the season ending quickly.
Ian Poulter, who shared second place with Harrington after Thursday's opening round, struggled to an even-par 71 on Friday. He is tied for seventh place with Henrik Stenson (67), Ernie Els (70) and Adam Scott (68) at 7-under-par 135.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.