Tiger Starts Five Back at the Buick

By Sports NetworkJanuary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO -- This was supposed to be about Tiger Woods' return to action. However, Brandt Snedeker stole the show Thursday at the Buick Invitational.
 
Snedeker opened with a nine-hole record of 9-under 27 and carded two more birdies to tie the Torrey Pines North Course record of 11-under-par 61 and lead by two stroke after one round.
 
Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker tied the course record with a 11-under 61.
Woods returned to action this week, playing his first tour event of the season. He won here last year and is a four-time winner. Despite two early bogeys, Woods posted a 6-under-par 66 and is tied for 14th place.
 
Charlie Wi is two off the lead after opening with a 63. John Senden and Jeff Quinney share third at minus-8.
 
Play for the first two rounds is spread over the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines. The South Course yielded few good scores Thursday as just one of the top-33 players on the leaderboard played there.
 
Woods, who has won his last six PGA TOUR starts, started on the North Course's 10th tee. He stumbled to back-to-back bogeys from the 11th, but responded with three straight birdies from the 14th to move into red figures.
 
The reigning British Open and PGA Championship winner hit the stick with his approach at the par-5 18th and the ball settled within 6 feet of the hole. He knocked the eagle putt in to make the turn at minus-3.
 
Woods birdied the second to get to 4 under. After six pars in a row, Woods drained a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5ninth to close his 66.
 
'I didn't get off to the best of starts. I was going the wrong way and saw all the good scores being posted so I tried to get back to even-par as quick as possible,' Woods admitted. 'I thought I drove it really consistent all day, a couple loose iron shots here and there, but once I got my speed on the greens and got adjusted to the speed, I was able to make some putts.'
 
Snedeker flew out of the gate with four straight birdies, the first three of which were all inside 10 feet. That run was stopped when he eagled the par-5 14th.
 
The 26-year-old remained hot. He punched out from under a tree to 3 feet on 15 for another birdie and he came right back with a three-footer for birdie on 16, getting him to 8 under through seven holes.
 
After parring the par-3 17th, Snedeker rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th to turn in minus-9. With that, thoughts of shooting 59 starting entering Snedeker's head.
 
'Probably when I made the turn. I was 9 under through nine,' said Snedeker, of the possibility of shooting 59. 'I tried to tee my ball up on 10 and it didn't want to stay up there my hand was shaking so much.'
 
Snedeker two-putted for birdie on the par-5 first to continue his roll. He finally cooled off as he two-putted for par on each of the next seven holes. Snedeker closed with a 10-foot birdie putt at the ninth, his last, to tie the course record.
 
'It was a great day. I played awesome,' said Snedeker. 'I kind of leaked a little oil coming in. I didn't get to where I wanted to be, but it was still a great round of golf.'
 
Wi, like Woods and Snedeker, played the back nine of the North Course first. He collected five birdies and a bogey to turn in 4 under.
 
The South Korean eagled the par-5 first, then dropped in back-to-back birdie efforts from the fifth to move to minus-8. Wi closed with a birdie on the ninth to end two behind Snedeker.
 
'I started on the back nine and I turned at 4 under, and I thought I was playing very well until I got to the 11th tee and learned that Brandt was 10 under after 10. I thought maybe it wasn't so good,' admitted Wi. 'I hit my irons really well today and I was able to make some putts. That was the difference between when I missed the cut in Hawaii and today.'
 
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal leads a group of nine players tied for fifth at 7-under-par 65. He stands alongside Robert Garrigus, Cliff Kresge, Darron Stiles, Kevin Sutherland, Johnson Wagner, Steve Marino, Gavin Coles and Chris Couch.
 
Woods is one of 10 players tied for 14th at minus-6. Among the others shooting 66 Thursday were amateur Jamie Lovemark and former world No. 1 David Duval.
 
Two-time winner Phil Mickelson struggled to an opening round 2-over-par 74 on the South Course.
 
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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 of engaging in 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 WGC-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.