Tiger Wins Open Championship Going Away

By Sports NetworkJuly 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Tiger Woods captured his second British Open championship on Sunday to become the second player in golf history to win the career Grand Slam twice.
He did it on the same course where he completed his first slam.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods proudly showcases his second claret jug.
In 2000, Woods dusted the field at the Old Course at St. Andrews to win the British Open and become the fifth player in golf history to win all four major championships. On Sunday, he joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to do it more than once.
'To have both of them here, this is as special as it gets,' admitted Woods, who pocketed $1,261,584 for the win. 'It's the home of golf. All players that want to win the Open Championship, you go back to St. Andrews.'
Woods posted a two-under 70 to win the tournament by five shots at 14-under- par 274.
Woods continues to put his name in the history books. It was his 10th major championship, putting him in third place on the all-time list, one behind Walter Hagen and eight off Nicklaus' 18 career major triumphs.
The same week Nicklaus bowed out of competitive golf, Woods completed another type of slam.
Every major championship Nicklaus stepped away from, Woods hoisted the trophy. It first started in 2000 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, then a few months later at Valhalla, Woods claimed the PGA Championship.
Earlier this year, Nicklaus announced it would be his last trip to the Masters as a player. Woods defeated Chris DiMarco in a playoff, then on Sunday, he added the claret jug.
'When I first started playing the tour, I didn't think I would have this many majors before the age of 30,' said Woods, who went wire-to-wire for the victory.
Woods, who became the fifth player in golf history to win multiple claret jugs at the Old Course, collected his second major of 2005 after a playoff win at the Masters. This is his third season with multiple majors in one year.
Local favorite Colin Montgomerie managed an even-par 72 and took second place at minus-nine. This was his first runner-up finish at the British Open to go along with a pair of seconds at the U.S. Open and a playoff loss at the 1995 PGA Championship.
Fred Couples carded a four-under 68 on Sunday to tie Jose Maria Olazabal for third place at eight-under-par 280. The Spaniard drained a 10-footer for birdie on the last to shoot 74.
Despite the large margin of victory, Woods had to work to earn the claret jug. He began the final round with a two-shot lead, but both Olazabal and Montgomerie cut the margin to one on the front nine.
The championship turned at the 12th hole. Woods was two ahead of both players at the short par-four, but Olazabal ran into trouble off the tee and left himself with eight feet for par. He missed that putt, then Montgomerie dropped a shot at 13 when he came up short of the green with his approach.
Woods, who played with Olazabal on Sunday, drove left of the green at 12 and bumped his second into one of many slopes on the greens at St. Andrews and the ball stopped three feet from the stick. He converted the short putt to move ahead by four.
Woods padded the lead at the par-five 14th even though his second came up short of the green in some fescue. He hit a high flop shot that stopped three feet from the hole and the No. 1 player in the world drained the putt to move five clear.
Olazabal had fallen further down the leaderboard thanks to bogeys at 13 and 15. Montgomerie's six-iron second at the 16th fell short of the putting surface and he made bogey, but was still Woods' closest rival, although six back.
Woods bogeyed the Road Hole to drop his lead to five. He took iron off the tee at 18 to avoid any potential problems, then hit a poor approach that required he putt through the Valley of Sin. Woods lagged it to three feet and converted the par to earn his fourth win of the 2005 campaign and his 44th on tour, tying him with Hagen for seventh on the all-time list.
'I'm so excited to have my best ball-striking round,' said Woods, who became the first player to win the Masters and British Open in the same year since his good buddy Mark O'Meara in 1998. 'It was one of those rounds I'll certainly be thinking about for a long time. I'm thankful it happened at the right time.'
Woods began the final round with a two-shot lead over Olazabal and three ahead of Montgomerie. The Europeans trimmed the cushion early on Sunday.
Montgomerie ran home a 12-footer at the third to draw within two, then Olazabal sank a 20-foot birdie putt at four to cut the lead to one. Montgomerie two-putted the fifth green for a birdie to also close the gap to a single stroke.
Woods birdied the fifth to reclaim a two-shot lead, but his putter let him down on the remaining holes on the front side. He had four feet at the seventh after a spectacular approach that nearly went in the hole. Woods again almost sank his tee ball at eight, but the ball stopped three feet from the pin. He missed that putt to keep two ahead of Montgomerie and three in front of Olazabal, who bogeyed No. 6.
Both Woods and Montgomerie drove the green at the ninth and made birdie, as did Olazabal. Montgomerie's six-iron tee ball ran through the green en route to a bogey at the 11th, but Woods gave a shot back at 10 when he drove into a bunker and was forced to go out of the trap sideways.
Both Europeans were within two until their respective meltdowns at 12 and 13.
'I thoroughly enjoyed competing again at this level,' said Montgomerie, whose last runner-up finish in a major came eight years ago at the '97 U.S. Open. 'There's no disgrace finishing second to the best player in the world.'
Now Woods will have an eye on Baltusrol Golf Club for the PGA Championship. He can win three majors in one season for the second time in five years.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell (72), Sergio Garcia (73), Retief Goosen (74), Bernhard Langer (71), Geoff Ogilvy (69) and Vijay Singh (72) shared fifth place at minus-seven.
Related Links:
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  • Open Championship Trivia Challenge
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  • Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).

    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.