Woods Reclaims No1 and More in 2005

By Sports NetworkDecember 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
PGA TourEntering the 2005 season, there were many questions surrounding Tiger Woods and his golf game. He answered them all - and then some. After the season ended, those who had begun the year by questioning Woods were wondering where his 2005 season ranked against his great run in 1999 and 2000.
 
Woods wasn't the only story, though. There were plenty of youngsters stepping into the foreground, and of course the United States claimed the Presidents Cup, thanks to the great play of Chris DiMarco (4-0-1).
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
One year after losing the top spot in the world rankings, Tiger Woods quickly made a statement in 2005 by saying that he would not stand for complacency. He got off to a hot start and let it be known he was out to regain the top spot in the world.
 
The 29-year-old posted four rounds in the 60s at the winners-only Mercedes Championship in Hawaii to take third place. And Woods made one of his main sponsors happy as he won the Buick Invitational a few weeks later.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods returned to his familiar roles of Masters champion and World No. 1.
The win was his first in 15 months in a stroke-play event. As the tour headed to the East Coast for the first time, Woods once again proved he was out to regain the top spot in the world.
 
He fired rounds of 63-66 on the weekend at the Ford Championship at Doral to top one of his main rivals, Phil Mickelson. Vijay Singh, like Mickelson, carded four rounds in the 60s, but it was still not enough as the Fijian wound up five back.
 
Woods posted a pair of pedestrian finishes heading into the season's first major, the Masters.
 
With the green jacket on the line, Woods outdueled his Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teammate, Chris DiMarco, in a magnificent final-day duel. That will be covered in detail later.
 
The biggest news that came with his fourth Masters victory was the top spot in the world rankings. Woods overtook Singh with this, his third win of 2005.
 
Woods showed he was human a little more than one month later when, for the first time in seven years, he missed the cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. This was the wake-up call he needed.
 
Heading into the summer, Woods heated up with the weather. In June, he tied for third at Jack Nicklaus' event, the Memorial. He came back with a second-place finish two weeks later at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
 
Woods headed to Illinois for the Western Open, where he is a three-time champion. He was 14-under par over his final three rounds, but that wasn't enough to overcome his opening-round 73 as he fell short of Jim Furyk.
 
With the Nicklaus retirement party in full swing around the Old Course, Woods again conquered St. Andrews for his second British Open Championship crown. Nicklaus had also played his last competitive round at Augusta earlier in the season.
 
Woods plowed into the latter part of the summer with a tie for second, behind Singh, at the Buick Open.
 
At the season's final major, Woods posted three straight rounds in the 60s. However, it was not enough again as his first round was what did him in. He shared fourth place at the PGA Championship behind Mickelson. Lefty won the Monday finish with an up-and down-birdie on the 72nd hole, thanks to one of his patented flop shots.
 
Woods, closing his 10th year on tour, has dominated two sets of events since joining the tour. The first set, obviously, is the four majors. The other set of events is the World Golf Championships.
 
He won the second and third WGC events of the season, the NEC Invitational and the American Express Championship. He has now won those two events four times apiece.
 
Once again, Woods missed a cut, this time at the FUNAI Classic. His two missed cuts in 2005 doubled his career total.
 
Nonetheless, Woods closed the season with a second-place finish at the Tour Championship. With his swing changes complete, Woods collected six wins among his 13 top-five finishes in 2005 and easily won the money title, finishing more than $2.6 million ahead of Singh.
 
Money title - check. Two majors - check. Top spot in the world rankings - check. Mission accomplished for Woods.
 
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Entering the 2005 season, there were plenty of fresh faces on the PGA Tour - some young, some not so young. But one youngster with an interesting background broke through as one of the best stories of the season.
 
Sean O'Hair burst onto the scene early in the season, but didn't have much success in missing three of his first six cuts. It took a stop on the Nationwide Tour to get his game on track.
 
The 23-year-old took a pit stop at the Louisiana Open in March, when the PGA Tour was at the Players Championship, and posted a second-place finish. O'Hair had made his previous two cuts on the PGA Tour, but the confidence from Louisiana propelled him to stretch that string of made cuts to nine consecutive events.
 
Back in the Bayou state, O'Hair notched his second top-20 finish of the season as he shared 14th place at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
 
Then, playing in his fourth straight event, O'Hair became a household name at the Byron Nelson Championship. Not to be overshadowed by Tiger Woods missing his first cut in many years here, O'Hair carded four rounds in the 60s to post a 14-under par total of 266.
 
He was passed down the stretch by Ted Purdy, who closed with a 65. O'Hair, however, earned enough money with his second-place finish to secure his tour card for the following season.
 
While being highlighted throughout the final two rounds, O'Hair's background garnered much of the attention. His father urged him to turn pro after his junior year in high school and he spent the following years toiling on mini tours.
 
There were many stories about how his father drove him to work harder to become a better player. The story about how things transpired over those years became as much a story as his golf.
 
O'Hair, possibly caught up in all the attention from his strong finish at the Nelson, finished outside the top 30 and missed a cut in his next five starts.
 
Then, things really got crazy. He fired four rounds in the 60s, including a six-under 65 in the final round, to win the John Deere Classic. With a little help from the White House and John Deere officials, O'Hair secured a passport to go play the following week at the British Open.
 
O'Hair made it across the pond in time for a practice round with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman. Brimming with confidence, O'Hair tied for 15th in his first ever major.
 
Sean O
Sean O'Hair took home a PGA Tour title and earned a spot in the Tour Championship in his rookie year.
He came back to the U.S. to card his third top-10 of the season at the Buick Open. O'Hair made the cut at his second major, the PGA Championship, but struggled in round three and finished well down the leaderboard.
 
O'Hair only managed one top-20 finish in his next five starts. However, he closed the season with a share of 10th at the Chrysler Championship and a 12th-place finish at the Tour Championship.
 
The season was a total success for O'Hair as he finished in the top 20 on the money list and climbed from virtually unranked to within the top-50 players in the world rankings.
 
SHOT OF THE YEAR
Back to Augusta National Golf Club for the shot of the year. Though it was not the longest shot of the season, it surely was the most dramatic.
 
Tiger Woods, fully entrenched in a battle with Chris DiMarco, missed the green long at the par-3 16th. DiMarco was on the putting surface and had a decent look at birdie.
 
Woods would forge one the great turnarounds in major history, though. He pitched his chip up a slope and watched as his ball took that slope and rolled back towards the cup.
 
Slowly the ball trickled towards the cup, and after a dramatic pause on the lip, it fell into the hole. The ball did not have the help of the course blowing up, a la Caddyshack, but the roar from the crowd cheering the miraculous shot may still be reverberating through the Augusta pines. And that leads us to...
 
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR
Surprise, the Masters. Chris DiMarco has not won a PGA Tour event since 2002, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been close. With Tiger Woods on the verge of blowing a final-round lead in a major for the first time ever, DiMarco was right there to apply the heat.
 
With the third round needing to be completed Sunday morning, Woods reeled off seven straight birdies, three at the start of the day Sunday, to lead entering the final round. Those birdies during round three and his miraculous birdie chip on the 16th in the final round were all needed.
 
Woods tripped to back-to-back bogeys from the 17th and almost lost in regulation as DiMarco nearly holed his chip shot on 18 from in front of the green. With Woods bogeying the hole and DiMarco saving par, it was off to a playoff.
 
Back to the 18th tee the duo went. DiMarco found the short grass off the tee, and like regulation, spun his approach shot off the front of the green. Woods also was in the fairway and knocked his second shot to 14 feet.
 
DiMarco once again nearly chipped in, but settled for a tap-in par. Woods made sure things would go no further. He drained his slick birdie effort to collect his fourth green jacket.
 
GREAT YEARS
One year after winning his first major championship, Phil Mickelson made it two straight years with a major. He claimed four titles, the biggest of which was the PGA Championship. The four wins also propelled him to third on the money list.
 
It seems hard to put someone who hasn't won since 2002 on this list, but Chris DiMarco went 4-0-1 at the Presidents Cup and made the clinching putt to boot. Outside of that, he was seventh on the money list and notched six top-five finishes.
 
Bart Bryant continued to make his mark at the age of 42 and now 43. Early in his career. he appeared in at least one event in 12 years and had never posted a top-three finish. This year he won the Memorial and the Tour Championship, giving him three wins in the last two years. He ended in the top 10 on the money list and moved inside the top 25 in the world rankings.
 
BAD YEARS
It is always hard to pick on guys, and we are taking three former major champions to task for their poor seasons. Mike Weir was a playoff winner at the 2003 Masters, but this year he missed nine cuts and had just two top-five finishes. He fell outside the top 50 on the money list and is barely hanging inside the top 50 in the world rankings.
 
Another major winner from 2003 is struggling to regain that winning form. Ben Curtis claimed the claret jug that year, but he only made eight cuts this season in 24 starts and finished outside the top 125 on the money list with just two top-10 finishes.
 
It was just three short years ago when Rich Beem held off Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National for the PGA Championship title. Beem, however, made just eight cuts in 26 starts in 2005. He had tumbled all the way to 232nd in the world after climbing as high as 21st after his major breakthrough.

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.