Woods Survives Rollins Scare

By Sports NetworkFebruary 25, 2004, 5:00 pm
Defending champion Tiger Woods won the 18th hole Wednesday to defeat John Rollins, 1-up, and advance to the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Woods, who defeated David Toms in last year's final, trailed throughout the entire match but took advantage of mistakes made by his 16th-seeded opponent.
Woods found himself 2-down after Rollins cashed in a short birdie putt at the 12th.
But Woods rebounded with a win at the 13th and a bogey by Rollins at 17 knotted up the match.
At the par-5 closing hole at La Costa, Woods drove into the right rough but was able to lay up down the fairway. Rollins found the fairway off the tee and then again with his second but that's when trouble set in for the 2002 winner of the Canadian Open.
Rollins pushed a pitching-wedge into the bunker on the right side of the green while Woods hit his third 20 feet left of the hole. Rollins' bunker shot never even made it to the putting surface and his fifth ran four feet past the hole, meaning Woods had two putts to win the match.
Woods didn't need two putts as his birdie try fell right into the cup.
Despite surviving the near upset, Woods was not happy with the state of his game or his performance on Wednesday.
'I kept making mistakes,' said Woods, who lost to Peter O'Malley in the first round two years ago when he was the No. 1 seed. 'I made three bogeys today which is unacceptable.'
Rollins may have let a gigantic opportunity slide by but was relatively upbeat after the match.
'I did what I wanted to,' said Rollins. 'I gave him a match. I'll probably be a little disappointed. I feel like I missed a couple good opportunities. I'll take a lot from it.'
Woods will now battle Trevor Immelman, the No. 8 seed in the Bobby Jones bracket, in Thursday's second round. Immelman moved on thanks to a 2-and-1 victory over Shigeki Maruyama.
The three other No. 1 seeds moved on to the second round.
Vijay Singh, the top seed in the Gary Player bracket, trounced Shingo Katayama, 5 and 3. Mike Weir, last week's Nissan Open champion and No. 1 seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, beat 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem, 3 and 2, and Davis Love III, tops in the Sam Snead bracket, defeated Briny Baird, 2-up.
Love now gets a match with good friend Fred Couples in the second round after Couples bested Bob Tway, 3 and 2, in the first round.
The biggest upset in Wednesday's first round involved Retief Goosen, the No. 2 seed on the Hogan side. He was defeated by John Huston, 2 and 1, and was the highest seed eliminated in the first round.
Phil Mickelson continued his strong form in 2004 as he played well in beating Lee Westwood 3 and 1.
Both of last year's stunning major winners advanced on Wednesday. British Open winner Ben Curtis defeated Charles Howell III, 2-up, and PGA Champion Shaun Micheel needed 21 holes to oust Englishman Paul Casey, 1-up.
Fifteen matches went the full 18, while six needed extra holes to crown a winner.
Darren Clarke and Eduardo Romero nearly matched the tournament record for longest non-championship match, but Clarke won the 25th hole to earn the 1-up victory. Weir and Loren Roberts went 26 holes last year.
'It was very tough,' said Clarke, who holed a chip for eagle at 18 to extend the match. 'Eddie had a couple of really good chances early on in the playoff holes. Unfortunately he didn't quite make them.'
Clarke will now face Alex Cejka in the second round after Cejka beat Justin Leonard, 4 and 3.
The remaining winners in the Player bracket were: Kenny Perry (6 and 4 over Jeff Sluman), Steve Flesch (1-up in 19 holes over Brad Faxon), Chad Campbell (3 and 2 over Tim Herron, Roberts (1-up over Jay Haas) and Jerry Kelly (1-up over Sergio Garcia).
Woods and Immelman will be joined in the second round of the Jones bracket by: Padraig Harrington (2 and 1 over Toshi Izawa), Bob Estes (1-up in 19 holes over Scott Verplank), Toms (1-up in 19 holes over Niclas Fasth), Micheel, Thomas Bjorn (4 and 3 over Scott Hoch) and Fredrik Jacobson (5 and 4 over Phillip Price).
Weir and Huston are in the second round of the Hogan bracket and also in are: Duffy Waldorf (5 and 4 over Jonathan Kaye), Ian Poulter (1-up over Chris Riley), Peter Lonard (1-up over Rocco Mediate), Colin Montgomerie (1-up in 20 holes over Nick Price), Stewart Cink (4 and 2 over K.J. Choi) and Stephen Leaney (1-up over Fred Funk).
In addition to the Love/Couples match and the Mickelson/Curtis match, the Snead bracket will feature Stuart Appleby (5 and 4 over Justin Rose) against Chris DiMarco (2-up over Michael Campbell) and Robert Allenby (3 and 2 over Brian Davis) versus Adam Scott (2 and 1 over Miguel Angel Jimenez).
Related Links:
  • Scoring - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.