Woods eight back after 'not too bad' opening 72

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2014, 1:42 am

SAN DIEGO – The marine layer that encased Torrey Pines early Thursday morning burned off by 9 a.m. local time.

It took considerably longer for the fog to lift from around the world’s top-ranked player.

Tiger Woods carded only two birdies during his opening round on the South Course, considerably more difficult than its counterpart to the north. As a result, he finds himself well down the leaderboard as he looks to defend his title at the Farmers Insurance Open, eight shots behind overnight leader Stewart Cink.

“Even par’s not too bad, but I didn’t play the par-5s worth a darn today,” said Woods, who failed to break par in the opening round for the first time in 14 career starts in this event.

Playing his first competitive round of 2014, Woods appeared to show some signs of rust throughout the day, finding only 7 of 14 fairways while reaching 11 of 18 greens in regulation. After the round, he opted to take a positive outlook on his performance from tee to green.

“I didn’t feel that rusty; I felt that I hit a lot of good shots,” he explained. “I hit probably three loose ones out there … but it wasn’t that bad.”

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Woods was likely anticipating his higher early-week score to come on the South Course, but he now finds himself in a far different position than a year ago, when he opened with 68 and then took control of the event with a second-round 65 on the easier North Course.

With more than a third of the field now ahead of him in the standings, he realizes that a low score is a requirement Friday morning.

“It’s got to be playing right around three shots easier,” he said of the North, which actually averaged nearly four shots less than the South, “so I’m going to have to go out there and get it a little bit tomorrow to not be so far behind come Saturday or Sunday.”

After notching his first birdie of the year on the second hole Thursday, Woods suffered through a stretch of 11 holes in the heart of his round without another circle on his scorecard. He was not without opportunity – five straight birdie putts failed to find the hole from Nos. 6-10 – but for Woods, the most glaring area for improvement was his performance on the four longest holes.

“Obviously that’s paramount to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course is you’ve got to take care of the par-5s, because there’s not a lot of holes you can make birdies here,” noted Woods. “I didn’t do that, so subsequently I didn’t finish under par.”

Last year, Woods played the par-5s in 7 under during his three rounds on the South Course. Thursday, he was only able to muster par on each of them – which, according to Woods, made all the difference.

“If I play those normal, I’m 2, 3-under par,” he added, “and all of a sudden it’s a pretty good round.”

No one can match the 38-year-old’s track record in San Diego, but Woods will likely need to rely on his sizeable bank of positive memories as he looks to battle back from a rather unfamiliar position.

At T-63, he’s farther back after 18 holes than any year since 2004, when he netted a tie for 10th from the same opening-round position. The only time he was deeper in the standings came during his first start here in 1998, when he ultimately moved from 79th into a tie for third, while his worst starting position among his seven victories came in 2006, when he won a playoff despite starting in 57th place after an opening 71.

While his first-round score left him well down the leaderboard, Woods’ opening effort was by no means a poor one. He had only two bogeys on a course that chewed up many players Thursday, and matched par despite holing only two putts longer than six feet all day.

It was a fact that was not lost on the current world No. 1, who knew immediately after the round that he had fared better on the South than the average participant.

“I mean, even par right now is probably going to put me … about one or two shots under par on the South Course, below average,” noted Woods.

By the end of the day, even that estimate proved conservative, as the opening-round scoring average on the South finished at a stout 74.449 strokes.

With the prospect of a return to the South looming this weekend, he offered a not-so-subtle hint that he hopes conditions firm up before a potential tee time on Saturday.

“We figured the Tour might soften it up, and they did,” said Woods, who commented Wednesday that conditions were firmer than he had seen in years past. “They’ve softened it up as the day’s gone on, but I think it’s just get us through the cut and then see what happens.”

Before he returns to the track where he last hoisted a major trophy, Woods will need to make the most of his brief time on the North Course. The sizeable imbalance in the scoring averages between the two layouts makes his position appear worse than it actually is, and scores among the field will even out after the second round.

The fact remains, though, that if Woods is going to challenge this weekend for an eighth Farmers title, he’ll need to keep the fog at bay Friday.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.