Creamer holds on to win Samsung Championship

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipHALF MOON BAY, Calif. ' Paula Creamer could finally look to all those supporters who have seen her through every stage of her young golf career and know shed made them proud while playing right in her backyard.
 
Creamer calmly won her biggest LPGA title yet, holding off a large pack to win the Samsung World Championship on Sunday about 1 1/2 hours west of where she grew up in Pleasanton.
 
This really does mean a lot. I put so much pressure on myself every time I come here, said Creamer, dressed in one of her custom pink outfits. Its hard coming to your hometown. People watch you play all the time, but its a different feeling when youre at home. You are constantly hearing, Go Pleasanton! I want to win so badly, especially for everybody.
 
The 22-year-old Creamer beat Song-Hee Kim by a stroke, closing with a bogey-free 3-under 69 for a 9-under 279 total. Creamer earned $250,000 for her fourth title of the year and eighth overall, going the final 37 holes without a bogey.
 
On No. 18, Creamer holed a 5-foot par putt that rolled around the right lip of the cup and in. She dropped her putter, and raised both arms with a huge smile across her face as Kim waited nearby for a possible playoff. Creamer then jumped into a warm embrace with caddie Colin Cann.
 
Honestly, I didnt see it go in. I heard the people, Creamer said. It was like the longest two seconds of my life having it roll into the hole.
 
Kim finished with a 68 for her fifth top-five finish of the year. She was busy signing autographs near the scoring tent when her coach told her there might be a playoff.
 
I didnt know that, Kim said. I was hoping for that.
 
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, the 2006 and 2007 winner, shot 69 to tie for third at 7 under with Juli Inkster (68), Suzann Pettersen (68) and Angela Stanford (70).
 
After Kim moved into a share of the lead by chipping in from 20 feet for birdie on No. 14 ' the first time all day Creamer wasnt alone out front ' Creamer made a 25-foot birdie putt on 15 to retake control.
 
I tried just saying, Come on, keep playing your own game,' Creamer said. Today I knew going into it I couldnt be too aggressive, but I needed to shoot 3 or 4 under and everybody else would have to shoot 6 or 7 under to beat me.
 
Creamer became the first American to win at least four times in a season since Inkster had five victories in 1999. Six times out of 10 Creamer has gone on to win after leading entering the final day, including three times this year.
 
Creamer won with another consistent performance in the elite 20-player field on a spectacular day on the Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Crashing waves served as background noise and provided quite a scenic view along the back nine. But more than anything, the sunny last day by the Pacific lacked the tricky elements of the previous three rounds: fog, changing wind, rain and cold.
 
To play bogey-free on the weekend on this golf course and in these conditions, people dont realize how incredibly difficult that is, said Creamers father, Paul. Thats how she won.
 
Creamers parents and dozens of supporters cheered her from the large gallery following her all week. She has said she feels added pressure playing back home, but also was committed to keeping her cool and not letting one or two bad holes affect her day or her focus after she struggled to control her emotions Friday.
 
Ochoa birdied No. 16 to pull within a stroke of the lead at 7 under, then Inkster birdied moments later and also moved to 7 under.
 
Ochoa was trying to become the first player to win three consecutive Samsungs and capture her eighth title of 2008 and second in two many weeks after a victory last week in Prattville, Ala. She birdied three straight holes ' Nos. 8-10 ' to get to 6 under. Now, Ochoa will look for another strong finish next week at nearby Danville in a second consecutive event tour in Northern California.
 
I think I had a slow start making a couple of bogeys and I wanted to come back and finish strong on the back, Ochoa said. Im happy. Im glad I gave myself an opportunity to win the tournament.
 
Five-time Samsung champion Annika Sorenstam finished her final appearance in this event at 3-over 291 after a 70. She tossed a ball into the crowd after her round, then signed her share of autographs.
 
Kim, a 20-year-old having a breakout season and one of eight South Koreans in this field, matched her career-best finish of second. She also was runner-up at the Corona Championship in Mexico in April. Yet Kim said she needs to work on improving her conditioning going into 2009 to stay near the top of the leaderboard or to win her first championship.
 
Going in yesterday I didnt have a great feel for my shots, so I was a little worried going into the round today, Kim said through a translator. I had some opportunities but I wasnt able to convert all of them, so Im a little frustrated.
 
Pettersen eagled the par-5 eighth and followed with a pair of birdies to stay in contention. The Norwegian is still searching for first victory of 2008 after winning five times in 2007, including at the Longs Drugs Challenge event to be played at Danville next week.
 
Creamer knows her throng of fans will expect even more now and be eager for another victory.
 
Thats going to be even more pressure, she said, smiling.
 

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    Links to the past: Tiger's return revives Open memories

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 12:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods rekindles his love affair with links golf this week at Carnoustie, which seems about right considering his introduction to the ancient ways of the game began here on the Angus coast.

    It was here on the most brutal of the Open Championship rota courses that a 19-year-old Tiger first played links golf at the 1995 Scottish Open, an eye-opening and enlightening experience.

    “I remember my dad on the range with me, saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100 yard sign?’” Woods recalled on Tuesday at Carnoustie, his first start at The Open since 2015. “I said, ‘No, I'm just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best.’”

    During this most recent comeback, Tiger has been all smiles. A new, relaxed version of his former self made calm and approachable by age and the somber influence of injury. But this week has been different.

    During a practice round with Justin Thomas on Monday he laughed his way all the way around the brown and bouncy seaside layout. Much of that had to do with his return to the unique ways of links golf, the creative left side of his brain taking the wheel from the normally measured right side for one glorious week.

    He talked of game plans and strategic advantages on a parched pitch that has seen drives rolling out over 400 yards. At his core, Tiger is a golf nerd for all the right reasons and this kind of cerebral test brings out the best of that off-the-charts golf IQ.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Although there are no shortages of defining moments in Tiger’s career and one can make all sorts of arguments for what would be his seminal moment – from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 U.S. Open –the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool stands out, based on near-perfect execution.

    In ’06 at Liverpool, which played to a similar shade of dusty yellow as Carnoustie will this week, Tiger hit just a single driver, opting instead for a steady diet of long irons off tees. For the week he hit 48 of 56 fairways, 58 of 72 greens and rolled the field for a two-stroke victory and his third, and most recent, claret jug.

    This Open has all the makings of a similar tactical tour de force. For this championship he’s put a new 2-iron into play that’s more like a strong 1-iron (17 degrees) and imagines, given the conditions, a similar low, running menu.

    “It could be that way,” Woods said when asked the similarities between this week’s conditions and the ’06 championship. “I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees, just because I hit a 3-iron on Monday, down 18, I went 333 [yards]. It can get quick out here.”

    If Tiger ever needed a major championship confidence boost the Carnoustie Open would be it, an inspiring walk down memory lane to a time when he was the undisputed king of golf.

    “[The ’06 Open] is the closest you can compare to this,” David Duval said. “But I struggle to remember that golf course being as fast as this one. It was close, but this one is something else.”

    Ernie Els had a slightly different take, albeit one that was no less ominous to the rest of the field this week.

    “Liverpool is on a sand hill, this has a bit more run to it,” Els said. “But it’s got the same feel. It’s almost like St. Andrews was in 2000. Very, very fast.”

    It’s worth noting that Tiger also won that ’00 Open at the Home of Golf with an even more dominant performance. It is the unique challenges of the links test that make many, even Tiger, consider the Open Championship his best chance to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

    More than any other Grand Slam gathering, The Open is blind to age and the notion of players competing past their prime. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, then-53-year-old Greg Norman flirted with the lead until the very end, finishing tied for third; a year later at Turnberry, Tom Watson came within one hole of history at 59 years young.

    “It certainly can be done,” Woods said. “You get to places like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But links-style golf courses, you can roll the ball. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

    Whether this is the week Tiger gets back into the Grand Slam game depends on his ability to replicate those performances from years past on a similarly springy course. As he exited the media center bound for the practice putting green on Tuesday he seemed renewed by the cool sea breeze and the unique challenges of playing the game’s oldest championship.

    Coming back to Carnoustie is more than a reintroduction to links golf; for Tiger it’s starting to feel like a bona fide restart to his major career.

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    Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

    The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

    To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

    “You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

    For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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    Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

    “I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

    “Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

    That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

    “You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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    "Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

    Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

    Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

    To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

    “It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

    Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

    • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
    • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
    • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

     

    “This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

    that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

     

    “I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

     

    Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.