Does Tiger Have This US Open Wrapped Up

By Associated PressJune 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Tiger Woods was celebrating so wildly on the 18th green Sunday youd think he had just won the U.S. Open.
 
He had.
 
It wont become official until sometime early Monday afternoon when they inscribe his name on the U.S. Open trophy for the third time, pat Rocco Mediate on the back and wish both him and his belt buckle well. Mediates name will go somewhere, too, alongside those like Bob May who have their one chance and are never heard of again.
 
One bumpy putt that traveled about 12 feet before somehow deciding to fall in the right side of the hole took care of that, touching off one of the better double fist-pump, look-to-the-sky gyrations youll ever see from the baddest golfer on the planet. Woods was so into it that caddie Stevie Williams had to come across the green to help him finish it off properly, and the two engaged in a weird and thankfully brief dance together.
 
The huge crowd celebrated, too, because they understood that although Mediate had done everything he could, the way of the world of golf is that once Woods does something like this, it isnt wise to bet against him closing it out. For most it was their only chance to have such fun, because theyll be back at their jobs Monday when Woods and Mediate play one last 18 for the Open title.
 
The USGA insists on sticking to its quaint notion that anything less than an 18-hole playoff is bad for national morale, even while every other tournament has long abandoned the concept. So instead of an immediate playoff to settle it once and for all, Mediate will have to sleep another night before his one chance at glory is finally stripped from him and he is sent on his way.
 
He would have been a good champion, though an unlikely one, had the final putt by Woods lipped out instead of falling in. The crowd enjoyed their fling with Mediate over the course of a weekend at Torrey Pines, urging him on as he played his way around with a smile on his face and a belt buckle around his waist that looked like it had been stripped from the hood of a Mercedes.
 
Turns out he has Woods stamp of approval, too.
 
Roccos a great guy, Woods said. Theres not one person who can say they dont like Rocco.
 
That doesnt mean Woods will be making much small talk with Mediate as he methodically disposes of him in the playoff. Mediate might be the nicest guy around, but to Woods it wont matter who is teeing it up against him because his victims always look alike.
 
Well talk, Woods said. But well also understand were try to win a U.S. Open. And well have our moments where well go our separate ways and be focused for each and every shot.
 
Mediate, on the other hand, seems almost giddy to finally be playing against Woods with the Open on the line. And why not, because it will likely be a nice parting gift to give the 45-year-old journeyman something to tell his grandchildren about when they ask about the time he almost won the U.S. Open.
 
I have nothing to lose. I cant believe Im in this situation. I cant wait to go see what Ive got against the man, Mediate said. I know what he has. But its head-up and well see how it goes. Its going to be exciting. Im sure theres going to be a lot of heat on me, too, because I know Im playing the best player in the world. And Im the 158th player in the world. Thatll change this week, too. It wont get to second, but it wont be 158th, either.
 
Actually, Mediate is ranked 157th, but whats one spot where Tiger Woods is concerned?
 
If Woods had somehow missed the putt that everyone knew he was going to make because, well, hes Tiger Woods, Mediate would have been the oldest Open champion ever. Now hes got a chance to be one day older and the champion, though that chance pretty much comes down to whether Woods can walk on his bum knee or not.
 
Assuming he can, you only have to look at his 14-1 record in playoffs since turning pro and his 13 major championships to figure how this one turns out. Mediates only been in two playoffs, winning both, and the last was 15 years ago.
 
Mediate might have thought he was going to steal this one as he paced in the scorers room watching both Woods and Lee Westwood have a chance to make putts to tie.
 
Westwood wasnt going to make his because hes an Englishman and, while we win a lot of their Opens, they dont fare well in ours. Nixon was the president the last time one did, so Mediate shouldnt have been too surprised when his curling downhill putt for birdie didnt even get to the hole.
 
That left Woods, who doesnt leave putts short when they count. By now, Mediate looked as if he was going to need the portable heart defibrillator on the wall behind him as he watched the ball hit the right lip and drop in.
 
Like everyone who was watching, he knew what was coming. This was Tiger Woods, after all.
 
You know, the guy who will be kissing the Open trophy on Monday.
 
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.