Four South Koreans share Farr lead

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2012, 11:24 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio – For the lead groups, the final round of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic will be just like a friendly round back home in South Korea.

Oh, and give the winner a check for $195,000.

South Koreans Jiyai Shin, In-Kyung Kim, So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo dominated the leaderboard, sharing the top spot at 11-under 202 on Saturday through the third round.

Two more South Koreans, Inbee Park (69) and second-round leader Chella Choi (70), were a shot back along with Japan's Mika Miyazato (69).

Call them the Seoul sisters.

'It will be really exciting Sunday,' said Kim, who will be chasing her fourth career LPGA Tour victory. 'These are players that I grew up with. I know them personally and I know their family issues and all that. So, even though we're playing in the U.S., having them around I feel much more at home.'

South Koreans have not only flooded the LPGA (there are 43 of them on the roster this year), but also dominated the tour in recent years. Still, they have seldom taken over a tournament like the one at Highland Meadows. In addition to filling the top four spots and six of the top seven, South Korea was represented by players occupying seven of the top 11 positions and 11 of the top 25 through 54 holes.

Even though they are extremely competitive, don't expect any gamesmanship.

'There are a lot of Korean players on tour,' said Shin, who has won eight times in LPGA events since 2008, including victories in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open and the 2008 Women's British Open. 'We are very close because we came over to play in the U.S. We were homesick, missing our friends and family in Korea. And that has made us close to each other.'

Shin and Kim each shot 5-under 66 for the low rounds of the day, while Ryu had a 67 and Seo a 68.

The range in scores of the four leaders is a high of 69 to a low of 66. In other words, almost the perfect definition of consistency.

Ryu acknowledged that, then added, 'Sometimes someone is crazy and has a low score – like a 61 or 62.'

It's not really surprising that the South Korean contingent is elbowing everyone else out of the picture at the Jamie Farr. After all, the player who is the matriarch of her country's players on the LPGA Tour – Se Ri Pak – has won the Farr five times. And three other players from South Korea – Mi Hyun Kim, Eunjung Yi and Na Yeon Choi – also have finished first in suburban Toledo.

In fact, since Pak won her first Farr in 1998, South Koreans have walked off with the title eight of the 13 years.

Shin was perhaps the brightest star on the LPGA landscape but has not won in two years because of injuries.

'It's as if I'm on my way,' she said after her 66. 'I have a little bit of pressure on myself.'

Kim, who has three career LPGA Tour wins, lost to Choi in a four-person playoff at the Farr the last time it was played in 2010 (the tournament was on hiatus a year ago while the city hosted the men's U.S. Senior Open).

'I'm in a great place, not only on the golf course,' she said. 'I'm happy on and off the course. That's really important.'

Seo was the tour's rookie of the year in 2011. She took a stab at making a humorous remark at the awards ceremony.

'Everybody wants to be No. 1,' she said. 'I just mentioned that I'll be No. 1 very soon.'

Tied for eighth at 8-under 205 were Americans Jacqui Concolino (69) and Angela Stanford (69), along with first-round leader Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden (70) and yet another South Korean, Hee-Won Han (70).

Needless to say, all eyes will be on the intrasquad scrimmage atop the leaderboard between the longtime friends, neighbors and countrywomen.

'We pretty much help each other,' said Ryu, who defeated Seo in a three-hole playoff at the 2011 U.S. Women's Open to earn her first and only tour victory. 'If some Koreans have a winning chance, everybody will be waiting on the 18th green and everybody will congratulate the winner. Our relationship is pretty great.'

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Woods now listed as Masters betting favorite

By Will GraySeptember 24, 2018, 12:03 am

Now officially a winner again on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods has become a popular bet for folks thinking about next year's Masters.

The trip down Magnolia Lane is still seven months away, but Woods' breakthrough victory at the Tour Championship has led bettors to flock to the window to lay down cash on the four-time champ to add green jacket No. 5 next spring at age 43.

Woods was listed at 12/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook when odds opened after the PGA Championship, behind only 2015 champ Jordan Spieth. That's where he remained for the subsequent six weeks, but after a stirring performance at East Lake Golf Club he's now listed as the 9/1 betting favorite for the first major of 2019.

Here's a look at the latest odds via the Westgate, as many of the top contenders head to Paris for the Ryder Cup:

9/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Jordan Spieth

12/1: Dustin Johnson

14/1: Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas

16/1: Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler

18/1: Jon Rahm

20/1: Jason Day

25/1: Bubba Watson

30/1: Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Tony Finau

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Woods: Support from Tour friends 'meant a lot to me'

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 11:54 pm

ATLANTA – As Tiger Woods approach the 18th green on Sunday at the Tour Championship, with thousands of fans – literally – breathing down his neck, Davis Love III crouched down inside the ropes, on top of a mound to take it all in. He was joined by Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson.

Rickie Fowler was waiting. Tommy Fleetwood was watching from the clubhouse balcony. Paul Casey was there. So, too, were Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas.

They all wanted to witness Woods win for the first time in five physically debilitating, at times personally destructive, years. They wanted to congratulate, not just a peer, but a friend.

What that meant to Woods, well, he tried to describe. But words don’t do justice what the support of others means to someone who has been through so much.

“The people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I'm pretty close to, they've really helped throughout this process and the last few years,” Woods said. “Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.”


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Of course, all of these players have one thing in common: They are all headed to Paris for this Ryder Cup, either as players or vice captains.

There were 17 Ryder Cup players in the 30-man Tour Championship field – 11, including Woods, on the U.S. side.

The Americans were set to take a charter flight to France on Sunday night. That means everyone aboard will get to partake in the celebrations. And Tiger will get to enjoy the camaraderie, something lacking from the years when he won 79 PGA Tour events.

“Flying tonight with the guys, it’s going to be fun,” Woods said.

“I think we’re all going to sleep well.”

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TT Postscript: Finally, officially, Tiger Woods is back

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 11:47 pm

ATLANTA, Ga. – He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Here are some things I think I think after watching Tiger Woods end a five-year winless drought and capture his 80th career PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Tour Championship.

• There’s only one place to start. That walk down 18. Tiger Woods leading throngs of maniacs (and me) into an arena only he can create, only he can star in, only he can thrive in. That was a security nightmare, and I’m sure whatever entities hold the insurance policies on Tiger and Rory were pulling their corporate hair out, but that was a scene you can’t really stage. A scene you can’t recreate. Not like that. Not with that level of exaltation. Every single person who has followed Tiger Woods’ career – every single person who loves the game of golf – felt like they were following Tiger in that crowd up 18. Regardless of whether you root for him or against him, you know no one else in the game can create a spectacle like that. After the surgeries, and the scandals, and the personal demons, Tiger Woods teared up, tapped in, put his arms in the air, and soaked in a kind of redemption none of us will ever fully understand.

• He admitted he almost cried twice on the way in. He almost cried in the crowd en route to the front bunker, and he almost cried after Rory McIlroy ceded the stage on the 72nd green. For years, he was invulnerable. Impenetrable. That was his aura. That aura was later shattered at too many different points along the way. There was a popular thought that Tiger Woods couldn’t be Tiger Woods without that same air of invincibility – that edge. But on Sunday, the golf world and Tiger himself saw that he could be vulnerable and a champion. Notah Begay perhaps put it best when he suggested on Golf Central that Tiger could, moving forward, strike a balance between playing with an edge and playing with a sense of gratitude.



• That gratitude seems genuine, too. He thought he was done. More than that, at his lowest point, he didn’t know what was going to be left of his life.

“Am I going to be able to sit, stand, walk, lay down without feeling the pain that I was in? I just didn't want to live that way,” he said in the interview room. “This is how the rest of my life is going to be? It's going to be a tough rest of my life. And so – I was beyond playing. I couldn't sit. I couldn't walk. I couldn't lay down without feeling the pain in my back and my leg.”

Now the roars, the support, the embrace, the victory – it all means a little more. Tiger Woods seems like a guy who took everything he had for granted, faced down the possibility of losing it all, and came out on the other end.


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• As for what exactly he really went through, maybe we’ll never know. Maybe we’ll never know how deep and dark that hole went. But clearly there’s an inner circle that knows. And that includes some of Tiger’s colleagues on Tour.

“You know, the people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I'm pretty close to, they've really helped throughout this process and the last few years,” he said. “Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.”

• Tiger has been the face of golf for the last two decades. And that’s why it’s so weird to think that anyone can conceive of him as anything other than the most dominant player in the history of the game. But his kids are young enough that they really don’t know. Hearing him discuss his family Sunday night was both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

“I think they understand a little bit of what Dad does now. I hadn't won any tournaments in which they can remember, so I think this will be a little bit different for them. … A lot of times they equated golf to pain because every time I did it, I would hurt, and it would cause me more pain. And so now they're seeing a little bit of joy and seeing how much fun it is for me to be able to do this again.”

• So where do we go from here? To Paris, where Tiger through a wry smile suggested that everyone is going to sleep well on the U.S. plane tonight. Uh huh.

• But what’s next in that big-picture sense? Does he pass Sam? Does he catch Jack? Hell, I don’t know. I never thought we’d get to this point again. And neither did he. Maybe it’ll never get any better than this. But you know, it just might.

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With 80 wins, Woods eyes 'chipping away' at Snead

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 11:38 pm

ATLANTA – Round numbers just feel better than the crooked ones.

80.

It’s only one more than 79, but it’s prettier and more historically significant.

“Eighty is a big number,” Tiger Woods said after winning the Tour Championship to reach that amazing tally in Tour wins. “I’ve been sitting on 79 for about five years now, and to get 80 is a pretty damned good feeling.”

Not since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational had Woods hoisted a trophy. And in those five winless years, he endured multiple surgeries; more personal turmoil; and doubt that he’d ever live a comfortable life, let alone play professionally.

80.

That puts him two wins from tying Sam Snead on the all-time PGA Tour wins list. What once seemed like a lock, then appeared unlikely, is attainable once again.


Photos: Players with most PGA Tour wins

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This is more than just a nice, round number, however. More than an opportunity to be called the winningest Tour player ever.

For Woods, this is a recognized and appreciative product of grace and good fortune.

“To kind of get to the 80 mark is a big number," Woods said. 'Sam is still ahead of me. I've still got, I feel like, a chance to play some more golf and maybe I'll keep chipping away at that number and maybe surpass it. 

“But I just think that what I've gone through and what I've dealt with, I've gotten lucky, to be honest with you. I've gotten very lucky. I'm not playing a full-contact sport or I've got to move people around in that regard. At 42 years old with a fused lower spine; that's not going to happen.

“But in this sport, it can. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to have the people around me to have supported me and worked through this process with me, and I've ground out a chance to win golf tournaments again.”