No bogeys, no problem: Noh leads Zurich by 2

By Associated PressApril 26, 2014, 10:21 pm

AVONDALE, La. – If Sueng-Yul Noh can hold on to the lead in the Zurich Classic, he'll do it in front of fans who can appreciate how much bigger Noh's mission is than simply winning his first PGA Tour event.

Wearing yellow and black ribbons on his hat to honor victims of the April 16 South Korean ferry accident, Noh used a string of birdies late in his round Saturday to surge two strokes ahead of Keegan Bradley atop the leaderboard.

It is Noh's first career lead through three rounds on the tour, and comes in a city where sports – particularly the success of the NFL's Saints – became an uplifting force after Hurricane Katrina.

Noh finds himself representing – and captivating – a nation mourning the more than 300 dead or missing – many of them students – from the sinking of a ferry in the waters off his home country.

''Hopefully, I'll make all the Korean people happy,'' Noh said. ''It was very sad news for the Korean ship, so hopefully another bogey-free round tomorrow, and hopefully good news for the Koreans.''


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Noh is the first player to complete 54 holes at the TPC Louisiana without a bogey. He shot a 7-under 65 to reach 18-under 198. No player has completed all four rounds on the course at better than 20 under, the score Billy Horschel posted last year, when he became the sixth player in the last nine years to secure his maiden PGA Tour triumph in New Orleans.

Noh will try to continue the trend when he tees off in the same group as Bradley, who is no stranger to winning. His three career tour victories include a major in the 2011 PGA Championship.

Bradley said he doubted that he would intimidate Noh, but added, ''It is definitely hard getting your first win.''

Bradley began the day tied for seventh at 9 under. He pulled into a tie with Noh for first on No. 15 with his seventh birdie of the day.

Then, Noh, who was tied for third at 11 under after two rounds, made birdie putts of 13 feet on 14 and 10 feet on 15 before hitting a 112-yard approach shot to a foot for another birdie on 16, bringing him to 18 under.

Bradley also shot 65, making eight birdies. He also made one bogey on the par-3 ninth hole, when his ball landed left of the green, rolled down a bulkhead lined with cypress planks and into a water hazard from which alligators have been making routine appearances this week. It didn't faze him, though.

''I'm most proud this week of where I've been mentally on the golf course and how calm I've felt,'' Bradley said. ''I love being in this position, a couple back going into Sunday. I'd like to be a couple in the lead, too, but I love chasing.''

Robert Streb was third, three shots back after a 68. Paul Casey's 64 was the day's best round. He moved up to a tie for seventh with Charley Hoffman at 13 under.

Ben Martin, who had a three-shot lead after two rounds, shot a 73 to drop into a tie for fourth with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda at 14 under. Overton shot 67, and Svoboda 70.

Noh is in his third year on the tour, but finished outside the top 125 on the money list last season, forcing him to play in Web.com Tour Finals events to retain his tour card.

''Very disappointed in the whole season last year,'' Noh said. ''I learned from that time. ... So I'm very ready for tomorrow.''

He had never before been higher on the leaderboard than tied for second through three rounds. That happened once at the 2012 AT&T National, but he shot a 2-over 73 in his final round to finish tied for fourth, his best finish in 77 previous PGA Tour starts.

Martin had raced to the lead with a course-record 10-under 62 in his first round, and his 36-hole score of 129 also was a course record. Teeing off with the final group, his trouble began on the par-5 second hole. He pushed his second shot to the right toward the crowd. As Martin's father, Jim, yelled, ''Fore!'' LSU student Cameron Slane turned his body defensively and felt the ball carom off the back of his head and shoulder.

The ball kicked to the right and into a cluster of long pampas grass. Martin took a drop and wound up with a bogey.

''Thursday's round and today are kind of a 180-degree difference,'' Martin said. ''After Thursday, I wasn't on Cloud 9 and after today I'm not in the dumps. So I've still have a good mindset going into tomorrow.''

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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.


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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.”

 

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Key stats from Woods' historic win at East Lake

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:47 pm

Tiger Woods won his 80th career PGA Tour title on Sunday with a two-stroke victory at the Tour Championship. Here are the key stats from the final round at East Lake.

• 80th career PGA Tour win; first since 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

• Two wins behind Sam Snead for most in PGA Tour history

• Snead was 47 years old when he won his 80th career PGA Tour title (Woods is 42)

• 43-for-45 converting outright 54-hole leads in PGA Tour career

• 24-for-24 converting 54-hole leads of three or more shots

• First win in 1,876 days; 118 players won on PGA Tour between Woods' wins

• Third career Tour Championship victory (most all-time)

• Has won Tour Championship in three different decades (1999, 2007, 2018)

• Fifth PGA Tour event won in three different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s)

• Projected to move to 13th in World Ranking with victory

• Was ranked 1,199 before beginning of 2017 Hero World Challenge

• Snead won 11 times after turning 43 (Woods turns 43 in December)

• Eighth PGA Tour win in Georgia; fourth-most of any state (Fla., Calif., Ohio)

• Extended lead to four strokes with birdie on first hole of round

• Second in field in strokes gained: putting this week

• First in field in scrambling this week (17-for-24)

• Finished second in FedExCup; was making first Tour Championship start since 2013

• Led field in one-putt percentage this week (51.4%)

• Finishes season first on PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach

(Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)

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Social media explodes over Tiger's 80th win

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 10:45 pm

After a five-year hiatus, Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the winner's circle on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

As evidenced by a quick look at social media, Woods' win set the golf world on fire, with everyone from Jack Nicklaus to Michelle Wie sending their congratulations to the 42-year-old.

Here are the best reactions from a wild Sunday at East Lake, where Woods claimed PGA Tour victory No. 80: