Not pretty: Woods heading home after ugly rounds of 77-73

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2011, 11:52 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Tiger Woods’ stunning downfall has gotten worse: He missed the cut at the PGA Championship.

The player who once dominated golf headed home Friday after shooting a 10-over 150 at Atlanta Athletic Club.

With no one seizing control of the tournament, this became another day to focus on Woods’ collapse, his career in tatters because of personal failings and a broken game.

Consecutive double-bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes ruined any hopes he had of making it to the weekend. He finished with a 3-over 73 on the heels of an opening-round 77.

“I hit 20 bunkers in two days. I had four or five water balls,” Woods said. “That’s not going to add up to a very good score.”

Woods finished in appropriate fashion at the 18th, putting his tee shot in the bunker, his second shot in the water and finishing with a bogey. He was projected to miss the cut by a staggering six shots.

Woods was on the sideline for three months - missing the last two majors - because of an injured leg. He returned a week ago at Firestone, proclaiming himself fully fit and ready to go for his 15th major title.

He wound up missing the cut in one of golf’s biggest events for only the third time in his professional career, following the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot (shortly after the death of the his father) and the British Open at Turnberry two years ago.

Now, he’ll be dropping out of public view again for another long layoff. He won’t attempt to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoff, so his next tournament will be in November when he heads to Australia.

His next shot at a major is eight months away, at the Masters.

“I get some time off again,” Woods said. “But now I’m healthy enough to work on my game. It’s going to be good. Sean (Foley, his coach) and I did not really have an opportunity to sit down and do a lot of work. This will be our time.”

There’s a lot of work to do.

Woods had a glimmer of hope after closing the front side with back-to-back birdies, pushing him to even-par on the day and three shots off the projected cut.

But it all fell apart at the 11th hole, which Woods played like an average duffer. He put his tee shot in a bunker. He knocked his approach into another pit of sand left of the green. From an awkward lie, he put his left foot sideways on the grass and tried to pull off a delicate shot with water looming on the other side.

Woods got too much of the ball, which sped across the green and plopped into the pond. He wound up making double bogey, pretty much finishing off his hopes.

At the next hole, he didn’t appear to care anymore.

His drive sailed into the trees left of the 12th fairway, forcing him to punch out. Then he unleashed a wild, one-handed shot with a wood from the first cut, letting go of the club as the ball whizzed right back into the towering pines.

Woods wound up with another double-bogey, his fifth in two days - the first time he’s ever made that many doubles in any professional tournament.

He pulled himself together and made a couple of birdies, but it didn’t matter at that point. At the final hole, he drove into a fairway bunker and didn’t come close to clearing the water with his approach.

Forget making the cut; Woods didn’t even beat five of the 20 PGA of American club pros who were in the field.

Even so, he tried to put a positive spin on his miserable performance.

“It’s a step back in the sense I didn’t make the cut,” Woods said. “But it’s a giant leap forward in that I played two straight weeks and I’m healthy. It’s going to be great for my practice sessions coming up. Now I’ll be able to work and get after it.”

If Woods missing the cut was the biggest surprise, the golfers at the top of the leaderboard were close behind.

Keegan Bradley, playing in his first major, shot a 64. Jason Dufner, who had missed the cut in five of his last six events, made 65. Both were at 5-under 135.

Steve Stricker came into the round with a two-stroke lead after a bogey-free 63 - tied for the lowest score ever in a major and just a hair away from having the record all to himself. He missed a 10-footer for birdie at his final hole Thursday.

There would be a lot more of those on Friday. Suddenly, one of the game’s steadiest putters couldn’t make one, lipping out a couple of short attempts and ceding the lead with four bogeys on the front side.

Jim Furyk (65), D.A. Points (67) and John Senden (68) were one shot behind the leaders at 136. Stricker and another American veteran, Scott Verplank, were also at 4 under coming to the end of their rounds.

“It feels great,” Points said, “but it’s only Friday. It’s going to feel a lot better when it’s Sunday.”

Rory McIlroy hasn’t given up challenging on the weekend, even after struggling to a 73 that included a triple bogey. He was eight shots off the lead.

Just making it through the first two days was an accomplishment for McIlroy, given what he did on his third hole of the tournament. The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland strained a tendon when he foolishly took a swing with his ball sitting against a thick tree root Thursday.

He considered quitting a couple of times, but felt comfortable about carrying on after getting an MRI and being told by the medical staff that he couldn’t do any more damage. With a heavily taped arm and wrist, he carried on another day - and did well enough to make it to the weekend.

“If it wasn’t a major,” he said, “I probably would’ve stopped.”

McIlroy blew away the field at Congressional two months ago with a record-setting 16-under score. He’s become the new face of the game with Woods struggling, arriving at this course in Atlanta’s sprawling northern suburbs as the favorite.

That ill-advised swing might have ruined his chances.

McIlroy said his wrist didn’t hurt as much in the second round. Actually, a shaky putter was his main problem.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball OK,” he said. “I gave myself a few chances but I just didn’t putt very well at all. I’m struggling on the greens this week.”

There was also a misjudged tee shot at the par-3 17th.

Torn between clubs, he actually went for a little more distance with a 6-iron. But he took a little bit off his swing, got the ball a little too high and watched in disbelief as a slight breeze carried it into the water. He had to take a drop, then three-putted.

Coming off a 40-foot birdie putt at the 16th that got him into the red, the triple bogey was a momentum killer. “It was tough to come back from that,” McIlroy said.

But he’s not conceding the Wanamaker Trophy to anyone.

“I hope to make a good run at it the next couple of days,” McIlroy said. “I feel as if I can still make birdies out there. If I didn’t think I could contend, I probably wouldn’t be playing.”

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith admitted sleeping on the lead of the biggest tournament available to him might be a problem.

''I can't say, 'Oh, it won't bother me.' But to me, it's fun,'' Smith said after shooting a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.

''To see my name on the board out there, it's not like I'm blind to the leaderboard, that was cool,'' said Smith, who is playing in his fourth Senior PGA and third at Harbor Shores - where he has made the 36-hole cut the previous two times.

''All my members are taking pictures and I know at home my members are pulling up that screen and like I tell them, going to the middle and looking down. So it probably took them a while to find my name today."

Petrovic, who was among the leaders in the Regions Tradition last week before a poor final round, said it was a little bit of a surprise when he heard Smith was at 7 under through 17 holes.

''There was a little bit of buzz, we were talking about it,'' he said. ''I heard somebody say 7 under and I said 'who is it? And we looked up, but we didn't know who the player was. In a tournament like this, you know how it is, there's always one guy, one smart-alec that shoots 7, 8 under in the first round.''

Smith, who birdied five consecutive holes starting at the seventh, played college golf at UCLA and knocked around the mini tours and South Africa for several years without ever gaining his tour card. He was college teammates with some of the players in the field, including Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf and Steve Pate, but said he no longer seeks the tour life.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


''It's just not me anymore,'' he said. ''So that's why maybe I do have an advantage this week because it's just fun to me. It's like my wife said - just enjoy the ride.''

Petrovic had seven birdies in his round while McCarron and Lonard played bogey-free rounds. Short holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par 4 12th and made eagle on the par 5 ninth hole, his last hole of the day.

McCarron is the only one of the six leaders with a major on his resume. He won the Senior Players Championship last year, and played The Players Championship recently.

''It was a lot of fun being on that stage, of course being at The Players with the best players in the world playing one of the best golf courses in the world,'' he said. ''I think the preparation there and just being on that stage helped me going into last week in Alabama, and certainly this week.''

The top two money winners on the PGA Tour Champions are not in Benton Harbor. Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.

Paul Goydos, a five-time senior winner including the 2016 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Chris Williams of South Africa shot 67. Joe Durant, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Jerry Pate and Fred Funk were among 15 players at 68.

Colin Montgomerie, who won the first of consecutive Senior PGA titles here in 2014, shot 69, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off a win last week in the first major of the year at the Regions Tradition, opened with a 70.