Notes Scott Longer Than Lefty as a Lefty
And dont forget Bay Hill, where Woods made a 25-foot putt on the final hole that his caddie said had a 1-in-15 chance of going in.
Even greatness in golf requires good fortune, and Woods had plenty during his latest winning streak.
That ran out at Doral, and so did a streak that began in September. Woods didnt make anything on Saturday, when he fell five shots behind Geoff Ogilvy, and he didnt make enough on Sunday and Monday, finishing two shots behind.
People dont really understand you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments, Woods said. I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. Thats what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things werent going that way this week.
Even with the streak over, it is no less amazing how much Woods wins relative to his peers.
Among active players, Woods, Vijay Singh and David Duval are the only ones to have strung together at least three straight victories.
Duval closed out his 1997 season with three straight wins. Singh won three straight during his nine-win season in 2004. Woods has done it five times'two streaks ended at three wins, one at five, one at six, one at seven.
It was going to end at some point, Ogilvy said after stopping the latest PGA TOUR streak at five.
Ogilvys only frustration was players being labeled as failures at the expense of Woods winning so much.
Its fun to watch the streak and its fun to watch the fans get so excited about stuff, Ogilvy said. The frustrating thing is that people think that were not trying and were flying the white flag. I dont think thats true in any case, really.
There have been seven winning streaks of at least three PGA TOUR events since 1997. Name the only player who has ended those streaks more than once. Answer below.
Adam Scott impressed many observers by playing a shot left-handed out of the bushes at Doral on the 17th hole of the second round. He isnt the only player to attempt a shot from the other side, but this was a full swing, and a beautiful one. Scott took the inverted club all the way back to parallel, and advanced it some 50 yards.
Apparently, hes quite good with a driver, too.
Swing coach Butch Harmon tells the story of Scott playing a practice round with Phil Mickelson at East Lake, asking to try Leftys driver on the 14th. He striped it, leaving him only 20 or so yards behind Mickelson.
Harmon was out in the fairway, and kicked Scotts ball forward so that it was nearly 10 yards ahead of Mickelson.
Suffice to say, Mickelson was surprised that Scott put it past him.
Even better, Harmon waited about four months before he told Mickelson what had happened. No doubt, Lefty was relieved.
Jim Furyk already has played eight times, and he now embarks on the busiest time of his year. Furyk said he will have no more than one week off at a time through the end of the TOUR Championship the last weekend in September, which has made him determined to cut back.
The issue we have now is theres a lot of good events, and when theyre crammed together, Ive really struggled making my schedule, Furyk said. It used to be easy. All those events in the fall, I only played one on the schedule (Las Vegas). Those other events were sprinkled in, and those were my weeks off. From now, I dont have a two-week break in the schedule unless I get hurt.
He is playing New Orleans because he does not want a two-week break before the Masters. His favorite tracks are Hilton Head, Colonial, Memorial and the Buick Open, and there are cant-miss events like Wachovia, The Players Championship and AT&T National.
The British Open is the first of four straight weeks because he is the defending champion at the Canadian Open.
Ive got to cut somewhere, but I dont know where, Furyk said. Im playing a lot at events that I think are OK for my game, but Im trying to not be worn out for the events I really love in summer. Next year, Ill do a better job. It should have taken me six months to figure it out, and its taken my two years.
Fred Couples and Greg Norman will square off long before the Presidents Cup next year. Both have agreed to play June 16-17 in the Telus World Skins Game, to be held at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in western Canada.
Theyve always had tremendous fields for this event, and Im looking forward to going up against the other players, including Greg, Couples said. The event will be held the Monday and Tuesday after the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Couples has played the Canadian skins event eight times and earned $1.11 million, more than anyone. Norman won in 1997 by capturing 13 skins worth $275,000.
Other players are still to be announced, although defending champion John Daly will not be playing.
He ended Woods six-tournament streak in 2000 at the Buick Invitational, and Duvals three-tournament streak at the Mercedes Championships in 1998 when it was played at La Costa.
The other players who won tournaments to end Woods winning streaks were Duffy Waldorf (00 Disney), Robert Damron (01 Byron Nelson), Henrik Stenson (07 Match Play) and Geoff Ogilvy at Doral.
Ryan Palmer ended Singhs streak in 2004 when he won at Disney.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has nine consecutive top-five finishes on the PGA TOUR, the longest streak of his career.
Some people walk away thinking, Geez, that course must be great because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Other people walk away saying, Well, that course must be boring to play because the pros cant make any birdies on it. Everyone seems to be pretty split on the idea whether hard is good.'Geoff Ogilvy.
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Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.
Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.
While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.
“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”
Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.
“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”
Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.
McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.
“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”
The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.
“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”
Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence
CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.
Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.
Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.
It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.
“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”
Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.
“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection
CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.
Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.
Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”
Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.
“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”
Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.
“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”