Notes Slimmer Tiger still on road to recovery

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio ' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem saw Tiger Woods for the first time since his season-ending surgery, and reported Sunday that the No. 1-ranked golfer was his usual self, except for being about 10 pounds lighter and walking with a slight limp.
 
He lost 12 or 13 pounds after surgery, gained a few back, Finchem said. He looks kind of thin.
 
Woods and Finchem were at Congressional Country Club to speak with the members about the club hosting the AT&T National for six years after the 2012 U.S. Open. Results of the vote are not expected until later this month.
 
And did the commissioner tell Woods how much he missed him?
 
No, I said we missed him ' the collective enterprise, Finchem said with a grin. You guys, tournaments, sponsors, the fans in Venezuela who watch us on TV. Everybody misses him.
 
Finchem said he had no indication when Woods might return, but little doubt how he will return.
 
The doctors set a minimum of six months, so thats what Im assuming, Finchem said. And he seems fine. He seems his usual self. He was limping a little bit at Congressional, but he said he started his rehab and he was excited about that because he had been bored to death.
 
In my mind, its only a question of when he starts coming back. And theres no doubt in my mind hell be the same Tiger hes been, Finchem added.
 
APPLYING SPIN
 
Despite bogeying three of the final four holes to turn a one-shot lead into a withering two-stroke defeat, Phil Mickelson forced a smile and repeatedly said how well he thought he played in his final-round 70 at the Bridgestone.
 
In his first two statements about his round, he described six good shots in the final five holes, and said he hit three great shots at No. 14 and played the 16th hole great.
 
Asked if he could take any positives out of his late slide, Mickelson said, I played great, I really played well. I played great today. I felt like I should have shot 63 or 64, had countless birdie opportunities from 6 to 15 feet and then I make three bogeys on the last four holes and turn a 64 into a 70.
 
So I feel like Im playing well, I just need to get that final piece of scoring down.
 
RYDER CUP UPDATE
 
Steve Stricker fell out of contention with a 75 in the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational and then closed with a 70 to tie for 43rd ' but he actually made up ground in the Ryder Cup race for Americans.
 
Stricker is still No. 8 in the standings ' the top eight are automatic selections ' and only 24 points behind Boo Weekley in the rankings, which end next week with the PGA Championship.
 
There was some jumbling right behind them, although Woody Austin remained in ninth place about 180 points back. That translates to roughly $90,000 in earnings he must make at Oakland Hills.
 
As for the reshuffling?
 
Hunter Mahan birdied his last two holes for a 68 to tie for 10th in Akron, moving up one spot to No. 10 in the rankings. D.J. Trahan tied for eighth at Firestone and moved up one spot to No. 11. Rocco Mediate tied for 52nd and fell two positions to No. 12. They are followed by Sean OHair and Zach Johnson (who switched spots at Nos. 13 and 14) and Brandt Snedeker.
 
STRAIGHT MAN
 
Peter Lonard should be able to afford that ticket back across the pond.
 
The Aussie joked earlier this week that he had to win to afford the airfare to Germany to see a musician friend play a concert.
 
Lonard followed rounds of 69, 66 and 72 with a closing 66 to finish at 7-under 273 at the Bridgestone, good for a tie for sixth with Darren Clarke. Lonard had tied for fourth a year ago in Akron.
 
Asked the secret to his recent success, he cracked: Maybe I hit it straighter than I used to. Maybe Im smarter. I dont know, its definitely not smarter.
 
DATE CHANGE
 
The 2009 Bridgestone will be a week later on the calendar, Aug. 6-9. It will still precede the PGA Championship, which will be Aug. 13-16 at Hazeltine.
 
HES BAA-AACK
 
Josh Stuber, the crunchy-cream pie chef who became a golf celebrity for a weekend, is back working at Firestone Country Club.
 
Stuber was on the loading dock putting pies in a cart during the third round of the 2006 Bridgestone Invitational when Tiger Woods overshot the ninth green. The ball clicked off the cement sidewalk and then caromed all the way up and over the roof of Firestones clubhouse.
 
The ball clanged around on the roof before sliding off and nearly hitting Stuber in the head. He thought someone was making fun of him, throwing a ball his way. After looking around, he picked up the ball and stuffed it into his pocket. Then he hopped in a golf cart and left the course, hoping to cash his weekly paycheck.
 
Back on the course, tour officials, security people, police and almost everyone else started an in-depth search for the ball. A review of a tape taken from a clubhouse security camera showed a man with a white chefs hat picking up a ball. Someone identified that man as Stuber.
 
By the time he returned to the course, Woods had taken a free drop, made a bogey to complete a 6-under 64 and took a one-shot lead. He won the next day in a playoff.
 
Woods later signed the ball for Stuber ' To Josh. Nice catch, Tiger Woods.
 
Stuber later left his job at the course and worked at a Chinese restaurant but recently returned to the cooking staff at Firestone.
 
Thankfully, no shots came even remotely close to him on Sunday.
 
DIVOTS
 
A year after only one person (winner Tiger Woods) finished under par, there were 26 subpar scores. The victory was Vijay Singhs 20th since turning 40, extending his own PGA TOUR record (Sam Snead is second with 17). It was the fourth time that Singh won a tournament the week before a major championship. Singh also became the oldest player ' by more than 7 years ' to win a World Golf Championship event. Paul Caseys 65 was the low round of the day.
 
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    Haas nearly shoots age in taking Champions playoff opener lead

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 10:05 pm

    RICHMOND, Va.  -- Jay Haas shot a 7-under 65 - missing his age by a stroke - to take a two-shot lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

    Trying to become the oldest winner in tour history, the 64-year-old Haas birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes to get to 11-under 133 on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

    ''I've been out here too long to know that I can learn to expect anything,'' Haas said. ''While I'm hopeful every day and I've been playing OK, the last couple weeks have not been very good, but this week has been much better. I love this golf course and it looks good to my eye. Most of the holes look like I'm going to hit a good shot, so I enjoy playing here.''

    Mike Fetchick set the age record of 63 years to the day in the 1985 Hilton Head event. Haas is second on the list, taking the 2016 Toshiba Classic at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days for his 18th senior title.

    ''That's a good way to say I'm old, 'experience,''' Haas said. ''I think I'm very nervous most of the time when I play and today was no exception, but I continued to hit good shots and, hopefully, I can put one foot in front of the other, one shot at a time, do what I tell my son to do every time, you know? See if I can put some of those adages to work tomorrow.''


    Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


    Stephen Ames and Scott Dunlap were tied for second after the round that started in light rain. Ames had a 67, and Dunlap shot 68.

    Defending champion Bernhard Langer had a 66 to join Billy Mayfair (67) and Woody Austin (68) at 9 under. Langer won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the season points lead. The 61-year-old German star has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

    The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

    Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, was tied for 23rd at 4 under after a 71.

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    Sergio leads by 4 entering final round at Valderrama

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 9:26 pm

    Sergio Garcia closed with three straight birdies to shoot a 7-under 64 on Saturday, taking a four-shot lead into the third and final round of the Andalusia Valderrama Masters.

    The tournament, which Garcia has won  twice (2017, 2011), was reduced to 54 holes because of numerous weather-related delays.

    With his bogey-free round, Garcia moved to 10 under, four shots clear of Englishman Ashley Chesters, who shot a 1-under 70.


    Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


    "Hopefully we'll be able to play well tomorrow and get another win at Valderrama," Garcia said. "Hopefully I can finish it in style."

    Chesters, however, is conceding nothing. "There's always a chance," he said. "There's not a lot of pressure on me."

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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

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    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."