Notes Tiger vs Nicklaus Quite the Comparison
After he won the 2002 U.S. Open for his eighth major, Golf Digest asked readers on its Web site if they thought he would break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors, and 73 percent said yes. The same question was posed two years later -- with Woods still stuck on eight majors -- and 71 percent said no.
This week, the online survey by Golf Digest asked how many times he would win the Masters. Nearly 70 percent said either seven or eight green jackets.
If nothing else, winning the Masters allows conversations to resume about his quest to reach 18 majors. Woods now has nine majors at age 29, trailing only Nicklaus and Walter Hagen (11), tied with Ben Hogan and Gary Player.
Woods remains ahead of schedule.
He has won nine of his first 33 majors as a pro. Nicklaus had won seven at that point.
Woods twice has gone 10 majors without winning, while Nicklaus' longest drought at this stage in his career was 12 majors, from the '67 U.S. Open to the '70 British Open at St. Andrews.
But if Woods wants to keep pace, the next five years will be crucial. Nicklaus won seven of the next 22 majors after ending his dry spell, including multiple-major seasons in 1972 and 1975.
Nicklaus says he wasn't aware of Bobby Jones' record of 13 majors (including six amateur titles) until the Golden Bear won his 10th. Woods was not aware he was halfway to Nicklaus' mark after winning the Masters.
``I haven't thought about it -- that's the first time,'' he said. ``I guess I am halfway. A long way to go.''
OFF THE MARK
Mark O'Meara has one more chance to secure full-exempt status for the year.
O'Meara missed the final two months last year with a wrist injury and was given a minor medical extension. Because he earned $543,866, the two-time major winner had eight tournaments to make $79,396 -- which would give him the equivalent of 125th on the money list last year.
He has played seven times this year, made three cuts and is $10,892 short with one tournament left. O'Meara, 48, helped his cause last week at the Masters by tying for 31st to earn $46,550.
O'Meara likely only needs to make the cut at his next tournament to make up the difference.
Either way, he plans a full schedule. O'Meara already has exemptions to the Wachovia Championship and the Byron Nelson Championship. If he still doesn't have his card by the end of the year, he can use his one-time exemption for top 50 in career money to play next year.
Gene Sarazen (1935) and Fuzzy Zoeller (1979) are the only players to win a green jacket on their first try, but there was a strong showing by Masters rookies this year.
Luke Donald, who staggered to a 77 when the second round was completed Saturday morning, closed with two 69s to tie for third. Rod Pampling and Mark Hensby of Australia tied for fifth, while David Howell of England recovered from his third round (76) to shoot 69 and finish in a tie for 11th.
All of them will be back next year by finishing in the top 16.
The one to watch the rest of the year might be Donald, whose classic swing and level head might allow him to start contending in the majors on a regular basis. Donald started last year at No. 130 in the world ranking and has climbed to No. 13 after the Masters.
Nike Golf was quick to announce that for the first time in its short history making golf clubs, more players used its irons than any other brand at a PGA Tour event -- and at the Masters, no less.
But only at the Masters can aging champions tee it up, and that's what caused the biggest stir last week at Augusta National. Nike was said to have paid $20,000 for players to use its irons.
Billy Casper played the Masters for the first time since 2001, carrying a Nike bag and using its clubs to post a 106. Charles Coody also switched to the swoosh, while Tommy Aaron continued to carry a Titleist bag -- stuffed with Nike clubs, of course. Other aging champs using Nike clubs were Sandy Lyle and Ray Floyd.
Kel Devlin at Nike said it was an example of how aggressive the company has been signing up players from all tours.
``This is not a one-week deal,'' Devlin said.
Having the most irons in play, according to the Darrell Survey, allows Nike to run advertisements telling everyone about it. But it probably gets more attention from its staff member wearing a green jacket Sunday -- Tiger Woods.
CADDIE FOR A CURE
The caddie for two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer has come up with unique program to raise money for leukemia research and other charities.
Russ Holden has started ``Caddy For a Cure,'' which allows people to bid for a chance to caddie for a PGA Tour player during a practice round at five tournaments this year.
Among the players who already have signed up are Langer, Vijay Singh, Tom Lehman, Stewart Cink, Sergio Garcia, Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard, Kenny Perry and Peter Jacobsen.
Cink, Langer, Lehman and Fred Funk were auctioned off for the first tournament, the MCI Heritage.
The not-for-profit group will give 100 percent of the proceeds to four charities -- the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, the player's charity of his choice, the tournament's charity and the PGA Tour Caddie benevolent fund.
Other tournaments where players will be involved in the program are the Houston Open, the Colonial, the Barclay's Classic at Westchester and the John Deere Classic.
Players might want to consider going to the John Deere Classic with hopes of winning soon. Three players in the field last year won the following week -- Jonathan Byrd at the B.C. Open, Todd Hamilton at the British Open and D.A. Points on the Nationwide Tour. ... Chris DiMarco became the 41st player to finish second to Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour. ... Last week was the first time Woods won any tournament when shooting over par in the first round. He opened with a 74, the highest first round by a Masters champion since Mark O'Meara in 1998.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods has won as many majors (9) as the next four players in the world ranking combined -- Vijay Singh (3), Ernie Els (3), Phil Mickelson (1) and Retief Goosen (2).
``Just wondering what he was smoking.'' -- Tiger Woods, on what he thought when Jack Nicklaus said Woods might win more green jackets than Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer combined.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead
LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.
Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.
Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.
Marina Alex was second after a 68.
So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.
Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.
Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut
It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.
Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.
When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:
Won't be needing this. pic.twitter.com/xbe9abvCjn— Skratch (@Skratch) April 20, 2018
It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.
Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.
Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.
Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36
SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.
He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.
''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''
Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.
They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).
Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.
Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.
Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.
It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.
Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.
The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.
Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.
''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''
The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.
''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.
The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.
Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2
RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.
Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.
''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''
On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.
''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.
Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.
''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''
Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.
''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''
Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.
First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.