Notes Tigers Breaks Golf Etiquette

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Zach Johnson and Sergia Garcia were finishing out the ninth hole at East Lake when someone else's ball came skidding through the green.
 
Guess who was too strong for his own good? Tiger Woods.
 
On his way to a dominating eight-stroke win in the TOUR Championship, Woods also violated one of golf's basic no-no's Sunday by hitting into the group ahead of him.
 
It happened at the par-5 ninth to the penultimate twosome. Garcia needed extra time after knocking his second shot into the adjacent first fairway. Johnson also took three shots to reach the green on the 600-yard hole.
 
Coming up right behind them was Woods, whose booming drive still left him 286 yards from the flag. He went ahead and played his second shot with a 5-wood, aiming for a bunker. Instead, he wound up reaching the green that Garcia and Johnson were still playing.
 
'Obviously, he didn't think he'd be able to get it there,' said Garcia, who salvaged a par. 'Somehow he did. It was no big deal.'
 
It appeared to affect Johnson, who three-putted from 29 feet for a bogey at a hole that provided plenty of birdies. But he dismissed the breakdown in etiquette.
 
'I had no idea whose ball it was,' said Johnson, who tied for second with Mark Calcavecchia. 'I figured it was Tiger's. But it didn't get to me. I just lost my focus a little bit.'
 
Woods apologized to Garcia and Johnson.
 
'I didn't think I could hit it that far,' the winner said.
 
STRICKER'S SEASON:
Steve Stricker closed out his surprising season by finishing second in the FedExCup, edging Phil Mickelson for the runner-up spot.
 
Stricker closed with a 3-under 67, though a mediocre third round (71) ended any hopes of claiming the $10 million prize.
 
'I wish I had given myself a better chance,' Stricker said. 'I just couldn't get the putter going.'
 
All in all, though, it was a remarkable year for a player who lost his card two years ago and came into this season with just over $10 million in career earnings. He played in the final group of a major for the first time at the British Open, and has top-10 finishes in the first three events of the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
 
He tied for 17th among 30 players at the TOUR Championship.
 
'Overall, I'm just elated with the year I had,' Stricker said. 'I feel like I'm a much more confident player. I'm striking the ball better. I'm more aggressive.'
 
But it won't change his lifestyle. After the Presidents Cup, he'll spend the winter at his home in Wisconsin, getting in some bow hunting with friends and probably taking a few practice swings in the snow.
 
'In December,' he said, 'I'll be out there hitting a few.'
 
SHAKY PUTTER:
Mark Calcavecchia knew his odds of catching Tiger Woods were slim to begin with -- and he had no chance when the putter faltered.
 
Calcavecchia, who started the final round three shots back, wound up eight behind in a tie for second after closing with a 1-over 71.
 
After starting with a birdie, Calcavecchia's putting woes began when he missed a 6-footer to save par at the par-3 second. Woods also lipped out a short putt, leaving his lead at two strokes.
 
Woods made his first birdie at No. 6, but Calcavacchia had a chance to get it back when he stood over a 4-footer at the next hole. But the ball skidded by the cup and he settled for par, which turned out to be his final gasp.
 
Woods responded with two straight birdies, made the turn with a four-shot lead and steadily pulled away. When Calcavacchia missed a 5-foot birdie try at No. 16, he tossed his putter toward the bag in disgust.
 
Still, he had no complaints about where he finished in the elite field.
 
'I had no expectations coming in here,' Calcavecchia said. 'I was clearly the favorite to finish 30th this week, and tying for second in pretty good.'
 
GEORGIA ON HIS MIND:
Zach Johnson might want to lobby to play all PGA TOUR events in the state of Georgia.
 
In April, he claimed his first major at the Masters. A month after his Augusta triumph, he won the AT&T Classic in suburban Atlanta. Finally, he tied for second in the Tour Championship, not far from downtown Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club.
 
'Georgia has been awfully kind to me,' Johnson said. 'I'm very, very thankful.'
 
LEFTY'S WOES:
Phil Mickelson's up-and-down year took another dip in the wrong direction at East Lake.
 
Lefty shot 70 and 71 on the weekend, even though the course was set up to go low. He wound up 20th, a staggering 18 strokes behind winner Tiger Woods.
 
Asked how he played, Mickelson replied, 'Oh, not so great.'
 
He had a chance to claim the inaugural FedExCup but never seriously challenged Woods' grip on the mammoth prize. In a sense, that epitomized Mickelson's year.
 
He won three times. He lost twice in playoffs. But he went through June and July without cashing a paycheck, missing the cut at the both the U.S. and British Opens.
 
'It's hard for me to grade my year, because I've had such highs and such lows,' Mickelson said. 'It's something I'm going to get to address in the offseason and try to get back to being a little more consistent and having opportunities to win.'
 
STAT OF THE DAY:
East Lake finally toughened up on the final day. For the first time all week, the course played over par at 70.167. The first three rounds averaged less than 68.
 
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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

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "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."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.