Notes Tigers Tough Week No Masters for Villegas

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2006, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods ended a difficult week with his most troublesome round at The Players Championship.
 
Woods shot a 3-over 75 in the final round Sunday and tied for 22nd place, 15 strokes behind winner Stephen Ames.
 
Woods made two double bogeys and struggled everywhere except off the tee, but said he managed to stay focused despite his father's failing health.
 
'If you tee it up, you tee it up and give it everything you've got,' he said. 'That's how I was taught to play the game, and that's how I play it.'
 
Woods traveled cross country Tuesday to check on his father, Earl Woods, who has been battling cancer in Cypress, Calif. He missed the final practice round and considered withdrawing from the tournament, but he decided to return in hopes of lifting his father's spirits with some highlights.
 
He didn't have very many on the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass, the site of his 1994 U.S. Amateur victory.
 
'Frustrating in the sense that I threw away so many shots around the greens this week,' said Woods, who finished at 1-over 289. 'This weekend was probably one of my best driving performances all year. Hit my irons terrible and putted even worse.'
 
Woods wasn't sure when he would return to see his dad. He was scheduled to drive home and play Monday and Tuesday in the Tavistock Cup, an annual match between PGA Tour players who live in the exclusive Orlando communities of Isleworth and Lake Nona.
 
He said he planned to arrive in Augusta, Ga., for the Masters next Monday.
 
But everything will depend on his father's condition.
 
'You should always try and look at the glass as half full,' he said. 'That's what you have to do in life, and there's always a bright side to everything. You've just got to find it sometimes.'
 
MASTERS MISS
Rookie Camilo Villegas finished a birdie shy of making the Masters field.
 
Villegas entered The Players needing a strong showing to move into the top 10 on the money list and earn a trip to Augusta for the tour's first major in two weeks.
 
He got really close, but came up $94,921 short. He finished in a four-way tie for third at 5 under with Pat Perez, Jim Furyk and Henrik Stenson. Had Villegas made one more birdie, he would have been alone in third and picked up enough prize money to pass Stuart Appleby for 10th.
 
'I gave it my best ... but hopefully there will be plenty of Masters for me in the future,' said Villegas, who got into The Players as an alternate when fellow former Florida golfer Chris DiMarco pulled out with a rib injury.
 
Villegas felt like he left a birdie or two on the course, most notably the 4-footer he missed on No. 11 that turned into a three-putt par.
 
'It's my first year out here and I've got nothing to complain about,' said Villegas, who will take two weeks off after playing five consecutive tournaments. 'It's been so much fun getting to play great golf course, great tournaments with the best players in the world. ... It's been a fun ride.'
 
Fellow rookie J.B. Holmes also missed the cut for the Masters. Holmes was 10th on the money list before last week's Bay Hill Invitational, but finished 48th there and then tied for 38th at The Players.
 
MORE MELTDOWNS
Three prominent players quickly fell out of contention Sunday, the third consecutive day at least one golfer has suddenly dropped from the leaderboard.
 
Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Mike Weir -- all of them playing in one of the final two pairings -- were a combined 13 over after the first five holes Sunday.
 
Singh shot a 5-over 77 and finished tied for eighth. Garcia (78) and Weir (79) were 14th and 22nd, respectively.
 
'What can you do?' said Garcia, who has struggled in the final round all year. 'You're not going to kill yourself. You're just going to keep working on it and hopefully one of these years I'll have a good Sunday.'
 
At least they started the day in the mix.
 
Davis Love III was a record-tying 18 shots worse between the first and second rounds and became the first player in the 33-year history of the PGA Tour's showcase event to go from leading the field to missing the cut.
 
Adam Scott shot a 10-over 82 in the third round Saturday, dropping from the leaderboard to near the back of the pack.
 
FOUR OF A KIND
Fred Couples became the first player in tournament history with two aces. Couples rolled in a 9-iron shot from 159 yards away on No. 13, making the fourth ace in three days at The Players Championship.
 
Justin Leonard and Jesper Parnevik each aced No. 13 on Friday. Henrik Stenson had one there Saturday. The four aces marked the most in any year at The Players.
 
Couples also made a hole-in-one in 1997 at the famed 17th, the daunting island hole at the TPC at Sawgrass.
 
DIVOTS
Arron Oberholser really struggled after taking the a one-shot lead to No. 17 in the third round Saturday. He played his final 20 holes at 14 over, including a 9-over 81 in the final round. He had three double-bogeys and two triples, including one at the 17th that seemingly triggered the slide. ... Vaughn Taylor and Fredrik Jacobson were the only players Sunday to birdie each of the four par 5s. ... The Stadium Course will undergo a massive redesign beginning next week. The current topsoil will be replaced with a sand base and a drainage system, helping the course handle rain and water better. The tournament also will be moved from late March to early May.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - The Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


    Getty Images

    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

    Getty Images

    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

    Getty Images

    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.