That's a relief: Woods gets in his own event

By Associated PressOctober 11, 2011, 10:29 pm

LOS ANGELES – Tiger Woods was awfully happy he could announce his own name in the field of the Chevron World Challenge.

Woods expressed gratitude to the tournament committee Tuesday after squeaking into the event he hosts. His world ranking barely stayed in the top 50 last month, just high enough to qualify for an exemption, and he’ll be at Sherwood Country Club in seven weeks for the final event of his so-far winless season.

After a brutal two-year stretch of personal turmoil and reinvention, Woods appears eager to continue his climb back from his latest low. Woods has dropped from No. 49 to 52 since clinching a spot the Chevron field, and he finished tied for 30th last week in Northern California in the Frys.com Open, his first tournament in nearly two months.

“I had (rankings) points rolling off from ’09,” Woods said at a news conference in Hollywood. “I had a very good year that year. I won, what, seven times around the world, so all those points are coming off. Unfortunately, I fell quite a bit, and I fell fast. Good news is, by playing next year, I have no points coming off, so I can start rebuilding.”

Rebuilding is the theme of Woods’ life these days as he moves forward from injuries to his left knee and Achilles tendon, along with the disintegration of his marriage and public image. He plans to play a full schedule in 2012, but he’ll play in the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup in the next few weeks before returning to his native California for the Chevron tournament.

“I’m really looking forward to going down to Australia and playing because now I have that feeling of playing again, not just hitting ball after ball after ball on the range,” Woods said.

Woods will join an American-heavy Chevron field of 18 in Thousand Oaks, including Steve Stricker, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley. FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas also received an exemption.

Woods has won the tournament four times, but lost in a playoff last year after Graeme McDowell rallied from four strokes back in the final round. Although he blew a late lead, Woods remains proud of his performance while he was still rebuilding his swing with coach Sean Foley.

“I had one golf shot only, and that was it,” Woods said. “That was going to be a draw. I couldn’t hit a fade. What we were working on at the time limited me to only hitting one golf shot. I’m like, ‘OK, well, how am I supposed to play this week? I’m going to have to rely on my putter.’ So I hit the ball well.”

The tournament probably could have put Woods in its field this year even if his ranking hadn’t stayed high enough for an exemption under the current rules, but such a move might have prevented the tournament from awarding ranking points.

While Woods’ return to golf dominance still is far from certain, he remains the sport’s biggest icon. Several hundred fans showed up Tuesday to watch Woods put on a good-natured putting exhibition in the middle of the Hollywood and Highland retail complex built around the Kodak Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards.

After several fans competed for the chance to walk inside the ropes with Woods during the first round at Sherwood, he competed against the winner on a large artificial putting green. The crowd included at least two Tiger impersonators – no surprise in the mall next-door to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and its motley collection of celebrity lookalikes.

Woods interacted with fans and engaged in a little trash-talk with the putting competitors, appearing at ease after a fan threw a hot dog in Woods’ direction last Sunday in San Martin.

As the world’s most popular golfer, Woods is aware of the risks he takes every weekend.

“Part of the lure of our sport is our access,” Woods said. “Fans can literally reach out and touch you. You don’t ever touch football players unless they jump in the stands. That personal interaction is what makes golf so special. We’ve been very fortunate over the years to have everything turn out positively.

“This guy was just trying to gain attention for himself, which he did. I’ve had another fan throw an orange in Phoenix one year. Unfortunately, people have a few of their libations of choice, and do things that they probably don’t normally do.”

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Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished four shots behind Koepka, who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."

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Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

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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New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

“You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

Who’s the best at their best?

In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took him a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good, to be overlooked any longer.

And he’s far from done.

“For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”

Watch: Koepka holes out from off the green at 16

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 5:36 am

Brooks Koepka faced a stiff challenge from Gary Woodland on Sunday in South Korea, but eventually it came time to end the suspense.

Having clung to a slim lead for much of the back nine, Koepka looked as though he was going to have to scramble just to save par when he missed the green at 16. 

Instead, caddie Ricky Elliott was able to leave Koepka's putter in the bag.

That holeout combined with a bogey from Woodland at 17 put Koepka ahead by three, allowing him to walk to victory and to the top of the world rankings.