Tiger before the fall I was right there

By Associated PressJune 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' There are two ways to view Tiger Woods opening round in defense of his U.S. Open title.
 
Bad.
 
And worse.
 
Lee Trevino loved to say that what mattered in golf was not how, but how many. By that measure, Woods definitely had too many by the end of Friday, but it was how he collected them that might have been more discouraging still.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods flails out of the rough on his way to a 4-over 74 in Round 1. (Getty Images)
About the only hopeful thing to be said about Woods 4-over 74 is that he made two double bogeys in his first round at Torrey Pines, too, and still managed to close the gap ' even though it took him 91 holes to do it.
 
But there, he salvaged a 1-over 71 that left him four shots behind the leaders after one round. This time, Woods already is staring at a 10-shot deficit, and the most hes ever made up after a disastrous first round is seven shots, at the 2005 Masters.
 
And thats hardly the only arrow pointing in the wrong direction.
 
Woods missed four putts inside 10 feet ' usually gimme range for him ' and three of them were over the closing four holes, when he went double bogey, bogey, par, bogey just as he seemed poised for a power finish. Either he made a few questionable decisions down the stretch, or he simply got lulled into a false sense of security. Either way, it was something you rarely associate with Woods, and it cost him four strokes.
 
Unfortunately, Woods said, didnt finish the round off the way I wanted to.
 
Exactly why that was is a matter of some conjecture. Woods wrote it off largely to the mud that stuck to his ball on two occasions because of the still soggy condition of the Bethpage Black course. But playing partner Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion who knows how mentally exhausting it can be to close out a tough round, had a different take.
 
He maybe thought the job was done, the Irishman said. And thatll come back to bite you.
 
Woods has had closing stretches this bad or worse three times before on the PGA Tour, but each of those involved a triple bogey or worse. What made this one even more unusual is that just before the tournament, Woods spoke thoughtfully about how Mike Davis, the U.S. Golf Association official in charge of setting up the course, was hoping to lure players out of their comfort zone.
 
Before it was so routine ' miss the fairway, wedge out. Now you have that option, Woods said. And I think guys are making more mistakes than before because now they have choices.
 
Its easy to imagine Woods being in a rush to make up ground at the start of the day. Hed only completed six holes before rain stopped play a day earlier, and when he returned Friday morning he faced a 10-footer for par. After missing that, though, Woods sprinkled two birdies among five pars, the second at No. 14 putting him at even par, tied for fourth, one shot off the lead. The table appeared to be set for one of his slam-bang finishes.
 
I was right there where I needed to be, Woods said, and two bad shots and a mud ball later, here we go and Im at 4 over par.
 
But rewind the tape of that sequence, back to Woods standing in the rough alongside the 15th fairway, and watch it for yourself. Its not quite as breezy as he makes it sound.
 
Got a great lie there, went for it. Plug it in the face, took a drop. Hit a decent pitch but I didnt think it was going to come all the way back to my feet like that. Blocked the first putt and hit a bad second putt.
 
(At) 16, caught a mud ball there and didnt make the putt. Didnt get up and down on 18, bad tee shot, led to another bogey.
 
Heres a less charitable description:
 
At 15, Woods got suckered into firing at the green when he should have known better. He took a drop when the ball plugged in the rough just above a greenside bunker, and hit a bad chip that appeared to stop some 20 feet from the flag but then rolled 50 feet all the way down the slope. He missed a 3-footer for bogey.
 
At 16, Woods arrived in the fairway to find a clump of mud on the left side of the ball and figured it would dive right. So he set up for a draw and instead hit a slice. After a pitch to 8 feet, he missed his par putt.
 
The par-3 17th was a routine two-putt par, but at 18, he drove into a fairway bunker, then into the greenside rough, and chipped to 8 feet. Instead of his normal, stalk-the-putt-from-every-angle routine, he walked up quickly and missed the putt for par.
 
Even though the weather was beginning to turn favorable, setting up an afternoon round where the scoring average would end up almost two strokes lower, Woods had no desire to keep playing. To his credit, he recognized he was more likely to throw his clubs than put them to good use.
 
The way I feel right now, no. I dont want to go back out there right now. Probably, he said, Id be a few clubs light.
 
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    Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship

    By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

    ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

    The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

    ''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

    The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.


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    ''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

    Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

    ''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

    Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

    The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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    McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

    ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

    Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

    Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.


    Projected FedExCup standings

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    “I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

    McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

    “I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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    Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

    ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

    After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

    He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.


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    “I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

    Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

    “If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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    Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

    ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

    Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

    Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.


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    “I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

    Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

    “It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.