Tiger Left to Debate Greatness of 2005 Season

By Associated PressNovember 7, 2005, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)ATLANTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods boarded his plane at midnight for Shanghai, starting a four-week stretch of five events before he can wrap a ribbon around 2005 and decide where it ranks among his 10 seasons on the PGA Tour.
With six victories, two majors and all the top awards, some consider it his second-best year. Others favor his '99 season, when he won eight times - including four in a row - and one major.
He gave himself more chances on the back nine Sunday in the majors this year, a big plus.
Tiger Woods
After having a sub-par season last year, Tiger Woods enjoyed one of his finest seasons on tour in 2005.
Then again, twice he didn't even make it to the weekend.
``It's a toss-up,'' Woods said after his runner-up finish to Bart Bryant in the Tour Championship.
Considering the state of his game when he left East Lake a year ago, Woods didn't mind this kind of debate.
He used to talk about progress in his swing that only he could see, but hardly anyone believed.
Now he has the best kind of evidence - a green jacket from the Masters, a silver claret jug from the British Open, two more World Golf Championships, and PGA Tour victories at Doral and Torrey Pines against the strongest fields this side of a major.
Woods measures success almost exclusively by the majors, so there was no hesitation when he was asked for a quick assessment of the year shortly after his final putt dropped Sunday afternoon.
``A great season,'' he said. ``To make all the changes that we've made the past couple of years now, and to have this type of contention in the major championships again, that's ultimately where I want to be.''
Woods has said the reason he revamped his swing was to get even better than his record-setting 2000 season, when he was perceived as unbeatable. Along with winning nine times in 20 starts, including the final three majors, Woods only finished out of the top 10 three times.
He is not there yet.
Instead of rebuilding his mystique, Woods was a man of mystery this year.
He provided the most dramatic shot of the year on the 16th hole at the Masters, when his chip from behind the green did a U-turn at the top of the ridge, trickled to the cup and paused for two full seconds before falling for birdie.
It was vintage Woods, until he followed that with two sloppy bogeys to lose his two-shot lead and fall into a playoff with Chris DiMarco. Then came his best two swings of the week - maybe the year - to birdie the last hole.
``This year, I think the biggest moment for me was the playoff at Augusta, because I had just played three bad holes in a row, but then I hit my two best golf shots when I absolutely needed it the most,'' Woods said. ``So that was a huge turning point for me this year.''
His power was on display all year.
Woods averaged 316.1 yards off the tee, up from 301.9 yards last year. But for every tee shot that reached the green on par 4s (Doral, Harding Park), others wound up next to ice machines, under cars or in the trees.
This was a shift in philosophy to get back the length advantage he once enjoyed. Woods went to a longer, graphite shaft and a larger club head and swung harder than ever, and it helped more than it hurt.
``Do I drive it in the rough? Yes, that happens,'' said Woods, who ranked 188th on tour in driving accuracy at 54.6 percent, a career-low. ``But how many times do I drive it out of play? When you drive it that far, that's a huge advantage. And that's kind of the nature of the game now.''
The two biggest surprises were the Byron Nelson Championship and the Funai Classic at Disney. After going seven years without missing a cut, Woods twice had the weekend off.
``I was close at a bunch of tournaments,'' he said. ``Unfortunately, I had a couple of MCs this year, which is not normal.''
Woods brought a little of everything this year, from two majors to two missed cuts.
Expectations are unchanged.
He opened the Tour Championship with five birdies on his first eight holes, struggled in the rough on the back nine and shot a 4-under 66, four shots behind Bryant and his course-record 62.
The second question after his round: What's happening with your swing?
``I just don't get it,'' Haney said as he walked with the masses following Woods in the third round at East Lake. ``After the year he's had, and shooting a 66, and all he hears is, 'Why are you struggling?'''
Woods has had stretches of sheer brilliance, winning seven out of 11 majors from 1999 to 2002. He twice in his career has gone 2 1/2 years without winning a major.
This year, no one was sure which Tiger was going to show up.
That much was clear at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Woods opened with a 65 without any effort. He never broke 70 the rest of the week and tied for 40th, a sign that his game can desert him quickly.
``Hank and I have probably been working on three or four things that we need to try and fix for the fall and next season,'' Woods said. ``So I'm trying to work on them now.''
All that matters to Woods is his play in the majors.
The Masters was hard work. The British Open was never in doubt. He came within three shots of the other two majors, finishing one shot behind Michael Campbell in the U.S. Open, and two behind Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship.
His year won't end until this four-week stretch - China (HSBC Champions), Japan (Dunlop Phoenix), Hawaii (PGA Grand Slam), the California desert (Skins Game) and his Target World Challenge in southern California.
But when he takes time to reflect on his season, chances are he'll come to the same conclusion.
``If I can win more events than anyone, and more majors than anyone,'' he said, ``it's going to be a great year.''
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

Getty Images

Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

Getty Images

Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

Getty Images

Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18