Tiger Stealing a Move

By Associated PressFebruary 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
A fan watching Tiger Woods in his first practice round since surgery was concerned after Woods belted one big drive.
'Which knee did he have the surgery on?' the man said. 'I just saw him pick up his right leg like it was hurting.'
The surgery was on the left knee.
Besides, whenever Woods snaps up his right leg after a tee shot, it's a good sign.
That has become a signature move for Woods, replacing the fist pump that was so prevalent when he first showed up on the PGA Tour. After a pure drive, Woods twirls the club and quickly picks up his right foot as he bends over to get his tee.
Where did that start? From watching his good friend Mark O'Meara.
'I learned that from M.O.,' Woods said. 'As much golf as I play with him, I can't stop doing it now.'
It beats the alternative -- holding out his right arm and yelling, 'Fore!'
FROM THE GRILLROOM: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says he's the boss in the kitchen whenever he's home.
'If there's a tournament on TV, I watch in the kitchen and time things for after the golf is over,' Finchem said in the March issue of Golf Digest.
Just don't call him 'Chef Finchem.' The commissioner says a chef is someone who creates, while a cook simply follows a recipe.
'I'm a cook,' he said. 'I will try stuff. Last year, I tried a banana cream pie from a recipe by Emeril, who has a popular show on the Food Channel. Didn't come out quite right.'
His favorite? Seared tuna steak with a burgundy butter sauce, the meal he had the night he was married.
BATTLE AT BRIDGES: The prime-time TV exhibition with Tiger Woods is moving this summer from Bighorn to The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, a spectacular new course in the foothills north of San Diego.
Because The Bridges is an exclusive community, officials don't plan to sell tickets to the public. A smaller gallery won't be such a bad thing. Fans will have to navigate severe changes in elevation along the Robert Trent Jones Jr. course.
What's left to do is figure out who will play.
Local organizers would love to see Phil Mickelson in the mix, especially since he lives at The Bridges, although his comments about Woods' equipment won't help his chances.
One suggestion: Woods and Jack Nicklaus against Ernie Els and Gary Player .
Woods and Nicklaus are the defending champions, and it would bring together the top two players in the world. It also would serve as a preview of the Presidents Cup -- Nicklaus and Player will be the captains in South Africa.
DON'T WAIT ON A BOOK: Brad Faxon is considered one of the best putters on the PGA Tour, having had the top putting average three times in the last seven years.
He was No. 17 a year ago, and he thinks he knows why.
'I was doing all kinds of articles,' Faxon said. 'People asked me to do books and tapes. I started thinking about what I do, and it screwed me up. So, I'm not going to talk about it anymore. Some pro wrote a book on how to play golf after he won a U.S. Open , and we never heard from him again.'
ACHES AND PAINS: Someone saw the name one stroke out of the lead midway through the Buick Invitational and figured it was Carl Paulson , who nearly won The Players Championship last year.
Instead, it was Dennis Paulson -- no relation -- who has struggled on the PGA Tour while battling one injury after another.
'I don't think I can play through another injury,' Dennis Paulson said. 'If something else happens this year, I'll probably just pack it in, do some corporate stuff.'
He was 27th on the money list in 1999 and beat David Duval in a playoff at the Buick Classic the following year for his only PGA TOUR title.
Since then, he has battled everything from tendinitis in his arm to a bone spur in his heel. He injured his back while trying to get through q-school in December, and he consulted therapists about his shoulder while at Torrey Pines.
Paulson nearly made the most of his sponsor's exemption last week. One off the lead going into the weekend, he closed with rounds of 73-73. That left him two shots out of a top-10 finish, which would have earned him a spot in the field at Riviera for the Nissan Open .
'My golf swing is coming around,' he said. 'The whole thing is learning how to score again and being confident on all my shots.'
DIVOTS: Dawn Coe-Jones, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, was selected for the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Carl Pettersson became the 30th player to finish second to Woods on the PGA Tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Ernie Els is 100-under par in his five tournaments this year.
FINAL WORD: 'Hey, show me a place where I can get a 775-square-foot apartment with a washer and dryer for $700 a month, and I'll come back.' -- Arron Oberholser , who left his roots in the San Francisco Bay area to live outside Phoenix.
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Garcia bounced in Austin: 'On to Augusta'

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the 16th time in his career, Sergio Garcia’s week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ended earlier then he would have hoped, but this time he has plenty of distractions to ease the sting.

Garcia lost his Saturday morning match to Kyle Stanley, 3 and 1, marking the 15th time in his Match Play career he’s failed to advance to Sunday, but at least he has plenty to keep him busy with a newborn at home and his return to the Masters looming in two weeks.

“On to Augusta,” said Garcia, who is not playing next week’s Houston Open. “It's exciting. Obviously when we get there, it's going to be interesting to see how we feel and everything. But it is definitely exciting.”

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Garcia defeated Justin Rose in a playoff to win last year’s Masters, his first major triumph, so his return to Augusta National will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

His duties as defending champion will include hosting Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. No word on Garcia’s menu for the event, but various sources have confirmed it will be something “Spanish.”

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

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JT advances to quarters, closing in on No. 1 ranking

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Justin Thomas continued his impressive run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finds himself another step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking.

Thomas rolled past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the first knockout stage and will face Kyle Stanley in the Elite Eight. He must advance to Sunday’s championship match to overtake Johnson as the new world No. 1.

“It wasn't anything crazy or special. Just played solid golf tee to green. And it was forcing him to make a lot of putts,” said Thomas, who has played 61 holes this week, won 24, lost six and hasn’t trailed in four matches.

Stanley, who needed a playoff victory over Paul Casey on Friday to advance to the weekend, defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1.

Bubba Watson also continued his solid play, rallying from an early deficit to beat Brian Harman, 2 and 1. He will play Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who defeated Charles Howell III, closing with back-to-back birdies for a 1-up victory.

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But as impressive as Thomas has been, Sweden’s Alex Noren has quietly continued to impress, going undefeated in pool play and closing out Patrick Reed on the 15th hole for a 5-and-3 victory.

“He's such a tough competitor,” said Noren, who will face Australian Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals. “I managed to hole a few birdie putts. When we both had good chances, he just missed and I managed to make those.”

Former Match Play champion Ian Poulter also advanced with a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen. He will play Kevin Kisner, who converted a 10-foot putt at the 18th hole to defeat Matt Kuchar, 1 up.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”