Tiger Stumbles Out of the Gate as Host

By Associated PressJuly 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Hosting his own tournament for the first time, Tiger Woods bogeyed his first two holes.
 
Then came the rain.
 
It didn't get much better after that. After a brief delay, Woods continued to be a much more gracious host than he planned. By the time his round was over, he had missed a 2-foot tap-in, hit a man in the face with a drive and tossed his putter in frustration at his bag several times.
 
His Thursday scorecard at the inaugural AT&T National included seven bogeys in a 3-over round of 73, tied for 77th place and seven shots behind five co-leaders: Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, K.J. Choi, Joe Ogilvie and Stuart Appleby.
 
Woods putted 34 times, including three three-putts, and he missed every attempt longer than 8 feet.
 
'It's one of the worst putting rounds I have had in years,' Woods said. 'I'm going to have to figure out something for (Friday) because evidently what I'm doing is not even close to being right. I've got to fix it. I've got to get back in this tournament.'
 
Woods hadn't played since finishing second at the U.S. Open three weeks ago, and he said he still had the fast greens of Oakmont in his mind on a damp, humid day at Congressional Country Club. He kept leaving his putts short, sometimes well short, frustrating both himself and a large gallery that kept showing its appreciation by shouting out remarks such as: 'Hey, Tiger, thanks for bringing golf to D.C.'
 
Since the U.S. Open, Woods has become a father and had to deal with the last-minute logistics of joining Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to host a PGA Tour event. Even so, he said he wasn't any more nervous than usual at hole No. 1.
 
'That was the easy part, getting out there and playing,' Woods said. 'The other responsibilities, that's something you don't normally do. Once I get back inside the ropes, I get back in my comfort level, and I felt at peace going out there and competing.'
 
At peace, but not at his best. His first tee shot landed in the thick rough, and his first putt of the day lipped out, prompting a puzzled look as he rubbed his upper lip with his index finger. He bogeyed the par-3 No. 2 after misplaying a sand shot, then was standing at the No. 3 tee box in the rain when the horn sounded to stop play.
 
The delay was only 18 minutes, but it seemed to calm Woods. He birdied two of the next three holes but was woefully inconsistent the rest of the round. He figured his final putt at No. 16 was a gimmie, so he tried to tap it in with an awkward stance and missed.
 
At No. 18, his tee shot hit a man in the face and shoulder. Woods gave the man an autographed glove and apologized, then went on to bogey the hole with another miss from 2 1/2 feet.
 
Meanwhile, 28 players were under par on 7,204-yard, par-70 course that was expected to be a tough test with its high rough and long par 4s.
 
'There's a bunch of guys up there right now,' Woods said. 'I've got three rounds. I can't get them in one.'
 
The leaderboard is an eclectic mix of styles, ranging from the long-hitting Singh to older, lay-up players such as 51-year-old Fred Funk and 47-year-old Corey Pavin, who are both one stroke off the lead. In the star partnership of Phil Mickelson (74) and Adam Scott (72), Brad Faxon outshone them both as the third member of the threesome, beating might with accuracy with a steady 69, even as his partners consistently out-drove him.
 
'When they put the deep rough like they have this week, that's my equalizer,' Funk said. 'The harder the golf course, the better for me in my opinion.'
 
Mickelson, who is battling a left wrist injury, was rusty in his first tournament since missing the cut at the U.S. Open. Mickelson didn't wear a brace and blamed two bogeys and a double bogey on his putting rather than his injury.
 
'I was told that it may hurt, but I won't be doing any more damage,' Mickelson said. 'So I've been going after it pretty good, and it does hurt, but as long as I am not doing any more damage I'm OK.'
 
The last time Woods played a competitive round at Congressional, he finished 19th at the 1997 U.S. Open. On that Sunday, he finished his round and said: 'The suffering's over. This golf course beat me up.'
 
Ten years later, he was ready to beat up his putter.
 
'I'm about ready to break this thing,' he said.
 
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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

    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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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.