Tiger Tames Monster Once Again

By Associated PressMarch 5, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Ford Championship at DoralMIAMI -- Tiger Woods played his best golf when he finally got some competition Sunday at Doral, then was at his worst when it no longer mattered.
 
Despite a bogey-bogey finish on the Blue Monster, Woods closed with a 3-under 69 for a one-shot victory over David Toms and Colombian rookie Camilo Villegas in the Ford Championship at Doral, his second PGA Tour victory of the year and the 13th time he has successfully defended a title.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods celebrates his 48th career PGA Tour victory.
Woods finished at 20-under 268 and never lost his lead on a breezy afternoon, and after Toms closed to within one shot with two straight birdies on the back nine, Woods found another gear. He holed a 12-foot birdie on the 11th, then became the only player to reach the 603-yard 12th in two shots for a birdie to restore his lead to three shots.
 
Toms made it easier for him at the end.
 
Woods, who hit a wedge over the 17th green to make his first bogey of the final round, was in the right rough on the daunting 18th hole, leading by one shot. He watched Toms run a 60-foot birdie putt some 10 feet past the hole, then miss the par putt for his first three-putt of the week.
 
Woods only needed a bogey, and it showed. He hit his approach well right into a bunker, blasted out to 12 feet and two-putted for a bogey.
 
'Anywhere inside the bleachers and I'm fine ... just as long as I can make bogey,' Woods said. 'A 'W' is a 'W.''
 
Woods' 48th career victory enhanced his reputation as golf's best closer. He now is 34-3 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and he has never lost in 20 tries when leading by at least two going into the last round.
 
He became the first repeat winner at Doral since Raymond Floyd won in 1980 and 1981.
 
Toms and Villegas each shot 67 to finish at 269.
 
Villegas, a 24-year-old darling of this large Latino crowd in south Florida, made two birdies over his final five holes and secured his PGA Tour card for next year. He also tied for second at the FBR Open at Phoenix, and now has earned more than $700,000 in the first two months.
 
He got within two shots of Woods early in the round, but couldn't sustain it.
 
'We are talking here about the best player in the world,' Villegas said. 'I played well. I had fun.'
 
Toms quickly applied pressure with an 8-foot birdie on the par-5 10th, then a shot from the fairway bunker on the 11th to 15 feet for another birdie. And even after Woods extended his lead to three, Toms plugged away with a birdie on the 16th to keep in range.
 
But the 18th hole has been a problem all week for Toms, and he had 4-iron from the rough that left him no chance of taking on the flag. Toms had not paid attention to a leaderboard all day, knowing he still had an outside shot by the energy in the crowd.
 
An NBC analyst told him the score, and Toms suddenly felt the heat.
 
'I wasn't even nervous all day because I'm trying to catch the guy,' Toms said. 'All of a sudden, I've got a putt all the way across the green, big break, and I'm nervous because I'm just trying to two-putt. That's my mistake. But if I had been looking at it all day, then maybe I would have felt that way all the way through the back nine.'
 
Woods saw Toms' ball on the green as he walked up the fairway, and he had a 9-iron in his hand from the rough.
 
'I was hoping I could grab a lie so if I had to make 4, I could,' he said.
 
He went well right of the water and trouble and into a bunker, slightly against the back lip. It wasn't an easy shot, but Woods hit safely to 12 feet and needed only two putts to win.
 
His last four victories had come in playoff -- the American Express Championship, Dunlop Phoenix, Buick Invitational and the Dubai Desert Classic.
 
Toms wasn't beating himself up for a bogey on the 18th, simply because it's one of the toughest closing holes on the PGA Tour. The average score was 4.5 on Sunday.
 
He was more frustrated by his 70 in the third round, which left him three shots behind Woods.
 
'When you play against Tiger, you can't slip up,' Toms said. 'You just have to play solid every day.'
 
Even though Woods had a two-shot lead, he was in no position to play it safe with so many players poised to make a move and only a gentle breeze that took some teeth out of the Blue Monster.
 
Villegas made eagle on the first hole to get within one, and birdies on the sixth and seventh holes brought him to within two shots. But the young Colombian went seven straight holes without a birdie and fell too far behind.
 
With no one making a serious run, Woods kept it simple.
 
He added a birdie at No. 5 with a big drive and a sand wedge that spun back to 4 feet, and he hit wedge out of the rough on the sixth to 6 feet to reach 20 under.
 
Then Toms showed up, and Woods found another gear.
 
Woods now has won four of his six last tournaments worldwide. Doral will host a World Golf Championship next year, although that might make Woods even more tough. He already has won 10 of those.
 
Divots:
Phil Mickelson hit into the water on the eighth and ninth holes and wound up with a 73 to tie for 12th. ... Tiger Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, recently took possession of a Ford GT that came with Woods' victory last year. This time, he opted for the copper Mustang. Asked if his wife had any say over who got the car, Woods said, 'No, she has others.' ... Jeff Sluman matched the best round of the day at 66 and moved up 27 spots into a tie for seventh. ... Among those in the gallery Sunday was seven-time LPGA winner Michelle McGann, who was watching Rich Beem. They both work with Dr. Michael Larden.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ford Championship at Doral
  • Full Coverage - Ford Championship at Doral
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    Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

     Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

    Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

     More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

     

    ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

    “Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

    REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

    • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
    • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

    GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

    RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

    NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

    Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   21       

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   22                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   23            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

    Monday, May   28      

    Individual National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29          

    Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

    11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

    Tuesday, May   29                 

    Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

    Wednesday, May   30            

    Team National   Championship  

    4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

     

    COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

    CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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    With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

    By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

    In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

    Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

    Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

    Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

    “It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

    “So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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    Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

    Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

    Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

    Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

    Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

    Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

    Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

    Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

    Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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    Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

    The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


    Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

    Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

    Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


    News and notes

    • All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

     Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

    • That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


    Notable teams in the field 

    Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

     Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

     Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

     Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

    Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

     Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

     Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

     Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

    Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

     Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

     Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

     Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.