Tiger Wins PGA Championship Going Away - COPIED

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- No tears, no sweat.
 
One month after an emotional victory in the British Open, Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship with a ruthless display of efficiency Sunday, closing with a 4-under 68 for a five-shot victory and his 12th career major.
 
He became the first player in history to go consecutive years winning at least two majors. And now, only Jack Nicklaus and his 18 professional majors stand in the way of Woods becoming golf's greatest champion.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods won his third PGA Championship in dominating fashion.
Woods started with a 10-foot birdie to seize the lead. He finished with a tap-in par to match his scoring record at the PGA Championship, finishing at 18-under 270 and walking off the 18th green with a broad smile.
 
That wasn't the case at Hoylake last month, where Woods sobbed on his caddie's shoulder after winning his first major since his father died in May. He paid tribute to Earl Woods again, his voice steady this time. He even managed a wisecrack about how his father taught him to putt.

'I kept saying all day, 'Just putt to the picture.' He actually knew what he was talking about,' Woods said.
 
This celebration was routine. Woods plucked the ball out of the cup and put it in his pocket, thrust his fists in the air and gave a thumbs-up sign as he walked over to pick up the Wanamaker Trophy.
 
'This is sweet. This is really sweet,' he said.
 
He became the first player to win the PGA Championship twice on the same course. Woods outlasted Sergio Garcia by one shot at Medinah in 1999. This one was never close.
 
Woods twice made birdie putts over 40 feet, and the margin of victory might have been greater had he not aimed for the middle of the green and lagged for par over the closing holes.
 
Shaun Micheel won the battle for second place, about the only drama on a sunny afternoon outside Chicago.
 
Even the race for the Ryder Cup fizzled, with no change in the standings.
 
So much for those worries about Woods after he missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He now has won his last three tournaments, the first time he has done that in five years.
 
'Jack Nicklaus, he's the only other guy I've ever seen who looks more comfortable leading on the back nine of a major than playing the first hole of a tournament,' Chris DiMarco said. 'And that's pretty scary. He just puts the hammer down.'

Nicklaus was home in North Palm Beach, Fla., watching his grandchildren play golf, but he saw enough of the final round on television to appreciate how easy Woods made it look.
 
'He's that good,' Nicklaus said. 'The guy is playing just great golf, terrific golf. From what I saw, he certainly was in total command.'
 
Nicklaus won his 18 majors over 25 years. Woods has won 12 in his first 10 years on the PGA Tour, and there doesn't appear to be anyone capable of stopping him.
 
Luke Donald was tied for the lead going into the final round at Medinah and didn't make a single birdie, closing with a 74 to finish in a tie for third at 12-under 276 with Adam Scott (67) and Garcia (70).
 
'He's just too good,' Micheel said after a 69, although he never got within five shots of Woods after the fourth hole. 'Unless you're at the top of your game, you just can't play with him.'
 
Woods is now 12-0 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
'Tiger just doesn't back up,' said Steve Stricker, who made a late bid for the Ryder Cup. 'He doesn't let anybody get close to him, especially in the last round.'
 
So dominant was this performance that Woods made only three bogeys the entire week, including a harmless one on the par-3 17th hole over Lake Kadijah when he was playing it safe. All that cost him was the scoring record in relation to par. He settled for 18 under, the same score he posted at Valhalla in 2000.
 
It was the fifth major that Woods won by at least five shots. He now has won his 12 majors by a combined 56 shots, while Nicklaus won his 18 majors by 44 shots.
 
That Woods has never lost a 54-hole lead in a major was enough to make some believe it was due to happen, especially on a soft course yielding low scores and a strong cast of contenders behind him.
 
He went 10 years before missing a cut in a major. Would this be the one he blew in the final round?
 
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy found water on the second hole and three-putted from 8 feet on No. 3 to disappear. Garcia chunked a wedge and made bogey on the par-5 seventh to stall his momentum. Mike Weir got within one shot of Woods at No. 5, but he couldn't keep up the pace and fell back to a 73.
 
Donald was in contention at a major for the first time, but not for long.
 
They were tied atop the leaderboard and in the wardrobe department -- both wore a red shirt -- as thousands crammed in around the putting green, the first tee and down both sides of the fairway. Donald had equal support, not only from winning an NCAA title at Northwestern, but sticking around to make Chicago his home.
 
Cheers of 'Luuuuuuke' followed him toward the first tee, but those hopes faded quickly. Woods hit 7-iron into 10 feet, and kept his head so still over his birdie putt that he didn't look up until it was inches from dropping for birdie.
 
No one caught him the rest of the day.
 
Donald caught a bad break when his ball landed in a muddy divot on No. 4, leading to his first bogey in 40 holes. He missed a 5-foot birdie on the par-5 fifth, and that effectively ended his tournament.
 
The only drama left was the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and that also turned into a snoozer.
 
Tim Herron needed a two-way tie for seventh and was looking good with two birdies on his first five holes, but he followed that with two straight bogeys and never recovered, shooting 73. Stricker made a late surge, needing to finish third. He got as high as a tie for sixth until the birdies dried up, he finished with a bogey for a 69 and tied for seventh.
 
Davis Love III finished with three straight bogeys, completing a 73-76 weekend.
 
The top 10 players who earned a spot on the team were Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Chad Campbell, DiMarco, Vaughn Taylor, J.J. Henry, Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich.
 
Tom Lehman will make his two captain's picks Monday morning, with Stewart Cink likely to be one of them. Cink was 12th in the standings and closed with a 69 while paired with vice captain Corey Pavin.
 
The question was whether he would consider Lucas Glover for his raw skill or Love for his experience, or perhaps someone else.
 
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    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”

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    Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 3:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.

    He picked up his clubs three times.

    That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.

    This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.

    Not that he was concerned, of course.

    Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.

    “It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”

    At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.

    “I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”

    Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.

    Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the Web.com circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”

    Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.

    In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.

    That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.

    “He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.

    “I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

    Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.

    Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”

    So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.

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    Despite results, Thomas loves links golf

    By Jay CoffinJuly 17, 2018, 2:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.

    Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.

    Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”

    Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.

    He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.

    “I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.

    “With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”