Tiger Wins Third Open Championship

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- The emotions had been trapped in Tiger Woods since he stood at his father's grave two months ago, set loose only after he tapped in his final putt Sunday to win the British Open.
 
It was his 11th major championship, but the first one they couldn't share.
 
Tiger Woods
With his third victory at the Open, Tiger Woods now has 11 majors championships to his credit.
He plucked the ball out of the cup, turned slightly and started to grin when a mixture of sadness and satisfaction washed over his face and he screamed out, 'Yes!'
 
Woods buried his head in the shoulder of caddie Steve Williams, sobbing uncontrollably, his chest heaving. Then he found his wife, Elin, and hugged her for the longest minute, tears still streaming down his face.
 
'I'm kind of the one who bottles things up a little bit and moves on,' he said. 'But at that moment, it just came pouring out. And of all the things that my father has meant to me and the game of golf, I just wish he would have seen it one more time.'
 
It sure would have looked familiar.
 
Woods was ruthless as ever on the brown, baked links of Royal Liverpool, relying more on brains than brawn.
 
He hit driver only one time the entire week -- the 16th hole of the first round -- and relied on iron play that was so impeccable his caddie kept a sheet of paper of all the shots Woods missed.
 
There were only three of them.
 
'I don't think anyone has ever hit long irons that well,' Williams said.
 
It carried Woods to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot victory over Chris DiMarco, making him the first player since Tom Watson in 1982-83 to win golf's oldest championship in consecutive years.
 
It was his first victory since his father, Earl, died May 3 after a brutal bout with cancer. Some questioned whether Woods could regain his focus after taking nine weeks off, especially after he returned to the U.S. Open and missed the cut for the first time in a major.
 
Turns out, Woods had an answer for everyone.
 
And even when DiMarco made a charge with another gritty rally in a major to close with a 68, Woods responded with three straight birdies that allowed him to stride confidently up the 18th fairway at Hoylake and toward the claret jug.
 
No one could stop Woods from winning his 11th career major at age 30. He is tied with Walter Hagen for second on the career list and is one step closer to the 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus, the only mark that matters to Woods.
 
He had to work for this one because of DiMarco, equally emotional and inspired while coping with a more recent loss.
 
DiMarco's mother, Norma, died of a heart attack July 4 in Colorado, and he made sure his father joined him on this trip to the northwest of England as a chance to heal. DiMarco, who pushed Woods into a playoff at the Masters last year, did all he could to deliver.
 
He made a 25-foot birdie on the par-3 13th to pull within one shot of Woods, then made a 50-foot par save on the 14th to stay in the game, a putt that rattled the cup and made everyone wonder if he had help from above.
 
'I had a lot of divine intervention out there,' DiMarco said. 'I had my mother with me all week.'
 
Woods followed with another low, penetrating iron into 8 feet on the 14th for a birdie. And after DiMarco scrambled for a birdie on the 16th to keep his hopes alive, Woods answered with an 8-foot birdie into the heart of the hole at No. 15.
 
Woods finished at 18-under 270, missing an 8-foot birdie putt that would have matched his record (19 under) set at St. Andrews six years ago.
 
His father was with him for his first taste of links golf in the 1995 Scottish Amateur at Carnoustie, when Woods was a 19-year-old amateur. As he walked up the 18th fairway with a two-shot lead, his ball safely behind the green, memories of Dad poured forth.
 
'After the last putt, I realized my dad's never going to see this again, and I wish he could have seen this one last time,' Woods said at the trophy presentation. 'He was out there today keeping me calm. I had a very calm feeling the entire week, especially today.'
 
For DiMarco, his third runner-up finish in the last eight majors came with a consolation prize. He earned enough Ryder Cup points to move from No. 21 to No. 6 in the standings, virtually making him a lock to be on the U.S. team in Ireland two months from now.
 
Ernie Els, among three players who started the day one shot behind, was the only one to catch him, briefly. He couldn't keep up with Woods, lost ground to DiMarco and had to settle for a 1-under 71 to finish alone in third at 275.
 
Jim Furyk birdied two of the last three holes for a 71 and fourth place.
 
Masters champion Phil Mickelson finished before the leaders even began the final round. Coming off his collapse in the U.S. Open, he was never a factor during the weekend and closed with a 70 to finish 13 shots behind in a tie for 22nd.
 
Even with so many players in contention on the gustiest day of the week, it didn't take long to sort out the contenders.
 
Furyk, two shots behind and the only U.S. Open victim who contended at Royal Liverpool, dropped shots on his first two holes and quickly fell out of the race. So did Angel Cabrera, with a triple bogey at No. 2.
 
Still, the biggest slide belonged to Sergio Garcia.
 
With his best chance ever to prove he could stand toe-to-toe with Woods, the 26-year-old Spaniard had three-putt bogeys on the second and third holes to slip three shots behind. Then he found a fairway bunker on the par-5 fifth and had to scramble for par as Woods was making eagle.
 
Garcia closed with a 73, the second time this year he has played with Woods in the final group and didn't break par.
 
Els had a two-putt birdie on the par-5 fifth to join Woods at 13 under, but that didn't last long. Woods threaded an iron up the front of the fifth green to 25 feet, then raised his putter aloft in his left hand when the eagle putt fell.
 
It was an icy, methodical way to celebrate such a big putt, but that's what Woods brought to the links for the final round.
 
He had a plan -- control his tee shots with a 2-iron or 3-wood -- and he stuck to it. This was Woods at his absolute dullest, which was how he mapped out his final round. Warm applause followed him around Hoylake as he found fairways and the middle of the green, taking advantage of the par 5s.
 
Only when DiMarco applied the heat did Woods respond.
 
Clinging to a one-shot lead after his only bogey of the round at No. 12, Woods lagged a 60-foot putt to within inches for par at the 13th, then strung together three straight birdies to give himself a comfortable margin walking up the 18th green.
 
It was his 49th career victory, and the $1.3 million for first place put him atop the money list and pushed him over $60 million for his career.
 
The next stop for Woods is the PGA Championship at Medinah, near Chicago, where he won in 1999.
 
Woods now has three British Open titles, the same as Nicklaus, and his victory at Hoylake carried another comparison. The first major Nicklaus won after his father died in 1970 also was the British Open.
 
What would Earl Woods have thought of this victory?
 
'He would have been very proud,' Woods said. 'He was always on my case about thinking my way around the golf course and not letting emotions get the better of you.'
 
He didn't. Not until he had the claret jug firmly in his grasp.
 
Related Links:
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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.