Tigers Drought Looks Likely to Continue

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Tiger Woods tried to drive the 373-yard 14th hole at Whistling Straits, one last attempt to get something going in the PGA Championship. Instead, his tee shot landed in a small bed of gravel along a dirt path winding through sand bunkers and grassy knolls.
 
His position was all too familiar in a major championship.
 
Woods was desperate to make birdies and catch up to the leaders, but he was running out of holes.
 
And it was only Saturday.
 
'It's getting frustrating that I was not able to put myself up there,' Woods said after a feeble 69 in the third round, which was shaping up as the easiest day of scoring at Whistling Straits. 'I just put myself too far back. The past few majors, that's what ends up happening.'
 
As he walked toward the 15th green, Woods looked to the left at a large leaderboard that didn't include his name. He was at 3-under 213. The leaders were at 9 under, still an hour away from even showing up at the course to eat lunch.
 
Barring a miracle, Woods will finish his 10th straight major without a trophy since winning the U.S. Open in 2002, matching the longest drought of his career.
 
'I'm going to need some help,' Woods said, hopeful the leaders would not run away. 'That hurricane in Florida, I need it to make a turn to the north and get up here quick.'

With accessible pins and virtually no wind on a spectacular day off Lake Michigan, Woods was primed to shoot a low enough score to at least give him hope on Sunday.

But he couldn't recover from another click of the camera, which killed his momentum. And when he needed to make birdies at the start of the back nine, they stayed out of the cup.
 
Woods birdied three of his first five holes with putts inside 8 feet, and walked with purpose to each tee box as thousands of fans perched on the sand dunes rallied him on.
 
Standing over his tee shot on the par-3 seventh, he settled in over his ball when he heard the click from a news photographer behind the tee box.
 
Woods turned and glared at him, then dropped the club as soon as he made contact.
 
'Good (expletive) swing,' he growled. 'Great focus.'
 
The ball caromed off the mound and shot across the green into the rough. He flopped a pitch over the ridge to 8 feet and pulled the putt, a bogey he could simply could not afford to make.
 
His caddie, Steve Williams, looked like he wanted to throw the camera and the photographer into the lake, but instead barked at him as the players left the tee.
 
'It's like hitting the gas before the light changes,' Williams said. 'There's no excuse for that.'
 
Woods said the camera incident was a key turning point in his round, and he probably was right. 'I never could get comfortable over that shot,' he said.
 
It was the third time a camera went off while he was over his ball this week -- on the 11th hole on Thursday, and on the fifth hole Friday -- and he played them in 4 over.
 
Compounding matters at the seventh was that he played with Niclas Fasth (pronounced 'fast'), a Swede who hardly lives up to his name. They were put on the clock after six holes, and Woods said he couldn't waste any time getting locked in over his tee shot.
 
Still, he had only himself to blame for a missed 12-foot putt on the eight, and a wedge on the 10th that he got only to within 20 feet for another wasted birdie chance.
 
He hit another bold flop shot over the bunker to within 6 feet for birdie on the 11th to get back to 4 under, still hoping to finish strong and get back in the game.
 
'I just didn't keep it going,' he said.
 
It all unraveled starting on the 12th.
 
His tee shot was a yard too long and trickled down a ridge onto the fringe. Woods ran his 35-foot birdie attempt some 5 feet by, and pulled the par putt to drop another shot. He missed from 15 feet on the 13th. After a drop from the gravel bed on the 14th, he missed a 12-foot birdie.
 
By the time he got to the 15th, he was reduced to backhanding his putts in for par, as if he was playing a round of golf that didn't really matter.
 
Told the wind was supposed to blow hard out of the south Sunday, Woods said, 'Good.'
 
'That's the kind of wind I'm going to have to have in order to get back into this tournament,' he said. 'As I said, we need some help from the leaders not to shoot 5 or 6 under par.'
 
Even that might not be enough.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
     
    Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.