Woods All the Talk at Hilton Head

By Associated PressApril 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Verizon HeritageHILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Often, the talk around Harbour Town Golf Links centers on Tiger Woods latest victory, record or streak. On Wednesday, it focused on his left knee.
On Tuesday, Woods announced on his Web site he had had arthroscopic surgery on the knee and would need at least four weeks to recover.
I was shocked. I couldnt believe it when I heard driving in, Brandt Snedeker said Wednesday, a day before the start of the Verizon Heritage.
Snedeker finished third at the Masters last week behind champion Trevor Immelman and Woods, the worlds No. 1 player.
The operation should prevent Woods from defending his title at the Wachovia Championship in two weeks, or competing in THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass a week after that.
He only plays about 15 times a year anyway, Tim Clark said. So its not going to do a lot to affect the PGA TOUR.
Because Harbour Town follows the Masters, Woods has used this week to rest before getting ready for the U.S. Open. He has made only one appearance in the event, tying for 18th in 1999.
So golfers who do play the Verizon Heritage are typically left answering questions about some aspect of Woods success or game.
Fred Funk, whos friendly with Woods, wondered why the worlds best player took any time off.
I didnt know his knee was bothering him, said Funk, who splits time the PGA and Champions tours.
I actually got two blown cartilages and Im playing through it, Funk said, laughing. Its a surprise. But this is just a window of opportunity for him to get it done.
Woods hasnt played like someone with a knee problem. He has won three PGA TOUR titles this season and hasnt finished out of the top five in five events this year.
Hes in such great shape that you probably wouldnt know if he had a problem, Clark said.
Woods swing coach, Hank Haney, sat through several interviews at an outing for his International Junior Golf Academy near here in Bluffton without giving away Woods injury.
When it comes to Woods, Haney said in describing their relationship, the coach looks not be low maintenance but no maintenance.
Haney discussed Woods ball-striking at the Masters, saying he was told by the players caddie, Steve Williams, that it was the best hes ever hit the ball at Augusta National.
Hes been with him 10 years, Haney said. So that says something.
Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, said he admired how Woods camp kept things quiet so he could keep competing until he was ready. He was able to play the Masters and get his procedure done, Johnson said. He knows what hes doing.
Aaron Baddeley, a past champion at Harbour Town, didnt expect to see high-fives in the locker room over Woods absence. Its a bummer that hes not out here, Baddeley said. You always want to compete against the best because when you win, it makes it that much more special.
The PGA TOUR will lose some star power with Woods on the sideline. He makes our product better than what it is, Johnson said. He makes us better, as far as competition goes.
Its not all bad to have Woods out.
Its good for us, Snedeker said, laughing, because now that hes taking off weve got a chance to win a couple of these.
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.