Woods Hoping For Perfect Storm Sunday

By Associated PressApril 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There wasnt a lot for Tiger Woods to smile about on this day, when even his best shots werent always good enough and almost every putt seemed to just graze the edge of the hole.
By the time he walked out of the scorers shack, the easiest 68 Augusta National will ever serve up was his, though he couldnt stop talking about how much better it could have been.
Just about then, the wind started picking up a bit and Woods looked around at the top of the towering pines. He knew the people ahead of him were still on the course, and that tomorrow would likely bring strong winds and possible havoc.
It was just enough to make him smile in anticipation of what might be instead of worrying about what might have been.
Ive been around here, I played under these tough conditions here before, Woods said. Its been blustery here before.
Indeed it has, because weather is the one thing even the denizens of Augusta National cant control. Even on this day they got rain that softened the course so much that par was a score to be sneered at, and the number Woods posted didnt exactly strike fear in the likes of Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker.
It was the first time in the last 12 rounds that Woods broke 70 in the Masters, but all it did was inch him from seven shots off the lead to six. This round might have hurt him more than any of his relatively pedestrian efforts since winning his fourth green jacket three years ago.
It could easily have been a 65. It should easily have been a 66. It wasnt. And when Immelman and Snedeker closed with birdies on a brilliant course muted by gray skies it wasnt enough to improve Woods chances.
This wasnt the way the Masters was supposed to go for Woods, who came here as the most lopsided favorite ever to win the first major of the year. The worlds greatest player was going to beat Augusta National to a pulp and, in the off chance he didnt, his fellow competitors were going to help out by laying down for him.
Relying on an act of God had to be far down the list of possible winning scenarios he and caddie Stevie Williams drew up earlier in the week.
You know that anything can happen, especially around that corner with the wind, if the winds blowing all over the place, Woods said.
This came 90 minutes before the leaders would finish, and Woods was grasping for anything positive he could salvage from a round that almost was. There was still a chance Immelman could hit it in the pond on No. 15, as he very nearly did, and every chance that Snedeker couldnt recover from his mini collapse in Amen Corner.
It didnt quite work out that way. When Woods dons his traditional red shirt Sunday morning it will be with the realization he is not only six shots back of Immelman, but that three other players occupy slots between the two.
History doesnt favor Woods in this scenario.
Hes won 13 major championships, but has never come from behind in the final round. Hes won 64 tournaments on the PGA Tour, but never rallied from more than five shots down in the last round.
After each round this week, Woods talked about how hes still close and still in contention. That was the same mantra he offered up behind the 18th green on Saturday, but he had to be wondering just how it would all play out in his favor.
He played about as well as he could in the third round, finishing with spectacular shots to make a gimme birdie on No. 17 and save par on the finishing hole. And he kept moving up on the leaderboard, something that usually causes those in front of him to contemplate throwing up or throwing in the towel.
But a funny thing happened on this rainy day in Georgia. Even with Woods making a move in front of them, most held on to their stomachs and their games.
Of course, this was Saturday, not Sunday. Woods could be 10 shots back on the final day and the leaders would still be popping Prevacid.
To sit here and say we are not going to be thinking about Tiger Woods tomorrow is crazy because we are, just like everybody else in this room is and just like everybody else in this world is, Snedeker said. Were human, what can we say.
So is Woods, though sometimes it doesnt seem like it. Give him four more rounds to make up the deficit and his chances would be good, but hes got only 18 holes left.
That might be impossible even for a player used to doing the impossible.
Now it comes down to howling wind or the collapse of four world-class players if Woods is to still have a chance of becoming the first player of the modern era to win the Grand Slam. Thats what he brashly'and uncharacteristically'talked about doing earlier this year.
It can still happen, but it might take a perfect storm of epic proportions to make it happen.
In a way, thats a shame. Woods running the table in the major championships this year would have been one of the greatest sports stories ever, and this is a time when we could sorely use a great story.
Now its about to end even before Woods gave it a chance to begin.
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    Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

    Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

    Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

    Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.

    "I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

    Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

    But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

    "What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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    Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

    And now, Greg Norman.

    Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

    He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.


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    DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

    With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

    Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

    Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

    Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

    16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

    100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.