Woods Rallies to Win in Dubai

By Associated PressFebruary 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods watched his 25-foot putt race down the slope and bend toward the cup, then he skipped backward and punched the desert air in celebration when it disappeared into the cup for a final birdie.
 
So ended his spectacular charge Sunday to win the Dubai Desert Classic over Ernie Els, a familiar victim. Woods birdied his last two holes, and five of his last seven, for a 7-under 65 to start his season with two victories that looked nothing alike.
 
One week was an eight-shot victory at the Buick Invitational. The next week was his largest comeback in eight years when Woods rallied from a four-shot deficit with an array of impressive shots that make him look tougher to beat than he already is.
 
'I'm just happy to get a win out of this,' Woods said.
 
It was the third time Woods has started his season 2-0, another sign that he could be headed for a big year. He now has won his last four official tournaments, and six of his last seven dating to the Bridgestone Invitational in early August. Woods also won his unofficial Target World Challenge by seven shots in December.
 
'It's the ideal start, isn't it?' Woods said. 'You play to win. So far, I've done that this year.'
 
Woods finished at 14-under 274 for a one-shot victory over Martin Kaymer of Germany. Woods had already posted his score when Kaymer, who won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, closed birdie-birdie-eagle for a 66.
 
But the real victim was Els.
 
He started the final round with a one-shot lead over Henrik Stenson and was four shots clear of Woods. The 38-year-old South African missed par putts inside 5 feet on the 11th and 12th holes to lose the lead, but he still had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie on the par-5 18th. Instead, Els hit 5-wood that came up well short and ended up in the water.
 
He finished with a bogey for a 71 and tied for third with Louis Oosthuizen.
 
It was a devastating blow to Els, who stared at the ground as he walked toward the 18th green. He is in the middle of a three-year plan to overtake Woods at No. 1 in the world, and said at the start of his season that he needed to start winning.
 
This was the perfect occasion, and he let it slip away in familiar fashion. Two years ago at Dubai, Woods birdied the last two holes to force a playoff against Els, then beat him when the South African hit his second shot into the water on No. 18.
 
This one never had a chance.
 
'The second shot on the 18, it was right where I had it, but I could see the gust got it in the air and it didn't have much of a chance in the end there,' Els said.
 
Reaching No. 1 now looks like a lost cause.
 
Woods has more than double the points over second-ranked Phil Mickelson, and when asked about the gap over Mickelson, Woods playfully said, 'I thought Ian Poulter was No. 2?'
 
That was a reference to Poulter being quoted in a British magazine that he was the only one capable of challenging the world's No. 1 player. Poulter closed with a 76 on Sunday and tied for 39th.
 
It was the largest comeback for Woods since he made up a five-shot deficit at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2000, a final round that included holing out from the 15th fairway.
 
This was almost as impressive. Woods lost momentum with bogeys on the sixth and ninth holes, but he poured it on along the back nine with six birdies to win Dubai for the second time.
 
'All of sudden I was in the mix, out of the mix,' Woods said.
 
It started with a chip-in for birdie from a thick lie in the rough. Then came a tough flop shot from a tight lie, a bunker between Woods and the hole, that he caught perfectly to about 5 feet for birdie on the 13th.
 
'I thought I had to shoot 30 to get into a playoff,' said Woods, who shot 31 on the back nine. 'It just happened to be good enough.'
 
Woods hit a perfect drive on the 359-yard 17th to just left of the green, leaving him a good angle for a chip that he hit to 8 feet for birdie. Then came the 18th, when Woods though his 5-wood for a second shot was perfect.
 
It went long, just short of the bunker, leaving Woods an awkward chip down the slope, with water on the other side.
 
'I could easily chip the ball in the water,' Woods said. 'You have to make your mistake short and if I leave it too short, just chip up and try to make a par and (I'm) probably not going to win the tournament, but see what happens.'
 
He came up short, but holed the 25-foot birdie putt that turned out to be good enough.
 
Woods also won his first two events of the season in 2000 and 2006. In both those years, Els was among his early victims.
 
He now has won 72 times worldwide in his career, 62 of those on the PGA TOUR. A week ago at Torrey Pines, Woods won by at least eight shots for the ninth time in his career. This was much tighter, and Woods made no secret which one he prefers.
 
'I like (winning) by seven or eight a lot,' he said. 'It's a lot less stressful.'
 
Woods has until Friday to decide whether he will play the Northern Trust Open at Riviera, although he likely will not return until the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, which begins Feb. 20.
 
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    Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

    The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

    Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

    Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

    Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

    Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

    Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

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    Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

    By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

    So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

    She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

    So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

    “I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

    So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.


    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


    “Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

    Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

    World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

    “When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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    Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

    Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

    He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament



    In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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    River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

    By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

    Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

    Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

    “It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

    While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

    It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

    “I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”