Woods' schedule limited by time with kids

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2011, 8:37 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods is hitting some of his best shots when no oneis watching.

That’s typically the case when Woods tries to build a new golf swing, andhis third major swing change is no exception. Put him on the practice range athome in Isleworth and he says he goes through long stretches of hitting the ballhow he wants. Put him inside the ropes, with a scorecard in hand and TV camerasin the towers, and he has stretches of looking ordinary.

But there is one big difference this time around.

Woods isn’t playing very much.

When he tees it up Thursday in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, it willbe only his 10th competitive round of the year, an unusually low number with theMasters around the corner. Woods talks about needing more competition, and mostwould agree that would speed along the process of revamping his swing. It alsoleads to a natural question.

Why not play more tournaments?

“Because I have a family. I’m divorced,” Woods replied solemnly. “Ifyou’ve been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

It spoke to a personal life that remains as much a work in progress as hisgolf swing.

There was speculation after Woods lost in the first round of the Match PlayChampionship that he would play the Honda Classic, especially since he is closeto moving to south Florida. But that was his time with his 3 1/2 -year-old daughterand 1-year-old son as part of the “shared parenting” with ex-wife Elin. Thereare no plans to play next week at Innisbrook, either.

Woods can’t expect any sympathy for a situation he created through serialadultery. Even so, his playing schedule reflects that he’s having to change morethan his swing.

When he went through his first big overhaul under Butch Harmon after the1997 season, Woods played 17 rounds before the Florida swing. At the start of2004 under Hank Haney, he played 22 rounds leading to Florida, the traditionalstart of the road to the Masters.

This year, he has played nine rounds in competition.

Woods started his season at Torrey Pines with four rounds, only two of themunder par. Two weeks later he was off to Dubai, where he was in contention untila 75 on the wind-blown final day. After another two-week break came the MatchPlay Championship, where he lost in the opening round to Thomas Bjorn .

There is no cut at this World Golf Championship, so he is guaranteed fourrounds this week.

It starts Thursday on the Blue Monster, a course where he has won threetimes and never finished out of the top 10 in four other appearances. That meansnothing anymore, for Woods had never finished out of the top 10 at either TorreyPines and Dubai until this year.

Woods will be in familiar company, which will bring him even more attention.

Because tournament officials relied on the world ranking to determine thegroups, Woods will spend the first two days with Phil Mickelson , his fiercestrival, and Graeme McDowell , who in December rallied from four shots behind inthe final round to beat Woods in a playoff at the Chevron World Challenge.

Not since the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship have Woods and Mickelsonplayed in the same group for the early rounds. What’s strange about thisoccasion is their form. Woods has gone nearly 16 months without winning, thelongest stretch of his career. Mickelson has not won since the Masters lastyear.

Who could have guessed golf’s two best players of their generation wouldhave one win between them in the last year?

And it doesn’t sound as though Woods is expecting much this week.

“I’ve been through periods in my career where I have not won and I’vestruggled before,” he said. “When you’re making a change with the game andchange instructors, it takes a little time. Trust me, we have been working onit. As I said, I’ve shown signs. Unfortunately, it’s in spurts and is notconsistent. It has not been for 72 holes yet, so, we need to get to thatpoint.”

After playing nine holes on Tuesday — including three balls in the water onthe 18th hole—he talked about changing everything about his game, all the waydown to how he releases the putter.

“You just can’t have one swing and not have another,” he said. “They’reall interrelated. It’s just something I’ve had to change, and you know, it takestime.”

And most of that time is spent on the range, not at tournaments.

Lee Westwood , who lost his No. 1 ranking to Martin Kaymer two weeks ago, canunderstand the feeling. Westwood once was No. 4 in the world until he went intoa deep slump that dropped him as low as No. 253.

He wasn’t surprised when Woods did not play the Honda Classic last week,even for reasons other than his children.

“When I went through a bad patch, it was a juggling act whether to stay athome and practice and work on your game — because you get more done — or to goout and play and risk maybe not playing well and taking another confidenceknock,” Westwood said. “So it’s very much in situations like that up to theindividual.

“Tiger has got to do what he feels is right, not what everybody else feelsis right.”

Meanwhile, another World Golf Championship in on the line. Woods used to ownthese events, winning 16 out of the first 30. Ernie Els is the defendingchampion, having held off fellow South African Charl Schwartzel a year ago.

Els spoke about the young players who are thriving now, and don’t have theemotional baggage of facing a decade of Woods at his best.

“I don’t think they will ever appreciate how good Tiger was back then,”Els said. “He could do it again. He’s just got to sort out the new swing again.He’s so mentally strong that he could well dominate again. But at that level,who knows?”

Getty Images

Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

Getty Images

Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

Getty Images

Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

Getty Images

Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''