Woods Surges Into Open Lead - COPIED

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Tiger Woods found the sand but still got started on another victory at the birthplace of golf. Jack Nicklaus struggled to hold off his farewell 'til the weekend. And everyone paused to remember the victims of the London bombings.
 
Woods, an overwhelming favorite to capture his second British Open title, surged to the top of the leaderboard early Thursday with seven birdies in a stretch of nine holes at St. Andrews.
 
Woods finally made a mistake at the 13th, taking bogey after failing to get up-and-down from one of 112 bunkers on the Old Course. Five years ago, he avoided the treacherous sand all four days en route to a record-setting eight-stroke Open victory.
 
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus started his final appearance at the Open Championship with a 3-over-par 75.
Another bunker led to bogey at 16, but Woods finished with a birdie at the closing hole for a 6-under 66 and the clubhouse lead. Many of the top players -- Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson among them -- teed off in the afternoon, taking aim at the world's No. 1 player.
 
He obviously got off a great start,'' said two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, and that's what he needed.''

The South African was right in the thick of things, joining English hopeful Luke Donald, two-time Masters champ Jose Maria Olazabal and Australian Peter Lonard at 4-under 68.
 
Goosen bounced back from his meltdown three weeks ago at Pinehurst, where he shot 81 after coming to the final day of the U.S. Open with a three-shot lead.
 
Pinehurst is pretty much history,'' he said. I wasn't thinking about it as all.''
 
Defending Open champion Todd Hamilton got off to a slow start, shooting 74.
 
Even with Woods' brilliant play in the early going, this was one of the rare occasions when he shared the spotlight with another player.
 
Nicklaus began his Open farewell with a flourish, clearing the Swilcan Burn with a short iron on his second shot and rolling in a 4-foot birdie putt. Tom Watson, a five-time winner of this event and one of Nicklaus' fiercest rivals in the 1970s, also started with a birdie at the first hole.
 
As the two strolled to the second tee, someone shouted, Another duel in the sun!''
 
So far,'' Nicklaus replied, managing a slight grin at the thought of his memorable showdown with Watson at Turnberry in 1977.
 
But the Golden Bear couldn't keep it going, struggling to a 75 even with a relatively light wind sweeping off the North Sea. He has some work to do if he wants to make the cut Friday.
 
The mood turned somber at noon, when St. Andrews joined the rest of the country in observing two minutes of silence to honor the victims of last week's terrorist attacks in London.
 
At least 52 people were killed and hundreds injured when bombs went off in three subway trains and a double-decker bus.
 
An airhorn signaled the brief suspension of play. Woods took off his hat, closed his eyes and bowed his head at the 14th hole.
 
Five years ago, Woods avoided the bunkers and set a major championship record at 19-under 269. His eight-stroke win was part of an unprecedented Tiger Slam'' -- four straight major titles, though not all in the same calendar year.
 
Woods certainly knows how to accept the torch from the player he grew up hoping to surpass as the greatest player ever. When Nicklaus said goodbye to the other three majors, Woods was the winner each time -- the 1999 PGA Championship at Valhalla, the '00 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, this year's Masters at Augusta National.
 
I wish he'd keep retiring,'' Woods said this week.
 
Woods has emerged from the second major swing change of his career to reclaim his status as the world's most feared player -- the Masters victory was followed by a runner-up showing to Michael Campbell at the U.S. Open three weeks ago.
 
The 65-year-old Nicklaus is more of a ceremonial player than serious contender, but the presumed end of his competitive career drew a large crowd to the Scottish seaside on a cloudy morning.
 
The cheers on the first hole turned to groans when Nicklaus barely caught the right side of the huge green at No. 2, three-putting from nearly 100 feet for a bogey that quickly knocked him off the leaderboard.
 
While acknowledging that his chances of winning were nil, Nicklaus hoped to make the cut and delay his final walk across the Swilcan Bridge until Sunday. It wasn't looking good after three straight bogeys on the back side.
 
When Nicklaus missed a 5-footer at the 13th, he bent over and dropped his putter in anguish. But there was plenty of sentimentality and emotion when he strolled up 18 -- perhaps for the next-to-last time. He took off his cap and waved to the cheering gallery.
 
Nicklaus won two of his record 18 major titles at St. Andrews and decided it was the most appropriate place to bring it all to an end. His son, Steve, handled the caddie duties. Jack's wife, Barbara, and two other sons, Gary and Jackie, were part of the gallery.
 
He's just so special, isn't he?'' a British fan commented while watching Nicklaus at the first hole. In every respect.''
 
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.