How High is Up for Tiger

By Brian HewittJanuary 29, 2007, 5:00 pm
In the end, Andrew Buckle buckled under the pressure. Jeff Quinney juggled possession of the lead. And Charles Howell three-putted the 72nd green when a two-putt birdie might have applied heat on Tiger Woods.
 
In the end, Tiger Woods won.
 
Again.
 
For the seventh straight time in a PGA TOUR event.
 
For the 55th time in his career in a PGA TOUR event at the tender age of 31.
 
His final round Sunday 66 in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines South, the same course at which they will play the 2008 U.S. Open, was brilliant. And it was the low round of the day.
 
But it was more about how his presence on the first page of the leaderboard late in the fourth round these days has an increasingly daunting effect on his opponents than it was about how he somehow manages to continue to improve.
 
CBS-TVs David Feherty said it best on the air Sunday when, all about him, Tigers challengers were losing their heads. Its kinda like being at a Stones concert and singing along, Feherty said. You feel like your part of it. But no one else notices.
 
Right now on the PGA TOUR nobody is going to notice anybody else but Tiger Woods. At least, that is, until somebody comes along and stops what feels like an inexorable march towards (and past) Byron Nelsons PGA TOUR victory of 11 straight official wins set way back in 1945.
 
I know this sounds crazy, one prominent golf psychologist told me late last week. But I wouldnt be surprised if Tiger Woods doesnt lose a tournament all year.
 
Right now everybodys trying to figure out where Woods will play next in America. Its Dubai next week in the Middle East, not a PGA TOUR event. After that its probably either the Nissan Open at Riviera next month or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships in Tucson the following week.
 
I dont know, Woods said moments after his win at the Buick Invitational had pushed his career (on course) earnings past $66 million dollars. Dubais a long way and itll probably take forever for me coming back. Id love to take some time off and get adjusted to the time and see what happens from there.
 
Its not inconceivable, if the win streak remains intact, that he will tie Nelsons record at the Masters in April and break it at Nelsons tournament in April.
 
Has anyone ever commanded the Big Stage in golf the way Woods is now? Soon Woods streak will command the attention of the entire sporting world.
 
Meanwhile, beware the bounce back. Woods only hiccup Sunday at Torrey Pines was a bogey on seven which he promptly followed with a birdie at eight and an eagle on nine. The latter is a par-5 in excess of 600 yards. Woods second shot stopped 26 feet from the hole.
 
A former European Tour player, who had competed against Woods in college, once told me if PGA TOUR events were 90 holes Woods would never lose.
 
Tiger had two bogeys early in his first round Thursday at Torrey Pines North course. But he knew he had more than three and a half rounds to recover. Which he did. With relative ease.
 
Give him four days these days and he will reel in the field.
 
This is why the match play event might be the most dangerous obstacle to this streak. He can shoot the equivalent of a 66 and get beat by a hot player who shoots the equivalent of a 65 on that one day.
 
Anyhow, the streak lives. The momentum of the story builds. And those of us who appreciate the state of the art in golf remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be living in the time of Tiger Woods.
 
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

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

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”