A poor day of putting holds Woods back

By Doug FergusonMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Tiger Woods never had a birdie putt longer than his shadow Thursday morning, giving himself one chance after another in the opening round of The Players Championship.
 
After six holes, he already was five shots behind.
 
I was in position all day to make putts, he said. And I just didnt do it.
 
The longest putt he made all day was from 4 feet, that after a towering 7-iron into the par-5 16th hole for an eagle. He two-putted for birdie on the par-5 second, then finished his round with a remarkable pitch from thick grass to 3 1/2 feet for birdie and a 1-under 71.
 
Woods has never shot better than 70 in the first round at TPC Sawgrass, so this was nothing new.
 
But the putting was a surprise.
 
This is probably the highest score I could have shot today, he said And I didnt get a whole lot of my round. Thats the way it goes.
 
The statistics show that he took 31 putts.
 
What they dont show is the missed opportunities ' seven birdie putts he missed inside 12 feet, including the first four holes.
 
Frustration began to show on his next hole, the par-4 14th, when he hit a drive so far too the right that it nearly wound up in the water in front of the 12th tee, a pond that is not supposed to be in play. He tried to play a fade around the pines, only to pull the shot toward trees and into a bed of flowers. He did well to escape with bogey.
 
Whatever momentum he tried to build from his eagle didnt last long. After a tee shot that found dry land on the island green 17th, his 9-foot birdie putt spun 180 degrees around the cup, and his approach on the 18th was a yard too long and went off the back of the green.
 
Still, it was the short stick that confounded him.
 
I didnt hit good putts, he said. My speed was off early, then I got my speed down at the end and I kept lipping out putts. I just need to obviously read them better or hit better putts, one of the two.
 
The greens were redone when the tournament moved from March to May for 2007, and with warmer weather, there is not any winter seed on the putting surfaces. Woods has played once since the change, missing last year recovering from the first of two knee surgeries.
 
Theyre certainly way different than what we played before, he said. Youve got to be careful out there.
 
Not that it matters.
 
No tournament has vexed him like The Players. Even though he won in 2001 and was runner-up the year before, Woods has gone six consecutive years without finishing in the top 10.
 

Related Links:
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    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:00 pm

    The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

    Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

    Scoring:

    TV Times (all times ET):

    Tuesday
    11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
    4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

    Wednesday
    4-8PM: Match-play finals

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    Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

    By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

    With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

    Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

    Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

    "I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

    "And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

    Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

    "There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

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    UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

    UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

    Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

    Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

    WGCA First Team All-Americans

    • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
    • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
    • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
    • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
    • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
    • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
    • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
    • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
    • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
    • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
    • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
    Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

    Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

    By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

    Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

    Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

    The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.