Tiger Woods falls back may lose FedEx Cup lead

By Doug FergusonSeptember 7, 2009, 4:00 am
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – Steve Stricker looked at the leaderboard and breathed a sigh: He’s up on top, and Tiger Woods was nowhere to be seen.

“It’s always nice if you’re up around the lead that he’s not there, because he’s such a dangerous player and a great player as we all know,” Stricker said after shooting a 6-under par 65 in the Deutsche Bank Championship on Sunday to tie for the third-round lead at 13 under with Retief Goosen and Sean O’Hair.

“It’s good for the tournament when he’s there. It’s good for TV when he’s up there. But as a player,” Stricker said, “it’s nice that if you’re up around the lead that he’s not.”

Woods managed to save a birdie from the fairway bunker on No. 18 on Sunday, finishing 1 over for the day and 4 under – nine strokes back – through the third round. Woods has never come back from a deficit of more than eight strokes to win a tournament, and he has never erased more than a five-stroke deficit on the PGA Tour.

Woods went to sign autographs after his round without speaking to reporters and then headed for the locker room, where he had a physical therapist stretch out his back. The FedEx Cup points leader and 2006 Deutsche Bank winner then went to the putting green for the next half-hour.

Woods bogeyed the first hole when he drove into a hazard and had to take a penalty drop, then parred his way through the front nine. He fell to 2 over when he three-putted on No. 11, missing from inside of 6 feet with a chance to save par. He didn’t register his first birdie of the day until the 15th hole.

His only other birdie was on the par-5 18th, even though he put his tee shot into a bunker and had to knock his second into the fairway, leaving himself about 150 yards to the green. But he put his third shot within 3 feet of the pin and tapped in to salvage an otherwise forgettable round.

POINTS RACE: Things weren’t working out for Woods on the playoff leaderboard, either.

Only four players could catch Woods in the standings this week with a victory in the Deutsche Bank Championship and the 2,500 FedEx Cup points that go with it.

One of them – Steve Stricker – is among the tournament leaders.

Stricker entered the second week in the four-event PGA playoff in second place, 1,276 points behind Woods. He’s tied for the lead at TPC of Boston with Retief Goosen and Sean O’Hair at 13 under.

Heath Slocum, who’s third and trailing Woods by 1,526 points, did not make the cut in Boston. Zach Johnson, who is fourth and 2,152 points behind Woods, is six strokes back in the tournament. Kenny Perry, who trails Woods by 2,306 points, is tied for 43rd through three rounds, a stroke behind Woods at 3 under.

Divots: Mike Weir was two shots out of the lead until missing a 5-foot par putt on No. 16 and hitting a wedge into the creek on the 18th to make double bogey. In the final three holes, the 2003 Masters champion went from a tie for seventh to a tie for 17th. … Seven players shot all three rounds in the 60s. … Of the top eight players on the leaderboard, Kevin Na is the only one without a PGA Tour victory.

Woods attributed so many missed chances at Liberty National on putts that often broke multiple times before reaching the hole. He worked some on his short game during his three days at home, no more than usual.

“I really putted well on the weekend, I just didn’t make a lot of putts,” he said. “When you’re lipping out a lot of putts, you’re not putting poorly. Those greens were a tough read for a bunch of people.”

Woods has a hard time finding much fault with anything this year, except for not winning a major. His five victories are twice as much as anyone else, and he still holds the No. 1 stop in the FedEx Cup standings going into the second week of the playoffs.

The big surprise is Heath Slocum, who was planning a trip to Switzerland this week for the Omega Masters on the European Tour until he won last week at Liberty National. That moved him from second-to-last place at No. 124 to No. 3, right behind Woods and Stricker.

Players have been debating whether Slocum earned too many points, and they tried to balance his rocket rise with the notion that he did beat a field at The Barclays that included the top 124 players on the PGA Tour.

The top 100 qualified for the Deutsche Bank (minus Paul Casey, who is injured), and that number will be pared to the top 70 players in points going to the third round next week at the BMW Championship outside Chicago.

Woods is virtually a lock to at least contest for the $10 million prize that comes with the FedEx Cup, especially the way he has played over the last two months—two victories, two runner-up finishes.

“This last stretch, I think I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” Woods said. “I’ve putted well in stretches. Some people have alluded to other things, but that’s not too bad for my last four events. The overall year has been very consistent.”

He missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year recovering from knee surgery. The last time he played the Deutsche Bank was in 2007, when he tied for second, four shots behind Phil Mickelson. Woods took nine more putts than Mickelson that day.

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.