Woods puts on show to win JBWere Masters

By Doug FergusonNovember 15, 2009, 2:05 pm
JBWere Masters

MELBOURNE, Australia – Tiger Woods gave the record crowds at the Australian Masters everything they could have wanted with his victory Sunday, except a definitive answer when he would return.

“I promise it won’t be as long,” Woods said to yet another warm ovation.

Woods took the lead for good with a 7-iron to within 4 feet for birdie on the fifth hole, and he hardly missed a shot the rest of the way for a 4-under 68 and a two-shot win over Australia’s Greg Chalmers.

Tiger Woods
Australian fans applaud Tiger Woods' JBWere victory. (Getty Images)

He won for the seventh time this year, and the 82nd time worldwide in his career. Woods now has a trophy from every continent where golf is played. Australia, the 13th country where he has won an individual event, had been the missing link.

“I’ve never won down here, so now I have won on every continent, except for Antarctica,” Woods said. “I haven’t played the Antarctica Four-Ball yet. But to have won on every playable continent, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And now I’ve done that.”

It had been 11 years since Woods last competed in Australia, at the 1998 Presidents Cup. Since then, he has won 13 majors and 72 times around the world, becoming the face of golf and one of the most famous athletes in the world.

More than 100,000 fans who passed through the gates of Kingston Heath gave him rock-star treatment.

Woods put on quite a show.

One day after he lost his swing and nearly fell out of contention, Woods hit every fairway and only ran into trouble when a photographer standing too close clicked twice in the middle of his swing, leading to his lone bogey.

Starting the day in a three-way tie for the lead, Woods began his final round with a 3-wood to the par-5 first hole that landed next to the hole and rolled 30 feet away, producing the first of many roars from thousands of fans surrounding the green, some of them perched in trees.

After his birdie on the fifth, he followed with his most exquisite shot of the day – from 82 yards away to a firm green just over a ridge, the pin on a slope feeding toward a deep bunker. Playing a 56-degree wedge for a flatter shot, it bounced 30 feet from the flag, checked slightly and trickled down the slope to 2 feet.

“It came off perfect,” he said.

Chalmers, who hasn’t won on his native soil since 1998, found consolation in his runner-up finish. It was one of the biggest weeks of golf in Australia, energy not felt since the glory days of Greg Norman.

He stayed within range of Woods on the back nine, but failed to convert a couple of good birdie chances and shot 70.

“It was like a football crowd brought to the golf, and for us as players, I have only experienced that a handful of times, and I’ve never experienced it in Australia at all,” Chalmers said. “That was special. It really was very exciting, and it made you play better. Even though I finished second, I’m thrilled that he’s here. I wish he would come every couple of years. I’m sure we all do.”

Asked on live television, the closing ceremony and in his press conference about returning, Woods only said, “I would love to.”

“I want to come back, no doubt,” Woods said.

He said he would go over his 2010 schedule during the holidays, although Australians are assured of at least seeing him in two years at Royal Melbourne for the Presidents Cup.

Woods received a $3 million appearance fee to play in the Australian Masters. Half of that fee was paid by the Victorian government, which estimated the economic return at $20 million.

“He over-delivered,” said Ian Baker-Finch, the former British Open champion helping out with local TV analysis.

Woods wasn’t too shabby on the golf course, either.

One week after he fell apart in the final round at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Woods sorted out his swing problems overnight and was precise as ever around Kingston Heath. He saved par with a 10-foot putt on the ninth, and he reached the 574-yard 12th hole into the wind with a 3-wood for a key birdie.

The only mishap came on the 13th, with a sand wedge in his hand.

“I thought I was in control of the tournament after I made that birdie on 12,” Woods said, “and then a photographer took the control right away from me.”

The photographer, standing unusually close, took two pictures in the middle of his swing, and the ball sailed right of the green. Still fuming on the par-5 14th, he failed to make birdie and left himself open to Chalmers cutting into the lead.

On the next hole, however, Woods hit an 8-iron that had the crowd buzzing during its entire flight, the cheers getting louder as it covered the flag and rolled 6 feet beyond the hole. He made the last birdie he needed.

The result was Woods slipping into a jacket after winning the Masters – this one Australian gold, not Augusta green, but it will do. He finished at 14-under 274 and earned about $250,000 from a purse that was half the size of his appearance fee.

American Jason Dufner, who received an exemption between tournaments in Asia, shot 70 and tied for third with Frenchman Francois Delamontagne (69). James Nitties, part of that three-way tie for the lead going into the last round, shot 73 to finish fifth, while fellow Australian Adam Scott recorded his second straight top 10 finish with a 69 to tie for sixth.

Asked what legacy he would leave behind, Woods smiled and said, “I got a W. That was the goal this week.”

No matter the country, the time zone or the size of the gallery, that’s one thing that doesn’t change.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”