Careful Tiger About What You Say
Tiger Woods gets beat in the first round at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and, immediately, he has a reason. The greens were not perfect. They werent at Pebble Beach, either, nor at San Diego. They arent at 99 percent of the courses that you the great unwashed play every day.
I dont understand a lot ' the greens, to get them ready for a big event like this, he started. A lot of events, thats what they do to get ready for a tour event, they try to get them real fast and real smooth. Unfortunately, they didnt do that.
Tiger was 1-under-par through 17 holes in his loss to Peter OMalley, who was 3-under. A lot of players were 3-under, 4-under. Paul McGinley was 6-under through the 14 holes it took him to close out Joe Durant. Obviously, a lot of guys were putting well the La Costa greens.
Up to now, Woods has been totally upfront in his no-win tournaments, hardly uttering a peep about the grasses. This year, the comments have been coming a little more often about this tournament or that tournament having greens that arent up to Tigers specifications.
He is No. 134 on tour in the putting statistics, 165th in putts per round - not good by any stretch of the imagination. To a dummy like me, it appears he is coming close on every putt. But every putt is bending at just the wrong moment, breaking outside the cup ever so slightly. His next one may be nothing more than a simple tap, but those one-inchers count the exact same as a 320-yard drive.
I hit good putts, he said after the OMalley setback. I had a nice little lip-out there on (No.) 2. Some of the putts I hit really well and they didnt break. A lot of the times, they were spent in the air bouncing. I got more mileage over the greens than I do when I travel all over the country.
There seems to be very little difference between a great putter and an average one. A little too much speed, not quite enough on this one, a wrong break, a lip-out or two...thats all it takes. When Tiger was going so great for those couple of years, all those putts were going in the cup dead-center. Now, they are missing by the narrowest of margins. Close ' very close, but it still counts as another stroke, just the same.
OMalley is No. 68 in the world. He had to travel from Australia. He arrived with an ailing shoulder and neck. He had to play against the No. 1 player in the world, within a hundred miles of that players old home. And with all that going against him, he still beat Tiger Woods.
Woods is going to win again soon, mark it down. Even Jack Nicklaus went through years when he won only once or twice. But Nicklaus suffered in silence, and eventually he would snap out of it and there he would go again, off another win streak.
As much as Tiger has learned, he still has a way to go. At the age of 26, he hasnt experienced a whole lot of failure. Hes going to have to learn to accept it a bit more gracefully, because just as surely as hole No. 2 follows hole No. 1, failure is going to come. The game of golf is just too unforgiving.
The greens are tough all over the northern hemisphere right now because they havent had a good growth stretch to fully get ready. The West Coast suffers because it is where the tour starts. When the tour gets to Florida next week, they will improve. And they will improve every week thereafter.
Maybe not so coincidentally, it is the time Woods play begins to improve dramatically. But for now, he is just a slightly better-than-average player. As surely as night follows the day, he will start making putts again. But for now, he isnt making them. Better to suffer the indignities in silence than to criticize another mans greens.
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.