Day In and Day Out Tigers the Same - No Excuses
He dropped the ball again last week at Pebble Beach. He shot a 68 Sunday to tie for 12th, but he was never a threat to win. And once again, he didnt blame anyone but himself. He didnt mention the greens with a million different kinds of poa annua. No bleats about the weather or playing with amateurs or various physical elements, either real or perceived. No travel woes, no nothing but club woes. Once again, he simply didnt play well enough to win.
Ive got to admire that about Tiger. He hasnt won a full-field event here since early June of last year. Thats about eight months, but he hasnt once tried to blame anybody else. He has stepped right up and took the blame, never once passing it off when he certainly could have ' and a couple of times with justification.
This whole thing of subpar (for him) play started at the U.S. Open last year. Then, like now, he refused to whine about any unpleasantness sabotaging his play ' even when the excuse was laid out ever-so-neatly before him.
Question ' Butch (Harmon) had mentioned something about an injury. Anything to that?
Woods ' No. The only thing injured is my pride.
He was just as honest last week. Im not really hitting the ball too well, he said. Its as simple as that.
He was correct, of course ' he wasnt hitting it too well for Tiger Woods. Almost anyone else, it would certainly have been acceptable. But Tiger? He knows how he was playing in 1999 and 2000. And he knows that, up to now, his play hasnt been too Tigerish. What he hasnt tried to do is alibi.
Anybody who wants to do their best ' and is not able to do their best ' you are going to be disappointed in yourself. I am no different from anybody else in that regard. I tried as hard as I could.
It is tough sometimes when ' I guess when you are struggling and not really sure it is a challenge when you are not feeling that comfortable.
It wasnt necessarily energy. I wasnt swinging well. You could have all the energy in the world ' if you are not playing well, you are not playing well. I just wasnt hitting the ball crisp and solid.
You are not going to play well every week. I was disappointed I wasnt able to hit the ball the way I know I can. But its not the end of the world, either. Life goes on and I am going to go out there and try to do my best.
Woods is obviously baffled by his inability to get it done for four rounds. He almost always has at least one good round when the brilliance shines through, but he hasnt been able to do it for four. However, he gave a little insight into the world of professional golf once last summer, one in which he detailed the luck which must be involved in order to win just about any tournament.
I guarantee you, anybody who has won a tournament hasnt played all four days at the same level, he said. Everyday your body changes a little.
You may shoot ' people thought I was nuts when I shot a 63 at the Memorial and wasnt happy about it. To be honest, I really didnt hit the ball very well, but I made every putt I looked at. Next day, I go out and hit the ball beautifully and shot 65.
Whats the difference? Well, this is the way the game is. You are not going to have your best stuff everyday when you win. You are going to have to find a way to get the job done somehow. Golf is a game of misses. You have to go out there and miss the ball in the right spots.
Could it be that the ball bounced the right way for those two years, that maybe he is playing just as well as he was then? No ' but maybe he isnt that far behind, either. Maybe we just saw something extraordinary, something that transpired over a two-year time period, something that isnt about to happen again.
No one knows, of course. It was golf at the highest level ' or at least, luck at the highest level. Certainly it was a combination, but the golf was the bigger of the factors.
Tiger hasnt putted well since the end of the hot streak last June. That, in a nutshell, has been the problem. For those two years, he putted as well as anybody has in the history of golf.
Anything over 12 feet, though, is strictly luck - so the experts say. So maybe he is rolling it at roughly the same skill level, but just hasnt been meeting the same results.
At any rate, he isnt complaining about it. I find that so refreshing. Tiger, it appears, is wise beyond his 26 years.
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.
There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.
According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)
Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.
McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.
On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.
Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
12/1: Tony Finau
14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
20/1: Francesco Molinari
25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner
30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka
40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day
50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar
60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate
80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na
100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.
It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.
Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.
A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.
“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.
“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”
Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.
At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.
Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.
“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.
“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”
Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.
“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”
After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.
“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”
Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.
“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.
“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”
On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.
Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.
“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”
Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.
At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.
At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.
Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.
“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”
Her overall assessment of her day?
“It was a great experience,” she said.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.