Sergio Hits the Shot but Tiger Wins the Crown in 99

By George WhiteAugust 1, 2001, 4:00 pm
Sarazen and Hagen Hogan and Snead Nicklaus and Palmer should we add Woods and Garcia?
The PGA Championship of 1999 introduced the two front and center ' Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. How many more big championships will they play before their careers are finally over? If the answer is many, then people will always look back to the PGA at Medinah in 1999 as the first.
Garcia was brilliant as a 19-year-old in the opening round, firing a 66, which tied a Medinah course record. Today was a great day, he said. I think Ive proven myself today.
Woods shot a 67 the second day but couldnt catch 45-year-old Jay Haas, who took the lead when Garcia slipped back with a 73. Woods had a great start, birdieing the first three holes. Basically, it was the start I wanted, he said. I got myself right back in contention. After the halfway point, he stood in third place.
Woods continued his exceptional play the third round, firing a 68 to tie Mike Weir for the lead. However, Garcia had a 68, too, and entering the final day stood tied for third, two behind Woods.
Garcia tried diligently to catch Tiger the fourth round. He knocked a ball in the water the second, but hit a tremendous recovery and made a 12-feet putt to make bogey. He recovered with a birdie at the fifth, but by mid-round it appeared Woods would get to the finish line in a breather.
Through 11 holes, Tiger was 4-under for the day, 15-under for the week, and held a five-shot lead with only eight holes to play. But at No. 12 he three-putted for a bogey after Garcia dropped in an 18-foot putt for birdie at No. 12. Suddenly things got interesting.
A double-bogey five by Tiger at 13th tightened up the match to its minimum ' one shot. Now the big crowd was solidly behind Sergio, sensing an upset. Could it really happen?
Garcia committed a cardinal sin when he bogeyed a par-5, the 15th. At 16, though, came a shot that will surely live in the minds of golf fans everywhere. Sergios tee shot had flown right, landing up against a tree trunk between two roots.
I had a shot, but I had to hit a big slice, Garcia said. The problem was that on the downswing, I could hit part of the tree. If I aimed right, I might hit the second part of the tree.
Nine out of 10 guys on the PGA Tour chip out sideways, said Garcias caddy, Jerry Higginbotham.
But Sergio decided his only hope was to go for the flag. Taking a 6-iron, he swung viciously and connected, closing his eyes and falling back on one foot. As the ball was shooting off towards the green, Garcia ran down the fairway, leaping high in the air for a better look. The ball reached the green and died 25 feet from the flag. He very nearly birdied the hole, but his putt just grazed the edge.
Woods bogeyed the 16th to drop the lead again to one shot, but that was how it remained. He made a clutch eight-footer for par on the 17th, then parred the 18th before clenching his fist and exhaling. Tiger had won a major that will always be remembered.
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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.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”