Singh Closing In on Tigers Domain

By George WhiteJanuary 13, 2004, 5:00 pm
So Vijay Singh has picked up in 2004 right where he left off ' by again scaring the bejabbers out of the men of the PGA Tour.
 
Singh came from six down Sunday to finish only one shot off Stuart Applebys winning score at the Mercedes. But thats not so unusual if youve been reading the papers the last nine months or so. Singhs been doing stuff like that every other week.
 
Heres what hes done since the Bell Canadian Open in October (a tournament in which he finished sixth, incidentally): John Deere Classic, won; WCG-American Express, tie for second; Funai Classic at Disney, won; Chrysler Championship, second; Tour Championship, terrible ' he finished tied for fifth; and this year at the Mercedes, second.
 
That means in five of the last six tournaments hes played, he either finished first or second, the lone exception being that one fifth place. Hes finished outside the top eight only once since last July 6 ' a skein of 13 tournaments. Thats a seriously long stretch, folks.
 
Im playing well, he said simply, and what an understatement. Hes playing great ' and even thats almost an understatement.
 
Right now, virtually all that separates Singh from Tiger Woods is Woods is a little more consistent putter. Singh was snakebit with the dadblasted roller practically the whole tournament at Mercedes. When the putting finally turned around on the back nine Sunday, Appleby had to clutch tightly at a lead which was six at the turn, but was down to a single stroke when Singhs l00-footer missed by two feet.
 
Dont get me wrong - he isnt a bad putter. He finished 18th in putting last year, and obviously thats pretty good. He understands the mechanics of the stroke, and hes been making them with a lot of regularity. Its just that Tiger is obscenely good with the little stick, and for now, thats the difference.
 
Im still learning about putting, Singh said, and if a man who puts the thousands of hours in practicing doesnt know it all yet, no one knows it all.
 
I think putting is always my problem. Not a problem - I'm not a bad putter. I'm just not a great putter. Great putters win a lot more tournaments.
 
I feel like if I can improve my putting part of the game - you know, I've always been able to hit the ball pretty decent. I'm driving the ball really good right now. My iron shots are not too bad. If I can make a lot more putts - and not saying every other putt I make, but my share of putts - I should be OK. You can see, if I'm putting well, I'm right up there winning golf tournaments.
 
Singh says it shouldnt be a surprise that his consistently high finishes should have carried over from the second half of last year to the start of this one.
 
I was swinging the club well, he said. I only took two weeks off. You cant go from swinging the club well for six months, coming over here (to Hawaii), and totally losing it. I kept practicing.
 
Hes a confident player right now, totally relaxed and in a smooth rhythm. Tiger seems a bit unnerved, ill at ease, with his swing. Not Singh. Hes striding up and bombing it, and he seems to know where its going ' every time.
 
I'm not fighting with my golf swing, he agreed. If I hit a bad shot, it's just a bad shot for me.
 
You know, I'm not going to say, Well, what went wrong with my golf swing? I just go out and tee it up and hit it again. I'm not really fighting that I'm going to hit a bad swing on a golf club. I'm just going to go tee it up and see the shot and hit it. That's what I've been doing the last six, eight months. It's a good feeling to have.
 
I think my golf swing is in tune with me, and I just feel comfortable with it. I'm going to keep riding it as long as I can.
 
Who knows how good Singh can be this year this may be the year when he finally passes Woods. Thats a bit strange, considering Singh will be 41 years old when the season ends and Tiger will still be 28.
 
But the gap closed considerably last year. Woods must continue to get better, if thats possible. Here comes Singh, flying low under the radar but getting louder and louder with each tournament. And its going to take a superlative effort to beat him.
 
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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.”