Tiger Bows Out of 2000 with Our Memories Numb

By George WhiteNovember 17, 2000, 5:00 pm
So he didn't win any of the final three. Tiger Woods, who was favored to win all of them, couldn't manage win No. 10.
 
Those are the negatives. The positives, though, make 2000 a year that will be remembered in golf lore forever. If Woods never again duplicates it, there were enough hold-your-breath moments to last a lifetime.
 
Remember, he was already on a roll when Jan. 9 got here - the date of the Sunday of the Mercedes Championships. He came in riding a four-win streak, beating Phil Mickelson at WGC-NEC, Ernie Els at Disney, Davis Love III in the Tour Championship and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez in the WGC-American Express in Valderrama in a playoff - running afoul of the 17th, of course, making a triple bogey to force him into overtime.
 
Then came the Mercedes, and a Sunday duel with Els that may have been his greatest moment ever. Well, at least until his next tournament .
 
The 18th hole is a 663-yard monster, whittled down to size by these two. When Woods hit the green with his second shot, a 3-wood from 274 yards that came to rest eight feet from the hole, it looked like he was the winner. But wait a minute - Els was about to do the same, ripping a 2-iron that rolled inside Woods to just six feet. Moments later, they both made their eagle putts, and away they went to overtime.
 
They did it all over in overtime, Els again striking the green in two shots, Woods lying just off. Els got down easily for birdie, but Tiger had to chip and then make a 6-foot putt for his bird.
 
Now it was a new hole, the par-4 1st, and this time Woods won it. How? With a nice 40-footer, struck just before Els missed his 35-footer by inches.
 
Whew! Then, one month later, Woods was seven back with only seven holes remaining at Pebble Beach. This was probably the streak. Suddenly, though, it looked possible. Leader Matthew Goggin was chopping it around it 40 strokes of the backside. And Tiger was at 15, holing out from 97 yards with a pitching wedge . nearly holing out again before settling for a tap-in birdie at 16 . parring the 17th and then winding it up with a birdie at the par-5 18th. And you had something in your memory storehouse you thought you would never see again. Woods was the winner by two shots.
 
Woods was a little more conventional in winning Bay Hill by four shots, but then he was right back at it in The Players Championship. This time he couldn't quite pull it off, losing to Hal Sutton by a shot. His next three wins, the Memorial, the U.S. Open and the British Open, were all laughers, Tiger winning by a combined 28 shots. Ho-hum.
 
And then came the PGA Championship and a duel with Bob May that we all decided had to be his finest moment. So many heroics, so many clutch shots . a 15-foot par save at No. 15 while May was missing a six-foot birdie; pulling even with a four-foot birdie on 17; an unlikely birdie by May on 18 from the edge of the green 15 feet away. That produced a British Open-style playoff of three holes which saw Tiger take command early, but it was yet another chapter in Woods' book of thrilling memories.
 
There was no new ground broken in the WGC-NEC, Tiger strolling away with the win after leading all four rounds. But do you have room for one more?
 
It was the Bell Canadian Open and Woods was locked in another duel, leading one Grant Waite by a wafer-thin margin of one shot as they played the 18th.
 
Woods was having the worst of it after having blocked his drive into a fairway bunker. Now Waite was safely on the green 30 feet away, while Tiger considered his options: surely he would have to lay up, since he had a large pond staring him in the face, 218 yards to the pin, and a narrow green on the back side of the water.
 
Woods thought for a moment, then reached in the bag for a 6-iron. And he hit in cleanly, catching nothing but ball, striping it over the water and to the back of the green. Game, set and match.
 
Think of an adjective and Tiger did it. The year 2000 was, indeed, one to remember. I don't think it has ever been duplicated. I don't think it ever will. If it does, it can be done by just one.
 
Eldrick T. Woods.
 
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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”

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Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 1:38 pm

Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.

But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.

"Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."

Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.

"I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.

Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.

"I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."

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Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."