Pin locations for Round 3 of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
Woods (T-6) qualifies for WGC-Bridgestone via OWGR
After narrowly missing out on a 15th major title at Carnoustie, Tiger Woods can take solace in the fact that he earned a return to Firestone Country Club by the thinnest of margins.
Woods was ranked No. 71 in the world entering The Open, and the top 50 in the rankings on both July 23 and July 30 will earn invites to the upcoming WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Despite missing a short birdie putt on the 72nd hole, Woods' three-way tie for sixth was enough to lift him to exactly 50th in the updated rankings.
It means that Woods will return to Akron in two weeks despite starting the year ranked No. 656. Firestone's South Course is the site of eight of Woods' 79 career PGA Tour victories, including his most recent worldwide victory back in 2013 when he won by seven shots. He has not played the invitation-only event since withdrawing in 2014 because of injury.
That's also the last time that Woods played in any of the four WGC events.
Woods had stated for several weeks that he hoped to return to Firestone this summer, given that the tournament will permanently shift to TPC Southwind in Memphis beginning next year. While he had the option to play next week's RBC Canadian Open to bolster his world ranking, Woods reiterated in recent weeks that his status for Akron would simply hinge on his performance in The Open.
"One of my goals is to get into Akron one last time before we leave there," Woods said at The Players Championship in May. "I've won there eight times and I'd love to get there with one more chance."
Speaking to reporters after a final-round 71, Woods explained that he thought he needed a top-4 finish to qualify and had fallen short. Instead, his 5-under total and best finish in a major since the 2013 Open at Muirfield proved to be just enough.
Woods will now take a week off before teeing it up in Akron Aug. 2-5, followed by an appearance the following week at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
Spieth shrugs off his worst final round in a major
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth was the 54-hole co-leader of The Open. He was looking for his fourth career major and second consecutive claret jug. He also has been in the biggest victory drought of his career, extending back to last year at Royal Birkdale.
Spieth shot 5-over 76 - his worst final round in a major - failed to make a birdie - the first time he's failed to pick up any strokes in a major - and tied for ninth place, four shots behind Francesco Molinari. He got over it quickly.
“I’ve already gone through the frustration,” Spieth said, about 20 minutes after his round. “I’m kind of on acceptance now.”
Spieth said all week that he was burned out after having played so much golf in a stretch that ended two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. The two-week rest did him good and he was eager to see where his game was after diligent practice at home in Texas.
Being in the hunt was a good enough result for Spieth this week.
“When you put yourself in position enough times, it goes your way sometimes, it doesn’t go your way sometimes,” he said.
Bogey on the fifth hole was followed by a nasty double bogey on the sixth when Spieth hit his drive right and flew his second shot into a gorse bush well short and right of the green. He took a drop, hit a wedge onto the green, then three-putted for double-bogey 7. He also made bogey on the 15th and 17th holes.
Some major disappointment stings more than others. This wasn’t one that Spieth was going to worry about. In fact, he’s more interested in looking forward to an important stretch that includes a WGC event, a major and a playoff run on the PGA Tour.
“My (putting) stroke is there, it’s back, which feels awesome,” Spieth said. “My game all together is back. I’ve had different parts of every single part of my game being at kind of a low point in my career, not all at the same time, but enough to where I haven’t really been able to compete. It’s all there, and it’s moving in the right direction.”
McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”
McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.
That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.
“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”
McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.
Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.
“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.
“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”
McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.
Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter
Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.
His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.
Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.
No bogeys on the weekend!!— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) July 22, 2018
Is it a man or a machine???
No matter what happens
Amazing performance @F_Molinari
What a day— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) July 22, 2018
What a week
What a year
What a round by @F_Molinari. Played with him Thursday-Friday, not surprised! Guy is the hottest player on the planet currently. Bogey free out there today is a championship round— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) July 22, 2018
Viva Italia...— Gary Player (@garyplayer) July 22, 2018
How good has @F_Molinari been!!! Bogey free for the last 37 holes!— Cheyenne Woods (@Cheyenne_Woods) July 22, 2018
Wow just awesome So happy for @F_Molinari . What a fantastic player, a great person and super role model for aspiring golfers. What an achievement #championgolferoftheyear@TheOpen . So pleased for you and all the team. Enjoy the celebrations cos you deserve it— Ross Fisher (@RossFisher) July 22, 2018