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TT postscript: Cold, windy, light pro-am for Woods

By Tiger TrackerMarch 14, 2018, 6:52 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – As usual, Tiger Woods was out early Wednesday for his pro-am round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here are a few observations on the eve of his first start at Bay Hill since 2013:

• The first early start after daylight saving time always throws everyone for a loop. Tiger was warming up in the pitch black with generators powering lights, even though they were flickering. He and Rory McIlroy shared a brief joke, and the only thing heard was the end when Rory quipped, “What about your 129.2 mph club-head speed?”

• On the first tee, at 7:20 a.m. ET, there was hardly enough light to see the fairway. In fact, Tiger hit a fairway wood and it was impossible to know where it ended. It was 45 degrees.

• Tiger has never put any stock in a pro-am round, never will. This one was more of the same. He was engaged with his playing partners and seemed in great spirits, but it was especially difficult to tell what kind of game he had because it was chilly and windy.

• It seemed to warm up at the turn and Tiger took off his sweater, but two holes later he put it back on when the wind picked up considerably.

• Especially interesting was the par-5 16th and the par-3 17th. Playing dead downwind Tiger hit driver, 9-iron on 16, then turned around and hit 4-iron as hard as he could on the 220-yard 17th and failed to reach the green. It will be windy the next four days, but should not be as windy as it was on Wednesday.

• Following the final round of the Valspar Championship on Sunday, Tiger looked absolutely exhausted. You could see it on his face; he was out of gas. He didn’t hit any balls on Monday and only chipped and putted on Tuesday. He played the pro-am Wednesday, had lunch, then went back for a light practice session. He tees off at 8:23 a.m. ET Thursday with Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

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“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”