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TT Postscript: Woods not ready for the major heat

By Tiger TrackerJune 15, 2018, 6:55 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Tiger Woods played in the shadow of world No. 1 Dustin Johnson during two rounds at the U.S. Open. OK, maybe that’s not really possible, but Woods was second fiddle to all that sweet music Johnson was making on his run up the leaderboard.
My thoughts on Tiger’s 2-over-par 72 on Friday:

• Let’s cut to the chase. As much as Tiger grinded, as much promise as he continued to see in his swing and ball striking, his overall game isn’t ready for major championship heat. Not close. Not yet. Too many big numbers. He had a triple bogey and two double bogeys on Thursday and another double bogey on Friday. Yes, if you throw out the first hole – he was 5 over on it – he would be playing this weekend, but every player would love a couple mulligans this week.

• Shinnecock was tough on everyone, but Tiger’s judged by a different standard. He isn’t everyone, and he doesn’t want to be. You could hear that in his frustration after. He doesn’t want to be judged like the guys in the middle of the pack, but the truth is he wasn’t good enough this week to hang with the guys in the middle of the pack. At 10 over through two days, he looked resigned to heading home with the rest of the guys missing the cut.

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• Tiger is still a work in progress. I get that. He’s still rebuilding, still addressing what time lost and all kinds of physical and other injury have done to him, but major championships aren’t rehab starts.

• With driver in hand, Tiger looked confident. He ripped some terrific tee shots, long and straight. He hit 11 of 14 fairways. That’s a great sign going forward. He closed with back-to-back birdies that made all my followers wonder what may be close to coming back together again. There's a foundation to keep building upon.

• His iron play? Not as good. It was spotty, not consistent enough, understandable in Thursday’s winds but less so on Friday. His wedge play wasn’t good at all. He squandered a number of chances from the middle of fairways with wedge in hand. In Thursday’s winds, with the course so firm, that was going to happen. But Friday, he failed to give himself close looks with Shinnecock about as soft as players were going to see it. He hit 9 of 18 greens, but if you were looking at the targets he wanted to hit, he was less proficient. His short game wasn’t good enough, either. He made a mess of the first hole making that triple on Thursday. It was revealing how much better Johnson scrambled over both days.

• And from there, Tiger was exasperated with his putter. It goes beyond his four-putt on Thursday.  “I haven’t made anything the last two days,” he said. It’s been an issue over his last few starts, and it’s what really kept him from making it into the weekend this week.

• Overall, Tiger was excited about his ball striking, what that control can mean, but major championship heat and playing alongside Johnson showed just how much work is left. Johnson didn’t make any of the big mistakes that Tiger made, and he finished 14 shots better than Tiger.

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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.

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“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.”