Woods readies for important two-week stretch

By Ryan LavnerJuly 28, 2014, 6:00 pm

How did Tiger Woods recover from his worst 72-hole finish in a major? By going on vacation with his kids and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.

“We toured a little bit and even played a little putt-putt, which I won every single time,” he said Monday on a video conference promoting the upcoming Deutsche Bank Championship, the FedEx Cup playoff event that benefits his foundation.

Woods also opted for some R&R after he missed the cut at the Quicken Loans National. Cynics will read those remarks and wonder why Woods wasn’t grinding on the range to improve, or assume that his desire to be great has vanished.   

Not so, he says. 

When asked Monday what keeps the competitive juices flowing after all of these years in the spotlight, he replied, “Winning more. I thoroughly enjoy that. That’s why I played from a very young age. … To me the satisfaction of that, being able to prepare and be able to go out there and get it done, it does feel good. I haven’t lost that. I certainly don’t foresee that ever happening.

“I’ve got a little 5-year-old right now (Charlie) that is really pushing me pretty hard. He wants to beat me in everything. That said, I was able to kick his butt in putt-putt. I’ve shown him how to get it done.”

This is an important stretch for Woods, beginning with this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he is the defending champion and an eight-time winner.

The former world No. 1 likely has to average at least a top-3 finish at Firestone and next week at Valhalla just to reach the FedEx Cup playoffs. He was in a similar situation in 2011, after missing nearly three months with various injuries, and he wound up outside the top-125 bubble. 

“Hopefully I can do a little better than I did last time,” he said.

Making matters even more pressing is the Ryder Cup. At No. 70 in points, Woods likely will not qualify for the team automatically, but a few encouraging performances might be enough to convince captain Tom Watson to burn one of his three wild-card picks on him, similar to what Corey Pavin did in 2010.  

“In the end it’s what can you do for your team?” Woods said. “Are you able to contribute?”

That much is still unclear, however, after Woods shot rounds of 69-77-73-75 to finish 69th at the Open Championship – 23 shots behind winner Rory McIlroy. 

A five-time winner and PGA Tour Player of the Year last season, Woods was plagued by a back injury earlier this season, went under the knife March 31, missed two majors and is now all the way down to 10th in the world.

With the consistency of Adam Scott at the top, and the reemergence of three-time major winner Rory McIlroy, many men with a microphone have suggested that there is a new world order, that the so-called Tiger Era is over.

Not surprisingly, Woods isn’t buying that talk.

“Unfortunately I’ve had my share of breakdowns,” he said of his injuries. “I’ve had to rehab and I’ve had to come back. And through all the years I’ve been able to do that.” 

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”