In His Own Words - Tiger Woods 97 Masters Part 1

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 15, 2001, 5:00 pm
IN HIS OWN WORDS
TIGER WOODS - 1997 MASTERS

 

SCOTT VAN PELT
 
IN THE STORIED HISTORY OF GOLF, FEW PERFORMANCES IF ANY HAVE EVER BEEN MORE MIND BOGGLING THAN TIGER WOODS 1997 MASTERS. IN FOUR DAYS HE CHANGED HISTORY, BECOMING THE MASTERS YOUNGEST CHAMPION, POSTING THE LOWEST SCORE AND THE LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY IN THE PROCESS. RECENTLY I TALKED WITH TIGER TO REFLECT ON WHAT HE DID, HOW HE DID IT AND HOW IT CHANGED HIS LIFE FOREVER.
 
DID YOU HAVE ANY SENSE AT ALL, AS THIS WAS UNFOLDING LAST YEAR AT AUGUSTA, THE IMPACT THAT THIS WAS GOING TO HAVE?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO CLUE. I MEAN HONESTLY, NO CLUE. I WAS JUST TRYING TO WIN A TOURNAMENT AND I FELT SO COMFORTABLE, SO AT EASE AND REALLY PEACEFUL WITHIN MYSELF AND I JUST LET IT UNFOLD. I DIDN'T FORCE THE ISSUE, I JUST LET IT UNFOLD. I WAS VERY PATIENT AND UM I WON THE TOURNAMENT BUT ANYTHING AFTERWARDS I.... COULDN'T EVEN, I COULDN'T DREAM OF THIS, I, I WOULD NEVER HAVE DREAMT IT WOULD BE THIS HECTIC AND THIS CRAZY.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU'VE PLAYED THERE BEFORE, OF COURSE AS AN, AS AN AMATEUR CHAMPION AND UM I'M SURE THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT FEELING THIS TIME WHEN YOU CAME UP MAGNOLIA LANE BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE COMPLETELY FOCUSED ON THE TASK
 
TIGER WOODS
 
RIGHT
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
AT HAND AND THEN YOU GO OUT IN, IN 40.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MHMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
WHOOPS
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
IT'S ABOUT... IT CAN GET AWAY FROM YOU QUICKLY AT THAT POINT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
VERY EASILY
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
BUT ON 10 TEE, SOMETHING IN YOUR HEAD CLICKS. YOU REALIZE SOMETHING'S GOING WRONG, YOU'VE GOT SOME PAR 5'S ON THE BACK NINE, TAKE US THROUGH THAT. YOU'VE BOMBED THE BACK NINE IN 30.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
WELL I HAD SOME THREE REALLY BAD SHOTS AND I MADE OBVIOUSLY FOUR BOGEYS BUT THREE OF THOSE BAD SHOTS CAUSED BOGEYS, SO I'M THINKING WELL JUST ELIMINATE THE BAD SHOTS ON THE BACK NINE. JUST TURN IT AROUND... SHOOT 32, BECAUSE THE LEAD AT THE TIME I THINK WAS... ZINGER WAS IN THE CLUBHOUSE EITHER FOUR UNDER OR FIVE
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
I THINK IT WAS... RIGHT. I MEAN THERE WAS NOT, NOT THAT MANY BIRDIES
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO NOT TOO MANY BIRDIES. NO NOBODY WAS GOING LOW SO IF I COULD SHOOT 32 ON THE BACK AND BIRDIE BOTH PAR 5'S, MAYBE EVEN EAGLE BOTH OF THEM AND MAKE A COUPLE BIRDIES ON SHORT PAR 4'S WITH NO BOGEYS, I'LL BE RIGHT IN THE BACK OF THE BOTTLE. RIGHT THERE. I'LL BE AT EVEN PAR FOUR OR FIVE BACK, THREE ROUNDS TO GO. WHO KNOWS WHAT, WHAT CAN HAPPEN.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
DID BETTER THAN THAT THOUGH
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
CHIP IN ON 12, DID THAT REALLY GET YOU KICK STARTED, THE CHIP IN?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO. NO. THE CHIP IN DIDN'T DO ANYTHING
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
NO?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
WHAT REALLY WAS BIG WAS THE PUTT I MADE ON 10.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
OKAY
 
TIGER WOODS
 
BECAUSE THE PUTT WAS, IT WAS A SIMPLE PUTT. IT WAS 15 FEET, UPHILL RIGHT TO LEFT. UNFORTUNATELY I HAD TO START ABOUT 4 FEET OUT TO THE RIGHT AND DIE IT IN THERE AND THAT'S NOT AN EASY PUTT BUT I 'WHOO-ED' I SAID 'WHOO. THERE WE GO.' AND THEN HIT TWO GOOD SHOTS INTO 11 AND 12, HIT A GOOD SHOT OVER THE PIN, BUT, CHIPPED IN, GOT AWAY WITH THAT. HIT A GOOD CHIP AND THEN I WENT TO 13 AND YOU KNOW PLAYED WELL ALL THE WAY IN.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
SO CLEARLY YOU'VE BROUGHT IT BACK. YOU'VE... YOU COME IN IN 30 SO FRIDAY YOU, YOU GO OUT WITH ZINGER YOU'VE GOT, GOT TO HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MMMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU UH, YOU'RE PLAYING WELL. YOU GET TO THE, YOU GET TO THE TURN FRIDAY AND MAKE A GREAT PAR SAVE ON 9
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MMMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
ANOTH.... A HUGE COME BACK
 
TIGER WOODS
 
HUGE
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
THAT PUTT I'M GUESSING HAD TO DO A LOT FOR YOUR PSYCHE BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO THE BACK NINE WHICH YOU LIT UP
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MMHM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
IN ROUND ONE, AND THAT PUTT WAS NOT AN EASY PUTT.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO IT WAS AN EASY PUTT. THE SHOT.... HIT A BAD TEE SHOT THERE AND HIT A... I HAD TO PLAY A QUICK HOOK OUT OF THE TREES AND IT RAN IN THE GALLERY AND THEY STOPPED IT FOR ME. THANK YOU.... AND FROM THERE I, I HIT A BAD PUTT. THE FIRST PUTT I HIT WAS HORRIBLE. I THOUGHT I KNOCKED IT OFF THE GREEN. WHEN I HIT IT, I FELT LIKE THE GUN WENT OFF IN MY HANDS. I WAS LIKE 'OH NO. THAT'S GONE. THAT'S, IT'S GONE.' UH YOU COULD HEAR... FLUFF WAS RIGHT THERE, YOU KNOW, I'M SAYING THAT'S GONE... AND IT STOPPED AND I WAS LIKE 'OOH IF I CAN MAKE THIS ONE I CAN SNEAK OUT OF HERE WITH, WITH A PAR' AND IT FELT LIKE
 
TIGER WOODS
 
I FELT LIKE I STOLE SOMETHING HERE. LET'S GO TO THE BACK NINE... AND I HIT THAT PUTT AND HALFWAY THERE I STARTED WALKING, STARTED MOVING ON IT AND IT WENT RIGHT IN THE CENTER.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU REALLY DIDN'T MISS ONE THAT MATTERED THAT I SAW.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
I DIDN'T MISS ANY PUTT WITHIN EIGHT FEET.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THAT GOING IN? ANY, ANYTHING SPECIFIC
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NOTHING
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
DID YOU PUTT IN THE BATHTUB OR ANYTHING?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO NOTHING SPECIFIC. I WOULD JUST... I KEPT WORKING ON MY STROKE, GROOVING MY STROKE AND WORKING ON MY PACE. UM WHEN I'M AT HOME I ALWAYS TRY TO FEEL LIKE I'M CRAWLING THE BALL OVER THE HOLE. IF I LEFT THEM SHORT THAT'S FINE. AT THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP I, I SUFFERED THERE. I DIDN'T PLAY BUT I FINISHED 18TH.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
BECAUSE I WAS WORKING ON... TRYING TO GET READY FOR AUGUSTA. I LEFT EVERY PUTT SHORT BUT I SAID 'HEY JUST YOU STICK WITH IT. JUST STICK WITH IT. BE PATIENT. THIS WILL WORK OUT IN THE END.'
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU TALKED ABOUT WALKING AFTER IT ON 9. ON 11 AND 12 YOU JUST MISSED BIRDIES. ON 12 YOU'RE WALKING AFTER IT. IT'S IN THE JAR. YOU KNOW IT'S IN THE HOLE. DOESN'T GO IN THE HOLE.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
IT DOESN'T GO IN THE HOLE.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
WELL IT'S SUPPOSED TO BREAK TOWARDS THE WATER AND IT STARTED BREAKING AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT FLATTENED OUT
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
WITH TWO FEET TO GO AND I'M LIKE 'OH NO' AND THEN IT STAYED RIGHT THERE ON THE EDGE AND I LIPPED IT OUT.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
I'M MORE INTERESTED ABOUT THE TEE SHOT ON 13 BECAUSE YOU'VE MISSED TWO BIRDIES IN A ROW THAT LOOK LIKE THEY'RE IN. THIRTEEN YOU GET UP THE PAR 5 AND JUST, JUST ROPE IT. A LITTLE AGGRESSION IN THAT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO IT'S... THE AGGRESSION THAT YOU SAW WAS, I LOOKED AT IT ON VIDEO TAPE.... UH SPECIFICALLY THAT HOLE BECAUSE I TURNED IT OVER GREAT BUT I REMEMBER FEELING HORRIBLE ABOUT IT. NOT, NOT FEELING VERY GOOD WITH THE SHOT AND IF YOU LOOK AT ME I'M LAUGHING ABOUT IT.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
RIGHT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
THE REASON BECAUSE I GOT STUCK. I GOT THE CLUB BEHIND ME AND I FLIPPED IT TO TRY AND HIT THE DRAW OR ELSE I'M GOING TO LOOSE IT WAY RIGHT IN THE TREES AND THEN I FLIPPED IT.. AND I TIMED IT
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
AND UH IT'S SOMETHING I GREW UP WITH, I, I GREW UP
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
I GOT STUCK AND I FLIPPED IT AND I STARTED THE BALL RIGHT OVER WHERE I WANTED TO AND JUST SLUNG IT AROUND THE CORNER
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
AND FROM THERE I HIT A LITTLE 8 IRON IN THERE AND MADE THE PUTT.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
AS UH JIM NANTZ SAID ON THE TELECAST THAT, SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF LET THE RECORD SHOW THAT AT 5:30 IN THE AFTERNOON
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
ON THE 11TH OF APRIL 1997, TIGER WOODS TOOK HIS FIRST LEAD. YOU NEVER RELINQUISHED THE LEAD THAT WE, WE DIDN'T KNOW AT THAT POINT. THAT WAS BALL GAME
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MHMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
FROM THERE. YOU JUST, YOU BIRDIE I GUESS 14, 15, MAKE A COUPLE OF GREAT SAVES. NOW YOU'RE IN THE LEAD AFTER TWO ROUNDS AT AUGUSTA AND THERE'S DEFINITELY A SENSE THAT SOMETHING BIG IS GETTING READY TO HAPPEN. DID YOU HAVE A FEELING FOR THAT AS THEY HEADED TO THE WEEKEND?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
HONESTLY NO. NO I DIDN'T... UM I FELT THAT I HAD TO PLAY SATURDAY. SATURDAY WAS A HUGE ROUND. SATURDAY WAS A ROUND WHERE IF I WENT... HIGH 60'S THAT I WOULD PROBABLY HAVE YOU KNOW A 1,2,3 SHOT LEAD BUT IF I SHOT EVEN PAR I'D GET PASSED AND I FELT LIKE A LOT OF GUYS WOULD GO RIGHT ON BY ME AND I'D HAVE, HAVE A DOG FIGHT ON SUNDAY.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
AND THAT'S NOT WHAT I WANTED TO HAVE HAPPEN SO I WAS ON A ROLL, LET'S JUST KEEP IT GOING.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO, TO BE HONEST WITH ME FOR A SECOND AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU WILL. COLIN MONTGOMERIE, WHO YOU PLAYED WITH ON SATURDAY SAID BASICALLY HE'S A GREAT PLAYER, BUT COLIN TRIPS A LITTLE BIT. HE SAID HE WANTED A PIECE OF TIGER WOODS.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
I, I, I KNOW.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
WELL IT REMINDS US OF WHY THEY SAY YOU KNOW BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU ASK FOR
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
BECAUSE YOU MIGHT GET IT. DID THAT GIVE YOU ANY ADDED MOTIVATION?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
OH YES IT DID.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
OKAY.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
BIG TIME.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
SO THAT, THAT FUELED THE FIRE A LITTLE BIT.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MHMM. YEAH BUTCHY REMINDED ME OF IT JUST BEFORE I WENT OFF AND I, I SAID DON'T WORRY.
 
BREAK
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU TALKED A, A MOMENT AGO ABOUT THE, THE AGGRESSION ON 13TH. YOU WERE A LITTLE FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR STROKE. ON THE 9TH HOLE, AGAIN WE'RE ON THE 9TH, SATURDAY, YOU'RE 8 SHOTS CLEAR OF THE LEAD, YOU BOMB IT AGAIN, YOU'RE ABOUT 10 YARDS SHORT OF THE CROSS WALK AND FROM YOUR REACTION, YOU'D HAVE THOUGHT YOU SHANKED IT. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT? DO YOU REMEMBER THAT MOMENT AT ALL?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH PEOPLE HAVE.. THEY HAVE NO IDEA IS I HOOKED IT. I THOUGHT THAT BALL HIT THE TREES UM BECAUSE I HEARD SOME, SOME 'OOH'S' DOWN THERE BECAUSE THAT'S... ON THAT LINE, THE LINE I TOOK WAS STRAIGHT OVER THE TREES. I HIT IT RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE AND HOOKED IT INTO THE TREES AND I KNOW I DIDN'T HIT IT THAT GOOD SO THERE'S NO WAY I COULD HAVE CARRIED THOSE TREES AND THOSE TREES ARE PRETTY TALL ON THE LEFT
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
AND I'M THINKING... AND I HEARD SOME OOH'S AND SOME GALLERY KIND OF TRIPPING DOWN THERE. I GUESS THEY WERE TRIPPING BECAUSE THE BALL WAS ALMOST.. IT WAS ON THE UP SLOPE
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
ALMOST ON THE CROSSWALK
 
TIGER WOODS
 
ALMOST IN THE CROSSWALK AND I'M THINKING... FROM THE TEE STAND POINT, THE WAY THAT BALL FELT COMING OFF THE CLUB AND THE FLIGHT
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
IT WAS KIND OF DIVING A LITTLE BIT AND I'M THINKING THERE'S NO WAY, IT'S IN THE TREES AND HERE I AM, THE BACK LEFT PIN, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? I'M PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO, I'M ALREADY THINKING I'M, IF I GET IT SOME KIND OF SWING OR STANCE I GOT TO PLAY OUT TO THE RIGHT AND I CAN CHIP UP THE HILL A LITTLE RIGHT TO LEFT AND THEN JUST GET A PAR AND JUST GET OUT OF HERE.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
YOU DID.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
AND I WALKED DOWN THERE AND I SAID 'OOH! THERE IT IS.'
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
THAT WAS AMAZING UH YOU HEAD TO THE BACK AGAIN AND A, A WAYWARD DRIVE ON 11, A GREAT APPROACH, SUPER PUTT FOR BIRDIE AND NOW YOU WALK UP THE HILL
 
TIGER WOODS
 
ACTUALLY YOU KNOW WHAT, THERE'S SOMETHING I HAVE TO SAY. THAT WAS THE BEST SWING I MADE ALL WEEK.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
THE SWING FROM THE
 
TIGER WOODS
 
APPROACH SHOT ON 11. BEST SHOT I HIT ALL WEEK BY FAR.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
WHY IS THAT?
 
TIGER WOODS
 
BAR NONE. IT WAS JUST A, IT WAS A PERFECT GOLF SWING. IT WAS SHORT, IT WAS COMPACT, GREAT WIDTH ON THE WAY BACK, GREAT WIDTH ON THE WAY THROUGH AND JUST A LITTLE LOW DRAW NINE IRON.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
WE'LL HAVE TO GO BACK AND LOOK AT THAT AND, AND MAKE A COPY OF THE TAPE IF THAT'S THE PERFECT GOLF SWING. WE SHOULD ALL TRY TO EMULATE IT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YOU KNOW BUTCH AND I ALWAYS KID OURSELVES. WE ALWAYS TRY AND MAKE MY SWING LOOK LIKE THAT ONE.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
REALLY
 
TIGER WOODS
 
BECAUSE TO ME IT WAS THE PERFECT FEELING SHOT... IT, THE WAY I, I, I FELT LIKE I HAD A LITTLE BOW IN MY LEFT HAND AND THE BALL WAS NOT GOING TO GO LEFT. I PLAYED A LITTLE LOW DRAW WITH A RIGHT TO LEFT WIND WITH WATER ON THE LEFT AND I TRUSTED IT AND IT WORKED OUT.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
WELL I FELT IT AND I SAID JUST GO WITH IT. TRUST IT.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
I THINK YOU FELT IT ALL WEEK. AS, AS YOU WALKED UP THE HILL NOW TO 12, AFTER THAT, AFTER THAT BIRDIE, HUGE, HUGE ROAR FROM THE CROWD OF COURSE. AS WE SAID A MOMENT AGO, THE ROUTE IS ON. YOU'VE GOT THE FIELD DOWN. YOU'RE STEPPING ON THEIR NECK AND YOU DID SOMETHING THAT I, I, I THINK SPOKE VOLUMES ABOUT HOW YOU PREPARED ALL WEEK. YOU'RE ON THE TEE AT 12
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MHMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
AND YOU STEP. YOU STEP AWAY FROM THE BALL BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR SWING. YOU'RE NOT, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE A MISTAKE. YOU LOOK AT THE FLAG ON 12 AND THEN YOU LOOK AT THE FLAG ON 11 AS LEGEND SUGGESTS YOU SHOULD.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
MHMM
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
EVEN WITH THAT BIG A LEAD, YOU WEREN'T GOING TO LET YOURSELF MAKE A MENTAL ERROR.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
THAT GOLF COURSE IS AN ULTIMATE THINK TANK BECAUSE EACH AND EVERY SHOT IS POSITION AND THINKING UH IT'S NOT ONE OF THOSE SHOTS WHERE THE HOLES WERE, THE HOLE'S NOT, THE WHOLE GOLF COURSE WHERE YOU BOMB IT DOWN THE MIDDLE... LEFT SIDE OR RIGHT SIDE.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
MHMM
 
TIGER WOODS
 
DOESN'T MATTER. NO. WRONG. YOU GOT TO HIT DOWN THE LEFT TO A CERTAIN PIN. YOU GOT TO HIT DOWN TO THE RIGHT ON CERTAIN PINS AND SOMETIMES YOU GOT TO LAY BACK ON CERTAIN HOLES AND IT'S, IT'S THE ULTIMATE THINK TANK AND YOU GOT TO REALLY BE DEDICATED
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
ON 18, YOU SPIN IT BACK TO 2 FEET AND IT WAS THE FIRST TIME ALL WEEK THAT I COULD REMEMBER, ALL WEEK YOU HAD THIS GOING... COMPLETE BLINDERS, FOCUS UH WE'VE TALKED ABOUT YOU
 
TIGER WOODS
 
YEAH
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
WITH A BOXER GETTING IN THE RING BUT ON 18 FINALLY, EVEN YOU HAD TO KIND OF JUST LAUGH
 
TIGER WOODS
 
THE FUNNY THING IS, THIS IS THE HONEST TRUTH, IS WHEN I HIT THAT BALL UP THERE TIGHT. I KNEW IT WAS TIGHT BECAUSE
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
BUT YOU CAN'T SEE IT
 
TIGER WOODS
 
OF THE WAY
 
I CAN'T SEE IT BUT THE WAY THE PEOPLE WERE REACTING IT HAD TO BE IN, INSIDE THREE FEET. I'M THINKING I CAN HANDLE THAT RIGHT NOW. I MEAN I'M PUTTING WELL.. AND I START SMILING AND SAID I HAVE A 10 SHOT LEAD. I THOUGHT I HAD A 10 SHOT LEAD BECAUSE I WANTED TO GET TO DOUBLE DIGITS GOING INTO SUNDAY AND I DIDN'T DO IT. I ONLY GOT A 9 SHOT LEAD BUT I WANTED THAT 10 SHOT LEAD.
 
SCOTT VAN PELT
 
JUST ONE LAST THING ABOUT SATURDAY UM FOR THE RECORD YOU BEAT MONTY BY 9. AT ANY POINT DID YOU KIND OF WANT TO LOOK OVER AND YOU KNOW, I'M HERE, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN DO FOR YOU WHILE WE'RE OUT HERE? YOU LET HIM HAVE IT PRETTY GOOD.
 
TIGER WOODS
 
NO I, I, I, I THINK THE SCOREBOARD ON THE LAST HOLE SPOKE, SPOKE BOTH VOLUMES RIGHT THERE. THAT'S ALL THAT NEEDED TO BE SAID RIGHT THERE AND ESPECIALLY, NOT ONLY 18 BUT THE, THE SCOREBOARD ON, ON 11 BECAUSE HE WASN'T PLAYING WELL AND I WAS PLAYING APPARENTLY REALLY GOOD AT THE TIME AND, AND THE, THE COMPARISON OF THE NUMBERS.
 
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After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray


On the difference between this week and last week ...

There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard


On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

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Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

“Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”

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Casey comes up short (again) to Bubba at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:07 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – Staked to a four-shot lead entering the final round of the Travelers Championship, Paul Casey watched his opening tee shot bounce off a wooden wall and back into the middle of the fairway, then rolled in a 21-foot birdie putt off the fringe.

At the time, it appeared to be a not-so-subtle indicator that Casey was finally going to get his hands on a trophy that has barely eluded him in the past. Instead it turned out to be the lone highlight of a miserable round that left the Englishman behind only Bubba Watson at TPC River Highlands for the second time in the last four years.

Casey shot the low round of the tournament with a third-round 62 that distanced him from the field, but that opening birdie turned out to be his only one of the day as he stalled out and ultimately finished three shots behind Watson, to whom he lost here in a playoff in 2015.

Casey’s score was 10 shots worse than Saturday, as a 2-over 72 beat only five people among the 73 others to play the final round.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I mean, I fought as hard as I could, which I’m proud of,” Casey said. “Not many times you put me on a golf course and I only make one birdie. I don’t know. I’d be frustrated with that in last week’s event, but it is what it is.”

Casey led by as many as five after his opening birdie, but he needed to make a 28-foot par save on No. 10 simply to maintain a one-shot edge over a hard-charging Watson. The two men were tied as Casey headed to the 16th tee, but his bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 combined with a closing birdie from Watson meant the tournament was out of reach before Casey even reached the final tee.

Casey explained that a “bad night of sleep” led to some neck pain that affected his warm-up session but didn’t impact the actual round.

“Just frustrating I didn’t have more,” he said. “Didn’t have a comfortable swing to go out there and do something with.”

Casey won earlier this year at the Valspar Championship to end a PGA Tour victory drought that dated back to 2009, but after being denied a second victory in short succession when he appeared to have one hand on the trophy, he hopes to turn frustration into further success before turning the page to 2019.

“I’m probably even more fired up than I was post-Tampa to get another victory. This is only going to be more fuel,” Casey said. “I’ve got 12 events or something the rest of the year. So ask me again in November, and if I don’t have another victory, then I will be disappointed. This is merely kind of posturing for what could be a very good climax.”

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Bubba thrives in his comfort zone

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:02 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – The 1:20 p.m. pairing Sunday at TPC River Highlands spanned the spectrum on the PGA Tour. In one corner stood science. Bryson DeChambeau, whose quantitative approach to golf seemingly knows no bounds, was looking to add another victory after winning a playoff earlier this month at Jack’s Place.

On the other side was art.

Bubba Watson doesn’t float golf balls in Epsom salt to identify minor imperfections. He doesn’t break out a compass to find the slightest errors in the Tour-supplied pin sheet. Even when he texts caddie Ted Scott, he prefers to use voice text rather than rely on his admittedly sub-optimal spelling.

But strolling along one of his favorite landscapes, Bubba the artist came out on top. Again.

Watson is in the midst of a resurgent season, one that already included a third victory at one of his favorite haunts in Riviera Country Club. It featured a decisive run through the bracket at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and a return to the leaderboards at Augusta National where he fell short of a third green jacket.

It only makes sense, then, that he’d build upon that burgeoning momentum at the Travelers Championship, where he earned his first PGA Tour victory in 2010 and Sunday joined Billy Casper as the tournament’s only three-time champ with a final-round 63 to catch and pass Paul Casey.

This is a place where Watson can bomb drives by feel and carve short irons at will, and one where he officially put his stamp on the best season to date on Tour.

“His hand-eye coordination is by far one of the best I’ve ever seen,” DeChambeau said. “You’ve got me who was just struggling off the tee, and he’s just swiping shots down there. It was cool to watch. I wish I could do that. I probably could do that, but I just don’t feel like I’d be as consistent as he is.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Consistency wasn’t an apt descriptor a year ago, as Watson went from two-time major champ to completely off the radar. His world ranking, which began last year at No. 10 and is now back up to No. 13 after he became the first three-time winner this season, fell as far as 117th before his win at Riviera in February.

Watson attributes much of the turnaround to a change in health. Never really one to tip the scales, he lost 25 pounds in a three-month span last year while battling an undisclosed health concern. After putting some of the weight back on, he’s now able to focus more of his time and energy on fine-tuning one of the Tour’s most distinctive approaches.

“Anytime any of these guys kind of get comfortable with just being them, and golf is secondary in a sense, it helps them reach their potential,” said Scott. “I think the hype and the pressure can sometimes put things out of sort. And right now he’s just very comfortable with who he is as a person, and I think in his life. It helps him relax on the golf course.”

What Watson doesn’t prefer to mention is the equipment change he made that serves as a not-so-subtle line of demarcation. The southpaw turned heads at the end of 2016 when he agreed to play a colored Volvik ball on Tour during the 2017 season, only to watch his results fall off a cliff. A return to the Titleist ball he previously used has coincided with some of the best results of his 12-year career.

“I don’t think it has had any (role) in my success,” Watson said. “My clubs weren’t going the distance that I used to. I couldn’t shape it the way I want to. Luckily for me, I know the problem, and the problem was with health and not all these other things.”

But regardless of the true source of his turnaround, Watson is back to doing what he does best. That includes carving up the handful of venues that most fit his unique eye, be they lined by thick kikuyu rough outside Los Angeles or dotted with menacing water hazards outside Hartford.

The artistic touch was on full display with his final swing of the day. Facing exactly 71 yards to a pin tucked barely over the edge of a yawning bunker on No. 18, Watson laid the face open on his 63-degree wedge and hit a cut shot that spun and checked to inside 3 feet.

“Teddy put his arm around me, like, ‘That was an amazing shot,’” Watson said. “He’s seen a lot of shots, he’s been out here for many years. So for him to realize it, and other players to text me and realize it, it was special.”

While it seemed at the time like a shot that gave Watson a glimmer of hope in his pursuit of Casey, it ultimately turned out to be the final highlight of a three-shot victory. It’s the type of shot that few, if any, of his peers can visualize, let alone execute with such exact precision with the tournament hanging in the balance.

It’s the type of shot that separates Watson – the quirky left-hander with the pink driver who openly talks about his struggles with on-course focus and abhors few things more than trying to hit a straight shot – from even the best in the game when things are firing on all cylinders.

“The skills have always been there, as you know. But he’s just more relaxed now,” Scott said. “And when these guys, obviously when they enjoy it, they can play at their best and not get too stressed.”