Tigers Euro Trip a Bust - So Far

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 WGC American Express ChampionshipAnd so the stretch run begins.
 
The four major championships are complete and the Ryder Cup is now history. That leaves just six weeks left on the 2006 PGA TOUR calendar, and seven official events remaining.
 
The biggest of the seven may well be this weeks WGC-American Express Championship at The Grove outside of London. The tournament has a limited field, with players qualifying based on their world ranking and position on various money lists around the world.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is looking to raise the Gene Sarazen trophy for the fifth time.
Not everyone who is eligible is competing ' i.e. Phil Mickelson. Despite being in Ireland for last weeks Ryder Cup, in which he went a dismal 0-4-1, the worlds No. 2-ranked player opted to head back to the States, meaning he is likely done for the season.
 
But there are plenty of other golfing luminaries in attendance, vying for the $1.35 million first-place prize on the par-72, 7,170-yard venue.
 
Of course, chief among those competitors is Tiger Woods. And, for obvious reasons (if theyre not obvious, they soon will be), he leads our list of favorites this week.
 
Tiger Woods
Woods may have had his world-wide winning streak snapped in his first-round loss at the HSBC World Match Play Championship a couple of weeks ago, but the PGA TOUR streak still lives. He has won his last five starts on TOUR and is a good bet to make that six straight. Woods has won 11 individual World Golf Championship events in 21 tries, including four AmEx titles ' and, to boot, hes won this event on four different courses. Hes won at Valderrama in Spain; Mount Juliet in Ireland; Capital City Club near Atlanta; and last year at Harding Park in San Francisco. Playing for the first time at The Grove should offer little obstacle ' unless they make him partner up with another player and compete as a team. Woods has spent the last three weeks in Europe; he'd like to head home with some hardware.
 
Ernie Els
There used to be a time when Els was routinely among the favorites to win any tournament. But that was before his knee injury last year. Els hasnt won on TOUR since this event in 2004, when he edged Thomas Bjorn by a stroke at Mount Juliet. This year has been quite a struggle for Big Easy. While he does have five top-10s on the PGA TOUR and two more this calendar year on the European Tour, he hasnt had that many chances to actually win. He lost to Woods in a playoff in Dubai and then fell to Adam Scott in a playoff a few weeks ago in Singapore. So why pick him to have a good showing this week? Just a hunch.
 
Retief Goosen
If were going with Els on a hunch, we might as well extend that to Goosen as well. Goosen, like his countryman, is winless around the world in 2006. And like Els, he hasnt been very competitive either. But, things have to get better at some point ' might as well be at this event.
 
Adam Scott
Scotts win on the Asian Tour a few weeks ago was his first anywhere since that same event in 05. Surprisingly, his last TOUR win came in 04 at the Booz Allen. He doesnt have an exemplary record in stroke-play WGC events, with only one top-10 finish. That, however, came in his most recent WGC outing at the Bridgestone Invitational. Scott has played very well of late. He tied for third at the PGA Championship ' his best-ever finish in a major, before tying for 10th at Firestone. He also, as mentioned, defended his title in the Singapore Open.
 
Paul Casey
Casey may well be worn out. His last two weeks have been exhaustive ' but theyve also been exceptional. The Englishman tore through everyone in his way en route to the World Match Play title. He then helped lead Europe to a Ryder Cup rout last week, making a hole-in-one along the way. If he has anything left in the tank, he has to be among the favorites at the moment.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-American Express Championship
  • Getty Images

    Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

    “I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

    Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

    Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

    “I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

    It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

    “A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

    “I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

    This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

    Getty Images

    Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

    Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

    Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

    “I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

    Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

    “I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

    Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

    “No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

    Getty Images

    Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

    Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

    “We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

    “I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

    Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

    “Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

    The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

    “We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.