Safe Deposit Tiger Defends Deutsche Bank

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 20, 2002, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods held off a very game Colin Montgomerie to win the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe Monday in Heidelberg, Germany.
Woods got up and down on the third hole of sudden death. The par proved good enough for victory, as Montgomerie's approach shot from a poor lie in a fairway bunker went wet.
Woods became the first man in tournament history to successfully defend his title. The win was his fifth on the European Tour ' not including major championships ' and added another $410,222 to his ever-growing bank account.
Tiger talks about his win
Justin Rose shot 5-under 67 to finish third, at 19-under.
Woods (68) and Montgomerie (69) each finished regulation at 20-under-par 268. Playing only the 443-yard, par-4 18th in the extra session, it took three go-arounds to determine a winner.
Woods made a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to force sudden death. He then lipped out a 12-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole that would have won the tournament.
Both men parred the second extra session, after each missed the green long. Tiger missed chipping in for victory by mere inches.
The third time around, Montgomerie's tee shot landed near the lip in a left fairway bunker. Even with Tiger having again failed to reach the putting surface, Montgomerie went for the green, only to find the water guarding the right-hand side.
Woods chipped to two feet and tapped in for his third Deutsche Bank win (1999).
Showing no signs of intimidation, Montgomerie birdied his first three holes out of the gate Monday. The quick flurry of putting jabs gave the 38-year-old Scot a two-shot lead over his 26-year-old American counterpart. Thats because Woods hit the green in two on the par-5 third, and rolled home the 20-foot eagle putt.
A Montgomerie bogey at the fourth cut the lead to one, where it stayed as both men parred the remaining five holes on the outward half.
Woods tied for the top spot by sticking his approach on the par-4 10th to eight feet and converting the birdie.
Both men birdied the par-5 12th. Tigers second shot went just beyond the putting surface. He chipped three feet past, but made the comebacker to get to 20-under. Montgomerie took the safer route, laying up and sticking his third to four feet.
Woods took his first lead of the tournament on the next hole. He made par on the 178-yard, par-3 13th, while Colin made bogey. Again playing cautiously, Montgomerie rifled his tee shot well right of the water protecting the left of the green. Some 60 feet from the hole, his lag putt rolled dead six feet short. His par save then gave out on the left edge of the cup.
The one-shot differential stayed intact until the par-4 15th. Woods hit his approach shot 20 feet below the hole, while Montgomerie stuck his inside of that. After Tigers birdie effort stubbornly stayed out, Colin's fell in center-cut from 15 feet.
Woods had a chance to regain outright command at the 16th, only to misjudge a 12-footer. Neither man birdied the par-5 17th, leaving the 18th to determine a winner.
Both Woods and Montgomerie missed the green with their approach shots at 18. Montgomerie pitched nicely to gimme range, as Tiger chipped 10 feet past the hole. But as he so often does, Woods nailed the playoff-forcing putt.
'I just said 'You know what, you've been putting well, just stay committed to it - if it goes in, it goes in, if it doesn't, it doesn't,'' said Woods, who narrowly missed countless putts throughout the final round.
Woods has now won all three times he has played this event at St. Leon-Rot. However, it is undecided as to whether or not he will be back to defend his title again next year. The PGA Tour's Verizon Byron Nelson Classic, in which Tiger annually competes, is scheduled the same week in 2003.
'Heidelberg's been great to me, I'd just love to come back,' he said without giving a definitive answer.
For Montgomerie, the defeat was visibly disappointing, but the performance was nonetheless impressive. With his prime in his past, he more than held his own against the present - and future - of golf.
Even more arresting was the fact that Montgomerie, who was using his new caddie for the first time this week, was battling a bad back. He was on twice-daily painkillers throughout the week, and twice needed on-course treatment in round three to alleviate the pain.
In the circumstances, I am very proud to have gone out there and shot 69 today, Montgomerie said. This morning I was about to pull out. I couldnt play. I was very close when I was on the range.
In the play-off, my back was getting far too sore and thats why I was hooking it. But it was good for the TPC of Europe and it was good for the sponsors. It is good for The European Tour to be broadcast this way and in America on The Golf Channel ' it is good to see our tour in this light.'
Both competitors will next head to very familar, and very prosperous venues.
Montgomerie ventures to Surrey, England for the Volvo PGA Championship - a tournament he won 1998-2000 - where he will try to extend his nine-year winning streak on tour.
Woods will travel back Stateside to compete in the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where he is the three-time defending champion.
Final results from the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open
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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”