Pick a number: How many wins for Woods?

By Jason SobelJanuary 5, 2012, 5:50 pm

It's been more than two years since Tiger Woods won an official event (Australian Masters, November 2009), but he took a step in the right direction last month by winning the silly-season, 18-man event, the Chevron World Challenge.

So, how will Woods fare in 2012? We set the over/under at 2.5 wins and asked Jason Sobel, Rex Hoggard and Jay Coffin to weigh in. We'll get an early look at Woods' 2012 form when he tees off in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which begins Jan. 26.

By JASON SOBEL

Seven players tied for the most PGA Tour victories in 2011 with a grand total of two. Tiger Woods wasn’t one of 'em – in fact, he wasn’t even one of the 28 players who posted one victory. No, Woods’ lone win came at the 18-man Chevron World Challenge money-grab after the season was already over.

And now we’re being asked how many titles Woods will claim this season with the over/under being set at … 2.5?!?!

That sounds crazy. About as crazy as me taking the over, which I’m doing right now.

I’ve written many times that I don’t think there has been or will be a turning point in which Woods is “back,” reverting to the player who claimed 71 PGA Tour titles and 14 major championships. This is a gradual process – yup, there’s that word again – and it certainly seems like it’s moving in the right direction.

I don’t believe we’ll see another 2000-like season – when Woods won nine times and took three majors – anytime soon (read: ever), but a trio of victories is well within range. In fact, that’s the exact number I believe he will reach this season – one-half beyond that over/under number.

That could mean very big things, too. Three wins used to be a below-average year for Tiger. Now it could very well equate to a Player of the Year honor.


By REX HOGGARD

We’ll take the over, but not by much and not at a major. That’s the nature of prognostication, it’s impossible to imagine Tiger Woods going a third year without an official PGA Tour victory but as the man himself pointed out at Sherwood Country Club last month winning is not easy.

He just made it look that way for the better part of a decade and is starting to show signs of life after two years adrift in injury and drought. He won the Chevron World Challenge in a shootout, controlled his golf ball in the wind at the Australian Open and Presidents Cup and gave himself more than a month to prepare for 2012.

New stops at Abu Dhabi and possibly PGA National (Honda Classic), as well as Pebble Beach, which he hasn’t played since 2002, will stoke his competitive fires not to mention he seems poised to play his first full schedule for just the second time since 2007.

As for major No. 15 that’s a different tale. He’s now played 10 Grand Slam events without a victory, matching the longest stretch of his career and other than Augusta National, where he’s finished tied for fourth the last two years, his best finish at this year’s major venues is a T-18 at the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.

He may not get off the major schneid, but progress seems inevitable.


By JAY COFFIN

Two-and-a-half seems to be the perfect number. Consensus seems to be that Tiger Woods will win either two or three events. Haven’t heard anyone say it’ll be four or more. So I’ll take the under; two sounds about right. 

Sure, Woods looked strong in his Chevron World Challenge victory – where there were shades of Old Tiger down the stretch with consecutive birdies to close – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the floodgates have opened. It was a limited field and many of the men there showed up to collect the guaranteed check, which more than paid for all Christmas gifts three weeks later.

The success of Woods’ season will depend on momentum. The sooner he wins, the better the year will be. If he wins once before the Masters it’d be foolish to think he won’t win another two or three times. If he doesn’t win before the first week in April, he could press, try to make things happen, which could lead to poorer results.

It’s obvious that golf is better when Tiger Woods is winning. But the years of him winning a handful of times, including multiple majors, have passed. This is a year where he wins his first PGA Tour event since 2009 and it’s one where he will make noise just about everywhere he goes. But it’ll end with only two victories.

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)