Tiger impresses the Golden Bear

By June 3, 2012, 11:45 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Tiger Woods thought he hit a perfect shot at 16.

No, not the chip that disappeared into the hole for an unbelievable birdie, but the tee shot at the par 3 that Jack Nicklaus redesigned two years ago to add drama to the tournament.

It was the second of three birdies Woods made in the final four holes at Muirfield Village en route to a closing 5-under 67 to win the Memorial Tournament for a fifth time. Woods finished at 9 under par, two shots ahead of Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero.

On the tee, Woods looked to the right of a precarious left-side pin with an 8-iron and hit the shot he wanted. It carried too long, setting up a shot that Nicklaus afterward called the best he had ever seen under the circumstances.

'It was nice to see him get a break,' caddie Joe LaCava said after the round. 'Not that he needed a break, but he played so well all week that it was nice to see that one go in.'

'I was jacked. I know people think I don't show it, but I was really excited.'

Woods thought he needed one more birdie to avoid a playoff with someone in the final pairing: Sabbatini or the fading Spencer Levin.

He thought he had it at 17, gesturing like he would make a 15-foot birdie putt. But it didn't fall.

With the tournament in his hands, Woods practically replayed his tee shot at 16 with his approach to the last. This time, the result matched how he imagined it.

Leaving 9 feet for birdie and a certain win, Woods was received with resounding applause and cheers from a crowd that, earlier in the day, seemed keen on a second PGA Tour win for his playing partner, Rickie Fowler.

Jack Nicklaus was there to see it all. He stood with the crowd and applauded the man about to join him just behind Sam Snead on the career PGA Tour wins list. A tear was in the Golden Bear's eye.

Of course, the last putt fell. How could it not? Nicklaus watched calmly knowing what would happen, then went to the green for a moment with the champion and now.

LaCava had an inkling it would happen, too.

'I texted a buddy of mine a few weeks back and bet him that Tiger would have three wins through the U.S. Open,' he said. 'And I told him I thought it would be great if he did it at Jack's place.'

After they shared words, including a request from Nicklaus to return twice next year for this event and the Presidents Cup, the host returned to his perch at the last hole. He winked as he sat down, aware the chase toward his major tally will resume with gusto in two weeks at The Olympic Club.

On this day, however, the number to celebrate was 73, not 18.

Someday, Woods may play the role Nicklaus did - hosting the player who passes him on the wins list.

Asked how he might feel that day at the AT&T National sometime in the mid-21st century, Woods said with a smile, 'I'm just hoping to be alive then.'

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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.”