Tiger Tracker: A Side Of Frys

By October 7, 2011, 1:20 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Tiger Woods shot 73-68 the first two rounds of the Frys.com Open and his 1-under total is projected to fall within the cut line. NBCSports.com writer Ryan Ballengee is at CordeValle and tracked Tiger's second round.

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5:54 p.m. ET: Taking a 3-wood – the Friday club of choice – off the tee at the closing par-5 ninth, Woods seemed to be setting up for a layup. Instead, Woods successfully went for the green in two. Two putts later and Woods was in with birdie, 3 under on the day and 1 under for the Frys.com Open. (Overall: 1 under thru 18)

5:30 p.m. ET: The eighth is another hole suitable to Woods' eye. He drilled a perfect drive about ten yards back of where he was Thursday. The approach was a world better - he knocked it to six feet - but the result was the same: par. Woods and Cantlay were again chatting and they appear to have hit it off today. But that's probably because they speak the same vernacular. (Overall: Even thru 17)

5:12 p.m. ET: On the shortest hole on the course, Woods hit a disappointing 9-iron at the par-3 seventh. Woods then hit his worst putt of the day, nuking it past Cantlay's superior tee shot. Facing a dropped shot to fall to the cut line, Woods grinned to save par. (Overall: Even thru 16)

5:04 p.m. ET: Tiger's tee ball at the sixth was his second worst of the day. He pulled it well left and dropped the club as compared to a full tomahawk at the first. He recovered nicely, however, to stay even on the tournament. Par at No. 6. (Overall: Even thru 15)

4:45 p.m. ET: Woods is on a fairway streak. Farthest back off the tee, though, Woods was closest to the pin. From the fringe, Woods walked after his birdie putt with disgust. It nearly went in side door, but he had to settle for a par. (Overall: Even thru 14)

4:27 p.m. ET: Woods found his second consecutive fairway and third of the day at the par-4 fourth hole. He was unable to cash in on an approach to 12 feet, but his putting today has been much better than Thursday. (Overall: Even thru 13)

4:14 p.m. ET: Woods played conservatively at the par-3 third. Unlike the aggressive pull Thursday, Woods left himself an easy two-putt for par. After the hole, a Tour official trailed Patrick Cantlay and put the group on the clock. 'We need to close this gap, Patrick,' he said. Cantlay responded, 'Yes, sir.' (Overall: Even thru 12)

4:08 p.m. ET: Woods dropped his first shot of the day at the 13th, his fourth, but recovered with birdie to start a three-hole run at No. 14. Running parallel to those holes, Woods bogeyed No. 1 and played a perfect approach to the second to bounce back again with birdie. Will it be the start of another run? (Overall: Even thru 11)

3:53 p.m. ET: Woods hit a smother hook at his 10th hole, the par-4 first, and fired his driver into the ground. Opting not to take relief from a sidehill stance on the cart path, Woods nearly fell during his follow-through. A poor effort with his pitch hitched him a ride on the bogey train. He's now flirting with the cut line again. (Overall: 1 over thru 10)

3:38 p.m. ET: The slight tug off the tee finally caught up with Tiger. His pulled drive at No. 18 landed in a hazard bisecting fairways. A member of the gallery said Woods and the volunteers were looking 40 yards behind where his ball crossed the lateral hazard. Woods took a drop and made bogey for a 2-under 34 over his first nine. (Overall: Even under thru 9)

3:12 p.m. ET: After another drive into the left rough on the short par-4 17th, Woods muscled his approach inside 10 feet. The crowd was begging for a birdie, but the streak ends here. Par for Woods on 17. (Overall: 1 under thru 8)

2:57 p.m. ET: Woods is dialed in with his irons. His tee ball at the par-3 16th finished inside 3 feet. The last time Woods had a three-hole stretch like this? The final round of the Masters. Birdie-birdie-eagle from Nos. 6-8. (Overall: 1 under thru 7)

2:47 p.m. ET: Woods' driving has been slightly off - a fourth consecutive mild tug into the lip of a fairways bunker. The recovery has been outstanding on the last two holes, however. With a mid-iron, Woods stuck it close to leave a delicate birdie putt, which he made. (Overall: Even thru 6)

2:21 p.m. ET: The crowd following Woods has dissipated a bit, but the loyalists saw an impressive bounce back. After a third consecutive missed tee shot to the left, Woods recovered nicely. He finally sank a lengthy putt, leading the gallery to let out a raucous cheer. (Overall: 1 over thru 5)

2:07 p.m. ET: Woods went grass-sand-sand-grass on No. 13, hitting his third shot from a fried-egg lie. The short tester to stay under par for the day never hit the cup. (Overall: 2 over thru 4)

1:50 p.m. ET: Another pulled tee shot on the par-5 12th leads to a heavy, but dry layup. He still can't find the right speed on the greens, but he is under par deeper into the round today than yesterday. Par at No. 12. (Overall: 1 over thru 3)

1:33 p.m. ET: Something about the par-3 11th catches Woods' eye. For the second consecutive day, he hit his tee shot to a few feet. Woods clipped the edge of the cup on Thursday. The ball disappeared today. Birdie for Woods at 11. (Overall: 1 over thru 2)

1:16 p.m. ET: Woods nearly replicated his first hole yesterday, except the bid for birdie did not drop from a dozen feet on the proper tier. Even par start for Woods. (Overall: 2 over thru 1)

1:02 p.m. ET: Woods has made his way to the 10th tee, with a crowd lining the hole as large as yesterday. The delay likely helped the size of his gallery.

12:36 p.m. ET: After a number of false starts, the second round of the Frys.com Open is finally underway. The fog has almost entirely burned off. Woods will go off on the 10th tee at 1 p.m. ET. If Woods and his playing partners go at the same pace as yesterday, they should finish around 5:30 p.m.

12:22 p.m. ET: To use a famous Tiger phrase, 'It is what it is.' Or what it isn't, maybe. The Tour has tacked on another 10 minutes to the 10 minutes they added about 10 minutes ago. For those keeping score, the total delay is now 2 hours, 20 minutes. The delays have been incrementally added: 30 minutes, followed by additions of 30, 15, 15, 30, 10, and 10. Woods is now scheduled to tee off at 1 p.m. ET.

12:11 p.m. ET: With less than three minutes before second-round play was to begin, PGA Tour officials extended the fog delay. It is now a total of 2 hours, 10 minutes. Woods' originally scheduled tee time has gone from 10:40 a.m. ET to 12:50 p.m. He is still on the range, mostly conversing with Pat Perez and David Duval.

11:52 a.m. ET: A Tour official just came on the range to announce the fog delay has been extended to two hours. One player shouted back, 'Oh, come on!' Meanwhile, Sean Foley has pulled out the camera to do a photo shoot on Tiger's swing. New Tiger start time: 12:40 p.m. ET.

11:40 a.m. ET: As the delay continues, Woods has made his way back to the practice range for the second time today. This start-stop-start pattern can't help him as he tries to find his rhythm.

11:37 a.m. ET: We have one more (and hopefully final) addition to the fog delay. It is now a 90-minute delay altogether, with Woods going off at 12:10 p.m. ET. The fog is still on the course, but slowly burning off. From the clubhouse, one can see about 250 yards into the distance.

11:13 a.m. ET: Tournament officials have just extended the fog delay to 75 minutes. Now completing the second round on Friday is in question. It was a close call to complete play on Thursday without a delay. The cut will now likely be made on Saturday morning. Looks like Woods will see the weekend in some fashion.

11:11 a.m. ET: Following a stop in the locker room and clubhouse, Woods stepped outside to converse with a rules official. Not far behind him out the clubhouse was Patrick Cantlay. Behind him was Sean Foley and Stephen Ames. First words out of Ames' mouth on getting outside? 'Holy [expletive], it's cold.' He's Canadian (sort of), so he knows cold.

10:57 a.m. ET: After appearing to get better, the fog has grown thicker. Woods is trying to stay active while players who are slated to see off before him, starting at the updated time of 11:10 a.m. ET, stand outside the locker room trying to stay warm.

10:35 a.m. ET: Tack on another 30 minutes to the original half-hour delay. Woods now will go off at 11:40 a.m. ET, seeking to end a skid of six consecutive rounds at par or worse. It's a stark contrast for the man who owns the Tour record of 52 consecutive rounds at par or better. He'll need an under-par round today to avoid missing consecutive cuts for the first time in his career.

10:11 a.m. ET: Woods begins the day T-86 and one stroke off the cut line. With 85 players at 1 over or better, however, Woods needs to hope for separation to not worry about being an MDF victim for the first time in his career.

10:01 a.m. ET: An hour before Tiger tees off at CordeValle and it is pretty darn foggy. And cold. And no sun yet. Officials have announced a 30-minute delay to the start of the second round. Woods is practicing, however. Foley is watching intently just behind Joe LaCava. If they can see the ball flight past 50 yards, they are hawks.

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly who they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."

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Love him or not, Miller's authentic style stood out

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2018, 10:11 pm

The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince.

Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job.

He just didn't say it like other golf analysts.

''The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who's about a 15-handicap,'' Miller said. ''It's just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn't look ... if Ben Hogan saw that, he'd puke.''

Parry got the last word, of course, holing out a 6-iron from 176 yards in a playoff to win.

Except that wasn't the last word.

''I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,'' said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. ''It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.''

Miller could make golf more fun to hear than to watch.

''He doesn't have a filter. That's why he's so good,'' Roy said. ''What he's thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.

''And it was worth it.''

Roy was in Wisconsin on Monday night for his first look at Whistling Straits for the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will be the first Ryder Cup since 1989 that doesn't have Miller in the booth weighing in on good shots and bad with thoughts that immediately become words.

He often entertained. He occasionally irritated. He was rarely dull.

Miller is retiring after three decades calling the shots for NBC. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open, the perfect exit for a Hall of Fame player once known as the ''Desert Fox'' for winning six times in Arizona. Miller was so good for so long that it was easy for younger generations to forget about that other career he had.

Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

Best of: Photos of Miller through the years

And to think that was nearly his only career in golf.

Miller said he wasn't interested when NBC first approached him, but then his wife stepped in and told him it would be nice to have a steady paycheck. Even then, it took time for him to realize his audience was in the living room, not the locker room.

He made his debut at the Bob Hope Classic in 1990 and it didn't take long for him to leave his mark. Peter Jacobsen faced an awkward lie to the 18th green with water to the left.

''The easiest shot to choke on,'' Miller said.

People thought about choking. Miller said it because that's what he was thinking.

''What came into his brain came out of his mouth,'' said Mike McCarley, president of golf for NBC Sports. ''He was the first to really talk about the pressure. It's the most important element of the game, especially in those really big moments. He was doing it at a time when others weren't.''

It wasn't just the word ''choke.''

Phil Mickelson was getting up-and-down from everywhere at the 2010 Ryder Cup when Miller suggested that if Lefty weren't such a good putter he'd be selling cars in San Diego. Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match at the 1999 Ryder Cup when Miller blurted out, ''My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television.''

During the 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods won in 19 holes over Rocco Mediate, Miller suggested that guys named ''Rocco'' don't get their name on the trophy, and that Mediate looked like ''the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool.''

It wasn't all bad.

Roy, who also has produced NBA Finals and Olympics, said he wants analysts who first-guess, not second-guess. The latter is for talk radio. First-guessing means sharing instincts, and Miller had plenty of them.

Woods was playing the final hole at Newport in the 1995 U.S. Amateur when Miller said, ''It wouldn't surprise me if he knocked this thing a foot from the hole.''

And that's just what Woods did.

McCarley remembers how retired NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol used to worry whenever Miller called because he thought it was about retirement. McCarley soon inherited that feeling.

''Every time I'd see Johnny's number pop up on my cellphone, my heart would skip a beat,'' McCarley said. ''Two years ago, he made that call I had been dreading.''

McCarley kept him working a slightly reduced schedule, but no longer. Miller is 71 and has been on the road for 50 years. His 24th grandchild was born on Sunday. He wants to teach them fly fishing in Utah, perhaps even a little golf.

Miller wasn't sure he would last a week when he started. He never imagined going nearly 30 years.

He leaves behind a style all his own.

Most loved it. Some didn't. But everyone listened, and that might be his legacy in the broadcast booth. Roy said what he has heard from viewers he knows is that 70 percent really like Miller, and 30 percent really don't.

''But they all have an opinion,'' he said.

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CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

Key stats:

 This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

• 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit