Tiger Tracker: Day 2 vs. Nick Watney

By February 23, 2012, 10:44 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – Tiger Woods, the fifth seed in the Sam Snead bracket, faced fourth-seeded Nick Watney in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard tracked the Day 2 match on site at Dove Mountain, hole-by-hole. (Day 2 running blogScoring | Day 1 Tiger Tracker)

No. 18 (par 4, 480 yards): Woods misses a 5 1/2-footer at the last for birdie to lose his match to Watney, 1 down. 'I struggled with pushing my putts all day and that was a push,' he said. It is the second time in Woods' last three WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship starts he's failed to advance to the third round. (Final score: Watney wins, 1 up)

No. 17 (par 4, 482 yards): A putt that didn't break to the valley may have cost Woods a chance to keep playing at the WGC-Match Play, at least ultimately. Woods' birdie attempt from 27 feet at the 17th hole slipped by without breaking toward the valley, as most putts do, and Watney holds a 1-up lead with one to play. (Score: Watney 1 up through 17)

No. 16 (par 3, 247 yards): Watney airmailed the 16th green, and the hospitality tent, and made bogey while Woods two-putted from 67 feet to cut his disadvantage to just one hole. (Score: Watney 1 up through 16)

No. 15 (par 4, 343 yards): On Wednesday, Dove Mountain's drivable 15th hole was out of reach for most in the WGC-Match Play field. On Thursday, with a helping wind, Woods carved a 3-wood onto the green but his golf ball rolled back off the front. Woods got up and down for birdie, but Watney matched his birdie and remains 2 up. (Score: Watney 2 up through 15)

No. 14 (par 4, 449 yards): The ever-present white SUVs that dot the landscape at Dove Mountain are the best indication you may be in trouble. Little surprise then that a large SUV rolled up just as Tiger was running his 7-footer for birdie past the hole at the 14th in his match against Watney. Watney remains 2 up with four holes to play. (Score: Watney 2 up through 14)

No. 13 (par 5, 583 yards): Another missed opportunity for Woods at the 13th hole after Watney failed to birdie the par 5. Woods chipped his third shot to 9 feet and missed his attempt low to remain 2 down. (Score: Watney 2 up through 13)

No. 12 (par 3, 219 yards): Watney, known in Tour circles as 'Rube' for the often-blank expression on his face, could easily be read on the 12th hole when he rolled in a 17-footer for birdie to extend his lead over Tiger to 2 up. The fist pump said it all. (Score: Watney 2 up through 12)

No. 11 (par 5, 659 yards): It was the kind of play one expected of the Tiger Woods-Nick Watney match - Woods roping a towering fairway wood approach at the par-5 11th to 35 feet, Watney getting up and down from in front of the green for birdie to remain 1 up.Although the hole was halved, from the cheers, it felt like someone won. (Score: Watney 1 up through 11)

No. 10 (par 4, 493 yards): It will be recorded as a loss of the hole, but it seemed much more troubling. Tiger's adventure at the 10th hole began when his fairway wood tee shot found an awkward lie in a bunker left of the fairway, his next shot came to rest under a Jumping Cholla and his left-handed chip traveled just 10 yards. In the end, it added up to a 1-up lead for Watney with eight to play. (Score: Watney 1 up through 10)

No. 9 (par 4, 476 yards): Nine holes down in the Tucson desert and the Tiger Woods-Nick Watney match remains scoreless, so to speak. Watney had a chance to move ahead but pushed his 8 1/2-footer for birdie at the ninth. (Score: AS through 9)

No. 8 (par 5, 576 yards): The day's marquee match has been reduced to a parade of pars and little to cheer. After winning the seventh with a par, Watney misses his birdie attempt at the par-5 eighth and Woods can't convert from 8 feet as the match remains all square. (Score: AS through 8)

No. 7 (par 4, 486 yards): Woods dropped back into an all-square knot with Watney on Day 2 at the WGC-Match Play after making a bogey at the seventh hole. Despite a lukewarm putter Woods has been particularly sharp off the tee, missing just a single fairway so far. (Score: AS through 7)

No. 6 (par 3, 185 yards): Tiger's day so far has been about putts, some made but most missed, and things didn't change at the par-3 sixth. From 35 feet Woods misses his lag putt badly but holes the 4-footer for par to remain 1 up on Watney. (Score: Woods 1 up through 6)

No. 5 (par 4, 536 yards): Although neither player is on cruise control, Woods escapes a double-crossed drive at No. 5 with a 12-footer for par. Watney matches and Woods goes to the sixth with the lead. (Score: Woods 1 up through 5)

No. 4 (par 4, 342 yards): In a match-play special, Woods hits driver just short of the green at the 342-yard par-4, runs his chip 10 feet by and misses the birdie putt. By contrast, Watney laid up with an iron off the tee, hit his approach long and three-putted to give Woods his first lead of the match. (Score: Woods 1 up through 4)

No. 3 (par 3, 208 yards): As best we can tell, the only words exchanged by Woods and Watney have been, 'that's good.' Of course, one couldn't be certain Watney was giving Woods his 1-footer for par at No. 3 or referring to his twisting 40-footer that set up the tap in to keep the match all square. (Score: AS through 3)

No. 2 (par 5, 574 yards): Tiger misses another putt at No. 2, a 13-footer for eagle, but it doesn't hurt him when Nick Watney fails to convert his birdie effort from 5 feet. The match moves to all square as the winds begin to build on Dove Mountain. (Score: AS through 2)

No. 1 (par 4, 460 yards): Not a lot of small talk between Tiger Woods and Nick Watney on No. 1 at Dove Mountain. May be a quiet day for Match 44, but both players off to goods start hitting opening fairway. Watney rolls in 12-footer for birdie for a 1-up lead at Dove Mountain. Woods talked about the need for a fast start in an 18-hole match earlier this week but his slow start on Wednesday didn't hurt him. (Score: Watney 1 up through 1)

Watch live coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Golf Channel, Thursday/Friday 2-6PM ET; Saturday noon-2PM ET; Sunday 8AM-1PM ET. NBC coverage can be seen live Saturday/Sunday, 2-6PM ET.

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Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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“Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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Sources: Woods returning to Wells Fargo

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

Tiger Woods is expected to return to competition at next week's Wells Fargo Championship, according to multiple Golf Channel sources. The news of Woods' participation was first reported Thursday on "Golf Central."

Woods has not played since a T-32 finish at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

Woods has until 5 p.m. ET Friday to officially commit to next week's field. When reached for comment by GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, explained that Woods' plans were not yet finalized.

"We don't know right now (if Woods will play)," Steinberg said. "We'll know later this afternoon. We're working on a couple things."

A trip to Charlotte would be another sign that the 42-year-old is ready to return to a customary schedule, as next week's event would be followed by Woods' expected return to The Players for the first time since 2015. Woods has already committed to the U.S. Open, which will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major victory.

After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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USGA receives more than 9,000 U.S. Open entries

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 4:31 pm

The field of contestants for golf's most democratic major has been set.

The USGA announced that it received 9,049 entries for this year's U.S. Open, with the deadline for entry expiring at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday. That total includes 515 applications on the final day, 115 in the final hour and a buzzer-beater from Drew Caudill, a 32-year-old pro from Mount Vernon, Ohio, who beat the entry deadline by only 23 seconds.

This marks the seventh straight year that the USGA has received more than 9,000 entries, but the total marks the second straight year of a decline in applications. At least 9,860 players entered each year from 2013-16, topping out in 2014 when 10,127 applications were received. But last year there were 9,485 entries for Erin Hills, and this year's return to Shinnecock yielded only one more application than the USGA got in 2005.

For the vast majority of entrants, the next step is a spot in 18-hole local qualifying which begins April 30 and runs through May 17. The fortunate few advance from there to 36-hole sectional qualifiers, played May 21 in Japan and June 4 across 11 other sites in the U.S. and England.

A total of 54 players are already exempt into the 156-man field, including 12 former winners. The only remaining ways to earn an exemption from qualifying are to win either The Players or BMW PGA Championship next month, or be ranked inside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Rankings on either May 21 or June 11.

The U.S. Open will be played June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., which is hosting the event for the first time since 2004.

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Report: Houston Open may move to Memorial Park in '19

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 3:48 pm

Still without a permanent spot on the PGA Tour schedule, the Houston Open appears to be on the move.

According to a report from the Houston Business Journal, there is a proposal in place to shift the tournament downtown in 2019, returning to Memorial Park Golf Course which previously hosted the event from 1951-1963.

While formal relocation plans have not been announced, the tournament officially reached the end of an era this week when the Golf Club of Houston, which has hosted the event since 2003, informed the Houston Golf Association that it would no longer serve as tournament host moving forward.

"We received notice this week from the Golf Club of Houston regarding the club's decision to no longer host a PGA Tour event," read an HGA statement obtained by GolfChannel.com. "Currently, the HGA's focus is on securing a long-term title sponsor. The Golf Club of Houston has been a great venue for the Houston Open dating back to 2003 and we look forward to maintaining a great relationship with the club."

Such a move would be a win for Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, who has expressed an interest in returning the tournament within city limits. The Golf Club of Houston is located in Humble, a suburb 20 miles northeast of downtown.

"This move would place the tournament on center stage in downtown Houston, creating a central location for the city to rally around," read marketing materials cited in the Business Journal report. "Houston Proud Partners of the Houston Open would have the opportunity to collaborate with the Houston Golf Association on this historic move and make a lasting statement that would be seen for generations."

The Houston Open's lineage dates back to 1946, but its future remains in question. Shell Oil ended its 26-year sponsorship of the event in 2017, and this year it was played without a title sponsor and financed in part by the HGA.

The tournament has also carved out a niche with its pre-Masters slot on the schedule, where it has been played every year but once since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. But next year that coveted position will go to the Valero Texas Open, leaving Houston's place on a revamped 2019 schedule in question.

The Houston Open remains one of only two tournaments on the current Tour calendar without a title sponsor. Earlier this week Charles Schwab signed a four-year deal to sponsor the Fort Worth Invitational beginning in 2019, and a report this week indicates the other unsponsored event, The National, may be on the verge of moving from the Washington, D.C. area to Detroit.