What we learned: U.S. Women's Open, Greenbrier

By Randall MellJuly 9, 2012, 2:54 am

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events and news developments. This week, we learned that South Korea shows no signs of letting up in women's golf and that Tiger Woods' B and C game isn't what it used to be. 


American women ought to be upset with themselves. Their pride should be wounded. No offense to South Koreans, but with Na Yeon Choi’s victory Sunday at Blackwolf Run, this proud and talented little nation is dominating the American championship. I don’t say “little” in any demeaning way. South Korea is roughly the size of Kentucky. The population of the United States is about 300 million, six times the population of South Korea.

With Choi’s victory, South Koreans have won the last two U.S. Women’s Opens, four of the last five. They practically own this championship. Even the runner up Sunday was South Korean (Amy Yang). Last year’s championship came down to a playoff between two South Koreans (with So Yeon Ryu defeating Hee Kyung Seo). This is a nation of marvelously gifted and determined women golfers.

With her victory, Choi gave her homeland another wonderful memory of Blackwolf Run. Fourteen years after Se Ri Pak inspired a nation with her victory here, Choi watched Pak and other fellow countrywomen douse her with champagne in another victory celebration on this property. South Korea should officially designate Blackwolf Run as one of its nation’s historic landmarks. Its nation’s flag is planted here, at least symbolically. – Randall Mell


I learned that the biggest difference between Tiger Woods' game 5-10 years ago and now isn't his ceiling but his bottom floor. 'Old Tiger,' for lack of a better term, was a 10 when he was at his best and about an 8.5 at his worst. Which is to say, his worst was still better than many competitors' best. 'New Tiger' is still a 10 at his best – as we've witnessed during his three victories so far this season – but only a 4 or 5 at his worst. 

What that means is that when Woods is armed only with his B or C game now, it is no longer resulting in a back-door top 10 but instead leaving him with results like he found at this week's Greenbrier Classic, where his scores of 71-69 were hardly poor, but he still failed to make the cut. Of course, the discrepancy between his best and worst is a pretty decent tradeoff. As Woods is keenly aware, it's better to be a 10 sometimes and a 4 other times than a consistent 7 all the time. – Jason Sobel


I learned that guys most have never heard of can do amazing things.

That storm, which forced fans from Congressional a week ago, left millions in the region - including West Virginia - without power. Hundreds of unsung men and women are still working tirelessly to restore it fully.

After Hurricane Phil and Tiger blew through Greenbrier in two short rounds, two unheralded guys provided a great finish. Ted Potter Jr. and Troy Kelly may not have been big names, but they cleaned up nicely just before the next storm rolled in. Their quiet, unending work paid off in a big way on Sunday. – Ryan Ballengee

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DEFCON Tiger: Athletes tweet while watching Tiger

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Tiger Woods grabbed the Tour Championship lead and the sports world by the throat Saturday, making birdie on six of his first seven holes in his third round and sending social media into a frenzy.

Here's a sampling, and we'll start with two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.

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Lewis fires 61, two behind Herbert in Portugal

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 8:13 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis came within two shots of tying English countryman Oliver Fisher's European Tour record on another day of low scoring at the Portugal Masters on Saturday.

Lewis returned a 10-under 61 in the third round, just 24 hours after Fisher carded the first 59 on the circuit. Lewis moved to two strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of Australia.

Lewis acknowledged the thought of another 59 crept into his mind: ''It's something I noticed with three holes to go. I wasn't that bothered at the end of the day.

''I'm pleased that I shot 10 under par. I can only continue to make birdies and see what happens tomorrow.''

Herbert, who is playing off invites this season as he looks to earn his full tour playing privileges, shot a 64 for a 19-under total of 194.

Fisher took 10 more strokes than he did on Friday and was in a group on 14-under 199.

Sergio Garcia of Spain, trying to find form ahead of next week's Ryder Cup, was on 204 after a 68.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 7:25 pm

After grinding out a 68 on Friday, Tiger Woods is trying to get the lead all to himself in Round 3 at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him.


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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.

Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.

Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.

One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.

He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.

He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.

He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.

Looking to make the turn in 29, Woods instead missed the green at the par-3 ninth, failed to get up and down for par, and had to settle for 5-under 30.