Woods (76) continues to struggle on major weekends

By Jay CoffinJune 16, 2013, 12:13 am

ARDMORE, Pa. – The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Remember last year, when Tiger Woods had his weekend woes at major championships? Remember that he would play well for two days then falter over the final 36 holes while in contention?

Well, that happened Saturday at the U.S. Open. Woods entered the day at Merion tied for 13th place, only four shots behind leaders Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel and essentially threw away all chances at winning major No. 15.

The third round began with such promise when Woods made birdie on the opening hole – as did playing partner Rory McIlroy – sending the Philadelphia fanatics into an instant tizzy. But he never made another birdie and collected seven bogeys (including one at the last hole) to shoot 6-over 76 and slide into a tie for 31st place.

U.S. Open: Articles, videos and photos

“It certainly is frustrating,” Woods said. “At Augusta I was pretty close and I had the lead at one point and I hit that flag and ended up in the water.

“I'm playing well enough to do it and unfortunately just haven't gotten it done.”

Last year Woods averaged 70 over the first 36 holes of majors and 72.875 over the final 36 holes. He’s now failed to break 70 over the weekend of any major since the 2012 Masters.

This year was supposed to be different. At least most everyone thought so.

Woods won four times on the PGA Tour before June 1 for the first time in his illustrious career. He’s a different player now than he was 52 weeks ago. He’s dominant, he’s winning, he’s intimidating. He’s back. The only thing missing is a major championship victory for the first time since the 2008 U.S. Open.

It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely what went awry for Woods Saturday – so we’ll begin with everything. Everything was a touch off.

Woods’ wedge play and distance control were off all day. On short holes like Nos. 8 and 10 he couldn’t get a pitching-wedge approach anywhere near the hole. In fact, Woods missed a 5-footer for par on the 10th, which played a mere 280 yards. Many of the leaders attempted to drive the green, Woods laid up and made bogey.

Putting was not good either. Woods struggled to read greens for the third consecutive day and never looked comfortable – especially over the aforementioned 5-footer. Woods missed a 2-footer on the 16th hole. Yes, 2 feet.

So, in honor of Woods’ putting woes this week, let’s play a little game. Find the common thread among places Woods has played poorly this year.

'We had four different green speeds out there and I couldn't believe how slow they were the first two days. Yesterday, I couldn't believe how fast they were. And then today, it was another different speed again,' Woods said at the Masters.

'This week I obviously didn't putt well. I had bad speed all week. I thought the greens didn't look that fast, but they were putting fast. I could never get the speed of them,” Woods said at the Memorial where he finished 65th.

'The green speeds are a little faster than they were Wednesday [during the Pro-Am], but it's an adjustment I need to make,” Woods said at the Honda Classic.

Here Saturday at the U.S. Open, Woods said: “I didn't make anything today. I just couldn't get a feel for them, some putts were slow, some were fast and I had a tough time getting my speed right.”

Woods’ longtime rival Mickelson figured out Merion’s nuances and will take the lead heading into the final round. So have other world-class players like Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose and Steve Stricker, who all are inside the top-three of the leaderboard.

Meanwhile, Woods shot the high score in his group. McIlroy shot a mediocre 75 and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who Woods has played with four times this year, shot a solid 72 on a tough day.

No doubt, the day was tough. That’s why many here in suburban Philly expected the game’s most mentally tough player to make some noise. He didn’t. Until he does, many will continue to wonder if he ever will.

Getty Images

Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

Getty Images

Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.

Getty Images

Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.

Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.

Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.

He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''

Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.

Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.

Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.

Getty Images

Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters: