Woods plays his way into final pairing

By Ryan LavnerAugust 11, 2012, 1:19 am

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Sand blew out of the waste areas. Claps of thunder boomed from ominous clouds in the distance. Play on the most difficult course in America twice came to a halt.

And when many of the contenders were sandblasted off the leaderboard Friday in the 94th PGA Championship, look who reappeared – once again – atop a major-championship leaderboard: Tiger Woods.

Driving the ball as well as he has all year, and continuing to pour in momentum-saving putts from virtually everywhere (save for a three-putt from 30 feet on the last), Woods was at his shotmaking-best in difficult conditions to secure a spot in the final group of a major for the second time this season.

This time, Woods is hoping the end result is a whole lot better.

“It was tough out there, wow,” he said after signing for a 1-under 71 in mild and blustery afternoon conditions, when the wind gusted to 30 mph and the round took more than 5 ½ hours to complete. “You can’t take anything for granted out there.”

Woods, ranked second in the Official World Golf Ranking, now has held at least a share of the lead at some point during each of the past three majors. At the U.S. Open, he shot 75-73 on the weekend and plummeted to T-21. At the Open Championship, he never diverted from his conservative game plan, and a few untimely miscues cost him a shot at an elusive 15th major championship.

Here on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, Woods has demonstrated the kind of ball-striking prowess that largely was missing over the past two years, when he overhauled his swing with coach Sean Foley. Now, Woods said, “I’m swinging it well. The thing is, all year my strength has been my driving (ranks fourth in total driving on the PGA Tour). People probably don’t think so, but the stats – that’s what they are.

“I’ve been driving the ball well all year, and I’ve been putting streaky. Finally I’ve married the two together, and it’s working out.”

Indeed, there is no better tactician in the game than Woods, and when the forecast called for high winds – it blew 20 mph all day, steadily, with gusts even stronger on the holes closest to the shore – it gave him a distinct advantage. He hit high shots, such as his booming drives off the tee. He hit low shots, such as his stinger irons and fairway woods. Hooks. Cuts. Flops. Every shot in his arsenal.  

Said Keegan Bradley, the reigning PGA champion who was paired with Woods on Friday: “It was one of the best rounds I have ever seen.”

And Woods’ putter also began cooperating, unlike during the first two rounds of last week’s event in Akron. Here in Round 1, he needed only 22 putts to get around on these sticky Paspalum greens. On Friday, he took only 11 putts on his opening nine, eventually finishing with 26 total, and remained near the top of the rankings in that category. He was one of only four players to break par on the most difficult scoring day (78.10) in tournament history.

Said Woods, with great delight, “I just grinded my way around this golf course.”

At 4-under 140, Woods is in a three-way tie for the lead with Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson, and will play in the final pairing Saturday with the Big Fijian, 49, who is vying to become the oldest major champion in history.

Pettersson (74), the leader after Day 1, will play with Englishman Ian Poulter (71), and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy and Jamie Donaldson are two shots off the lead.

In this age of parity, 16 different players have won the past 16 major championships – as if Woods, shut out of the majors since June 2008, needed any reminder in the gloaming Friday.

“I’ve been here before,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been in this position many times in my career. Again, we’re only at the halfway point. There’s a long way to go.” 

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Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

“It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

“I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

“He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Putter: Ping PLD Anser

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440