Woods remains in control, lead grows to 4

By Will GrayMarch 9, 2013, 11:02 pm

Though the wind kicked up a bit Saturday, scores remained low at Doral's TPC Blue Monster Course. Here is how things look after 54 holes, as Tiger Woods takes a four-shot lead into the final round:

The leaderboard: Tiger Woods (-18), Graeme McDowell (-14), Phil Mickelson (-13), Steve Stricker (-13), Charl Schwartzel (-11), Keegan Bradley (-11), Michael Thompson (-11), Sergio Garcia (-11)

What it means: Though McDowell briefly erased Woods' lead on the front nine, the world No. 2 was able to quickly rebuild it, even increasing his advantage to five shots at one point. The lead was trimmed when Woods bogeyed the 17th, but a birdie on the final hole - his 24th of the week - gave him a commanding lead heading to Sunday.

Round of the day: Ryder Cup standout Nicolas Colsaerts was one of the early movers on the leaderboard, playing holes 7-16 in 5 under Saturday. The Belgian ultimately carded a 5-under 67 despite a bogey on the closing hole, his lone blemish of the day, to move into a tie for 16th at 7 under heading to Sunday.

Best of the rest: One week after notching his first career PGA Tour win, Thompson is showing no signs of slowing down. He equaled Colsaerts, Woods and Garcia for low round of the day honors, shooting a 5-under 67 that featured a hole-out from the bunker on the par-5 10th hole for eagle, and now begins the final round tied for fifth. 

Biggest disappointment: Bubba Watson. Entering the day just four shots off the pace, last year's runner-up started 3 over after just four holes Saturday. The southpaw was able to get his round back into red numbers, but a 1-under 71 saw him fall several spots down the leaderboard on a day where low scores were the norm.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: Is this one already over? Woods rarely coughs up a 54-hole lead, and has never lost when taking a four-shot advantage into the final round. He appears on the verge of a second impressive win in just his fifth start of 2013, with The Masters looming only a month away.

Shot of the day: At the long, par-5 12th, Scott Piercy was left with one of the toughest shots in golf - the long bunker shot. Piercy had no trouble with his third shot from the sand, though, holing it from 46 yards away for the only eagle of the week thus far at the 12th hole.

Quote of the day: 'It's been a weird couple weeks. I had two lost balls last week, and then I had one stuck up in a tree.' - Woods discussing his tee shot on the 17th hole that remained lodged in a palm tree, leading to just his second bogey of the day.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”