Woods and Mickelson both miss cut at Greenbrier

By Jason SobelJuly 6, 2012, 11:11 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – It would be like catching a Rolling Stones concert … only without Mick Jagger and Keith Richards jamming onstage.

It would be like going to dinner at Peter Luger Steakhouse … only to find they’re sold out of both the filet and the porterhouse.

It would be like visiting the nation’s capital … only to hear the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are closed for renovations.

On Friday, for the first time in 198 occasions that they’ve played the same PGA Tour event as professionals, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson each missed the cut.

Think about that for a minute: There have been 197 previous tournaments where at least one of the game’s two biggest stars has cashed a paycheck on the weekend.

Of those 197, one of them missed the cut only 22 times.

Of those 197, at least one of them finished inside the top 10 152 times.

Of those 197, they combined to win 69 times.

It was a truly remarkable streak between the two of ‘em. And it’s now over after 17 years.

Woods posted rounds of 71-69 and Mickelson countered with scores of 71-71 as each failed to finish inside the number at The Greenbrier Classic. The only other time that’s happened was at the 1993 Byron Nelson Championship, when Woods was still a baby-faced 17-year-old amateur.

During a week in which rumors have circulated that each player may have received – or will be receiving – some sort of appearance fee that circumvents PGA Tour rules via loophole, there was a line making the rounds on social media sites that these turned out to be “disappearance fees” instead.

What does it all mean going forward? In the grand scheme of things, not much.

Woods’ missed cut came in his first trip to the West Virginia foothills, while Mickelson failed to reach the weekend for the second time in two tries here.

For a pair of players who clearly want their games to peak four times a year – they own 14 and four major championship titles, respectively – missing the cut should hardly equate to some type of death march on the private jet home.

For Woods, it marks just the ninth missed cut of his professional career and the first time that he didn’t reach the weekend in the very next week after a victory. Coupled with his MC at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this year, it’s also the first time since 2005 that he’s missed multiple cuts in a season.

Of course, when weighed on the scale against three wins already this season, it should hardly be cause for concern.

“It happens,” Woods said after his round. “You know, you miss cuts out here. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I think I’ve missed nine cuts. One or two every couple of years, I guess.”

Coming off Sunday’s triumph at the AT&T National, he maintained that he was surprised by his result.

“Yeah, because I had my distance control dialed in,” Woods explained. “But this week I was hitting balls so far. I know it’s hot; I know there’s altitude. [But] my sand wedge is going 142, 145 [yards], wedges 160. These are not numbers I normally hit. Some of the bigger guys hit those numbers, but I don’t. I was really struggling to hit the ball on the right number.”

As for Mickelson, despite a win and two other top-three finishes so far this season, there should be greater cause for concern.

Friday’s round was his seventh consecutive over-par total, a number he had never before reached during a Hall of Fame career.

“I don’t know what to say about that,” Mickelson said. “It hasn’t been great. The parts don’t feel that far off, but I haven’t been putting them together.”

For the second straight day, he carded three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey, leaving him cautiously optimistic, but without full confidence in the current state of his game.

“It doesn’t feel bad off the tee; it doesn’t feel bad with the iron play; it doesn’t feel bad chipping or putting,” he added. “But I’m making a lot of loose drives here or there, some loose iron shots here or there, missing some short putts here or there, and just haven’t been putting it all together.”

It’s easy to focus on the negative after Tiger and Phil – one-named wonders, each of them – fail to find any success on the very same week.

It isn’t the end of the world for either one, though. Far from it, in fact. With the Open Championship coming up in two weeks, each will have a chance to redeem himself on a much bigger stage, far from the West Virginia countryside that rendered them mortals for the past two days.

If anything, the end of their streak should be met with celebration. For 17 years, the game’s two biggest stars combined to live up to expectations nearly every single time they teed it up in the same event, with at least one of them always sticking around for the weekend.

This isn’t the end of some era, but that streak is over now. The historic numbers remain, though, as do memories of a shared run that deserves to be appreciated for its longevity.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There’s was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."