Woods has long, varied list of match play partners

By Jason SobelOctober 2, 2013, 12:30 am

DUBLIN, Ohio – It all started with Mark O’Meara on an autumn morning in Sotogrande, Spain.

That’s when a 21-year-old Tiger Woods teamed with his older buddy to defeat Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer in his first career match in a professional team competition. They played together twice more that week – both losses – before the young Masters champion was shuttled over to Justin Leonard, with whom he earned a half-point.

One year later at the Presidents Cup, Woods paired with Fred Couples (win), Leonard (loss), Couples again (loss) and – in one of the more forgettable partnerships of his career – John Huston (loss).

Photos: Tiger's Presidents and Ryder Cup playing partners

If you’re scoring at home, that’s four partners in his first two team events. And it didn’t end there.

Since then, Woods has played with …

… (deep breath, everyone) …

Tom Lehman, David Duval, Steve Pate, Notah Begay, Paul Azinger, Mark Calcavecchia, Davis Love III, Charles Howell III, Phil Mickelson, Chris Riley, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Steve Stricker and Dustin Johnson.

Whew. A guy can bust a few brain cells just trying to remember ‘em all.

“I've had all different types of partners,” Woods says with a knowing smile.

Apparently it’s enough to make him start sounding like Dr. Seuss.

“Guys who hit the ball for miles, guys who are short. Guys who are pretty mellow, guys who are pretty volatile,” he continues. “I've had it all.”

The grand total? Eighteen different partners – and he might be about to add to that total this week.

On the eve of this year’s edition of the Presidents Cup, captain Fred Couples has intimated that Woods may be paired with Matt Kuchar or Jason Dufner – or both – in addition to Stricker, who at this point is practically Ol’ Reliable on that aforementioned list.

“Everyone wants to play with Tiger. You can only get one partner,” said Couples, now in his third tour of duty leading the team. “I can't tell someone who to play with.”

Actually, that’s exactly what he can do. But that’s another story for another column.

Presidents Cup: Articles, videos and photos

With the exception of Hal Sutton’s ill-fated decision to pair him with Mickelson back at the 2004 Ryder Cup, most of the other 17 partners have been preapproved by Woods.

Break down the numbers and you’ll find an eclectic mix of hits and misses. Woods has played the most matches with Stricker (6-2-0 record together) and Furyk (5-3-1). Next on the list is a couple of buddies who haven’t made a team in years, Howell (4-1-0) and Begay (2-2-0).

He’s only been undefeated with Toms (1-0-0) and Riley (1-0-0), but winless with seven: Leonard (0-1-1), Huston (0-1-0), Lehman (0-1-0), Duval (0-1-0), Azinger (0-1-0), Calcavecchia (0-1-0) and Mickelson (0-2-0).

Seven of his partners never got a second chance to play alongside him again.

Freddie has never been much of a rock-the-boat kind of guy, so don’t expect anything out of the ordinary here at Muirfield Village.

But the question does remain: Why has it been so difficult for Woods to find a symbiotic partnership?

Some will argue that his inability to find a regular partner speaks to his competitive nature. Others might maintain that his rather mundane 26-23-2 record is a result of his individual outlook.

Really, it’s just the nature of the beast. In the history of these events, nobody has competed for close to two full decades and barely switched it up, let alone never at all.

Like all stories of this nature, though, this one is magnified because of Woods’ magnitude.

And he has less of an explanation for the turnover rate than anyone else.

“I think it's just a matter of trying to gel that particular week,” he says. “Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. But the whole idea is to go out there and just play.”

Jack Nicklaus, who on four occasions served as Presidents Cup captain on a team with Woods as a member, owned a similar attitude to Couples. Which is to say, when it came to making pairings, he was the ultimate in laissez-faire.

“I paired Tiger with whoever he wanted to play with,” Nicklaus recalls. “I did that with a lot of the guys. I didn't specialize with Tiger on that. I'd ask all the guys at the beginning of the week, ‘Who would you like to play with? Who would you enjoy playing with? Who would you like to give it a shot?

“We went to South Africa and Tiger and Charles Howell decided they wanted to play together down there. I said, OK, so they played together, did very well. I think they went to Washington and I think Tiger said he and Furyk wanted to play together. Montréal, maybe he and Stricker, I think, wanted to play together.”

Really, there is no right or wrong answer here. (OK, so there may have been a wrong answer when Sutton was at the helm.) Woods might pair with Stricker this week, a teammate he’s had success with in the past, and flail miserably. He might play with Kuchar or Dufner, each a newbie for the list, and find a winning combination.

Woods himself doesn’t know the secret formula to finding a partner for these competitions. What he does know, though, is that he’d like one who can light up a leaderboard.

“Whoever is playing well,” he smiles when asked that question. “Whoever can carry me is great.”

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 2:15 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)