Woods won't grow complacent despite big lead

By Jason SobelAugust 3, 2013, 11:54 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods bolted toward his golf ball with the intensity of a predator sizing up its prey. He examined it, nestled down in the rough just left of the 13th green, idling on a slight sidehill lie. He inspected his landing options on the green, then took a slow, brief, compact swing that propelled the ball directly into the hole. He turned toward the nearby gallery, punctuating the maneuver with an aggressive fist pump.

Just minutes later, Woods found his ball on the upslope of a bunker, left of the 14th fairway. Again, he inspected his options. This time, he took a mighty cut, flaring it well right of its intended target. He walked after it in disgust, fiercely ripping the glove off his left hand and muttering to himself on the way.

In case you were wondering whether a momentous lead would breed complacency for Woods in the third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, these two brief snapshots of his day should serve to dispel any notion.

He entered the day with a seven-stroke advantage. He ended the day with a seven-stroke advantage. The score wasn’t as obscenely brilliant as one day earlier, but the tournament is just as much in control.

Mission accomplished.

Call it golf’s version of Murphy’s Law, but as anyone who has scored ridiculously low will easily confess, it’s nearly impossible to match such a total one day later. This even holds true for Woods, whose second-round 9-under 61 on Friday was followed by a 2-under 68 on Saturday that seemed monotonous only in comparison to the previous day.

“You know, it's dependent on the golf course,” Woods said of putting together back-to-back super-low rounds. “Here it's not going to happen. It's just not. This golf course is too hard.”


WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, videos and photos


That doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying.

Woods alternated between stepping on the gas pedal and playing prevent defense throughout the round, carding five birdies against three bogeys.

It’s a strategy he may employ on Sunday, as well, depending of course on the course conditions and his game and those of his challengers.

“Just go out there and execute my game plan,” he said of his mindset. “Whatever game plan I'm going to implement tomorrow, just go execute it. It all starts with what the weather is doing, and then I build it from there, and we'll see what I do tomorrow.”

Avid golfer (and yes, professional baseball player, too) Yogi Berra once determined that “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over” and, rest assured, this  golf tournament isn’t over yet – even if every other contender trudged off the course talking about playing for second place.

“If he's too far ahead, he's too far ahead,” lamented Henrik Stenson, who finished the round in solo second, but still seven shots behind. “It might be a race for second, but we'll see.”

“This will be a heck of a tournament for the fans and everybody out here if he wasn't playing, but that's not the case right now,” said Jason Dufner, currently eight back. “As players you've got to try and respond with what you can to try and catch him. It's a tough task.”

“Well, I want to finish as near as I can to him, really,” Chris Wood suggested, “because that's probably going to be second.”

In his younger days, Woods may have viewed a touchdown lead entering the fourth quarter as reason enough to step on the necks of everyone competing in the B Flight, but something – call it maturity; call it conservatism – has instilled in him over the second half of his career the rationale in these situations that it doesn’t matter whether he wins by two or five or eight.

In every instance, they still give you a trophy and an oversized paycheck.

There’s little doubt such riches are already being inscribed with Woods’ name, that a fifth PGA Tour victory of the season and a 79th of his career are an inevitability come Sunday afternoon.

That doesn’t mean he will become complacent on the course.

Woods has enjoyed his share of final-round victory laps over the years. This will undoubtedly become another coronation, but if we learned anything on Saturday, it’s that he won’t treat the round with any less importance.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

View this post on Instagram

Finally got it down lol

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

View this post on Instagram

How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.

Getty Images

Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).



And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 

FILM 1

Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 


FILM 2

Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 


FILM 3

Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.

Getty Images

Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.

Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.

It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.

There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.

Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.

Getty Images

USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books

By Rex HoggardOctober 15, 2018, 1:53 pm

Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.

The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.

Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.

The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.