Woods fails again to come back and win a major

By Jay CoffinJuly 21, 2013, 7:50 pm

GULLANE, Scotland – Tiger Woods knows it. You know it. I know it.

We all know it as well as we know how many major championships are sitting on Woods’ mantel.

So why hasn’t Woods been able to do anything about it? Why hasn’t the game’s most dominant champion ever been able to come from behind to win a major championship?

Never.

Woods has as many majors as I have when trailing after 54 holes.

Zip. Zero. Zilch. Goose eggs.

It all sounds so harsh, but how can this be possible?

Phil Mickelson has come from behind to win two majors. Ernie Els has, too.



Woods shot a final-round 74 Sunday at the 142nd Open Championship to tie for sixth place in what was easily his best chance to capture a major since the 2009 PGA Championship, which, coincidentally, was the only time Woods has ever coughed up a 54-hole lead in a major. He’s now gone 17 majors without a victory and, if he fails to win the PGA Championship next month at Oak Hill it’ll be five full calendar years without a major.

I've won 14 and in that spell where I haven't won since Torrey, I've been in there,” Woods said Sunday at Muirfield. “It's not like I've lost my card and not playing out here. So I've won some tournaments in that stretch and I've been in probably about half the majors on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win during that stretch. I just haven't done it yet.”

Woods is now 25 over par in his last seven major weekends, dating back to the 2012 Masters. During that span he has three top-six finishes.

Some of those majors just weren’t meant to be – the Masters and U.S. Open last year and this year’s U.S. Open at Merion immediately spring to mind. Woods wasn’t playing particularly well the first two rounds so poor weekend play was not unexpected.

The performance here the past two days, however, is mind-boggling.

Emphatically, Woods should’ve won this championship. It was set up perfectly for him. He was able to play to his strengths, hitting driver only twice – and he still couldn’t get it done.

Every player in the field has shots he’d like to play over, things he wished he’d have done differently. Woods missed two 3-footers on Friday and shot even par, hit all but two fairways on Saturday and shot 1 over par, then looked out of sorts Sunday during the final round when he made a three-putt bogey on the opening hole.

Woods, as he’s done every time he’s played poorly this year, said he couldn’t get a feel for the speed of the greens, said they were much slower than they had been the previous three days. He had difficulty getting the ball to the hole numerous times.

It continues to be a curious trend from the game’s most prepared player. Woods admitted that he watched TV coverage all morning and saw that bundles of players kept leaving the ball short of the hole. Then he went out and often left the ball short of the hole.

After the bogey on the first hole, Woods made five more bogeys and, at times during the round, looked disinterested and unengaged.

This was a big moment, one it would seem Woods would relish. He was paired with Adam Scott (and subsequently Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams) in the penultimate group at a place that has a propensity for allowing Hall of Fame members to be victorious, yet Woods still couldn’t muster the magic.

While Woods was trudging along with bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11, his longtime rival Mickelson began to catch fire. At one point, before Mickelson made birdie on the last two holes, Woods was only three shots out of the lead. Here, three shots is nothing. But Woods made bogey on the 15th hole when he blew his birdie attempt 10 feet past the hole and missed the comebacker for par.

“I'm very pleased with the way I'm playing, there's no doubt,” Woods said. “I'm right there and I hit a ton of good shots this week.”

Many untimely shots, too.

Theories abound why Woods has not come from behind to win a major. The one heard most often – and the one I believe has the most merit – is rather simple; When Woods is playing well, he’s in the lead, when he’s not playing well, he’s not in the lead.

Think about it for a moment. To come from behind to win a major means he’d have to find lightning in a bottle for 18 holes when he hadn’t been able to capture said lightning in the previous 54 holes. Makes perfect sense.

This week was Exhibit A. Woods contends he played well and hit some great shots but only part of that is true. He did hit some great shots. But if Woods was playing well, he’d have won. Tiger Woods doesn’t lose with his A game. Not even this version of Tiger Woods, the version less dominant than the one of yesteryear.


142nd Open Championship: Articles, videos and photos


So we now turn our focus to the remainder of the season – the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship are the next two big events, then the FedEx Cup playoffs will follow.

Woods has still won four times this year and could pick up another PGA Tour Player of the Year trophy. But he has enough of those trophies, the ones that look good on the mantel if, say, you don’t already have 14 majors.

More now than ever before, the majors are the only tournaments that matter, the only notches that ultimately will slam the door shut on the greatest-player-ever conversation.

Woods has work to do.

Jack Nicklaus has four more majors than Woods. Mickelson now has five, which means Woods needs Mickelson’s career haul to pass Nicklaus.

It’s not wise to doubt Woods’ determination and ability, but with each passing major it becomes less likely that he’ll catch Nicklaus. Especially when he lets majors like this Open Championship slip from his grasp.

To win five more majors it’s likely that Woods is going to have to win one from behind. If he doesn’t, it’ll remain a talking point on Woods’ vast resume.

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.