Duval Down Singh Next

By Mercer BaggsNovember 4, 2000, 5:00 pm
There will be no need for rhetorical questions Sunday at the Tour Championship.
 
Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh - who have combined to win all four majors this season - will renew their budding rivalry in the final round at the East Lake Golf Club. Woods and Singh share the top spot in Atlanta, Ga., at 10-under-par. Phil Mickelson is just one stroke back after carding the low round of the day, a 5-under-par 65. Ernie Els is the next closest pursuant at 6-under, four strokes off the lead.
 
A drizzly Southern day turned dreary for David Duval. Playing alongside Woods, Duval recorded two birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey for a dismal 74. In a highly anticipated head-to-head pairing, Duval finished the day six shots higher than Woods, who posted a 4-under-par 66.
 
Woods, in search of his fourth title defense of the season, found his form early on Saturday. Using a combination of power and precision, Tiger birdied three of his first four holes to take sole possession of the lead at 9-under-par.
 
Woods remained one stroke removed from double digits as he made the turn, alternating bogeys and birdies on holes 5 through 8.
 
Two more birdies at the 10th and 15th holes pushed Woods to 11-under, before a three-putt bogey at the par-4 17th dropped the world's No. 1 ranked player to his finishing position at 10-under-par.
 
'I moved up in the standings, and that's the whole idea,' said Woods.
 
Singh, who lost to Hal Sutton in a playoff the last time this event was contested at East Lake in 1998, made a strong bid for redemption in the third round. The Fijian fired a 4-under-par 31 on the front nine to move to 9-under for the tournament. Another birdie, Singh's fifth of the day, took Singh to 10-under, where he ended the day after parring his final eight holes.
 
'This is probably the best I've felt,' Singh said following his bogey-free 65. 'I like the way I'm putting. I feel really comfortable. I like the way I'm putting and I hope it will keep up.'
 
Two weeks ago, Singh and Woods squared off on three separate occasions at the Presidents Cup. Woods won all three. Two of Tiger's victories came courtesy of team play; the third was the result of a 2-and-1 win in singles.
 
Though tightly contested, Tiger and Vijay's one-on-one match was overshadowed by two little words on the back of a caddie's hat.
 
'Tiger Who?'
 
That question was stitched on the back of Singh's caddie's cap. Whether in jest or not, the jab struck a nerve in Tiger's pride. Few putts were conceded that Sunday afternoon.
 
'My goal is to go out and win tomorrow,' said Singh, who also joked he would fire caddie Paul Tesori if he did the same thing this Sunday. 'If I hit the ball like I am and make some putts, nobody is going to beat me.'
 
History says otherwise. Tiger has won 19 consecutive PGA Tour events when having at least a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
'I enjoy playing in that position,' Woods said. 'I enjoy having the lead because that means you can afford to make a mistake.'
 
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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.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”