Getting Your Phil at Pebble

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 3, 2001, 5:00 pm
Phil Mickelson has plenty of players to contend with if he wants to win his second AT&T Pebble Beach title. But there's one in particular who everyone has an eye on.
 
Mickelson and Olin Browne share the 54-hole lead in Pebble Beach, Calif., at 14-under-par. The duo leads last year's runner-up, Vijay Singh, by two shots. Mickelson made his way to the top of the leaderboard by firing a six-under-par 66 at Pebble, while Browne tied the low round of the day, a seven-under-par 65 at Poppy Hills.
 
Overnight leader Matt Gogel followed his second-round 62 with a third-round 81 at Spyglass. He'll now need a Tiger-esque comeback to avenge last year's bitter defeat. For that matter, so too will Woods.
 
Tiger kept alive his hopes of becoming the first person since Mark O'Meara in 1990 to successfully defend his title by shooting a three-under-par 69 at Pebble Beach. Woods stands at eight-under-par for the tournament, six shots off the lead. Last year, he trailed by five with 18 holes to play.
 
Tiger stumbled out of the blocks on Saturday, bogeying his first two holes; including the short par-five second.
 
'I hit a great drive and then quick-sniped my second shot,' Woods said of his bogey on the second hole. 'I hit my third into the bunker and didn't get up and down.'
 
Woods collected his first birdie of the day at the par-three fifth, and then earned No. 2 at the sixth. At that point, he stood at five-under-par, where he remained until successive birdies at the 13th and 14th holes.
 
Woods officially climbed to within striking distance by carding his third birdie in five holes at the 17th. And with the par-five 18th remaining, it appeared certain as if he would enter the clubhouse at nine-under.
 
However, it wasn't to be. Woods' three-foot birdie putt made a horseshoe around the cup. Despite the missed opportunity, Tiger left the course knowing he was still in contention.
 
'I got a shot at it, but that last putt leaves a bad taste in my mouth,' said Woods. 'It's been like that all year. It's indicative of how my entire year's been so far.'
 
Putting has been Tiger's Achilles heel in 2001. He says, this week, it's not so much the stroke as it is the surface.
 
'I feel like I'm hitting it good,' Woods said. 'You just have to get the right bounces on the greens for the ball to fall.'
 
Woods knows, unlike in the third round, he'll have to get off to a good start on Sunday if he wants to catch the leaders. Knowing Tiger's history, he's still in it. Knowing Gogel's, he's not.
 
As he did in the final round in 2000, Gogel recorded a back-nine 40 on Saturday. However, unlike that of a year ago, he didn't post 31 on the front, but rather a 41.
 
Gogel's day at Spyglass began with a bogey at the par-five first. Following two more dropped shots at the fourth and sixth holes, disaster struck at the seventh.
 
Playing the par-five, Gogel's second-shot lay-up came dangerously close to a hazard. Gogel decided to play his third shot from the water's edge, but chunked it. This time, he was wet. He eventually made a double-bogey seven.
 
Gogel's misfortune wasn't delegated to the front nine. He lost four more strokes to par on the inward half, including a bogey at the last.
 
'I just didn't have it today,' said Gogel, who graciously signed autographs before leaving the course. 'It happens to everybody. You just take it on the chin. More good will eventually come than the bad in the short term.'
 
Though Gogel couldn't duplicate his second-round 62, Mickelson was able to mirror his Day-Two 66.
 
Once again, the putts fell for the lefty. Mickelson rolled in birdie putts of 15 feet on the third, 20 feet on the seventh and 35 feet on the ninth. In addition, he also stuck a few irons inside ten feet for four more birdies.
 
'What I have found is when putts fall in the hole I take a lot of pressure off my ball striking,' said Mickelson. 'I don't necessarily have to go for par-5s in two, I can wedge it up there in eight or 10 feet and make it.'
 
Mickelson is vying for his second Pebble Beach title in the last four years, but his first over 72 holes. In 1998, Mickelson won a 54-hole tournament in which the final round was postponed due to weather until August.
 
Browne doesn't share the same fondness for the Monterey Peninsula, as does Mickelson. Browne has missed five cuts in six prior starts. Of course, a bogey-free round of 65 can change one's opinion.
 
'I've never really liked playing here,' said Browne, whose only cut made resulted in a tie for 58th. 'It's a wonderful place, but the weather is so atrocious every year. It's such a joy to be here under these kinds of conditions. I'm loving every second of it this week.'
 
Browne's second round at Poppy Hills began with an eagle at the par-five 10th. Six straight pars ensued before he rolled in a 60-foot birdie putt at the par-three 17th.
 
'That was my gift today,' he said. 'Happy New Year!'
 
For the day, Browne recorded five birdies and one eagle. He played the five par-fives in five-under-par.
 
Standing in the shadows, as he often seems to do, is Singh. The reigning Masters champion posted a solid round of two-under-par 70 at Spyglass. It wasn't spectacular, but it has him in solo third place.
 
'I'm a little disappointed, but quite happy with the position,' Singh said. 'I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think I will do well.'
 
Last year, Singh started the final round one off the lead, but was passed - like everyone else - by a surging Woods. Singh tied Gogel for second place after shooting a Sunday 70.
 
Four players are currently tied for fourth place at 11-under-par, including Mike Weir, who shot 65 at Poppy Hills, Jerry Kelly, who shot 68 at Poppy Hills, Ronnie Black, who shot 70 at Pebble Beach, and Craig Barlow, who shot 67 at Pebble Beach.
 
Click here for News, Notes and Numbers from Pebble Beach
 
Click here for Full-Field scores
 
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With Woods living up to his legend, Tiger-mania is back

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 4:13 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Just two weeks ago at the PGA Championship, fans pushed in along every corner of Bellerive’s 18th hole chanting, “Let’s go Tiger,” undeterred by the oppressive heat or the hopelessness of Tiger Woods’ title chances.

It was a fitting send-off for a player who would come up two strokes short in his quest to win his 80th PGA Tour title and his 15th major championship, not to mention an apropos snapshot of the massive St. Louis galleries who cheered Tiger’s every step.

It was also a sign of the times for the game’s most recognizable athlete.

Since Woods embarked on this most recent comeback from injury, the sense of excitement has steadily built. What began as a curiosity now looks like certainty.

Woods has repeatedly explained the 2018 season was always going to be filled with more questions than answers. He didn’t know how his repaired back would hold up under the pressure of competition or what swing he would have.

Fan didn’t know which Tiger would arrive on the first tee each week – Vintage Woods or the often-injured guy who managed to play just 19 events the last four years.

As Woods progressed, the answer seemed to be the former, with Tiger electrifying fans at the Valspar Championship on his way to a tie for second place.

“This entire year has been so different,” Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, his first playoff start since 2013. “I've had excitement. I've had people into it over the years, but this has been so different. We go back to how everyone received me at Tampa, that was very special and I had not received ovations and warmth like that.”

Woods tied for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and fourth at the Quicken Loans National. Despite Tiger's regular calls for patience and perspective, a fan base that was reluctant to dive back in with a self-described medical miracle is now wading into the deep end.

This zeal has built to a crescendo, with the PGA Championship emerging as the new raucous standard.

“I’ve played with him a lot during that time [in his prime],” Stewart Cink said late Sunday at Bellerive. “After the round yesterday, I commented it sounded like the old times, but the truth is it was more intense yesterday then I remember it being at any time.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


A portion of that Bellerive buzz was the byproduct of a community starved for major championship golf. And, to be fair, eventual champion Brooks Koepka earned his share of cheers for his third major triumph in his last six major starts. But the majority of that fervor was attibutable to Woods’ play.

Woods is not playing the role of ceremonial golfer and this is not a farewell tour. For the first time in a long time, his play has lived up to his legend.

There’s nothing better in sports then a comeback, and Woods may end up being the most compelling reclamation project golf has seen in decades.

“I think that everyone can relate to that because they have all gone through it. Everyone has got aches and pains, and whether you've had kids or not, you get to your 40s, you're feeling it, and I'm not the only one,” Woods explained. “The only difference is I'm an athlete and I'm playing at a high level and one of the best players in the world as what I do for a living. That's hard. People understand that. They understand, trying to compete against the younger generation, and it gets a little more difficult.”

Although Woods has given fans plenty to cheer along the way, this is about more than numbers on a scorecard. Approaching his 43rd birthday in December, Tiger has embraced his newfound health as much more than simply another competitive chapter. Woods’ comeback has been defined by a perspective that only comes when one faces their own competitive mortality.

He’s openly appreciative of this opportunity, and the crowds seem to realize that.

“I think that people are more, I guess appreciative. I don't want to make that sound wrong or anything but they know that I'm at the tail end of my career, and I don't know how many more years I have left,” he said. “I'm certainly not like I was when I was 22. Forty-two, it's a different ballgame.”

There’s still plenty of competitive compartmentalization, as evidenced by the all-too-familiar scowl he wore on Sunday at Bellerive. The difference, however, is that he’s more willing to offer the world a glimpse of a softer side where the sharp edges have been dulled by age and injury. On Tuesday, he was asked about his relationship with the crowds that line every fairway.

“Unfortunately, I've gotten to know a lot of them because I've hit a lot of wayward balls. I've signed a lot more gloves this year than I have in the past,” he laughed.

He’s also introduced an entirely new generation of fans to a concept only those of a certain age could previously understand: Tiger-mania.

Vandalized green at Sunshine Tour event (Micheal Hollick/Twitter) Getty Images

Vandals damage greens at site of Sunshine Tour event

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2018, 3:20 pm

This week's Sunshine Tour event will continue as scheduled despite at least six greens being vandalized.

Sunshine Tour player Michael Hollick posted to his Facebook page photos of greens at Wild Coast Sun Country Club in Port Edward, South Africa, showing severe damage.

He stated that disgruntled former employees were to blame.

"So the local community near the Wild Coast Sun weren’t happy about something so what do they do.... they go onto the golf course and dig up the last 6 greens!! Boggles my mind what goes through the heads of some people..... apparently there were some staff fired for illegal striking this past week and this was their retaliation."

Here's a look at the photos posted by Hollick:




Vandals also left a message on a flag that stated: "This Is The Start."

The Sunshine Tour stated that the event, the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge, will still start on Wednesday, and that the tour has increased security measures. Here's a look at how the diligent grounds crew has repaired the putting surfaces:

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NBC Sports Group to Air More Than 70 Live Tournament Hours of FedExCup Playoffs

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 21, 2018, 2:35 pm

Coverage Begins with First Round of The Northern Trust on Golf Channel; Final Three Playoff Events Airing Across Both Golf Channel & NBC

Following last week’s Wyndham Championship – the 44th and final event of the 2017-18 campaign – the PGA TOUR this week kicks off its season-culminating FedExCup Playoffs, with a $10 million first-place prize on the line at the conclusion of next month’s TOUR Championship. Beginning with the opening round of The Northern Trust on Thursday, NBC Sports Group in total will showcase more than 70 hours of live tournament coverage spanning across the four playoff events, including the final three stops airing exclusively across Golf Channel and NBC.

Being staged at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., The Northern Trust will feature the top-125 players in the FedExCup standings having earned their PGA TOUR card for the 2018-19 season. Golf Channel will air live early round coverage on Thursday-Friday, Aug. 23-24, along with lead-in coverage on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 25-26.

The following week, the top-100 players will be eligible to take part in the Dell Technologies Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 3) at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., the first of the final three events that will air exclusively on Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, weekend lead-in coverage) and NBC (Saturday-Sunday). The top-70 players then will advance to the BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9) at Aronimink Golf Club outside of Philadelphia, and ultimately, the top-30 will go on to the TOUR Championship (Sept. 20-23) at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

BROADCAST TEAMS:

Event

Play-by-Play Host

Lead Analyst

Tower

On-Course

Reporter

The Northern Trust

Rich Lerner

Nick Faldo

Matt Gogel

Billy Ray Brown

Todd Lewis

Dell Technologies Championship

Dan Hicks

Steve Sands

Johnny Miller

Frank Nobilo

Gary Koch

Peter Jacobsen

Roger Maltbie, David Feherty, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands

George Savaricas

BMW Championship

Dan Hicks

Steve Sands

Johnny Miller

Gary Koch

Peter Jacobsen

David Feherty

Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands, Todd Lewis

Jimmy Roberts (Essays)

TOUR Championship

Dan Hicks

 

Johnny Miller

Frank Nobilo

Gary Koch Peter Jacobsen David Feherty

Roger Maltbie, Notah Begay, Jim “Bones” Mackay

Steve Sands, Todd Lewis

Jimmy Roberts (Essays)

 

NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel’s news programs, Golf Central and Morning Drive, will provide comprehensive wraparound news coverage throughout the FedExCup Playoffs with interviews, highlights, on-site reports and features. Golf Channel analysts, including Notah Begay, Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Trevor Immelman and Mark Rolfing, all will contribute to pre-and-post round coverage on Golf Central during the course of the playoff events. Chantel McCabe and Brian Bateman also will contribute to Morning Drive on-site from TPC Boston at the Dell Technologies Championship, Friday-Monday.

“PGA TOUR LIVE” TO COMPLEMENT NBC SPORTS’ LIVE TOURNAMENT COVERAGE

In addition to NBC Sports Group’s more than 70 dedicated live hours of tournament coverage surrounding the FedExCup Playoffs, fans also will have an opportunity to follow the action via PGA TOUR LIVE. Coverage of “Featured Groups” will be available during first and second round play at each of the four events leading up to linear broadcast coverage, along with “Featured Holes” during all rounds throughout the Playoffs airing concurrently during live broadcast coverage.

DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE

Golf Channel Digital will have comprehensive editorial coverage of the FedExCup Playoffs with columns and daily blogs. Coverage across the four playoff events will be led by Jay Coffin and Rex Hoggard (The Northern Trust); Hoggard and Will Gray (Dell Technologies Championship); Ryan Lavner and Nick Menta (BMW Championship); Hoggard and Mercer Baggs (TOUR Championship).

Golf Channel’s social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will provide expanded social coverage surrounding the final stretch of the season. Golf Channel and NBC also will integrate social media content throughout its live tournament telecasts, incorporating social media posts from players and fans. News and tournament action surrounding the FedExCup Playoffs can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online via Golf Channel Digital. Fans also can stream NBC Sports’ coverage of live golf via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

NBC SPORTS’ FEDEXCUP PLAYOFFS LIVE TOURNAMENT COVERAGE (ET)

 

The Northern Trust (Aug. 23-26)

Thursday, Aug. 23                  7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Aug. 24                       7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Features Groups)   PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Aug. 25                   1-2:45 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Aug. 26                     Noon-1:45 p.m. (Live)                        Golf Channel

Dell Technologies Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 3)

Friday, Aug. 31                       8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live)                         Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 1                    8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)  PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              3-6:30 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Sept. 2                      1-3 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

                                              3-6 p.m. (Live)                                   NBC

Monday, Sept. 3                     11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)               Golf Channel

                                              1:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              NBC

BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9)

Thursday, Sept. 6                    11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                               2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Sept. 7                        11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 8                    Noon-3:30 p.m. (Live)                       NBC

                                              3:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              Golf Channel

Sunday, Sept. 9                       Noon-2 p.m. (Live)                            Golf Channel

                                              2-6 p.m. (Live)                                   NBC

TOUR Championship (Sept. 20-23)

Thursday, Sept. 20                  10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                               1-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Friday, Sept. 21                      10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Featured Groups)      PGA TOUR LIVE

                                              1-6 p.m. (Live)                                   Golf Channel

Saturday, Sept. 22                  12:30-2:30 p.m. (Live)                       Golf Channel

                                              2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live)                         NBC

Sunday, Sept. 23                     Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live)                       Golf Channel

                                              1:30-6 p.m. (Live)                              NBC

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Woods talks about Ryder Cup prospects in third person

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

Conversations between Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods have gotten a little awkward.

That’s what happens when Woods, the U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain, needs to assess the prospects of Woods, the player.

“We’re talking about myself in the third person a lot,” he said with a chuckle Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “That’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

“I’m one of the guys on the short list, and sometimes I have to pull myself out of there and talk about myself in the third person, which is a little odd.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


After placing second at the PGA Championship, Woods finished 11th on the U.S. points list with just eight months of tournament results. Three of Furyk’s four captain’s picks will be announced after the BMW Championship in three weeks, and barring a late injury, it’s almost a certainty that Woods will be one of those selected.

Still, Woods was named in February as an assistant for his third consecutive team competition, even though he told Furyk at the beginning of the year that he envisioned himself as a player on the 2018 squad.

“I’m very close to making that happen,” he said. “It’s been a long year, and that’s been one of my goals, to make the team. To be a part of that team you have to be one of the 12 best players, and I’m trending toward that.”