Notes Tigers Future Garcia Getting Closer

By Mercer BaggsAugust 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
PGA of AmericaSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Not even Tiger Woods can know what the future has in store for him. But this he believes: when he can no longer win, he will no longer compete.
 
Those sound much like the words of Jack Nicklaus, and Tuesday Woods was asked to put himself in Nicklaus shoes and contemplate life as an aging legend well past his prime, and how he might retire.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods knows there's plenty to smile about concerning his future.
Its like writing my obituary already, he said with a laugh.
 
What am I going to do? I think knowing me and how I am, my farewell will be very quiet. I dont think anyone will probably know until its done. Im not really going to say anything; thats kind of how I am. Ill just go out and play it. Ill walk in here (the press center) and say, Guys, Im done. Thats probably how Im going to do it.
 
You know, my whole objective is, if my best isnt good enough to win anymore, Im not playing. I couldnt handle going out there, for me personally, knowing that I played my absolute best and it wasnt good enough to win anymore, because I know what it feels like when I play my best. Ive had some Ws, and I dont know if I could handle that anymore, and its time to move on, time to walk.
 
WHY MESS WITH SUCCESS?
Another question posed to Woods in his pre-tournament press conference revolved around how much he likes to tinker with his clubs.
 
To be honest with you, my lofts, my lie, my length on my irons havent changed since I was 14 years old. So to answer your question, no, he said.
 
When asked why he doesnt fiddle with the features on his clubs, he responded:
 
Why? Because they have worked. Ive won a lot of tournaments since I was 14. Im not going to change. But I have changed my 3-wood obviously and my driver over the years and trying to keep up with everybody off the tees. But my irons are still very weak compared to todays standards. They are the standards (of those) back in the '60s. People have that so-called gap wedge; well, my pitching wedge is like 51 degrees. My 9-iron is like 45, and thats like most peoples gap wedges.
 
A lot of guys pitching wedges are like my 9-iron, so I play with very weak lofts. But they have worked so far.
 
GETTING CLOSER?
Sergio Garcia made a name for himself by finishing runner-up to Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club. Ever since then the expectations for him to win a major championship have continued to grow.
 
Once again, Garcia was pressed Tuesday about the lack of a major title on his resume. And the 25-year-old wasnt too thrilled when the reporter asking the question insinuated that he hasnt come close to winning one since 99.
 
Well, closer than second is only first, so its tough to come closer than second without winning to start with, he replied.
 
Second of all, I have been close. Ive been very, very close many times. But unfortunately, things havent worked out. They havent gone my way. Youve got to realize that a lot of these majors, Im contending without really putting well, and thats a tough thing to do.
 
Garcia, who mentioned that he has been bothered by some pain in his upper back recently, has competed in 23 majors since Medinah and has nine top-10 finishes. He tied for third in this years U.S. Open and tied for fifth in the Open Championship.
 
Im not too worried about it at the moment, he said, and I just want to focus on keep playing well like I am and hole some more putts and then Ill know that well be there.
 
ITS CAMPBELL, MICHAEL CAMPBELL
Its back to work for U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell. Campbell recently returned to his native New Zealand for a celebratory trip with his family. He said the experience was incredible.
 
We had a blast. It was fun, he said. We had a ticker tape parade, which means I was on a float on the main street of Wellington and 130,000 people turned up, so it was an incredible reception from my countrymen.
 
I just needed to do that to close a chapter. Obviously, the last couple of months have been a lot of fun and for me to carry onto my next chapter in my book; I needed to go home and close that chapter. In doing that, that was finishing one and starting another.
 
Campbell, who tied for fifth at the Open Championship, said his recent success has finally gotten him noticed for who he is by fans outside of his homeland.
 
People know me now, he said. Ive been called Vijay Singh, Chad Campbell ' thats a bit of a mystery, really, Chad Campbell, Stephen Ames, Omar Uresti. But all of the people here now know me as Michael Campbell, so thats pretty cool.
 
MOVING FORWARD
Padraig Harrington has not had a major championship season to remember. First, he missed the cut at the Masters. He then did the same at the U.S. Open. And then came the ultimate blow, when he was forced to withdraw from the Open Championship due to the death of his father, Patrick, due to cancer of the esophagus.
 
While Harrington isnt overly confident in the physical aspects of his game at the moment, he feels like hes mentally ready to compete.
 
Emotionally, it was four weeks (ago) ' and I feel fine about it. Im reasonably comfortable about it all, he said about his fathers death.
 
Normally when you go to play at a major, you want to have some competitive edge going into it, and Im sort of missing that at the moment. But emotionally, I feel like I want to go and play golf. Im comfortable with the events that have happened and ready to play.
 
Harrington, who won his first two career PGA Tour events at this years Honda Classic and Barclays Classic, added that he doesnt think he will be overwhelmed with emotion while on the course, unless he happens to be in contention down the stretch.
 
To be honest, there will be no significance teeing it up on Thursday morning and thinking about my dad, no, he said.
 
Maybe if I was in contention, there will be an emotional element to it because its been such an emotional year, but thats not ' wouldnt be the worst thing to have to deal with this week.
 
SUPERSTITIOUS BEHAVIOR
Phil Mickelson does not consider himself to be superstitious. But that could change this week.
 
You may see something this week that I havent ever done really, and thats play with a hat. My head got a little sunburned last week, and to keep some of the sun off, I may wear a hat, which I havent done in a long time, he said.
 
So if he wins, will the hat permanently replace the visor?
 
You might see that, he said with a laugh. I might become a little more superstitious.
 
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”