Open Slammed Shut
He won at Augusta by 12. He won at Pebble Beach by 15. Now he's won at St. Andrews by eight. Kind of makes you wonder what happened at Medinah when he only won by one.
Tiger Woods' name was etched onto the Claret Jug late Sunday afternoon. A simple formality. The trophy was his before the event began. Odds makers, fans, media and even many of his peers conceded the 129th Open Championship to Woods before his lips left the U.S. Open trophy.
Tiger made it official on Sunday. He shot rounds of 67-66-67-69 to finish the tournament at 19-under-par, eight shots clear of Thomas Bjorn and Ernie Els. You have to feel for Els. If not for Tiger, the South African would be the world's best. We might be speaking of a three-time U.S. Open and current British Open champion. Instead, he's a three-time major runner-up in 2000.
There was a slight threat to Tiger's coronation on Sunday. David Duval birdied four of his first seven holes in the final round to cut Woods' overnight lead of six in half. But five holes later, the deficit was back to six. Woods birdied the 10th to go four up, then picked up two shots with another birdie at the short par-4 12th combined with a Duval bogey.
Duval was once again relegated to playing for second. Surprisingly, he finished tied for 11th. Still seeking his first major, Duval bogeyed the 16th and quadrupled the 17th to finish the tournament at 7-under-par, 12 strokes back of Woods.
Woods' day was eerily reminiscent to that of his final round at Pebble. He carded eight pars and one birdie on the front, then collected three birdies in his first five holes on the back. Through 70 holes, Woods was 20-under-par. Unfathomable for anyone but Tiger. He did drop a shot coming home, but you can hardly blame him if he lost a bit of focus. It was torturous watching Duval take four shots to get out of the 'Road Hole' bunker at 17. Fans were clamoring about, yelling in his backswing. Still, Tiger made a six-footer for par at the 18th to finish the event at 19-under. It's a summit never before flagged in major championship history, let alone the 128 previous British Opens.
At 24, Woods becomes the youngest to ever win the career Grand Slam. By winning the 1997 Masters, 1999 PGA Championship, 2000 U.S. Open and 2000 Open Championship he joins the foursome of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as the only men to accomplish that feat.
'It's pretty special to be in such elite company,' Woods said. 'I am very fortunate to have had the success I have had. This is the home of golf and where you always want to win. I said before the U.S. Open that if you wanted to win championships on two ultimate courses it would be Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. I am fortunate to have won both in the same year.'
Just as Jack did, Tiger won his fourth different major in Scotland. But Woods isn't just following in Jack's footsteps, he's leaving a bigger impression.
Tiger will take his next major step at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky -- site of the 2000 PGA Championship. It doesn't have the lore of Augusta, Pebble or St. Andrews, but it does provide a challenge. Tiger's demolished scoring records at the three most prominent majors. Now, it's time for the defending champion to do it the right way, the Tiger way, at the PGA Championship.
Watch: Elvis returns, whiffs golf shot at Tiger Jam
Crenshaw pleased with reaction to Trinity Forest
DALLAS – Despite the tournament debut of Trinity Forest Golf Club coming to a soggy conclusion, course co-designer Ben Crenshaw is pleased with how his handiwork stood up against the field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Crenshaw was on property for much of the week, including Sunday when tee times were delayed by four hours as a line of storms passed through the area. While the tournament’s field lacked some star power outside of headliner Jordan Spieth, Crenshaw liked what he saw even though Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate.
“We’re pleased. It’s off to a nice, quiet start, let’s say,” Crenshaw said. “The week started off very quiet with the wind. This course, we envision that you play it with a breeze. It sort of lends itself to a links style, playing firm and fast, and as you saw yesterday, when the wind got up the scores went up commensurately.”
That assessment was shared by Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who has become the tournament’s de facto host and spent much of his week surveying his fellow players for opinions about a layout that stands out among typical Tour stops.
“A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’ Those were lines guys were using this week, and it shouldn’t be reported any differently,” Spieth said. “It was an overwhelmingly positive outlook from the players that played.”
Crenshaw didn’t bristle as tournament leaders Aaron Wise and Marc Leishman eclipsed the mark of 20 under par, noting that he and co-designer Bill Coore simply hoped to offer a “different experience” from the usual layouts players face. With one edition in the books, he hopes that a largely positive reaction from those who made the journey will help bolster the field in 2019 and beyond.
“To me, the guys who played here this week will go over to Fort Worth, and hopefully the field at Colonial that wasn’t here would ask questions of the people who were here,” Crenshaw said. “You hope that some good word spreads.”
A. Jutanugarn wins Kingsmill playoff for 8th title
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the second hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the second time in three years.
Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 66 to match Nasa Hataoka (67) and In Gee Chun (68) at 14-under 199.
Jutanugarn and Hataoka both birdied the first extra hole, with Chun dropping out. Hataoka putted first on the second extra hole and missed badly before Jutanugarn rolled in a 15-footer for her eighth career victory. The 22-year-old Thai star's older sister, Moriya, won the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in Los Angeles in April for her first LPGA Tour victory
Jutanugarn started the day two shots behind Chun and had a two-shot lead before making bogey at the par-5 15th. Hataoka, playing with Chun in the final threesome, birdied No. 15 to join Jutanugarn at 14 under, and Chun made a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th to also get to 14 under.
The tournament was cut from 72 holes to 54 when rain washed out play Saturday.
Brooke Henderson closed with a 65 to finish a shot back. Megan Khang was fifth after her third straight 67.
Jimenez wins first Champions major at Tradition
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Miguel Angel Jimenez finally got to light up a victory cigar after winning a senior major championship.
Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. He celebrated with a big embrace from fellow Spaniard and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who hoisted him in the air.
After a round of photos and speeches from local dignitaries, Jimenez finally got to break out the celebratory cigar.
''It's time to have a medal in my pocket and it's nice to be on the first major of the year,'' he said.
Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA Tour Champions victory.
''It's been a wonderful week,'' he said. ''My game was amazing, really.''
Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.
It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.
Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.
Jimenez birdied two of the final three holes including a closing putt for good measure.
Jimenez entered the day at 17 under to tie Gil Morgan's 21-year-old Tradition record through 54 holes. He got off to a rough start with an errant tee shot into a tree-lined area on his way to a bogey, but he never lost his grip on the lead.
Jimenez had three bogeys after making just one over the first three rounds, but easily held off his challengers late.
His approach on No. 18 landed right in the center of the green after Stricker's shot sailed well right into the gallery. He had rebuilt a two-stroke lead with a nice birdie putt on No. 16 while Durant and Stricker each had a bogey among the final three holes to leave Jimenez with a more comfortable cushion.
Stricker and Durant both had par on the final hole while Sauers also birdied to tie them. Durant had produced two eagles on No. 18 already in the tournament but couldn't put pressure on Jimenez with a third.
Stricker's assessment of his own performance, including a bogey on No. 17, was that he ''made quite a few mistakes.''
''Just didn't take care of my ball, really,'' he said. ''I put it in some bad spots, didn't get it up and down when I had to a few times, missed a few putts. Yeah, just didn't have it really, didn't play that good, but still had a chance coming down to the end.''
Jeff Maggert finished with a 64 and was joined at 15 under by Scott McCarron (67) and Duffy Waldorf (66).
Jimenez made a birdie putt on No. 16 one hole after falling into a tie with Stricker with a bogey. Durant faltered, too, with a bogey on No. 16.
''When (Stricker) made birdie and I make a bogey on the 15th, everything's going up again very tight,'' Jimenez said. ''It's time to hole a putt on 16, for me that makes all the difference.''
Stricker had two wins in his first four senior tour events this year and remains second on the money list. He has finished in the top five in each of his events.
Bernhard Langer finished five strokes off the lead in his bid to become the first to win the Tradition three straight years. He shot 66-67 over the final two rounds after a slow start.