Tired Tiger Wins Again in Ohio

By Mercer BaggsAugust 26, 2001, 4:00 pm
It took 79 holes, a pair of clutch par-saves, a trio of missed opportunities and one final majestic swing of the club to give Tiger Woods his third straight victory at the WGC-NEC Invitational.
Woods birdied the 7th hole of sudden death to defeat Jim Furyk and collect his 29th career PGA Tour title.
Free Video - Registration Required Tiger talks about his win
'It was a war today. Neither of us gave an inch,' said Woods, who collected the $1 million first-place prize. 'It was fun to be a part of.'
The head-to-head match was also exhausting for Woods, who battled a bout of food poisoning at the beginning of the week.
Tournament officials pushed forward tee times Sunday in Akron, OH to avoid the incoming inclement weather.
However, Woods and Furyk put to test Mother Natures patience, as both men bogeyed the 72nd hole to finish regulation at 12-under-par 268 and force the first playoff at Firestone Country Club since 1995.
A playoff neither player would allow to end.
A year ago, Woods won his second straight NEC title with automobiles and flash photography illuminating the 18th green.
With the final group teeing off at 9:06 a.m., it appeared such extreme measures would not be neccessary this Sunday, but...
On the first extra hole, Furyk took two shots to get out of the greenside bunker, but his second found the bottom of the cup for a hair-raising par.
Tiger then sank a 20-footer for par on the second playoff hole to extend the tournament.
Furyk had three 15-footers over the next three holes to win the $1 million first-place prize, but didn't capitalize on any of his opportunities.
Finally, after narrowly ending the event on the sixth playoff hole, Woods stuck his approach shot on No. 7 to 18 inches, from where he tapped in for his sixth consecutive victory in the Buckeye State. He has also won three straight Memorial Tournaments.
'When we didn't mess up, and we did make our share of mistakes out there - we recovered pretty good. [We] made some big putts, big saves, hole-outs - you name it,' Woods said.
'Today was a lot of fun for me to just be involved in that, win or lose. It was just fun to compete like that where you were tested to the absolute utmost.'
The final twosome never felt pressure from any of the groups out front. Paul Azinger and Darren Clarke each made their way to 10-under, but neither could sustain a rally.
In the end, all attention was focused on Tiger and his potential tamer.Having cut an overnight deficit of two shots in half, Woods rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th.
Meanwhile, Furyks approach shot to 13 hit tree limbs right of the green. He chipped eight feet short of the hole, and then missed his par putt.
The two flip-flopped scores and positions. Tiger now led Furyk by one at 13-under.
For over three and a half days, Furyk had grinded, battled and scrapped to stay in the lead. And just because the worlds best player had overtaken him at the top didnt mean he was going to lay down now.
At the par-3 15th, Furyk stuffed his tee shot to 12 feet. This time he made the putt to regain a share of the lead; and when Woods missed his four-footer for par, Furyk was once again alone in first place.
Another two-shot swing. Another flip-flop. Furyk now led Woods by one at 13-under.
With thunderstorms approaching and the winds picking up, the two combatants made their way to the final stretch of holes. Both men laid up at the 625-yard, par-5 16th; and both men hit their third shots 12 feet past the hole.
Furyk, however, was just outside of Woods and was forced to putt first. He missed. Tiger then stepped up and knocked in his dead center to draw even.
Following a pair of pars at the 17th, Furyk and Woods each hit the center of the fairway off the 18th tee, but neither was able to find the green. In fact, both players pushed their approach shots into the right greenside bunker ' and neither got a good lie.
Furyks third shot barely cleared the lip of the bunker and finished 25 feet short of the hole.
Tigers wasnt any better. His blast flew past the pin and ran into the first cut of fringe ' 20 feet from the hole.
When Furyk left his par save two feet short, Woods had a chance to avoid a playoff. His putt teased the right edge of the hole, leaving Woods in disbelief ' and a tap-in bogey. Furyk then putted out to force sudden death.
They went back to the 18th, where again Furyk hit his second shot into the right greenside bunker. On the other hand, Woods found the putting surface ' some 25 feet from the cup.
This time, though, Furyks third shot didnt clear the lip; and instead stayed in the sand.
The tournament appeared to be in Tigers grasp, but he left his winning effort four feet short. Furyk then redeemed himself by holing out from the bunker. The ball completely circled the cup before falling in. Furyk ran out of the sand, pumped his fist, hi-fived his caddie ' Mike Fluff Cowan, who was Tigers caddie when he turned professional ' and released a roar worthy of a true tiger.
'I was thinking about holing it all the way,' Furyk said. 'It was obviously the most exciting part of the day for me.
'I'm usually not that emotional.'
Woods made his knee-knocker for par and the two traversed to the par-4 17th.
On hole No. 74 of the tournament, Furyk stuck his approach shot inside of 15 feet, while Woods flew his second over the green.
With the ball nestled against the second cut of rough, the best Tiger could manage was to chip his third shot 20 feet past the hole. This time Woods provided the dramatics by sinking the par save.Still, Furyk had a putt to win. His ball held its line until the end, where it broke off, caught the lip and spun out.
Back to the 18th.
Tiger hit first and hooked his tee shot way left. Despite being able to move his ball two club lengths ' a scoreboard was in his line of sight ' and away from some trees, he still had lay up short of the green.
'If I had to play from where it was, I would have gone right at the flag, because I had a shot to be able to put the ball in the bunker.' Woods said. 'Once I took the relief that was no longer an option. I just had to pitch out.'
His third shot proved to be magnificent, as it trekked to within three feet of the hole.
For the second time in as many holes, Furyk had a 15-foot birdie putt to win the tournament; and for the second time in as many holes, he failed to do so.
Would the third time prove to be the charm?
Once again, Furyk was 15 feet from victory on the 4th playoff hole. The putt had a bit more break than the previous two, but the result was the same. Furyk missed and the playoff continued.
Following two more pars on playoff hole No. 5, Woods nearly ended the event at No. 6. His 50-foot birdie putt looked good all the way to the hole, so much so that Tiger began to strike his triumphant pose.
Much like at the end of regulation, the ball grazed the hole, but avoided the bottom.
Having finally run out of patience, Mother Nature released a brief, but heavy rain. Play was momentarily suspended, though for only a couple of minutes.
When play did resume, Furyk hooked his tee shot at the 18th into the left trees. He had to pitch out and left his third shot in the front fringe of the green.
Tiger, however, was right down the middle of the fairway off the tee; and much like he did in 2000, Woods stuck his approach shot inside of two feet.
'I was very lucky to come out on top because I very easily could have missed a couple of those putts, or not had shots and didn't get relief,' Woods said. 'A lot of different scenarios could have happened where I would not have won.
'But in either case, I think it would have been fun to compete at this level.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*Furyk was seen following his post-round interview checking out the site from where Woods took relief on the third playoff hole.
*Kirk Triplett was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard after the second round. Triplett arrived at the 10th tee Sunday and told officials he heard about the penalty incurred by Phil Mickelson on No. 16 Saturday and realized he had done the same thing.
Triplett picked up his ball on the 2nd hole in the second round to try and identify it, but he did so without informing his playing partner, Lee Westwood, of his intentions. The failure to count the one-stroke penalty forced the disqualification. Triplett will split last-place unofficial money of $26,000 with Westwood, who withdrew due to an injured wrist Friday.
*Retief Goosen played the par-4 1st in 5-under-par this week. Goosen recorded three birdies and an eagle. The eagle came courtesy of a 9-iron hole-out from 142 yards on Saturday.
*First-round co-leader Greg Norman made four double bogeys en route to a final-round 10-over-par 80. After making seven birdies in the first round, the 46-year-old Australian recorded only three over the next three rounds combined.
Full-field scores from the WGC-NEC Invitational
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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”