Frustration for No 1 and 2

By Randall MellSeptember 10, 2010, 4:14 am
BMW ChampionshipLEMONT, Ill. –  The game’s biggest stars wandered in and out of the woods all day.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson struggled to hit fairways on a frustrating afternoon for the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world at the BMW Championship.

If you like your stars shining, Thursday provided a microcosm of what’s wrong with this PGA Tour season.

The game’s two best players continue to struggle to find their best stuff.

A year ago, Mickelson and Woods gave us the most riveting finish we’ve seen in the short history of the FedEx Cup playoffs. They won the final two FedEx Cup events. In the end, Mickelson took the Tour Championship and Woods the FedEx Cup.

Neither looks close to winning form in the third leg of this year's playoffs.

Every time you looked up at Cog Hill, Woods seemed to be twisting his face in disgust after a wayward shot.

After his promising start in the first two FedEx Cup playoff events, Woods stumbled here. His work with swing coach Sean Foley may be trending upward, but Thursday was a step backwards with his ball striking. He was an escape artist in posting a 2-over-par 73 on a course where he’s won five times. If not for some impressive recovery shots, he would be even farther back on the brink of playoff elimination. 

Tiger Woods
Woods struggled again on Thursday, shooting a 2-over-par 73. (Getty Images).

Woods is nine shots behind front-running Matt Kuchar and tied for 45th. Woods needs to finish this event among the top five to advance to the Tour Championship.

That Woods is highly motivated to advance to the playoff finale is clear in the fact that he knows what he needs to do to get there.

“As of right now, I’m only five shots out of that spot,” Woods said. “That’s not bad. Guys aren’t going to go low at this place because the greens aren’t good enough to go low. Obviously, there are a couple guys that have played well today, but overall the guys just aren’t tearing the place apart.”

Woods hit just five fairways after another warmup with Foley helping him hone a new swing on the range.

“Today, probably a handful of times, I got caught in between the two takeaways of my old swing and my new swing,” Woods said. “And I hit some bad shots. When I get into funky lies, I still have to make the commitment to the new swing.”

Mickelson isn’t in such dire straits entering this event 14th in the FedEx Cup standings, nor does his game look as wayward as Woods, but he appeared every bit as frustrated as Woods trying to make his way around Cog Hill’s narrow, tree-lined fairways.

With a 72, Mickelson’s tied for 34th, eight shots back. He hit just seven fairways but was Houdini-like in some of his escapes, including his approach out of a ditch and onto the fourth green from 140 yards to set up a par.

In Mickelson’s case, the challenge this week is finding his best on a course he clearly does not like.

“The most challenging thing for me is mentally getting up for playing here,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson wasn’t eager to elaborate.

Here’s a piece of the transcript from his post-round scrum:

Q: What’s your take on this golf course?

Mickelson: “It’s interesting.”

Q: Is it harder for you to play well on a course that you don’t have a lot of affection for?

Mickelson: “Yes.”

Mickelson didn’t play a practice round at Cog Hill all week. He practiced at Butler National on Wednesday. His best finish in 11 starts on the course is a tie for 26th in 1996.

“Everybody has to play it,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t play it as effectively as I would have liked, but I got off to a good start and had some opportunities for birdies.”

Mickelson got to 2 under through his first four holes, stumbled with three bogeys, but fought back to even par before missing a 4-footer for par at his closing hole.

“Kind of left a bad taste in my mouth,” Mickelson said.

 Woods knows what he means. He dined on the same disappointment Thursday.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There’s was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."