The Numbers Dont Lie

By Randall MellAugust 15, 2010, 5:25 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Tiger Woods closed the third round with a pair of birdies Saturday at the PGA Championship.

There was good medicine in that, with yet another major championship out of his reach.

You could see the healing effect when Woods was asked in a roundabout way how he would approach a Sunday with no chance to win.

“Well, people have shot in the 50s before this year,” he said.

Woods was smiling when he made the remark.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods last won a major at the '08 U.S. Open (Getty Images).

This is an encouraging sign as he continues to try to play himself out of the first genuine slump of his career.

“Things are starting to solidify,” Woods said of an even-par 72. “That’s a good thing. That’s what I’m pleased about. It’s not like I’m working on eight different things. It’s just a couple key things, and it feels a lot better.”

That might also be an encouraging sign for Sean Foley, the swing coach who’s been working with Woods this week in an apparent tryout.

Still, Woods is 10 shots back. He’s never won a major coming from behind on Sunday. If he puts together a miracle and wins Sunday, he’ll match Paul Lawrie’s comeback at the 1999 British Open as the largest in major championship history.

Woods’ winless streak in majors is all but certain to extend to 10 majors, though he missed two of them due to injury. A run of 10 majors without a Woods victory will match the longest since he joined the PGA Tour in 1996, equaling his major-less run between his 1997 Masters’ title and his ’99 PGA Championship title.

The possibility that Woods is looking at the first winless year of his 15-year professional career looms.

If you’re a Woods’ fan, you’ll find comfort in his attitude afterward. He’s beginning to see building blocks instead of stumbling blocks in his swing.

If you’re not a Woods fan, you’ll see his hope as denial.

Because Woods struggled on a day when it seemed like everyone was mounting a charge.

Everyone but Woods.

“The course is the easiest I’ve seen it,” Paul Casey said with one roar after another rolling over the course. “It is there for the taking.”

Forty of the 72 players who made the cut broke par.

Nineteen players shot in the 60s.

Numbers don’t smile at Woods anymore.

They snarl at him.

If he was looking at the leaderboard at the 12th hole Saturday at the PGA Championship, he noticed that.

Five off the lead when the third round began, he was already 10 down plugging his ball at the tee box there.

He shot 39 on the front side.

Still, in the end, Woods sounded like a man hooked up to an IV of positive momentum.

Woods had to like the wonderful arc of the draw he coaxed to a foot for birdie at the 17th hole. He had to like the big drive he launched in the middle of the fairway at the 18th, and he had to like the 25-foot putt he died into the hole for birdie there. Actually, he birdied three of his final five holes.

“I hit the ball better than I did the first two days,” Woods said. “I made nothing. You have to putt. I stuffed it in there early on the first few holes and made nothing. No matter how good you hit it, you still have to make putts.”

Apparently, the good medicine in that finish killed the memory of so many bad shots, because Woods put himself in one bad spot after another with errant drives. While he put the giant blame for his day’s struggles on his putting, his driving remains terrifically erratic. He hit just five fairways. Over the last two rounds, he’s hit just 10 of 28 fairways.

Woods did need 29 putts in the third round, the most he’s taken this championship, but his tee shots put him in deep fescue too often to make him a factor in a major.

Asked if he was more encouraged than discouraged, Woods didn’t hesitate.

“Actually, far more closer to encouraged,” he said. “Far more.”

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Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

"It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, given how his career has unfolded, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major.

"My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.