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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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."