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Randall's Rant: Young stars ignoring Tiger's bite

By Randall MellMarch 12, 2018, 6:06 pm

Paul Casey said if he couldn’t win the Valspar Championship on Sunday, he wanted Tiger Woods to win.

Jordan Spieth said today’s generation wants a showdown against a resurgent Woods.

“We want that chance to be able to battle it out with him on Sunday,” Spieth said.

Rory McIlroy said the same thing not so long ago.

“I would still love to have a crack at him down the stretch in a major,” McIlroy said.

That all begs a question.

Are you guys nuts?

Don’t you see what’s happening?

Maybe you need a pair of those special sunglasses Rowdy Roddy Piper wore in John Carpenter’s cult film classic “They Live,” the glasses that allowed Piper to see the real horror engulfing him. 

Yeah, boys, he looks like a kinder, gentler Tiger, but this could be your worst nightmare.

This could be the monster back from the dead.

This could be the beast back from the grave, coming for all of you. By the looks of it, he’s coming in the not-too-distant future to rip all your hearts out.

If Woods comes all the way back, and, astonishingly, that looks like where he could be headed in a hurry, you’re all going to know what it’s like to be extras in a Carpenter horror film.

You’re all going to be reduced to teenage scream queens.

So snap out of it.

If you get caught up admiring the comeback, if you allow this guy to get a taste of winning again, to build momentum and confidence again, you’re going to end up fighting over his scraps, just like all those guys who got beat up in Woods’ prime.

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And, whatever you do, don’t let him get a 54-hole lead.

You’re really screwed if you do that.

Woods was Michael Myers with a 54-hole lead.

An unstoppable force.

After losing to Ed Fiori at the Quad Cities Classic as a rookie in 1996, Woods went 13 years without coughing up an outright 54-hole lead. Y.E. Yang ended that run at the ’09 PGA Championship. Woods was 47-3 with at least a share of the lead as a pro before the loss to Yang.

Yeah, there’s a little tongue in cheek in this hyperbolic writing, but just a little, because Woods really does look scary close to realizing his full powers.

At 42, with head-shaking swing speed and power, with a short game that looks every bit as good as it ever did, Woods appears to be reawakening.

Or reanimating, if we’re staying on script.

A little sharper iron play Sunday, a couple more putts holed, and Woods wins the Valspar Championship.

The Masters is just four weeks away, and Woods looks as if he has his game closer to winning there than Spieth and McIlroy.

Spieth, 24, played the first two rounds at Innisbrook with Woods, and by the weekend Spieth was in front of a TV somewhere watching Woods try to win. Well, we’re presuming Spieth was watching, because who wasn’t?

McIlroy, 28, missed the cut, too.

Yeah, who really knows where this all goes, because it’s still conjecture, but all you lads admiring Woods’ return might want to talk to the boys who got beat up by him. You might want to ask to see their scars.

Because while so many of you have already carved out nice careers in Woods’ absence, your opportunities at making more history might be more limited for a while.

If you let Woods win another major, it’s great for all of us who love golf, but not so much for you. If you allow him to win next month at Augusta National, you’re going to feel a shadow falling on you that is darker and colder than any you have ever felt in the game.

If you allow Woods to win his 15th major, you guys won’t mean Jack, literally. You will become annoying nuisances and obstacles in the monster story that will reignite.

You’ll be in the way of . . . Tiger Woods vs. Jack Nicklaus.

If you allow Woods to renew his pursuit of Jack in any meaningful way, that’s all we’re going to care about for a while.

So snap out of it. You’ve got work to do.

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.