Tiger makes statement with opening 69

By Randall MellJune 14, 2012, 11:06 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – His shadow moved back over a U.S. Open.

Four years removed from his last major championship victory, Tiger Woods loomed large in Thursday’s start.

He moved onto the leaderboard with a 1-under-par 69 with a clinical dissection of a beastly test at The Olympic Club.

Woods moved into early contention in a tie for second place, three shots off the lead. It was his best start in a U.S. Open since he posted a 67 at Bethpage Black in 2002. He went on to win that championship.

There was something ominously familiar in Woods’ steadfast march across the rolling terrain here. That’s what Bubba Watson thought playing alongside.

“Yeah, that was the old Tiger,” Watson said. “That was beautiful to watch. That's what we all come to see.

'That's what we all want to watch and that was awesome to see him strike the ball like that.”

Phil Mickelson was left with little choice but to similarly bow to Woods’ prowess in the first round.

Video: Highlights of Woods' 69

Video: Disastrous start for big names

Video: Meet surprise leader Michael Thompson

“Yeah, he struck it really well,” Mickelson said. “He's playing really well. He had really solid control of his flight, trajectory. It was impressive.”

How good was Woods’ start? If you saw the mighty struggle Watson and Mickelson endured trying to survive Olympic playing with Woods, you left with an even deeper appreciation of Woods’ shot-making.

Woods whipped up on Watson, the reigning Masters champ, by nine shots. He finished seven shots better than Mickelson.

Beautiful . . . Awesome . . . Impressive.

There’s only one reasonable response the rest of the field can have to those assessments by Woods’ playing partners.


If this were the “Old Tiger,” as Watson suggested, it might be more circa 2006 than 2000. It might be more the guy who surgically attacked Royal Liverpool winning the British Open six years ago than the guy who routed the field winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach a dozen years ago.

Woods played like a guy who wasn’t going to beat himself this week as he bids to win his 15th major, his first in four years.

You didn’t need a scorecard to know how well Woods was playing. His body language said it all. There were no thumped clubs, no faces scrunched in anger, no disgusted traffic cop signals warning spectators of wildly errant tee shots.

“I felt like I had control of my game all day and just stuck to my game plan,” Woods said.

Woods made a strong statement early with his opening tee shot, ramming a driver down the heart of the fairway. He slammed another driver down the middle with his second tee shot. He hit only four drivers all day, but he hit them well. He hit irons off seven tees. He avoided any huge misses and hit 10 of 14 fairways.

That was key to Woods’ ability to score. He hit double the number of fairways Watson hit. He hit three more fairways than Mickelson.

Woods said he adjusted his game plan slightly feeling how quickly the course had firmed up.

“In the practice rounds, I hit more woods off the tees, because the ball wasn't chasing as much,” Woods said.

“Today, it was quicker, and the tees were somewhat up from where we played our practice rounds.

'Consequently, that's 20 yards, and 20 yards is a lot.”

Woods did not make his first birdie until his ninth hole (No. 17), but he was honed in early to the U.S. Open formula that has won so many of these championships.

Fairways and greens, fairways and greens, fairways and greens.

“He hit every shot shape he was trying to hit,” Watson said. “I didn't see any bad swings. I didn't see any bad shot really. He hit every shot, shaped it the way he wanted to shape it.”

All week long, players have talked about the brutal stretch of six holes at the start. Woods said a player who got through Nos. 1-6 in even par would lap the field.

Woods didn’t play those holes until after making the turn, and he was sufficiently warm to handle them. He made birdies at the fourth and fifth holes. He played the stretch in 1 under after a bogey at the sixth.

Every shot didn’t go where Woods was looking. He knocked his approach over the 14th green and couldn’t get up and down for par. He missed a 4-foot birdie chance at the second. He short-sided himself in the bunker at the sixth and made bogey.

“This golf course, it's so demanding,” Woods said. “And if you're off your game just a little bit, you're going to pay the price. Phil and Bubba were off just a little bit. This is one of those Opens where it's just really hard to make birdies.  This is not like it was last year [at Congressional]. This is a tough one. You’ve really got to grind.”

Woods looks like he might be the ultimate grinder this week.

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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.”