Ultimate Match Play: The final match

By Randall MellFebruary 12, 2013, 11:00 am

Jack vs. Tiger.

You wanted it, you got it.

By popular demand, universes collide this week in the finals of the Ultimate Match Play Championship.

GolfChannel.com’s showdown of the 16 best players in history is down to Nicklaus vs. Woods. (Click for: Ultimate Match Play overview | Player bios | GolfChannel.com's Bracket Challenge)

As epic clashes go, Jack vs. Tiger might be more electric in nature than Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla, more high-powered than AC vs. DC, Edison’s direct current vs. Tesla’s alternating current.

The Golden Bear vs. Tiger is fantasy golf at its high-voltage best, and now it’s up to you to decide who wins this clash. Your votes this week will decide who prevails in the epic final at Pebble Beach.

So far, you’ve liked Nicklaus and Woods in routs through their first three matches.

More than 10,000 votes were cast in the semifinals alone.

Nicklaus easily eliminated Bobby Jones in one semifinal with 74.9 percent of the vote. The Golden Bear knocked out Phil Mickelson in the first round with 93 percent of the vote and eliminated Gary Player in the quarterfinals with another 93 percent pull.

Woods beat Hogan in the other semifinal with 64.5 percent of the vote. Woods took care of Seve Ballesteros in the first round with 79 percent of the vote and eliminated Tom Watson in the quarterfinals with another 79 percent pull.

Jack vs. Tiger.

If bookies were laying odds, it’s close to even money.

Those who believe Nicklaus is the best who ever lived point to his 18 major championship titles as all the evidence that matters. Majors are the true measure of greatness, and Nicklaus didn’t just win more than anyone who has ever played the game, he contended more than anyone. He was second 19 times in majors. The fact that Nicklaus finished first or second in 37 majors astounds.

Those who believe Tiger is the best who ever lived point to dominance the likes of which the game has never seen. They point to his unprecedented four-consecutive professional major championship triumphs over the 2000 and 2001 seasons, to his record 15-shot rout at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000, his record 12-shot victory at the Masters in 1997, and his masterful eight-shot victory at St. Andrews in the British Open in 2000.

Tiger vs. Jack.

At their best, both Woods and Nicklaus overpowered courses, but Nicklaus gets the edge as the better driver. Nicklaus found the short grass more often than Woods.

At their best, they’re both stellar iron players, but Nicklaus was the better overall ball striker. Nicklaus had to be. He didn’t have the same magic in his short game that Woods has at his best. Nicklaus couldn’t erase as many mistakes as Woods can at his best.

As putters, it’s a tossup. Nicklaus and Woods are the two best clutch putters the game has ever seen. With a championship on the line, nobody has ever been better.

Nicklaus and Woods also had intangible advantages in equal doses.

At their best, they intimidated without trying. When their names hit a leaderboard, foes knew it.

“As you looked at Jack Nicklaus at the first tee, you knew that he knew that you knew he was going to beat you that day,” Tom Weiskopf famously said.

The same deal applied to Woods at his best.

In match play, Woods has proved so formidable, winning three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateurs and three consecutive U.S. Amateurs and winning the PGA Tour’s Accenture Match Play Championship three times. Nicklaus won the U.S. Amateur in ’59 and ’61, the World Match Play in ’70 and the U.S. Match Play Championship in ‘72.

Nicklaus and Woods both have good feelings about Pebble Beach, too. Nicklaus won four times as a professional there, including the ’72 U.S. Open. His ’61 U.S. Amateur title came at Pebble Beach. Woods has won twice at Pebble Beach as a professional, winning that 15-shot runaway in the 2000 U.S. Open and coming from seven shots down on the back nine in the final round to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that same year.

Jack vs. Tiger.

Who wins golf’s ultimate showdown?

You decide.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.

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Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:21 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.

Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.

“I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”

In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.

“So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”

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TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 6:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:

• Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.

• When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.

• For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.

• To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.

• The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.

• One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.

• Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”

• Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.