No. 1 McIlroy, No. 2 Woods ousted from Match Play

By Rex HoggardFebruary 22, 2013, 3:41 am

MARANA, Ariz. – It was another desert, another championship, another continent but as day turned quickly into night on Thursday the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship felt eerily similar to last month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

All that was missing was a bizarre rules snafu and last-minute putter switch, but even those distinctions faded to darkness as the worst-case scenario became reality. For the first time in over a decade the top two seeded players won’t see the second round.

For world No. 1 Rory McIlroy it was a 1-up decision to mate Shane Lowry and another short work week that brings his year-to-date total of competitive rounds to three. While No. 2 Tiger Woods failed to make it to Friday at the Match Play for the fourth consecutive year following a 2-and-1 twilight loss to Charles Howell III.

Cue the concerns about match play’s capricious ways – one-and-done is too volatile, too Draconian, too, well, this.

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Not that either Woods or McIlroy had any interest in taking shelter in the bracket busting format.

“I played well, I really did, I hit a lot of good shots out there,” said Woods, who was bounced in Round 1 for the third time in 13 Match Play appearances. “I didn’t make a bogey out there. Unfortunately it’s the nature of the format, and I’m not advancing.”

And the Match Play now has a dangerously thin marquee for the duration.

“That’s 18-hole match play, you have to get off to a fast start and you have to play well to win,” said McIlroy, who endured a round-one bounce for the first time in his young career.

Yet as volatile as match play can be, “Black Thursday” was not exactly a Gonzaga/Princeton upset special. Although technically upsets, neither player expected the competitive equivalent of a first-round bye.

McIlroy had played enough golf with Lowry to know what awaited; in fact the two had dinner on Tuesday night at famed Lil Abner’s steakhouse, so when the two battled to a draw through 11 holes there were no alarms.

But then match play happened at the par-3 12th when Lowry flew the green with his tee shot and dropped a chip for birdie and his first lead of the day. The Ulsterman was running uphill the rest of the way.

“It changed a little bit from looking like I was up there at 3 feet for par and he was looking like he was struggling for a halve and all of a sudden he wins the hole; the momentum shifted a little bit,” McIlroy said.

For Woods that momentum haymaker arrived in near darkness when Howell charged in a 23-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and Woods failed to convert from 11 feet.

No one was more surprised than Howell.

“I still kept waiting for that Tiger moment,” Howell conceded even after he’d built a 2-up advantage.

Through countless practice rounds when the two were members at central Florida’s Isleworth Country Club, yearly bouts in the Tavistock Cup and all the way back to a third-round tilt at the 1996 U.S. Amateur, as best he could remember Howell had never clipped the guy in the red shirt in a head-to-head duel.

But on Thursday as players and officials raced daylight in an attempt to make up for Wednesday’s white-out that dumped nearly 4 inches of snow on the Dove Mountain layout, that “Tiger moment” never arrived.

For the day Woods missed birdie attempts from 10 feet (No. 1), 11 feet (No. 10), 10 feet (No. 11) and 11 feet (No. 16). After four long days of waiting and anticipating this was not what Howell had come to expect from his former high-profile neighbor.

“It's part of the getting beat by him so many times, yeah, you're just waiting for it.  It's kind of like a whipped dog; you know it's coming,” said Howell, who has climbed from 117th in the world rfanking to 66th thanks to a solid start to 2013. “It caught me off guard that he missed the putt on 16. I really thought he would make that one. That's in his wheelhouse.”

But then this season began with out-of-character performances by both of the game’s leading men when Woods missed the cut in his debut in Abu Dhabi following a two-stroke penalty that resulted from an incorrect drop and McIlroy made a mess of his Nike Golf debut with rounds of 75-75 and an embarrassing return to his old Scotty Cameron putter for Round 2 in the Middle East.

Woods recovered to win his second start at Torrey Pines; the jury is still out on McIlroy who headed back down Dove Mountain not sounding anything like a player who is on an 0-for-2 schneid.

“I’m hitting the ball so much better off the tee, which is a huge positive,” said McIlroy, whose next start is the Honda Classic. “I’m more comfortable with everything around the greens.”

Perhaps, McIlroy has proven adept at avoiding panic attacks when things aren’t going his way. Maybe the fix for both superstars is warm south Florida skies and 72 holes of stroke play. But that reality wasn’t going to make things any easier on the Match Play marquee.

Another weekend in the desert, another weekend without the world’s top two players.

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (