One last major shot for Tiger in 2012

By Rex HoggardAugust 7, 2012, 6:46 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – It was here at “Glory’s Last Shot,” just as much as Augusta National, where Tiger Woods figured to make major championship hay.

Through the first decade of his historic career more than half of his 14 Grand Slam keepsakes were collected at the bookend majors, the Masters (four) and PGA (four). The season’s first and fourth majors are also where he has posted four of his six runner-up showings on the game’s brightest stage.

Augusta National, before both the course and his game began undergoing changes both scheduled and otherwise, was always a natural fit for his rare combination of power and touch; but it was the PGA that awakened the inner athlete.

In 2007 at Southern Hills, when temperatures hovered near triple digits, Woods literally outlasted the field as if by an act of attrition, and sprawling ballparks like Medinah, where he won two Wanamaker Trophies, fed his power advantage, be it real or perceived.


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There was also something to the argument that Woods’ schedule, lean early in the season to best prepare for the majors, lent itself to a big finish. Forget the Tour calendar, he arrived at the PGA more times than not in mid-season form.

That the PGA is also the last chance to turn a decent season into something special can’t be overlooked by a player who has kept time with a Grand Slam clock. Woods is 2-for-8 getting off the single-season major schneid in his last at bat.

In his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships it will be the PGA, as much as the Masters, that will factor heavily into the final equation. And if his tie for 28th at the ’10 PGA - a week after he began working with Sean Foley - and his missed cut last year is concerning him it wasn’t showing on Tuesday at Kiawah when he talked between rain delays.

“It’s going to take a career,” Woods said when asked of Jack’s benchmark. “Jack didn’t finish his (career) until he was 46, so if you go by that timetable I’ve got 10 more years. Forty more majors is a lot. I’ve got plenty of time.”

It’s that long view that has likely buoyed Woods throughout the last few years. More so than a swing that could win four more majors the goal seemed to be devising an action that would last for 40. Following multiple surgeries to Woods’ leading knee, Foley’s mandate seems to have been “do no more harm.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the notion that his body, particularly his left leg, might not last until he was 46. He missed the second half of 2008 following surgery, withdrew from The Players Championship in consecutive years with various ailments and walked off the golf course on Sunday this year at Doral with a bad wheel.

That he’s won three times this season is encouraging. That he’s now gone 10 events without an injury-induced WD and will play all four majors in a single season for the first time since 2010 is like Christmas in August. In many ways this comeback has literally been measured in baby steps.

By most accounts gone is the knee snap that produced so many trophies but, some contend, shortened Woods’ competitive shelf life, the intense workout regimens and extreme extracurricular activities like training with the Navy SEALs.

Instead, Woods is now indulging in post-round practice, like he did after each round last month at Lytham, to hone a swing that leaves him 13th on Tour in greens in regulation, fourth in ball-striking and 36th in driving accuracy.

“I've progressed this year over my last couple years, and I'm very pleased with what I've done, being healthy and being able to play and practice properly and implement the things that Sean wants me to do,” he said. “This is the way I can hit the golf ball. This is the way I can play. It's nice to be able to do the things that I know I can do.”

He also knows that it will likely be at the PGA where the Grand Slam portion of the program begins its comeback, particularly at the Ocean Course with its four reachable par 5s and grueling heat index. The 1999 PGA was his second major victory and his Wanamaker collection accounts for 29 percent of his Grand Slam haul. In simplest terms the PGA has been low-hanging fruit for much of his career and Kiawah marks the start of his 2012 two-minute drill.

“I've played in three major championships this year, and I didn't win any of them,” Woods said. “Things have progressed, but still, not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good.”

He may not be feeling any pressure to get on with it, but considering that Woods’ major drought now stretches back four years and 13 Grand Slam starts he’s certainly on the clock.

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S.H. Park, Salas co-lead rain-soaked Indy Women

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 1:42 am

INDIANAPOLIS - Sung Hyun Park relied on the same, steady style that has helped make her one of the LPGA's top players. When her putts kept rolling in Friday, she was virtually unbeatable.

Park shot a 9-under 63 for a share of the lead with Lizette Salas during the suspended second round of the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

''The best round of the year,'' the South Korean player said through an interpreter. ''My putting overall was what really helped.''

Salas, the first-round leader after a 62, had a 69 to match Park at 13 under at Brickyard Crossing. Danielle Kang and Nasa Hataoka were two shots back.

''It was going to be hard to top that 62 yesterday but I stayed patient,'' Salas said. ''This was a completely different golf course, so I had to change my mentality a little bit and I had to forget about the 62 in a way and just go back to what I was doing.''

Park has two majors and four overall LPGA victories the last two years, winning the U.S. Women's Open and CP Women's Open last year and the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic and KPMG Women's PGA Championship this season.

Nothing rattled Park on a sticky, overcast day.

''I worked on my short game the most, especially measuring the distances,'' Park said. ''It paid off.''

After more rain drenched the already saturated layout around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Park completed the round by putting out in a downpour that forced the afternoon groups to contend with a delay of nearly four hours.


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


In between the showers, the world's fourth-ranked player performed like a two-time major champion.

She birdied three of the first five holes to reach 7 under, started the back nine with three straight birdies then took the lead with her ninth and final birdie of the day on the par-4 17th.

Salas took a different tack one day after tying Mike McCullough's course-record 62.

Rather than take advantage of the course's soft greens, the 29-year-old American needed patience Friday. She opened with 12 consecutive pars then made three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. After her first bogey of the tournament, on the par-4 eighth, Salas closed out the round with another birdie to tie Park.

Salas hasn't won since the 2014 Kingsmill Championship, but she's developed a real affinity for the Indy course where she's had five consecutive sub-par rounds dating to last year's fifth-place finish.

Kang, who kept Salas composed during a 77-minute rain delay Thursday, had a 68 to get to 11 under.

''I've been giving myself a lot of birdie chances,'' Kang said. ''That was my goal this week. I just have been feeling like I was in a little bit of a funk, so I told my caddie we were just going to pick a number, play my game, forget all the swing thoughts, forget everything and just kind of play it by feel.''

Kang hasn't recorded a bogey over the first 36 holes and is in contention for her first tour victory last year's KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Hataoka shot 69.

Angel Yin, the 19-year-old Californian who was tied for second with Hataoka after the first round, was 10 under with eight holes left. Yin was tied for fifth with Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand and Amy Yang of South Korea, who also had eight holes to go.

Defending champion Lexi Thompson started on the back nine and birdied the par-3 12th and the par-4 16th. She was 6 under with 10 holes remaining in the second round.

And the course could change dramatically as it dries out.

Saturday's forecast calls for partly cloudy conditions with highs in the low 80s and Sunday is supposed to be mostly sunny with highs in the mid-80s.

Park promises to be ready for whatever weather arrives.

''I'm going to do really well,'' she said. ''I feel really good about my game, especially my short game. And it's just about the weather now, so hopefully the weather is good.''

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Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.


Wyndham Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Current FedExCup points list


“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

I'll get to rest.”

Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He can crack the top 125, but only with a win. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

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Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

What’s the better story come Sunday?

Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

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New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.