Tiger Woods sets sail to save season

By Rex HoggardJuly 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
Not even Tiger Woods, the games ' if not all of sports ' top drawing card, could have saved the Buick Open. Those cosmic tumblers fell into place long before the world No. 1 made his return to Michigan. Truth is it would have taken four Beatles, Elvis, a free Kid Rock concert and SUVs that run on grass clippings to revive the 51-year-old grand dame of Grand Blanc.
 
There may have been a hint of nostalgia when Woods, a longtime Buick endorser, signed on for this weeks event, but the more likely motivation was a desire to save his major championship season ' not a tournament on life support.
 
I would have played no matter what, Woods said Wednesday when asked if he would have teed it up this week at the Buick had he not been wind-whipped into an early exit two weeks ago at Turnberry.
 
The sky is not falling at Isleworth and if by some act of nature Glorys Last Shot comes and goes without a Woods photo op with the Wanamaker Trophy, the season, not to mention the financial markets, will somehow shoulder on.
 
Under the best of circumstances majors are tough to win, just ask Lee Westwood. Major knee surgery and 10 months of near inactivity make the major mountain that much steeper.
 
Rebuilding year ' like mulligan and lag putting ' is not a term Woods is likely familiar with. But if ever there was a year when he deserves a break from our unrealistic expectations, this is it.
 
And somewhere deep within that steely psyche Woods understands that, which is probably part and parcel with the master plan that is unfolding this week in Michigan. He rarely, if ever, plays two weeks before a major, but then hes never found himself in catch up mode so late in the year.
 
If things didnt seem quite right at Augusta National and Bethpage, Turnberry was an out-of-body experience. And the chorus of questions predictably followed.
 
One bold scribe on Wednesday went so far as to ask Woods if Hank Haney was still his swing coach.
 
Oh yeah, Woods laughed.
 
With apologies to the writer, the question was laughable. Among the things Woods simply doesnt do ' mail in tournaments, show up unprepared, give up 54-hole leads ' is panic, and it will take much more than an 0-for-3 major record to change that.
 
Instead, he took the long view on his major card in 2009.
 
I just got to put it together at the right time. That's the whole idea. You can't win majors playing poorly. You got to play well, said Woods, who has gone 0-for-4 on the Grand Slam leaderboard just three times in his career and not since 2004.
 
Woods has never been pegged as one of the most sentimental guys on Tour, and for good reason. You dont set sail for 18 majors being soft in the middle. But, like the rest of his fellow card holders, economic headwinds have made marketing mice out of the circuits meanest men.
 
As commissioner Tim Finchem has stressed, these guys need to be good schmoozers, and maybe that sentiment helped pry Woods from his mid-summer slumber and onto Warwick Hills rolling fairways.
 
It would be unfortunate (to lose the Buick). Obviously this area's been struggling a bit, and all the players have really enjoyed playing in front of the fans here, said Woods, whose last five starts at Warwick Hills are a study in simply-perfect math ' 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.
 
Buick's been a huge sponsor of the Tour. Not only the four tournaments they used to be a part of, but just an overall partner of the Tour, I think they've been great. Unfortunately, things have worked out the way they have, and it's unfortunate they've lost a few events.
 
Woods wants to be a team player, but a safer bet would be that he simply wanted the extra reps heading into the PGA Championship. Or maybe it was that pro-am pairing with rock legend Bob Seger.
 
As Woods stepped to the 16th tee his group could hear Old Time Rock and Roll wafting from a house adjacent the fairway.
 
I already had in mind if I would have hit the driver off the fairway, I would have blamed it on him, Woods said. So I hit a good one, so he got the credit.
 
As Woods rounds into shape for the final leg of his most testing season, another Seger classic comes to mind.
 
Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass.
Waves rolling in with the tide.
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode.
But we cannot be denied.
The fire inside.'

'The Fire Inside, Bob Seger
 

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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."