Woods (+5) still in contention at difficult Doral

By Rex HoggardMarch 7, 2014, 11:34 pm

DORAL, Fla. – In 2009 at the PGA Tour’s annual south Florida siesta, Henrik Stenson stripped to his underwear to hit a shot out of a water hazard. On Friday at the new and improved Doral, the entire field felt like they’d been pants-ed.

On a windswept Friday, the combination of architect Gil Hanse’s handiwork, Donald Trump’s maniacal vision of building the Tour’s hardest golf course and what can only be described as Mother Nature’s mean streak conspired to embarrass all of the world’s best – not just Tiger Woods.

Consider that over the last 36 holes the world No. 1 hit four shots into various water hazards – wash, rinse, repeat – No. 3 Henrik Stenson hit a shank and No. 5 Phil Mickelson hit a wall after rattling off three consecutive double bogeys.

We don’t want to overstate Friday’s gale, but at one point Naples blew by.

For Woods, his 1-over 73 in Round 2 could only be considered a victory of sorts. Although the defending champion finished two rounds at 5 over, his post-round optimism didn’t seem misplaced considering a Blue course that suddenly seemed like the Monster of old.


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“Just had to grind it out,” Woods said. “When we made the turn there were nine guys under par and now there are (four).”

Tour types are not normally the best sounding boards for golf course design; as a rule professionals would much rather err on the side of the Coachella Valley over Carnoustie, but as Stenson marched down the third fairway his take was poignant enough to take seriously.

“I don’t think too many players are having fun today,” the Swede said.

For Woods, the roller coaster of Round 2 – he had five bogeys and four birdies – came against the backdrop of an ailing back that caused him to withdraw from last week’s Honda Classic with five holes to play, and the rigors of 35-mph wind gusts and 26 holes on Friday.

“I’m a little bit sore right now, long day,” said Woods, whose opening 76 was his highest score ever at Doral in 40 career rounds on the Blue Monster. “It will be nice to get some treatment tonight and be ready tomorrow.”

The rub is that he will have a fighting chance on Saturday despite finding water hazards at the third, eighth and 15th holes in Round 2. To be fair, more than 100 golf balls found the suddenly ubiquitous water hazards on Friday.

“I contributed to that number,” Woods smiled. “One of them was a perfect shot right down (No.) 8, right down the middle of the fairway with a 3-wood. Just ran out too far.”

Woods would save par at the par-5 eighth - in fact his third shot from 197 yards hit the hole and nearly dropped for the most unlikely of eagles - and he added a 92-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth hole which ranks as the longest made putt on Tour this season ... by 18 feet.

It all added up to a 5-over total to begin Round 3, just six strokes off the pace set by Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan.

But Woods stopped short of dubbing the new Doral unfair, questioning instead the setup of the layout considering Friday’s fierce forecast.

“Some of the pin locations were a little bit on the edgy side because of the wind direction,” he said. “You just couldn’t get the ball close. From that standpoint, it was right on the teetering point.”

As Woods marched down the seventh fairway, however, Donald Trump watched the day’s happenings with neither a hint of surprise nor remorse.

“They haven’t even set it up hard,” said Trump, who estimated the winning score would be around 8 under, less than half of what it took to win the World Golf Championship last year.

Luckily for Woods & Co. there is no cut at the Cadillac Championship nor will there be near as much wind on the weekend. The forecast calls for 10- to 15-mph breezes the rest of the way and no rain, which will likely feel like a cosmic mulligan for those who weathered firestorm Friday.

“Basically, you’ve got to hang around. You just never know,” said Woods, who left the property without going to the practice range or receiving treatment on his back. “We’ve all got a shot at it now. No one is going anywhere.”

Nor was anyone going low on what turned out to be the fiercest of Fridays.

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.


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“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament



In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.