Woods feeling chipper after tying for lead with 66

By Rex HoggardMarch 7, 2013, 6:28 pm

DORAL, Fla. –  Before Rory, before the Donald, before 2010 Tiger Woods owned Doral like . . . well, pretty much every other beefy ballpark he’s frequented in his Hall of Fame career.

For nearly a decade it was Woods, not the South Florida layout, that was the real monster.

He won at Doral in 2005 and 2006 before it was swallowed up by the World Golf Championship umbrella in 2007, the same year he added his third tilt at the Blue Monster. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 here since 2005 and has been out of contention only once in the last decade and that was when he withdrew last year with an ailing leg.

Like Bay Hill, Torrey Pines and Firestone – friendly confines for much of his career – Woods has savored the demanding delicacy of Dora, not to mention its grainy Bermuda grass greens.

So it should come as no surprise that on an uncharacteristically cool morning at Doral, Woods settled into the Blue Monster like a comfortable chair.

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After playing his first five holes in even par, a misleading line considering he carded just one par in that stretch, the Dean of Doral picked up momentum with a birdie at No. 16 before going 3-for-3 at the turn with birdies at Nos. 18 (he started on No. 10), 1 and 2.

“This is probably the easiest wind we'll have, some of the hardest holes were playing downwind, and it really wasn't blowing that hard most of the day,” a strangely subdued Woods said following the quietest 66 you’ll see in these parts.

All together now, “It was certainly a day that could have been a little bit lower,” he deadpanned.

It’s the golfer’s lament, but on this Woods could, if he is so inclined, dissect his day and come up a stroke or two better with little effort. Among those that “could of have been” was a three-putt at No. 13 (his fourth hole of the day) that included a power miss from 4 ½ feet. There was also a lip-out from 12 feet at No. 6 for birdie.

Contrarians will point to his 20-foot bomb at No. 16 and a twisting 35-footer at the fourth, or his 23-putt total as evidence there was a square give and take between the world No. 2 and the golf gods on Thursday. But good enough has never been a part of his lexicon.

If nine birdies doesn’t make dinner go down a bit better, the last time he had nine birdies in a round was on Day 1 at last year’s BMW Championship, those filthy putting statistics certainly suggest the hole looked like a manhole cover.

On this give Steve Stricker a solid assist.

Late Wednesday Woods huddled with Sricker for an impromptu putting lesson and it was impossible to argue with the results.

“I think I'm going to have a contract with him, because he's only going to play, what, five tournaments this year,” Woods smiled, tongue firmly imbedded in cheek. “So I'll bring him out in his off weeks – put his ball away for a week and come out.”

Stricker will play 11 events, actually, but if the part-time player ever decides to trade in his player’s credential for that of an instructor count Woods among his first clients.

Essentially Stricker adjusted Woods’ posture, similar to what he did before he won earlier this year at Torrey Pines with similar results.

“When I left him last night, he was really excited and it looked like he was rolling it really good then,” Stricker said. “So I just tried to get him set up in a better position where he could feel like he could accelerate down through the line a little bit.”

But Woods’ play on Day 1 went much deeper than his short-stick performance. There is a comfort level with his swing that is giving way to the type of thoughtless golf he has enjoyed when he’s playing his best.

Woods called his work with Sean Foley “solidified,” and on Wednesday the thoughtful swing coach echoed those sentiments.

“I see a lot less of the old patterns there, but he’s just been doing it more and his touch is much better,” Foley said.

For the last eight months Foley characterized his work with Woods as “fine tuning” with a focus on the same two basic concepts. In benign conditions on Thursday that translated into a ball-striking show, although Woods’ demeanor had a more clinical feel to it.

Paired with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Luke Donald Woods easily cruised to low-ball honors in the trifecta, lapping Donald by four strokes and the embattled Ulsterman by a cool seven shots.

Ian Poulter caused a bit of a stir following his consolation match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship when he said they should do away with the bridesmaid bout and award third-place money and points to the jilted semifinalist. On Thursday McIlroy and Donald seemed fine playing the “B” flight.

One lap in to a no-cut event, that may be a stretch, but with the poise and power Woods displayed on Thursday and his track record on the South Florida super speedway it is an ominous sign for the rest of the pack.

For a guy who made red a winning color, it turns out he looks good in blue as well.

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Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

“It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

“I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

“He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

Putter: Ping PLD Anser

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440