Bogey leaves sour mark on Tiger's sweet 67

By Ryan LavnerMay 10, 2013, 12:51 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – In the 12 years since he last won here, critical moments such as these had so often eluded Tiger Woods.

Late Thursday afternoon, he was 6 under as he stood on the tee of the 124-yard 17th hole. The warm sun was still beating down. The hole location was in one of the most accessible spots on the island green. The wind, as usual, was swirling.

Would Woods summon his usual magic? No, far from it. His tee shot with a wedge rode the wind and wound up long and right of the hole, some 55 feet away. Flummoxed, he threw a few blades of grass into the sticky air. The crowd groaned.

Upon reaching the green, Woods squatted on the opposite side of the hole, he and caddie Joe LaCava trying to find the proper line, somehow. Up and over the ridge his ball would need to go, near the fringe, and then back down the hill again, with the pond looming if his putt carried too much speed. Anything inside 5 feet would be better than most.


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Video: Highlights of Woods' opening 67


The spectators so desperately wanted the putt to drop, if only so they could roar like it was 2001 again. But rest assured, Woods was quite pleased with his long-range lag to 3 feet, a tap-in par to press forward. In the 12 years since he last won The Players, he hadn’t enjoyed a day quite like this.  

The course that has largely befuddled the world’s top player was laid bare Thursday, defenseless, and it took a bare-knuckled beating from the strongest field in golf. At day’s end, 67 players were under par, including 33 with a round in the 60s.

One of those players was Woods, after a 5-under 67. It was a surprise not that he was in form after a three-week layoff, but that he played so well despite his suspect history here.

Among the eye-opening stats:

• Never in 15 previous tries had he broken 70 in an opening round;

• His Players scoring average of 71.4, his worst in any event in which he’s played 50 or more rounds;

• And the 67 was his best score here since the final round in 2007

But on a windless, warm day when the ball flew farther than expected – even his 5-wood traveled about 300 yards, he estimated – Woods took advantage of each of the four par 5s and ran off four birdies in a row around the turn.

In fact, he was 30 feet away from notching his first bogey-free round on the Stadium Course, only to be undone by an 8-iron on the 18th hole that flew 200 yards – pin-high – and bounded over the back, leading to a stubbed chip and bogey.

“This is a tricky golf course,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to make a bogey around here. I think that’s kind of what Pete (Dye) had intended, and I’m sure that most of the guys throughout their career really haven’t had too many other days that are spotless on their cards.”

Spotless or not, Woods finds himself four shots back of surprise leader Roberto Castro, a 27-year-old who matched the course record in only his third career tour around Sawgrass. One shot ahead of Woods is Rory McIlroy, the world No. 2 who has found his game after months of hibernation. Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson each shot 67.

Woods was a runner-up here in 2000 and a champion in ’01, but not much has gone right since – one top-10 finish in 10 attempts. Recently, he has a T-40 and two WDs.

“It’s one of those courses where they’ve got some tough lines,” he said, “and if you’re not playing well, you’re going to get exposed.”

Woods tried a scaled-back approach Thursday, not least because the ball was flying in the humid, 85-degree air. On only four holes did he hit driver, and he peppered most fairways with a 3- or 5-wood.

Indeed, Woods found himself in trouble only once, on the 459-yard 14th. His tee shot sailed well right, into the gallery, and his ball came to rest on the left edge of the cart path. Taking little time to assess his option – surely to the delight of armchair rules officials everywhere – Woods dropped in the pine needles, slashed out short of the green, took another drop from a sprinkler head, and then nearly chipped in. Ho-hum par.

A hole later, he faced a 4 1/2-foot par putt with a massive spike mark in his line. After holing the putt, he chose not to pump his fist but rather to stand in place and tap, tap, tap down the bump.

“It kicked it off-line but it worked out in the end,” he said. “I got lucky.”

Woods, of course, wasn’t so fortunate on the 18th. In a collection area behind the green, he opted for the 56-degree wedge instead of the 60-degree, the 4-iron or even the putter. The grain snagged the bottom of his wedge, however, and the ball landed a few feet short of the putting surface.

Was it a deflating bogey, a sour note to end an otherwise brilliant day?

Sure.

But now 12 years removed from his last win here, Woods can delight in simply seeing his name near the top of The Players leaderboard.

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Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.


No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.


No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.


No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.


No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.


And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.


Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.


Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies and one bogey on Saturday for a 5-under 66 in the third round of The Open. We're tracking him as he vies for major No. 15.


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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.