Georgia On a Roll at Mens NCAA Finals

By Sports NetworkJune 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
College CentralEditor's Note: Exclusive coverage of the Men's NCAA Division I Golf Championships will be televised on The Golf Channel beginning June 2 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
 
NCAAOWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Georgia's David Denham shot a 2-over 72 and three teammates finished at 5 over in Friday's third round, helping the Bulldogs maintain a nine-stroke lead after three rounds of the NCAA Division I tournament.
 
'We just had to get in without any major damage,' Georgia coach Chris Haack said. 'We bumped our toe at the end, 6 over on the last two holes, but it was a good job overall.'
 
Georgia had a 17-over 297 total on Friday - counting the top four scores from the five-player squad - to finish at 15-over 855 on the Caves Valley course. Chris Kirk, Brendon Todd and Richard Scott each had a 5-over 75.
 
Georgia Tech, 15 over in the third round, was 24 over, followed by Southern California at 35 over and UNLV at 36 over. Duke, Arizona State, Washington, Kentucky and Augusta State were tied at 37 over.
 
Pepperdine's Michael Putnam topped the individual leaderboard, shooting a 73 for a three-round total of 3-under 207. Georgia Tech's Roberto Castro (71) and Augusta State's Major Manning (73) were a stroke back. Kentucky's John Holmes (69) and Georgia Southern's Aron Price (72) were at 1 over.
 
After Friday's round, the field was cut to the top 15 teams and six individuals, including Putnam, Missouri's Shawn Jasper (1 over), Stanford's Rob Grube (3 over) and Oregon's Gregg LaVoie (6 over). Wake Forest's Sean Moore, Tulsa's Mitch Cohlmia and Arizona's Nathan Lashley were tied at 7 over and will meet in a playoff to fill the final two individual spots.
 
Defending champion Ryan Moore of UNLV, also the 2004 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links winner, had a 71 and was at 6-over 216. New Mexico's Spencer Levin, who tied for 13th last year in the U.S. Open, was at 8-over 218 after a 71 in the third round.
 
Team Scores
1. Georgia 274-284-297-855 +15 
 
2. Georgia Tech 288-281-295-864 +24
 
3. Southern California 290-282-303-875 +35
 
4. UNLV 284-290-302-876 +36
 
5 . Duke 288-286-303-877 +37
 
5 . Arizona State 291-285-301-877 +37
 
5 . Washington 289-285-303-877 +37
 
5 . Kentucky 291-292-294-877 +37
 
5 . Augusta State 286-289-302-877 +37
 
10 . Georgia State 287-287-305-879 +39
 
10 . Brigham Young 285-290-304-879 +39
 
12 . New Mexico 289-300-291-880 +40
 
12 . Tennessee 279-288-313-880 +40
 
14. Oklahoma State 292-289-301-882 +42
 
15. Georgia Southern 286-298-299-883 +43
 

Missed Cut
 
16. Wake Forest 287-293-304-884 +44
 
17. Arizona 282-296-307-885 +45
 
18 . Florida 289-291-308-888 +48
 
18 . Stanford 296-292-300-888 +48
 
20 . Missouri 300-286-304-890 +50
 
20 . Coastal Carolina 284-301-305-890 +50
 
22. SMU 287-297-308-892 +52
 
23. San Diego State 290-297-306-893 +53
 
24 . Texas 298-297-299-894 +54
 
24 . Texas A&M 296-296-302-894 +54
 
24 . Arkansas 288-296-310-894 +54
 
27. Purdue 299-299-297-895 +55
 
28. Alabama 291-293-313-897 +57
 
29. Tulsa 290-302-307-899 +59
 
30. UCLA 299-301-303-903 +63
 

 
Individuals
 
1. Michael Putnam, Pepperdine 67-67-73-207 -3
 
2. Roberto Castro, Georgia Tech 69-68-71-208 -2
 
2. Major Manning, Augusta State 65-70-73-208 -2
 
4. John Holmes, Kentucky 70-72-69-211 +1
 
4. Aron Price, Georgia Southern 66-73-72-211 +1
 
6. Taylor Wood, Southern California 72-68-72-212 +2
 
6. Joshua Wooding, Southern California 71-68-73-212 +2
 
8. Oscar Alvarez, Brigham Young 67-71-75-213 +3
 
8. Shawn Jasper, Missouri 72-66-75-213 +3
 
8. James Lepp, Washington 70-67-76-213 +3
 
8. Ross McGowan, Tennessee 67-71-75-213 +3
 
8. Brendon Todd, Georgia 68-70-75-213 +3
 
13. Rob Grube, Stanford 71-71-72-214 +4
 
14. Chris Kirk, Georgia 69-71-75-215 +5
 
14. Kevin Kisner, Georgia 65-74-76-215 +5
 
14. Michael Schachner, Duke 70-68-77-215 +5
 
17. Alejandro Canizares, Arizona State 73-71-72-216 +6
 
17. Kalle Edberg, Augusta State 71-74-71-216 +6
 
17. y-Gregg LaVoie, Oregon 72-72-72-216 +6
 
17. Niklas Lemke, Arizona State 70-70-76-216 +6
 
17. Ryan Moore, UNLV 72-73-71-216 +6
 
17. Alex Noren, Oklahoma State 70-69-77-216 +6
 
17. David Palm, Georgia Southern 70-74-72-216 +6
 
17. Richard Scott, Georgia 72-69-75-216 +6
 
25. Mitch Cohlmia, Tulsa 67-75-75-217 +7
 
25. Ryan Keeney, UNLV 69-75-73-217 +7
 
25. Nathan Lashley, Arizona 71-71-75-217 +7
 
25. Sean Moore, Wake Forest 69-75-73-217 +7
 
29. David Denham, Georgia 72-74-72-218 +8
 
29. Robert Gates, Texas A&M 68-73-77-218 +8
 
29. Beau Glover, Arkansas 70-71-77-218 +8
 
29. Spencer Levin, New Mexico 72-75-71-218 +8
 
29. Zack Miller, Stanford 70-69-79-218 +8
 
29. Erik Olson, Washington 74-69-75-218 +8
 
29. Brett Stegmaier, Florida 74-71-73-218 +8
 
36. Michael Barbosa, Georgia Tech 71-72-76-219 +9
 
36. Ryan Blaum, Duke 70-73-76-219 +9
 
36. Greg Machtaler, Brigham Young 74-71-74-219 +9
 
36. Joel Sjoholm, Georgia State 73-69-77-219 +9
 
36. Chan Song, Georgia Tech 73-72-74-219 +9
 
36. Steve Tiley, Georgia State 71-72-76-219 +9
 
42. y-Rhys Davies, East Tennessee St. 75-74-71-220 +10
 
42. Will Dodson, SMU 69-76-75-220 +10
 
42. Andres Gonzales, UNLV 70-73-77-220 +10
 
42. Mark Harrell, Alabama 70-72-78-220 +10
 
42. Chris Heintz, UCLA 74-74-72-220 +10
 
42. Doug Manchester, Wake Forest 71-71-78-220 +10
 
42. Pablo Martin, Oklahoma State 72-74-74-220 +10
 
42. James Vargas, Florida 67-77-76-220 +10
 
50. Scott Abbott, SMU 71-73-77-221 +11
 
50. Zack Byrd, Coastal Carolina 72-74-75-221 +11
 
50. Jay Choi, New Mexico 73-75-73-221 +11
 
50. Ron Harvey, Jr., Brigham Young 72-72-77-221 +11
 
50. Ryan Henry, Tulsa 72-76-73-221 +11
 
50. John Kelly, Missouri 74-73-74-221 +11
 
50. Madalitso Muthiya, New Mexico 75-74-72-221 +11
 
50. Philip Pettitt, Tennessee 69-73-79-221 +11
 
50. Michael Quagliano, Duke 76-71-74-221 +11
 
50. Nicholas Thompson, Georgia Tech 75-69-77-221 +11
 
50. Emmett Turner, Augusta State 72-74-75-221 +11
 
61. Mark Blakefield, Kentucky 72-77-73-222 +12
 
61. Matt Bortis, Arkansas 71-78-73-222 +12
 
61. Jerad Harklau, Texas A&M 72-75-75-222 +12
 
61. Ty Harris, Georgia State 72-70-80-222 +12
 
61. Matthew Mills, Texas 73-74-75-222 +12
 
61. Martin Ureta, North Carolina 68-74-80-222 +12
 
67. Aaron Choi, San Diego State 75-76-72-223 +13
 
67. Dustin Johnson, Coastal Carolina 69-79-75-223 +13
 
67. Joe Panzeri, Washington 71-76-76-223 +13
 
67. Andrew Scott, San Diego State 72-74-77-223 +13
 
67. Bradley Shaw, Southern California 72-72-79-223 +13
 
67. Charly Simon, Arizona State 73-73-77-223 +13
 
67. Brandon Waldrop, Kentucky 74-71-78-223 +13
 
74. Bobby Bennett, Purdue 75-75-74-224 +14
 
74. Dustin Cone, Purdue 78-70-76-224 +14
 
74. Josh Esler, Arizona 71-76-77-224 +14
 
74. Miguel Griego, New Mexico 71-76-77-224 +14
 
74. Jake Grodzinsky, Duke 74-74-76-224 +14
 
74. Colt Knost, SMU 73-74-77-224 +14
 
74. Pat Moore, Arizona State 75-73-76-224 +14
 
74. Ryan Posey, Oklahoma State 77-73-74-224 +14
 
74. Peter Richardson, Purdue 73-78-73-224 +14
 
74. Josh Warthen, San Diego State 71-75-78-224 +14
 
74. Matt Wells, Kentucky 75-75-74-224 +14
 
85. Darren Baynes, Georgia State 73-76-76-225 +15
 
85. Kevin Blue, Stanford 76-74-75-225 +15
 
85. y-Judd Easterling, Wichita State 75-73-77-225 +15
 
85. Travis Esway, Arizona 68-75-82-225 +15
 
85. Matt Every, Florida 74-71-80-225 +15
 
85. Kevin Larsen, Georgia Tech 77-74-74-225 +15
 
85. Tyler Leon, Oklahoma State 76-73-76-225 +15
 
85. Chris Mabry, Missouri 75-72-78-225 +15
 
85. Brian Prouty, Arizona 72-75-78-225 +15
 
85. Webb Simpson, Wake Forest 68-78-79-225 +15
 
85. Joseph Sykora, Alabama 74-73-78-225 +15
 
85. Jarred Texter, UNLV 74-70-81-225 +15
 
97. Jake Ellison, Brigham Young 72-76-78-226 +16
 
97. Shaun Goodwin, Texas 77-75-74-226 +16
 
97. Daniel Im, UCLA 75-75-76-226 +16
 
97. Henry Liaw, Arizona 74-75-77-226 +16
 
97. Zack Robinson, Oklahoma State 74-74-78-226 +16
 
97. Gilberto Rodriguez, San Diego State 74-72-80-226 +16
 
97. Ben Taylor, Georgia State 71-79-76-226 +16
 
97. Richard Treis, Florida 74-72-80-226 +16
 
105. Jeff Bell, Texas 78-72-77-227 +17
 
105. Kevin Chappell, UCLA 73-78-76-227 +17
 
105. Pariya Junhasavasdikul, Purdue 74-79-74-227 +17
 
105. Clint Provost, Alabama 73-73-81-227 +17
 
105. Alex Prugh, Washington 76-75-76-227 +17
 
105. Kyle Reifers, Wake Forest 79-74-74-227 +17
 
105. Lindsay Renolds, Coastal Carolina 71-76-80-227 +17
 
105. David Skinns, Tennessee 71-75-81-227 +17
 
105. Nathan Smith, Duke 74-74-79-227 +17
 
114. Moises Cobo, Coastal Carolina 72-73-83-228 +18
 
114. Ben Hayes, Southern California 75-74-79-228 +18
 
114. Gator Todd, Alabama 74-77-77-228 +18
 
114. Travis Whisman, UNLV 73-74-81-228 +18
 
118. Zach Bixler, Washington 74-74-81-229 +19
 
118. Jesse Mueller, Arizona State 78-71-80-229 +19
 
118. Brett Myers, Tulsa 77-75-77-229 +19
 
118. Linus Nilsson, San Diego State 73-77-79-229 +19
 
118. Andrew Parr, Texas A&M 81-74-74-229 +19
 
118. JohnScott Rattan, Tennessee 72-79-78-229 +19
 
118. Matthew Rosenfeld, Texas 70-81-78-229 +19
 
118. Ben Spickard, Tennessee 77-69-83-229 +19
 
126. Scott Campbell, Arkansas 74-76-80-230 +20
 
126. Thomas Hagler, Alabama 75-75-80-230 +20
 
126. Wes Homan, SMU 74-77-79-230 +20
 
126. Bryan Jones, Georgia Southern 78-75-77-230 +20
 
126. Farren Keenan, Texas 81-76-73-230 +20
 
126. y-Korey Mahoney, Eastern Michigan 72-79-79-230 +20
 
132. Mark Anderson, New Mexico 73-83-75-231 +21
 
132. Jon David Kennedy, Georgia Southern 77-76-78-231 +21
 
132. Martin Piller, Texas A&M 81-74-76-231 +21
 
132. Brad Robinson, Coastal Carolina 78-78-75-231 +21
 
132. Santiago Russi, Purdue 77-76-78-231 +21
 
137. Scott Jamieson, Augusta State 78-71-83-232 +22
 
137. John Poucher, UCLA 77-76-79-232 +22
 
139. Chris McCartin, Wake Forest 79-73-81-233 +23
 
139. Pat Phillips, Stanford 79-78-76-233 +23
 
139. Ben Scott, Missouri 81-75-77-233 +23
 
139. Eric Shriver, Arkansas 81-71-81-233 +23
 
139. Manuel Villegas, Florida 75-79-79-233 +23
 
139. Kurt Watkins, Georgia Southern 73-77-83-233 +23
 
145. Austin Hackett, Tulsa 76-76-82-234 +24
 
145. Tyler Ley, Southern California 75-77-82-234 +24
 
147. Josh Farrell, Arkansas 73-82-80-235 +25
 
147. Matthew Savage, Stanford 79-79-77-235 +25
 
147. David Schultz, Texas A&M 75-79-81-235 +25
 
150. Matt Kohn, Kentucky 76-74-86-236 +26
 
150. Trent Twaddle, Missouri 79-76-81-236 +26
 
152. Nick Becker, Brigham Young 79-77-83-239 +29
 
152. Sam Korbe, Tulsa 75-77-87-239 +29
 
152. Joakim Renstrom, UCLA 81-76-82-239 +29
 
155. Mike Keast, Augusta State 79-76-85-240 +30
 
WD - Dan Kleckner , SMU 74-83-WD

 
Related Links:
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    Woods' final round is highest-rated FEC telecast ever

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 9:05 pm

    We've heard it a million times: Tiger Woods doesn't just move the needle, he IS the needle.

    Here's more proof.

    NBC Sports Group's final-round coverage of Woods claiming his 80th career victory in the Tour Championship earned a 5.21 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs and the highest-rated PGA Tour telecast in 2018 (excluding majors).

    The rating was up 206 percent over 2017's Tour Championship.


    Final FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Coverage peaked from 5:30-6PM ET (7.19) as Woods finished his round and as Justin Rose was being crowned the FedExCup champion. That number trailed only the 2018 peaks for the Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28). The extended coverage window (1:30-6:15 PM ET) posted a 4.35 overnight rating, which is the highest-rated Tour Championship telecast on record.

    Sunday’s final round also saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (up 561 percent year-over-year), and becomes the most-streamed NBC Sports Sunday round (excluding majors) on record.

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    Randall's Rant: Woods' comeback story ranks No. 1

    By Randall MellSeptember 24, 2018, 8:40 pm

    We’re marveling again.

    This time over the essence of the man as much as the athlete, over what Tiger Woods summoned to repair, rebuild and redeem himself, after scandal and injury so ruinously rocked his career.

    We watched in wonder Sunday as Woods completed the greatest comeback in the history of sport.

    That’s how we’re ranking this reconstruction of a champion. (See the rankings below.)

    We marveled over the admiration that flooded into the final scene of his victory at the Tour Championship, over the wave of adoring fans who enveloped him as he marched up the 18th fairway.

    This celebration was different from his coronation, when he won the Masters by 12 shots in 1997, or his masterpiece, when he won the U.S. Open by 15 shots in 2000, or his epic sweep, when he won at Augusta National in ’01 to claim his fourth consecutive major championship title.

    The awe back then was over how invincible Woods could seem in a sport where losing is the week-to-week norm, over how he could decimate the competition as no other player ever has.

    The awe today is as much over the transformed nature of the rebuilt man.

    It’s about what he has overcome since his aura of invincibility was decimated in the disgrace of a sex scandal, in the humiliation of a videotape of a DUI arrest, in the pain of four back surgeries and four knee surgeries and in the maddening affliction of chipping yips and driving and putting woes.

    The wonder is also in imagining the fierce inventory of self-examination that must have been grueling, and in the mustering of inner strength required to overcome foes more formidable than Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and today’s other stars.

    It’s in Woods overcoming shame, ridicule, doubt and probably some despair to rebuild his life outside the game before he could rebuild his life in the game.

    Woods may never let us know the detail or depth of those inner challenges, of what helped him prevail in his more spiritual battles, because he’s still fiercely private. He may never share the keys to rebuilding his sense of himself, but he’s more open than he has ever been. He shares more than he ever has.

    As a father of two children, as a mentor to so many of today’s young players, there’s more depth to the picture of this champion today. There also is more for fans to relate to in his struggles than his success. There’s more of the larger man to marvel over.



    The greatest comebacks in the history of sports:


    1. Tiger Woods

    Four back surgeries and four knee surgeries are just part of the story. It’s why Woods ranks ahead of Ben Hogan. Woods’ comeback was complicated by so many psychological challenges, by the demon doubts created in his sex scandal and DUI arrest. There was shame and ridicule to overcome on a public stage. And then there were the chipping yips, and the driving and putting woes.


    2. Ben Hogan

    On Feb. 2, 1949, a Greyhound bus attempting to pass a truck slammed head on into Hogan’s Cadillac on a Texas highway. Hogan probably saved his life throwing himself over the passenger side to protect his wife, Valerie. He suffered a double fracture of the pelvis, a cracked rib, a fractured collarbone and a broken ankle, but it was a blood clot that nearly killed him a few weeks later. Hogan needed 16 months to recover but would return triumphantly to win the 1950 U.S. Open and five more majors after that.


    3. Niki Lauda

    In the bravest sporting comeback ever, Lauda returned to grand prix racing 38 days after his Ferrari burst into flames in a crash in a race in Germany in 1976. Disfigured from severe burns, the reigning Formula One world champion was back behind the wheel at the Italian Grand Prix, finishing fourth. He won the world championship again in ’77 and ’84.


    4. Greg LeMond

    In 1987, LeMond was shot and nearly killed in a hunting accident. Two years later, he won his second Tour de France title. A year after that, he won it again.


    5. Babe Zaharias

    In 1953, Babe Zaharias underwent surgery for colon cancer. A year later, she won the U.S. Women’s Open wearing a colostomy bag. She also went on to win the Vare Trophy for low scoring average that year.


    6. Monica Seles

    Away from tennis for two years after being stabbed with a knife between the shoulder blades during a match in Germany, Seles won in her return to competition at the 1995 Canadian Open. She was the highest ranked women’s tennis player in the world at the time of the attack.


    7. Lance Armstrong

    After undergoing chemotherapy treatment in a battle with potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong recovered and went on to win seven Tour de France titles. Of course, the comeback wasn’t viewed in the same light after he was stripped of all those titles after being implicated in a doping conspiracy.


    8. Mario Lemieux

    In the middle of the 1992-93 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins star underwent radiation treatment for Hodgkin disease and missed 20 games. Making a start the same day as his last treatment, Lemieux scored a goal and assist. The Penguins would go on a 17-game winning streak after his return and Lemieux would lead the league in scoring and win the Hart Trophy as league MVP.


    9. Peyton Manning

    Multiple neck surgeries and a spinal fusion kept Manning from playing with the Indianapolis Colts for the entire 2011 season. He was released before the 2012 season and signed with the Denver Broncos. He won his fifth NFL MVP Award in ’13 and helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in the ’15 season.


    10. Bethany Hamilton

    A competitive surfer at 13, Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack in Hawaii. A month later, she was surfing again. Less than two years later, she was a national champion.

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    Woods' win makes us wonder, what's next?

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 24, 2018, 6:35 pm

    The red shirt and ground-shaking roars.

    The steely glare and sweet swings.

    The tactical precision and ruthless efficiency.

    If not for the iPhone-wielding mob following his every move, you’d swear that golf had been transported to the halcyon days of the early 2000s.

    The Tiger Time Machine kicked into overdrive at East Lake, where Woods won for the first time in 1,876 days and suddenly put two of the sport’s most hallowed numbers – 82 and 18 – back in play.

    “I didn’t understand how people could say he lost this and lost that,” said Hank Haney, Woods’ former swing coach. “He is so good. He’s Tiger Woods. He’s won 79 times. If he can swing, he can win again.”

    The only disappointing part of win No. 80 is that Woods will have to wait four months for another meaningful chance to build upon it. That’s a shame, because all of the pieces are in place for him to make a sustained run, and the Tour Championship might just be the start of an unimaginable final act.

    A season that began with questions about whether a 42-year-old Woods could survive a full schedule with no setbacks ended with him saving his best for last, when his younger, healthier peers seemed to be gassed. Taking his recovery week by week, Woods ended up making 18 starts – his second-heaviest workload since 2005 – and never publicly complained of any discomfort, only the occasional stiffness that comes with having a fused lower spine.

    Remember when Woods’ tanking world ranking was punch-line material? Now he’s all the way up to No. 13 – not bad for a guy who was 1,199th when he returned to competition last December at the Hero World Challenge. Nowhere close to reaching his 40-event minimum divisor, he’ll continue to accrue points and charge up the rankings, putting the game’s top players on notice.


    Final FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    The victory at East Lake moves Woods only two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour wins record (82), a goal that seemed unthinkable a year and a half ago, when he was bedridden following the Hail Mary fusion surgery. And for those wondering whether he’s capable of chasing down Big Jack, remember that Woods almost picked off two majors this summer, at Carnoustie and Bellerive, with a body and swing that was constantly evolving. 

    Indeed, in an era of TrackMans and coaching stables designed to maximize a player’s performance, Woods has refreshingly gone back to his roots. It always seemed incongruous, watching the game’s most brilliant golf mind scrutinize down-the-line swing video, and so this year he has been a solo act, relying on old feels to guide his new move. The credit for this resurgence is his alone. 

    Sure, there were growing pains, lots of them, and for months each tournament turned into golf’s version of Whack-a-Mole, as yet another issue arose. The two clubs that most consistently held Woods back were his driver and putter, but recent improvements portend well for the future.

    After wayward tee shots cost him the PGA, Woods changed the loft and shaft on his TaylorMade driver. For years, even while injured, he violently attacked the ball in a vain attempt to hang with the big hitters. But these tweaks to his gamer (resulting in lower swing speed and carry distance) were a concession that accuracy was more vital to his success than power. His newfound discipline was rewarded: He ended the season with four consecutive weeks of positive strokes gained: off the tee statistics, and on Sunday he put on a clinic while Rory McIlroy, one of the game’s preeminent drivers, thrashed around in the trees. Woods is still plenty long, closing out his victory with a 348-yard rocket on 18, and from the middle of the fairway he can rely on his vintage iron play. 

    His troubles with the putter weren’t as quick of a fix. Frustrated with his inconsistent performance on the greens, Woods briefly flirted with other models before rekindling his love affair with his old Scotty Cameron, the trusty putter with which he’s won 13 of his 14 majors. It’s exceedingly rare for a player to overcome the frayed nerve endings and putt better in his 40s than his 30s, but Woods was downright masterful on East Lake’s greens.

    “It’s more satisfaction than anything,” said Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava. “People have no idea how much work he put into this.”

    By almost any statistical measure, Woods’ season-long numbers suggest that he’s already back among the game’s elite – even after struggling to walk and swing for the past four years. He’s the best iron player in the game. He finished the season ranked seventh in strokes gained: tee to green. And after his normally stellar short game went MIA for a few years, his play around the greens appeared as sharp as ever.

    And so on Sunday, while watching Woods school the top 30 players on Tour, even Johnny Miller got caught up in the latest edition of Tigermania.

    “He’s not looking like he could win a couple more,” Miller said. “He’s looking like he could win A LOT more.”

    Where Woods’ story is headed – to No. 1 in the world, to the top of Mt. Nicklaus, to the operating table – is anyone’s guess, because this comeback has already defied any reasonable logic or expectation.

    He’s come back from confidence-shattering performances at Phoenix (chip yips) and Memorial (85) and even his own media-day event where he humiliatingly rinsed a series of wedge shots.

    He’s come back from four back surgeries and pain so debilitating that his kids once found him face down in the backyard; pain so unbearable that he used to keep a urine bucket next to his bed, because he couldn’t schlep his battered body to the bathroom.

    He’s come back from an addiction so deep that in May 2017 police found him slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes, five drugs coursing through his system, a shocking and sad DUI arrest that was the catalyst for this clear-eyed comeback.

    All of the months of unhappiness and uncertainty nearly came pouring out afterward – the culmination of a remarkable journey from turmoil to redemption that ranks among the most unlikely in sports history. Woods fought back tears as thousands formed a big green mosh pit and chanted his name, a surreal scene even for this larger-than-life legend. Hugging LaCava, Woods said into his caddie’s ear, over and over: “We did it! We did it! We did it!” 

    “He’s pumped up,” LaCava said later. “I’ve never seen him this excited.”

    And not just for this moment, but for the future.

    The prospects are as tantalizing as ever. 

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    DJ may keep cross-handed grip for Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 4:29 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – As he’s proven in the past Dustin Johnson isn’t averse to switching things up when it comes to his putting, but this was extreme even for him.

    Johnson switched to a cross-handed grip on the sixth hole during Saturday’s third round at the Tour Championship and continued to use the same grip through the final round.

    It was the first time he’d putted cross-handed in competition and the first time he switched his grip mid-round.


    Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    “I did it a few times on the putting green. Sometimes I do it on the putting green just to get my setup a little bit better because it just levels out my shoulders,” said Johnson, who closed his week at East Lake with a 67 and finished alone in third place. “I was putting well. I hit some bad putts for the first five holes, so after I hit a really bad putt for eagle on 6, the next one I tried it, I made it, so I kept it going.”

    Johnson, who moved back into the top spot in the World Golf Ranking thanks to his third-place finish, was encouraged by his putting on the weekend but he was vague when asked if he planned to putt cross-handed this week at the Ryder Cup.

    “We're going to stick with it for now. We'll try it,” he said.