Lefty Starts Strong Tiger Struggles

By Sports NetworkAugust 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson, the 2004 Masters champion, posted a three-under-par 67 on Thursday and is part of a logjam tied for the lead after the first round of the 87th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
 
Stuart Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Stephen Ames, Trevor Immelman and 2003 British Open winner Ben Curtis are knotted with Mickelson atop the leaderboard.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had a rough opening round at Baltusrol, posting a 5-over 75 that leaves him eight strokes off the lead.
The leaderboard is tight below those in first as well with 11 players tied for seventh at two-under-par 68.
 
Davis Love III, the 1997 winner, 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington, two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, Bernhard Langer, Jesper Parnevik, Heath Slocum, Greg Owen, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez, Ben Crane and John Rollins all posted 68s on Thursday.
 
One name not near the top of the leaderboard is that of the No. 1 player in the world.
 
Tiger Woods' quest for a third major championship in 2005 hit a snag on Thursday. He opened with a five-over-par 75 and is tied for 113th place.
 
'Every hole you could say there's something that I did wrong on the hole to not make birdie,' admitted Woods, who won this title in 1999 and 2000. 'That was frustrating.'
 
Woods began on the back nine Thursday and promptly bogeyed No. 10. He added bogeys at 14 and 18, then fell to four-over par for the championship with a bogey at the fourth.
 
Things got worse for the reigning Masters and British Open champion. Woods lipped out a seven-foot bogey putt at the seventh to move to plus-six. He rebounded at the eighth with a three-foot birdie putt, complete with a mock bow and tip of the hat after the putt fell.
 
'I've got to stay patient and build on it each and every day,' said Woods, who can become the first player in history to win three majors in one year twice. 'Patience helps and at least I'm still in it. There won't be too many guys under par by the end of the week and hopefully I can get myself there over the next three days.'
 
Mickelson drove into the rough on his third hole and had to chip back into the fairway. He made bogey at the hole, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a three-foot birdie putt at the fifth.
 
Things were interesting for Mickelson on the sixth. He hit a tree off the tee, then elected to play up the 17th fairway with his second shot. The No. 4 ranked player in the world hit a spectacular lob-wedge to five feet, but missed the par putt.
 
The lefthander picked up some steam around the turn with a pair of 35-foot birdie putts at the ninth and 10th holes. He was one-under par for the championship, but Mickelson kept it going with his putter.
 
At the 14th, Mickelson drained another long birdie putt, this time from 30 feet. He reached the green in two at the par-five closing hole and two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie and a share of the lead.
 
'There's a lot of good scores, don't get me wrong, and I'm very happy to be one of them,' said Mickelson, a three-time PGA Tour winner this year. 'It wasn't quite as stressful a round. I was able to keep the ball in play and hit a lot of greens in regulation and was able to make a few putts.'
 
Mickelson came within five strokes of winning the Grand Slam last season, but this year has not been close to that level of success. He took 10th in the Masters, but tied for 33rd at the U.S. Open and shared 60th at St. Andrews.
 
'I felt very confident last year going into the majors,' said Mickelson. 'I feel similarly this week in that the biggest difference is I feel like I know which way my misses are going to be with each club. I struggled a little bit this year missing it both ways in the majors, and the penalty for a miss is so great that I couldn't play effectively doing that.'
 
Appleby, who lost a playoff in the 2002 British Open, collected three birdies in his opening nine, the back side at Baltusrol. He bogeyed the first hole, but made back-to-back birdies from the rough off the tee at five and six.
 
The Australian was at four-under par, but ran into trouble with a bogey at the eighth. He went over the green with his approach and could not save par, dropping him into the logjam in first.
 
'The course has potential to get more difficult, but the greens generally are very round, so there's not many pins that can hide behind bunkers,' said Appleby. 'Everything is pretty visible from the fairway, unusual for a lot of the courses we play, even in normal tournaments.'
 
Sabbatini was one-over at the turn, but caught fire on the back nine. He sank an eight-footer for birdie at the 11th, then chipped in for a birdie at No. 12.
 
The South African closed the round with back-to-back birdies at the par-five closing holes. He ran home a 10-footer at the 650-yard 17th, then a 15-footer at the last.
 
'It's a course that really can give a lot, but it can take it away in a blink,' said Sabbatini. 'If you do have a birdie putt, really try to make some out there and capitalize on the situations because it kind of alleviates that stress on you.'
 
Ames was also one-over at the turn, but birdied three holes in a row from the 10th. He bogeyed 15 when he drove left of the fairway, but Ames, like Sabbatini, went birdie-birdie for his share of the lead.
 
Immelman, a 25-year-old South African, opened on the back side and broke into red figures quickly with a four-footer at No. 10. He dropped a shot at the 11th when his tee ball found the rough, but reclaimed the lost stroke with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th.
 
He parred his next five holes, but made the turn at two-under par with a birdie at 18. Immelman drove it in the tall grass, but laid up short of the green at the par-five closing hole. He hit a wedge to 15 feet with his third to set up the birdie.
 
On the front side, Immelman played steady with seven consecutive pars. He collected his only birdie of the opening nine at the eighth, when his wedge stopped six feet from the hole.
 
'All in all, it was a pretty solid day for me,' said Immelman, who tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for 15th at the British Open. 'My putter really kept me in it, and I enjoyed it out there.'
 
Curtis recorded his first birdie at the fifth when his six-iron from a fairway bunker stopped four feet behind the hole. He parred the next eight holes around the turn.
 
At the 14th, Curtis knocked a nine-iron to 12 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. He parred 15, then got to minus-three with a spectacular tee ball at the par-three 16th. Curtis hit a three-iron to a foot at the 230-yard hole and tapped in the putt for his 67.
 
Defending champion Vijay Singh closed with back-to-back birdies at 17 and 18 to shoot even-par 70. He is tied for 28th.
 
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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, broken down into daily segments:

    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 early 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 early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

    Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

    The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

    “Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

    Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

    But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

    Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

    “It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

    There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

    It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

    “It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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    Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

    According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

    Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

    Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

    Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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    Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

    Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

    Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

    “I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

    Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

    “Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

    Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

    On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

    “These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

    Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

    More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

    Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

    Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

    “He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

    Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

    He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.