Woods Reclaims No1 and More in 2005

By Sports NetworkDecember 14, 2005, 5:00 pm
PGA TourEntering the 2005 season, there were many questions surrounding Tiger Woods and his golf game. He answered them all - and then some. After the season ended, those who had begun the year by questioning Woods were wondering where his 2005 season ranked against his great run in 1999 and 2000.
Woods wasn't the only story, though. There were plenty of youngsters stepping into the foreground, and of course the United States claimed the Presidents Cup, thanks to the great play of Chris DiMarco (4-0-1).
One year after losing the top spot in the world rankings, Tiger Woods quickly made a statement in 2005 by saying that he would not stand for complacency. He got off to a hot start and let it be known he was out to regain the top spot in the world.
The 29-year-old posted four rounds in the 60s at the winners-only Mercedes Championship in Hawaii to take third place. And Woods made one of his main sponsors happy as he won the Buick Invitational a few weeks later.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods returned to his familiar roles of Masters champion and World No. 1.
The win was his first in 15 months in a stroke-play event. As the tour headed to the East Coast for the first time, Woods once again proved he was out to regain the top spot in the world.
He fired rounds of 63-66 on the weekend at the Ford Championship at Doral to top one of his main rivals, Phil Mickelson. Vijay Singh, like Mickelson, carded four rounds in the 60s, but it was still not enough as the Fijian wound up five back.
Woods posted a pair of pedestrian finishes heading into the season's first major, the Masters.
With the green jacket on the line, Woods outdueled his Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teammate, Chris DiMarco, in a magnificent final-day duel. That will be covered in detail later.
The biggest news that came with his fourth Masters victory was the top spot in the world rankings. Woods overtook Singh with this, his third win of 2005.
Woods showed he was human a little more than one month later when, for the first time in seven years, he missed the cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. This was the wake-up call he needed.
Heading into the summer, Woods heated up with the weather. In June, he tied for third at Jack Nicklaus' event, the Memorial. He came back with a second-place finish two weeks later at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
Woods headed to Illinois for the Western Open, where he is a three-time champion. He was 14-under par over his final three rounds, but that wasn't enough to overcome his opening-round 73 as he fell short of Jim Furyk.
With the Nicklaus retirement party in full swing around the Old Course, Woods again conquered St. Andrews for his second British Open Championship crown. Nicklaus had also played his last competitive round at Augusta earlier in the season.
Woods plowed into the latter part of the summer with a tie for second, behind Singh, at the Buick Open.
At the season's final major, Woods posted three straight rounds in the 60s. However, it was not enough again as his first round was what did him in. He shared fourth place at the PGA Championship behind Mickelson. Lefty won the Monday finish with an up-and down-birdie on the 72nd hole, thanks to one of his patented flop shots.
Woods, closing his 10th year on tour, has dominated two sets of events since joining the tour. The first set, obviously, is the four majors. The other set of events is the World Golf Championships.
He won the second and third WGC events of the season, the NEC Invitational and the American Express Championship. He has now won those two events four times apiece.
Once again, Woods missed a cut, this time at the FUNAI Classic. His two missed cuts in 2005 doubled his career total.
Nonetheless, Woods closed the season with a second-place finish at the Tour Championship. With his swing changes complete, Woods collected six wins among his 13 top-five finishes in 2005 and easily won the money title, finishing more than $2.6 million ahead of Singh.
Money title - check. Two majors - check. Top spot in the world rankings - check. Mission accomplished for Woods.
Entering the 2005 season, there were plenty of fresh faces on the PGA Tour - some young, some not so young. But one youngster with an interesting background broke through as one of the best stories of the season.
Sean O'Hair burst onto the scene early in the season, but didn't have much success in missing three of his first six cuts. It took a stop on the Nationwide Tour to get his game on track.
The 23-year-old took a pit stop at the Louisiana Open in March, when the PGA Tour was at the Players Championship, and posted a second-place finish. O'Hair had made his previous two cuts on the PGA Tour, but the confidence from Louisiana propelled him to stretch that string of made cuts to nine consecutive events.
Back in the Bayou state, O'Hair notched his second top-20 finish of the season as he shared 14th place at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Then, playing in his fourth straight event, O'Hair became a household name at the Byron Nelson Championship. Not to be overshadowed by Tiger Woods missing his first cut in many years here, O'Hair carded four rounds in the 60s to post a 14-under par total of 266.
He was passed down the stretch by Ted Purdy, who closed with a 65. O'Hair, however, earned enough money with his second-place finish to secure his tour card for the following season.
While being highlighted throughout the final two rounds, O'Hair's background garnered much of the attention. His father urged him to turn pro after his junior year in high school and he spent the following years toiling on mini tours.
There were many stories about how his father drove him to work harder to become a better player. The story about how things transpired over those years became as much a story as his golf.
O'Hair, possibly caught up in all the attention from his strong finish at the Nelson, finished outside the top 30 and missed a cut in his next five starts.
Then, things really got crazy. He fired four rounds in the 60s, including a six-under 65 in the final round, to win the John Deere Classic. With a little help from the White House and John Deere officials, O'Hair secured a passport to go play the following week at the British Open.
O'Hair made it across the pond in time for a practice round with U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman. Brimming with confidence, O'Hair tied for 15th in his first ever major.
Sean O
Sean O'Hair took home a PGA Tour title and earned a spot in the Tour Championship in his rookie year.
He came back to the U.S. to card his third top-10 of the season at the Buick Open. O'Hair made the cut at his second major, the PGA Championship, but struggled in round three and finished well down the leaderboard.
O'Hair only managed one top-20 finish in his next five starts. However, he closed the season with a share of 10th at the Chrysler Championship and a 12th-place finish at the Tour Championship.
The season was a total success for O'Hair as he finished in the top 20 on the money list and climbed from virtually unranked to within the top-50 players in the world rankings.
Back to Augusta National Golf Club for the shot of the year. Though it was not the longest shot of the season, it surely was the most dramatic.
Tiger Woods, fully entrenched in a battle with Chris DiMarco, missed the green long at the par-3 16th. DiMarco was on the putting surface and had a decent look at birdie.
Woods would forge one the great turnarounds in major history, though. He pitched his chip up a slope and watched as his ball took that slope and rolled back towards the cup.
Slowly the ball trickled towards the cup, and after a dramatic pause on the lip, it fell into the hole. The ball did not have the help of the course blowing up, a la Caddyshack, but the roar from the crowd cheering the miraculous shot may still be reverberating through the Augusta pines. And that leads us to...
Surprise, the Masters. Chris DiMarco has not won a PGA Tour event since 2002, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been close. With Tiger Woods on the verge of blowing a final-round lead in a major for the first time ever, DiMarco was right there to apply the heat.
With the third round needing to be completed Sunday morning, Woods reeled off seven straight birdies, three at the start of the day Sunday, to lead entering the final round. Those birdies during round three and his miraculous birdie chip on the 16th in the final round were all needed.
Woods tripped to back-to-back bogeys from the 17th and almost lost in regulation as DiMarco nearly holed his chip shot on 18 from in front of the green. With Woods bogeying the hole and DiMarco saving par, it was off to a playoff.
Back to the 18th tee the duo went. DiMarco found the short grass off the tee, and like regulation, spun his approach shot off the front of the green. Woods also was in the fairway and knocked his second shot to 14 feet.
DiMarco once again nearly chipped in, but settled for a tap-in par. Woods made sure things would go no further. He drained his slick birdie effort to collect his fourth green jacket.
One year after winning his first major championship, Phil Mickelson made it two straight years with a major. He claimed four titles, the biggest of which was the PGA Championship. The four wins also propelled him to third on the money list.
It seems hard to put someone who hasn't won since 2002 on this list, but Chris DiMarco went 4-0-1 at the Presidents Cup and made the clinching putt to boot. Outside of that, he was seventh on the money list and notched six top-five finishes.
Bart Bryant continued to make his mark at the age of 42 and now 43. Early in his career. he appeared in at least one event in 12 years and had never posted a top-three finish. This year he won the Memorial and the Tour Championship, giving him three wins in the last two years. He ended in the top 10 on the money list and moved inside the top 25 in the world rankings.
It is always hard to pick on guys, and we are taking three former major champions to task for their poor seasons. Mike Weir was a playoff winner at the 2003 Masters, but this year he missed nine cuts and had just two top-five finishes. He fell outside the top 50 on the money list and is barely hanging inside the top 50 in the world rankings.
Another major winner from 2003 is struggling to regain that winning form. Ben Curtis claimed the claret jug that year, but he only made eight cuts this season in 24 starts and finished outside the top 125 on the money list with just two top-10 finishes.
It was just three short years ago when Rich Beem held off Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National for the PGA Championship title. Beem, however, made just eight cuts in 26 starts in 2005. He had tumbled all the way to 232nd in the world after climbing as high as 21st after his major breakthrough.

Related Links:
  • The Year in Review
  • Getty Images

    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



    Getty Images

    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

    Getty Images

    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

    Getty Images

    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”