Tiger Woods comes up short at another major, but is still the main attraction

“Tiger’s coming!” was the shout of one golf fan directed to Brooks Koepka during Sunday’s final round at the U.S. PGA Championship.

Gentle baiting from the crowd, as well as several roars of delight from around the course after another Tiger Woods birdie, weren’t enough to deter Koepka from a third major title. But the signs are there that Woods is again a force to be reckoned with.

American Koepka, 28, withstood stifling pressure and sweltering heat in St Louis, Missouri, to card a four-under 66 good enough for a two-shot victory, and claim the trophy and the $1.98 million prize.

Woods played his part though in front of a huge gathering of supporters, in pursuit of his first major title in a decade — and came close by returning a 64, his lowest final round in a major ever.

Winning at Bellerive means Koepka has now won three of the last seven majors and becomes only the fifth golfer and first since Woods in 2000 to triumph at both the PGA and U.S. Open in the same year.

“Other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger,” Koepka said. “It kind of pushes you to step up your game.”

As Woods finished his round and had the clubhouse lead, he had a maximum value of 100, according to Google Trends. While at the same time, Koepka was languishing down at just 27. That’s despite holding a clear lead and playing his final few holes on the course.

The sense of apathy, combined with the love of a sporting comeback, isn’t of concern to Koepka, who accepts he won’t be able to please everyone and still had the support of his fellow professionals.

“I’ve heard some frustration that he hasn’t won a lot of other tournaments, but he’s won three majors now, so he’s definitely winning the right ones,” Adam Scott said. The Australian was playing alongside Koepka in the final group and finished three shots behind him.

More vocal support should come Koepka’s way next month when he takes part in the Ryder Cup as part of Team USA, after the top eight automatic picks heading to the event in Paris were confirmed.

By winning at Bellerive, Koepka finished top of the standings ahead of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson. Captain Jim Furyk will pick four others — three on September 3 and the final choice on September 9.

Woods, in finishing runner-up Sunday, jumped from 20th to 11th in the Ryder Cup standings, behind Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson.

It seems almost unthinkable that Furyk would leave out Woods given his form in the past two majors and his experience of seven previous Ryder Cups.

“I’m just pleased with what I’ve done so far, and now to be part of the Ryder Cup conversation, from where I’ve come to now, it’s been pretty cool,” 14-times major champion Woods said.

The wait continues for the Woods comeback to be completed with that elusive 15th major, but given his form so far in 2018, interest only looks set to increase.

 

Adam Reed | 

Source: cnbc.com

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Tiger Woods not feeling old at oldest championship in golf

Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY Published 8:15 a.m. ET July 17, 2018

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — As a skinny lad back in the day, Tiger Woods got his first taste of links golf at venerable Carnoustie. Not on the course, mind you, but on the practice round.

A student at the time at Stanford University, Woods quickly got an education in how to play the ball under the wind and on the ground of the ancient links. He was an amateur playing in the 1995 Scottish Open, but he was a kid at heart who fell in love with this style of golf on that first day at Carnoustie.

“It was one of the cooler things, just staying on the range and hitting the ball at the 100-meter sign. I was hitting 9-irons and 4-irons and 5-irons and just having a blast trying to hit that sign,” a smiling Woods said Tuesday at Carnoustie ahead of Thursday’s start of the 147th British Open.

“I remember my dad on the range with me saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100-(meter) sign?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best,’” Woods said.

It was a two-hour tutorial before he finally headed to the course, and on the second hole used his putter 120 yards from the hole.

“That was one of the cooler moments,” Woods said.

Since then, he’s had some big moments in the Open, winning at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005 and at Hoylake in 2006. He’s back at Carnoustie for his third Open — he finished in a tie for seventh in 1999 and in a tie for 12th in 2007 — and his inner child has once again emerged.

“I’ve always loved playing links golf,” Woods said. “It’s my favorite type of golf. I enjoy this type of golf because it is creative and you have to use your mind. We’re not going to get the most perfect bounces. A certain shot that is hit where you think is a wonderful shot down the middle of the fairway could bounce some weird way. That’s just part of it.

“That’s the fun challenge of it.”

A warm and dry summer has turned Carnoustie brown and firm, with plenty of fire in the fairways and manageable wispy rough. It just adds to the challenge Woods relishes as he tries to win for the first time since 2013.

Since he first stepped onto the grounds on Sunday, Woods has been putting together the blueprint he’ll use to attack the course. He put a TaylorMade prototype 2-iron bent to 17 degrees in his bag because of the firm conditions. He and caddie Joe LaCava are still working on strategy off each tee, especially when Woods is hitting his 3-iron 335 yards as he did twice on Sunday.

While he’s still figuring out the pace of the greens, which are slightly slower than the normal speeds seen on the PGA Tour, Woods is confident in the mallet putter he first put into his bag in his last start, a tie for fourth in the Quicken Loans National three weeks ago.

https://twitter.com/GolfChannel/status/1018803967776747525

“I have putted a little bit better,” Woods said. “To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career. It’s one of the reasons why I think I really like the fact that this putter has grooves in it so it does roll initially a little bit faster and a little bit more true. And it is a little bit hotter.”

Woods is making his 12th start of the year and has been in the hunt late on Sunday in five of the tournaments. He said he’s improved from start to start.

“My feels are much better than they were at the beginning of the year, and I feel like I have a better understanding of my game and my body and my swing, much more so than I did at Augusta,” Woods said. “That’s just going to come with a little bit more experience, and I think that I’ve made a few adjustments.

“I’ve changed putters. I’ve tweaked my swing a little bit since the West Coast swing. And everything’s gotten just a little bit better. I’ve put myself up there in contention a couple times.

“Just need to play some cleaner golf, and who knows?”

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John Smoltz just learned how hard US Open golf really is

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Though John Smoltz may have felt very much alone on the wind-whipped, sun-baked Broadmoor course, he wasn’t.

The pitching Hall of Famer spent Day 1 at the US Senior Open in much the same position as the rest of the field — gouging out of ankle-high rough, then scrambling to put himself in position for par putts on tricky, mountain greens that left player after player shaking his head.

“I’m just being honest,” Smoltz said after a round of 15-over 85 that left him tied for 150th place. “I don’t have enough game for this course yet.”

He wasn’t alone.

The ultimate test for the seniors produced only eight below-par scores Thursday, and not a single player — not even leader Jerry Kelly — finished 18 holes without a bogey on his card.

Kelly gave it a run, though.

After saving par from the rough on the 559-yard, par-4 17th — he was holding his right elbow after digging out the approach — Kelly was one 4-foot putt away from going bogey-free. But when that slid a fraction to the right at the cup, his flawless day was history.

Kelly still shot 4-under 66, which was good enough for a two-shot lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kevin Sutherland, Deane Pappas and Rocco Mediate.

“I was pretty disappointed with that three-putt on the last hole,” Kelly said. “But it gave me a lot today. I played very well, but it gave me some shots, too.”

 

Mediate found himself in the mix again for a national championship 10 years after his epic, 19-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods at the US Open at Torrey Pines. Whether it’s the regular Open or the seniors, Mediate insists the tough USGA setups suit him, even though he missed the cut the last two years in this event.

“It looks like a US Open golf course,” Mediate said about the Broadmoor. “It is a US Open golf course. It will show you quickly that it is, if you hit it in the wrong place. That’s what I love most about the setup.”

Also lurking was defending champion Kenny Perry, whose 71 included only a single birdie.

“Here, the greens, they’ve got you on edge,” said Perry, whose title last year gave him entry into the US Open earlier this month. “I feel like I’m at Shinnecock again.”

Smoltz, whose day job is broadcasting baseball games for Fox, walked onto the Broadmoor for the first time this week. He hired a local caddie, Colin Prater, who was a Division II All-American at Colorado-Colorado Springs.

Almost immediately, though, the pitcher-turned-golfer received a crash course in the difference between casual rounds of golf and the sport at its most difficult.

“I never expected to get that many bad lies,” he said. “Nothing I could do about it. And I had a lot of tough shots that I have not practiced and that I am not used to hitting.”

A few times during the round, Smoltz had to stop, take off his shoes and tape up his toes, which were raw and aching. Lesson: Don’t break in new golf shoes at the US Open.

“It was fun to have him out here,” said Bob Ford, who was in the threesome with Smoltz. “But I didn’t expect him to break 80. I know how good he is. But this is just another world. It’s not his world.”

Smoltz’s first turn through this world will end after Friday’s round.

Kelly — he set himself up to be in a good spot heading into the weekend.

“I hit three bad shots, and I shot 85,” Smoltz said. “It just tells you, from an amateur standpoint, and for people sitting at home, how great these players are.”

 

Sources: nypost.com

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The Perfect Gift for Dad!

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Tuesday is officially Ladies Day.  Ladies can play for half price all day on any of our three courses.  The half price is green fee only and does not include the cart fee.

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McIlroy pleased with opening 67 at BMW PGA

While a short miss on the final green denied him a share of the clubhouse lead, Rory McIlroy had plenty of reason to smile after opening the BMW PGA Championship with a 5-under 67.

McIlroy won the European Tour’s flagship event in memorable fashion in 2014, erasing a seven-shot deficit on the final day. But the West Course at Wentworth has otherwise been a house of horrors for the Ulsterman, as he missed the cut in his three other appearances since 2012 and has played the course in a combined 10 over in his eight career appearances.

This marks his first return to the event since 2015, and he’s now one shot off the early pace after a round that at times offered glimpses of his commanding form from recent years.

 

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

 

“I think I did everything pretty well,” McIlroy said. “I drove the ball much better, put the ball in play off the tee a lot more than I’ve done the last couple weeks, so that’s been really good. I thought I gave myself a lot of chances, and I took most of them.”

McIlroy started slowly, and a bogey on No. 9 after a poor approach from the middle of the fairway meant he made the turn in just 1 under. But he got that dropped shot back on the next hole, then added birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 to climb up the leaderboard. He appeared poised to add at least one more tally, but was unable to birdie either of the two closing par-5s at Wentworth including a miss from inside 4 feet on No. 18.

“A little frustrated that I couldn’t get a birdie or two out of the last couple holes, but overall a really good start,” he said.

Making his first start since a missed cut at The Players Championship, McIlroy sits two shots behind Lucas Bjerregaard with hopes for “more of the same” from his game over the weekend on a course that has often had his number.

“If I can hit the ball like I did today over the next three days,” McIlroy said, “I think I’ll be right there.”

 

Source: golfchannel.com