Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
“Not many drivers” is a crazy new catch phrase in sports. It applies not to the Indy 500 or the Iditarod dog-sled race but to, of all things, professional golf in the so-called Bomber Era.
“Not many drivers.” We heard it last week at The Players, where seemingly more and more players hit 3-woods off the tees.
“Not many drivers.” We heard Rory McIlroy say that probably would be the case if conditions are firm at the upcoming Memorial Tournament, hosted by arguably the best long-straight driver in the game’s history.
“Not many drivers.” We certainly will hear that at the U.S. Open at Merion because, well, we’ve already heard it.
The big-headed, easier-to-hit driver becoming less and less of a weapon in golf? Doesn’t sound, feel or smell right.
But that’s the state of the game at the moment, at the PGA Tour level anyway.
Why? For starters, consider that Players champion Tiger Woods said last week that his 3-wood shots at TPC Sawgrass went more than 300 yards and his 5-wood missiles approached 300. He does that and still ...
If Tiger Woods’ first Players Championship victory, in 2001, is remembered best for his better-than-most birdie putt on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, then Sunday’s victory might be known for his dustup with Sergio Garcia after the third round – and then Garcia’s final-round collapse on No. 17 that ultimately sealed a two-shot victory for Woods.
It was an unforgettable finish, as Woods pull away early Sunday before hitting his tee ball into the water at the par-4 14th. Then on the 17th green, facing a difficult two-putt, he watched as Garcia buried a birdie across the water on No. 16 to grab a share of the lead. But in the end, and three water balls by Garcia later (two on No. 17, one on No. 18), Woods had his third career victory at TPC Sawgrass.
Woods’ first victory at TPC Sawgrass came at the 1994 U.S. Amateur. That was before the majors, before the 78 career PGA Tour victories, and before he solved Pete Dye’s Players Stadium course twice more en route to winning a pair of Players titles.
That tournament could be remembered most for Woods’ dramatic comeback in the championship match ...
Tiger Woods (PGA Tour – The Players Championship)
Driver: Nike VR Tour (8.5 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft)
Fairway woods: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood (15 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103X shaft) and Nike VR_S Covert 5-wood (19 degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 103X shaft)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades (3-PW; True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56 and 60 degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)
Putter: Nike Method 001
Ball: Nike One Tour D
Footwear: Nike TW '14
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods didn't run away and hide on Sunday, but tightened up over TPC Sawgrass' final three holes to win his second career Players Championship title on Sunday.
Woods fired a 2-under 70 to outlast David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman by two shots. Here are 5 Things to take away from Woods' 78th career PGA Tour victory:
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1. FOUR! Fans and players alike are used to watching Tiger Woods pull away on Sunday, especially on the back nine.
And Sunday started on that script, with Woods running out to a two-shot lead as he stepped up to the 14th tee box.
And then he did something no one is used to – he popped up a drive that hooked into a lake along the left side of the fairway. He failed to get up-and-down from just in front of the green for bogey, falling back into a four-way tie for the lead with Sergio Garcia, David Lingmerth and Jeff Maggert at 12 under.
“When I hit it (the pop-up hook), I’m like, ‘OK, here we go. You haven’t hit a shot like this all week, so forget it. . . . Let’s make a ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It wasn't pretty, and took some help from the 17th hole, but Tiger Woods won his fourth PGA Tour title of the season with his first Players Championship title since 2001.
Woods fired a 2-under 70 -- which included a double-bogey at the par-4 14th that left the tournament in a four-way tie for the lead -- to win the title by two shots over David Lingmerth, Jeff Maggert and Kevin Streelman.
A birdie at the par-5 16th hole and then a clutch two-putt from 45 feet at No. 17 allowed Woods to hold off the field to pick up his 78th career victory.
"I hit the worst shot I could possibly hit (on No. 14)," said Woods, who has won in his 100th, 200th and now 300th career start. "But stayed really patient. I kept telling myself that was the first bad swing I had."
Sergio Garcia was tied for the lead when he stepped up to the par-3 17th hole, but would go in the water twice on the tough par-3 and drop off the leaderboard, picking up quintuple bogey. Jeff Maggert was also part of an earlier tie, only to pick up double-bogey at ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nothing like a good night’s sleep, a gentle morning, and a few birdies with breakfast to soothe the petulance and pettiness, eh?
The morning after for those long-standing combatants, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, was quiet and reserved, with more decorum than they brought to their post-golf talks Saturday evening. Maybe it was a concession to Mother’s Day or perhaps they decided to focus on the golf, not the rhetoric, but after they completed three-and-a-half holes to finish their third rounds of The Players Championship, Woods and Garcia did not arm wrestle, kick-box, or spar.
They merely removed hats, shook hands, and walked from the 18th green.
No, they weren’t arm-in-arm, but Woods and Garcia are tied atop the leaderboard through 54 holes, 11 under and locked with unheralded David Lingmerth of Sweden. A trio of players – Casey Wittenberg, Henrik Stenson and Ryan Palmer – are tied for fourth at 10 under, while Jeff Maggert, who finished his third round so long ago it’s easy to overlook, is alone in seventh, at 9 under.
Truth be told, it’s a testament to the PGA Tour landscape that little attention was paid to anyone ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.–It took less than two holes for controversy to stir in the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia final twosome in The Players’ third round Saturday. And by the end of the long, weather-delayed day, you could cut the tension between the two with a 1-iron, if anybody can find a 1-iron anymore.
TPC Sawgrass doesn’t get this frosty when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. That was particularly the case when a cold war of words filled the air after play was halted with the pair on No. 15, tied for second with Henrik Stenson at 10 under par, two shots behind little-known David Lingmerth.
The problem between the two longtime adversaries began on the par-5 No. 2 when Woods, on pine straw in the left trees, pulled a 5-wood out of his bag. Spectators circled around him cheered loudly, clearly liking that he would try to get through a low opening under the trees with a go-for-broke style.
Problem was, Garcia said the cheers came in the middle of his swing, which sent his ball from the fairway to far right into trees. His punched third shot failed to reach the green and he missed an ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- How did Friday top the Thursday that was at the Players Championship?
We saw a course record tied with Roberto Castro's 9-under 63. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy began three shots back, while World No. 1 Tiger Woods started four back. Defending U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson and veteran Steve Stricker also started four back.
The names are huge, the play was spectacular and now TPC Sawgrass will try to challenge players as they jockey to stay inside the cut line.
Woods played alongside Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker again, this time teeing off in the morning groups and shooting another 67 to stay in the mix.
But the low round of the day again yielded the leader, with Sergio Garcia shooting 65 to move to the top of the leaderboard.
Check back tomorrow as we keep you up to date on third-round developments – and scroll down to see how the second round unfolded.
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Update #28: 7:41 p.m. EDT
Brian Davis birdies the last to make the cut, while Nicholas Thompson ends with a bogey to head home as the two effectively trade ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Someone finally spray-painted The Players’ leaderboard with a bunch of big, bright, bold names. Imagine that. Q-rating all over the marquee at the TPC Sawgrass.
Sergios, Tigers, Westwoods, McIlroys, oh my. Cue the Wizard of Oz scene and soundtrack.
This is where Hall of Fame types in recent years usually have come to, if not die, then at least hide. Consider the Big Five of last decade–Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen. They may have won 178 PGA Tour titles and 27 major championships, but they have contended, remarkably, only six times combined in 85 previous Players.
Mickelson is the lone major champion to have won here since Davis Love III a decade ago. This might be golf’s so-called fifth major, but it doesn’t regularly attract the game’s upper crust to the top of the scoreboard as the traditional four corners of the Grand Slam do.
Hence, it is the most difficult tournament to forecast, one where the method of picking names out of a hat is almost viable. Don’t laugh. The TPC has served up 28 different winners in its 31 years.
The reason is ...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. Thursday marks the beginning of the richest tournament on the PGA Tour, which is also referred to as golf's "fifth major" by players and fans alike.
The Players Championship features the top 43 players in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, including Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.
But none are within 3 shots of leader Roberto Castro, who made an early move at the tough TPC Sawgrass course and made his score stand up. He birdies Nos. 16-18 before making the turn, then eagled No. 2, the heart of his 63.
McIlroy is tied for second with Zach Johnson at 6 under. Woods, Hunter Mahan, Ryan Palmer, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker and Casey Wittenberg are another shot back and tied for fourth. Scott, paired with McIlroy and Stricker in arguably the best group of the day, is T-16 at 3 under.
Check out tomorrow's tee times and scroll down to see how the first-round unfolded.
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Hole #18: Par 4, 447 yards
That was an incredible par save for Tiger, as most would be facing three putts after that ...
A joint statement issued by the USGA and R&A on Wednesday clarified the ruling that saved Tiger Woods from disqualification at the Masters last month.
Golfweek obtained an advance copy of the statement from sources familiar with the governing bodies’ review of the 2013 ruling at the Masters.
Since the 2013 ruling at the Masters, both of golf's ruling bodies had received various inquiries about the scope of the Masters Rules Committee’s discretion to waive the penalty of disqualification under Rule 6-6d ("Wrong score for hole") regarding a player's failure to return a correct scorecard.
“There's been so many incorrect interpretations of why this happened that it's not doing anybody any good with some of the things being talked about," said Mike Davis, the USGA's executive director, explaining the association's desire to explain the Masters ruling.
Woods took a drop in Friday’s second round after his third shot hit the flagstick on the par-5 15th hole and ricocheted into the pond fronting the green. Woods walked up to inspect the drop area and then returned to where he had hit his previous shot before taking a drop, from where he proceeded ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tiger Woods is sticking to his long break after the Masters, meaning he will miss the Wells Fargo Championship next week.
Asked about Woods not playing Quail Hollow this year, agent Mark Steinberg replied in an email, "Accurate."
Woods typically takes three weeks off after the year's first major. Because of a change in scheduling this year, the Wells Fargo Championship is only two weeks after the Masters.
Woods won at Quail Hollow in 2007. He has missed the cut the last two times he played, in 2010 and 2012. He missed in 2011 trying to recover from leg injuries. Before the two missed cuts, his worst finish had been a tie for 11th.
The Wells Fargo Championship still has a strong field, featuring Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.
The streak continues.
Tiger Woods, despite four birdies during his final 10 holes Sunday, could only muster a 2-under 70 and finished T-4 to run his winless streak at Augusta National to eight tournaments.
"It's just the way it goes. As I said, I had my opportunities to finish with some good numbers this week and I felt like I really played well and I've been playing – I played this week the way I've been playing all year, and that's a good sign," said Woods.
Woods didn't give himself a great chance to contend by going 2 over through eight holes Sunday, including scrambling pars at both par-5s (Nos. 2 and 8). He turned things around with birdies at Nos. 9 and 10, but missed a 15-footer on No. 12 that proved costly. He would pick up birdies on Nos. 13 and 15, but miss a 10-footer on No. 16 that sealed his fate.
"I certainly missed my share of putts today, actually this week. I also made a bunch too," said Woods. "So it's one of those things where this golf course was playing a little bit tricky. We had four different green ...
The drop heard 'round the world.
Tiger Woods was given a two-stroke penalty Saturday morning after an illegal drop on No. 15 during the second round of the Masters on Friday.
People have multiple opinions on the situation and whether Augusta National made the right decision in giving him a two-shot penalty rather than disqualifying him.
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Before Tiger got to Augusta National for Saturday’s third round, he took to Twitter:
Tiger Woods @TigerWoods
At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules.
I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning..
and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination...
was that there was no violation, but they had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation...
...with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.
• • •
Other players and people well-known in the golf world took their opinions to Twitter ...
Editor's note: A penalty assessed Saturday morning changed Tiger Woods' score to 1 under through 36 holes.
• • •
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods was tied for the lead when the course that’s been the site of so much success turned on him. Woods’ wedge approach to the par-5 15th hit the flagstick and rolled into the water in front of the green, turning birdie into bogey.
Woods also three-putted for bogey on the final hole to finish at 3-under 141, three shots behind 36-hole leader Jason Day, who shot 68 Friday. Woods played his fifth shot at the 15th near where he had hit his third shot. He got up-and-down this time to save 6.
“The sun was in my eyes, so I knew I started the ball on the flag. I didn't know if I cut it enough, but evidently it was a really good one,” Woods said of his third shot to the 15th. The shot was well-executed; the result couldn’t have been much worse.
Woods hit just 10 of 18 greens Friday, but walked off the course pleased with his ballstriking. “Even my misses were on top of flags,” he said. Distance control was difficult ...
AUGUSTA, Ga. – At 73, Jack Nicklaus is still a great interview. Having won six Green Jackets also makes him the oracle of how to play Augusta National during the Masters Tournament.
Starting his Masters career in 1959 and winning his first Green Jacket in 1963, Nicklaus clearly played enough rounds to advise not only Tiger Woods when he came calling, but Rory McIlroy, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts – who asked for advice last weekend – and eventually 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, who actually asked for an audience this week with the Golden Bear via email.
“I just try to find out what they are thinking and what they are trying to accomplish, what they are trying to do, what are their goals and how do they approach what they doing,” Nicklaus said. “I told Nicolas the other day, I said, 'There’s going to be half a dozen golf shots on this golf course that make or break this golf course that can kill you, not so bad if you hit it good. But if you hit it poorly, you’re down the road.' ”
Nicklaus says he never found a bad putt from the middle of the green on any of the 18 ...
AUGUSTA Ga. – A walk along the elegant, tree-lined fairway corridors of Augusta National Golf Club makes me realize that in a few key ways, this isn’t quite the same layout where in 1997 Tiger Woods won the first of his four Masters titles. The real question for anyone who cares about major-championship golf is whether there’s some sort of correlation between the changes here and the fact that Woods has not won here since 2005.
For someone who cares as I do about golf course architecture and setup, I’m still enough of a student of the pro game to know most of the guys on Tour are so good and of such quality in shot-making and scoring that they can win just about anywhere. The best piece of evidence is that short-hitting Zach Johnson won on a recently lengthened Augusta National in 2007 under cold, wet conditions in which the ball basically went nowhere. Instead of it being a handicap for Johnson, the plodding style of play needed to win proved less of an adjustment to him than to “bomb and gouge” players accustomed to flying the ball vast distances, getting a lot of roll and having ...
AUGUSTA, Ga. For decades some have pondered whether confidence leads to good shots, or vice versa. Tuesday at the Masters, Tiger Woods was presented a different version of chicken-or-egg.
Given that Woods appears happier than he has been in a few years and that he has won six of his last 19 stroke-play starts on the PGA Tour, he was asked whether winning has led to happiness – or the other way around.
“I think it’s just a balance, a balance in life,” said the winner of 14 major championships, none since June 2008. “I think that’s what you’re seeing.”
Woods struck the “balance” chord a few times in his pre-Masters news conference Tuesday – and not with regard to the kind that is necessary in a sound golf swing. The name of Lindsey Vonn, the ski racer who is his new girlfriend, was never brought up. But there were implications when the topic veered toward inner peace.
“I think life is all about having a balance, and trying to find equilibrium and not getting things one way or the other,” Woods said. “And I feel very balanced.”
That is about as close as Woods has gotten to including ...
Thirteen years ago, Earl Woods sat in his Cypress, Calif., living room, dressed in an old-school, heather-gray sweatsuit but with no shoes and socks. He chain-smoked probably a pack of cigarettes during a four-hour interview in that house where he raised a prodigy named Tiger. Your correspondent didn’t see famous artifacts such as garage high chair or list of Jack Nicklaus records taped to a bedroom wall, but he did come away with a memory that remains imprinted.
“If they want to Tiger-proof Augusta National,” Earl said, taking a drag, “then they should make everybody play from the red tees.”
Tiger-proofing was a hot topic back then because Woods was so dominant that it appeared he could turn Nicklaus’ half-joking forecast of 10 green jackets into a reality. But his road to double digits took a bizarre twist. Woods has won but one of the past 10 Masters, his fourth and latest success coming eight years ago.
Given his early brilliance there, his 1-for-10 and 0-for-7 sound like factual errors, if not something out of Alex Rodriguez’s last postseason. Rather, they are indicators that Augusta has indeed been Tiger-proofed – at least in terms of the trophy-stand blockage – for ...
Facts and figures for the 77th Masters, held April 11-14 at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.
• Length: 7,435 yards.
• Par: 36-36_72.
• Purse: To be determined ($8 million in 2012).
• Field: 93 (87 professionals, six amateurs).
• Cut: Top 44 and ties, and anyone within 10 shots of the lead.
• Defending champion: Bubba Watson.
• Last year: Watson made four straight birdies on the back nine, closed with a 4-under 68, and then beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff with a shot that instantly became part of Masters lore. Deep in the woods to the right of the 10th fairway, he hit a gap wedge from about 155 yards that hooked some 40 yards and settled 10 feet away for a two-putt par to win on the second extra hole. While that shot was memorable, Oosthuizen hit one that was historic. He became the first player to make double-eagle 2 on the par-5 second hole by hitting 4-iron from the fairway. Oosthuizen closed with a 69. They finished on 10-under 278. Watson became the fifth left-handed player in the last 10 years to win the Masters. Phil Mickelson made two triple bogeys for the week and still tied for third, two shots ...
Ten facts about the 77th Masters, to be played April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Club:
1. THE GUY IN RED WANTS GREEN AGAIN: Tiger Woods won the Masters four times in his first nine years on the PGA Tour. Since then, he has been shut out. Woods has gone seven years since he last won at Augusta National, his longest drought in any of the majors. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus first played a practice round with Woods when he was an amateur, and they predicted he would win more green jackets than their 10 combined. And at age 37, Woods is not even halfway there.
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2. HALFWAY HOME: Rory McIlroy is only 23 and already is halfway home to the career Grand Slam. He already has won the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. A green jacket would give him the third leg of the Grand Slam. McIlroy had a four-shot lead going into the final round at Augusta in 2011 and shot 80. He was one shot out of the lead going into the weekend last year and went 77-76. If he wins this year, Boy Wonder would join Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Jack ...
A look at 20 top players going into the 77th Masters, to be played April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Club (listed in predicted order of finish):
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Country: United States.
World ranking: 11.
Worldwide wins: 3.
Majors: PGA Championship (2011).
Best Masters: Tie for 27th.
Why he can win: Raw power, great determination, and his next major will elevate him in status. Plus, the Masters is the only major that hasn’t been won by a guy using a belly putter. If it’s going to be anyone, make it the first major champion to use one.
Why he might not: Augusta National won’t allow a winner using a belly putter.
• • •
Country: United States.
World ranking: 1.
Worldwide wins: 89.
Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002, 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).
Best Masters: Won.
Why he can win: He has won six times on the PGA Tour in his last 20 starts, and no one is playing better. Woods has won back-to-back tournaments going into the Masters for the first time since 2001. He won a green jacket that ...
Lasting image of the weekend's golf? With all due respect, it had nothing to do with yet another Tiger Woods victory march, nor was it the Arnold Palmer-meets-Kate Upton photo opportunity.
No, what resonated was an Associated Press photo of Rory McIlroy hitting golf balls at a driving range in Miami. He was taking a break from a big part of his life – girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki was involved in a tennis tournament in Key Biscayne – to put some focus into that part of his life for which he is known.
Now it’s comforting to see McIlroy in golf mode – even at a scruffy driving range. It’s just that it will be even better this week when he’s going to play some real golf, the Shell Houston Open, because it has been far too easy to forget where we were just four months ago. Late November, McIlroy was being saluted for his money titles in the U.S. and Europe, the shine of his second major triumph was still bright, and the consensus was, even if Tiger Woods had his A game, that it fell short of what the kid from Northern Ireland could deliver.
Ah, the ...
WINDERMERE, Fla. -- There is no rest for the new No. 1 in the world.
Tiger Woods, a day after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational to regain the World No. 1 ranking, will take part in today's Tavistock Cup. Due to the weather-delayed finish at Bay Hill on Monday, the Tavistock Cup has been shortened to an 18-hole tournament at exclusive Isleworth. Six teams will count four individual scores from today's round.
We'll keep you updated on Tiger's round today, as well as the overall picture from Tavistock:
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1st playoff hole, No. 18: Par 4, 477 yards
Tiger Woods will represent Team Albany along with Ian Poulter, while Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson will represent Lake Nona. No. 18 still hasn't been birdied: five bogeys and a double, 18 pars. McDowell goes first and misses left, while Stenson lines up way right and finds the short rough right of the fairway. Poulter takes the same line as Stenson and finds the left edge. Woods then draws the biggest cheer and his ball rolls down the middle. With so many approach shots having come up short today, it will be interesting to see if these four take ...
It is rare that you can tie in reality with fantasy, especially in the video game world.
So color me surprised when a whole lot of perspective was provided by my 8-year-old on Friday.
One of the perks of being in the golf business is that you get to meet some great people, and sometimes even get to bring a family member to join in on the fun.
On Friday in Bay Hill, my little man was a bit of a deer caught in headlights. He is beginning to understand golf, but really just knows one face: Tiger Woods. Not because he watches him on Sunday, but because his face graces the cover of a video game. Tiger Woods is cool to him. When daddy has had a couple of sit-downs with Tiger, I am king for the day (OK, maybe a couple of hours, but who is counting?).
While hanging out at the par-3 17th on Friday, we caught a glimpse of Arnold Palmer. I hurriedly ushered him over to get a look at the King. He really didn't understand why, as he only knew Palmer's name was on all the signs at the tournament.
We waited ...
Recent Tiger Woods Archive Videos
Check out the swings of Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Fred Couples during the 2013 Tavistock Cup, won by Tiger Woods' Albany squad.
Take a look at this EA Sports promotional video for the upcoming release of the 2014 EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour '14 video game, starring Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino.