Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger Triumphs.

Tiger Woods claimed his expected victory as he triumphed in the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

A very fine No. 79

Tiger Woods /Getty Images

A last round of even par 70 was good enough for Tiger to take the spoils in the Bridgestone Invitational tournament at Firestone Country Club with a seven shot victory. He thought that was pretty OK, so did his son, and they are looking forward to next week and picking up Major number 15;

” That was pretty cool. This week was nice, I was able to get the lead and I held it, and it was awfully special for me to have him here to witness it because he understands it now. He understands when I make birdie, when I make par, and he understands the difference. Do I want it any more?  No, it’s the same, each and every major, I always want them. I’ve been successful 14 times, and hopefully next week will be 15.”

Tied second place with Henrik Stenson was Keegan Bradley, the defending champion, finishing at -8 under par, Keegan said coming second was a big event;

” It was a really weird feeling because it was like a tournament within a tournament, I felt like, coming in second is a big accomplishment considering Tiger had such a big lead. It’s very tough to give Tiger that many shots. The round he shot on Friday was pretty special. You know, I hate to sit here and go on and on about how good he is, but he is. It’s difficult because I really want to get up there and contend with him, but this week he’s playing really well.”

Sharing a distant fourth place at -6 under par were Zach Johnson, Miguel A Jimenez and Jason Dufner.

 

 

The Honda Classic. Michael Thompson Comes Up Trumps.

A bear of a win

Michael Thompson / Franklin / Getty Images

Michael Thompson came up trumps in The Honda Classic at PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Florida. Young gun Michael cruised to a two shot win over the more experienced Geoff Ogilvy, with a last round of -1 under par and a tournament total of -9 under par. The win gets Michael into his first World Golf Championship next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, and qualifies for two more WGCs this year at the Bridgestone Invitational and at the HSBC Champions. He is also now  in the PGA Championship, gets to start next year in Hawaii and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.

Michael said in interview that the whole week had been magical, something he had been dreaming about for a long time;

“This week was magical, just had a groove and kept feeling it. This is everything, this is a childhood dream come true. I’ve dreamed of playing out here since I was 7 years old and to win, it’s just unbelievable. I just can’t put it into words, the whole day was awesome.”

He particularly enjoyed walking up the eighteenth fairway after his second shot on the par five landed in the greenside bunker, giving him the opportunity of an up and down birdie, and he did just that;

“That for me kind of sealed the deal, it allowed me to walk up the fairway and enjoy the experience, see the crowd and just finish strong.”

Geoff Ogilvy will also be at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral, thanks to putting together four good rounds of golf, for his total of  -7 under par.

Geoff admitted that he had already given himself next week off;

“I kind of penciled in a week off, so it’s nice, and it gets me back in the mix for the Masters.”

Geoff was also full of admiration for Michael, and the way he played this golf course;

You don’t have to do much wrong to be making a bogey out there, so it’s pretty impressive, it’s a great effort really. As you see by the rest of the scores, it’s a very hard golf course and it seems to get progressively harder in some ways. There’s a disaster waiting everywhere. There’s a lot of golf courses on tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them.”

Luke Guthrie, Michael’s sparring partner at the top of the leaderboard for most of this event fell back during the last round, carding a miserable +3 over par 73, and a tournament total of -5 under par, but it still left him alone in third place.

 

McGladrey Classic, Jim and Davis Share Lead after 54 Holes

 

SEA ISLAND, GA - OCTOBER 20:  Jim Furyk (L) and Davis Love III speak on the 18th hole during the third round of The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island's Seaside Course on October 20, 2012 in Sea Island, Georgia.

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111/Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111 share the lead at the McGladrey Classic at the 54 hole stage at the Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia. Both Jim and Davis had third rounds of -4 under par 66 to share the tournament total of -13 under par.

Jim said a win here at the McGladrey Classic could not erase the memories of his abject  failure to hold leads at the U.S. Open in June, the World Golf Championships,Bridgestone Invitational in August, and a 1 up lead over Sergio Garcia, with just two holes left to play in the Ryder Cup;

“I’m tougher on myself, I promise,  than anyone else is. So I’ve kicked myself 100 times already, and I’ve gotten over it. I can put it behind me and move on. There’s nothing I can do to change it. And nothing I do in the future is going to change it. I’m excited for this season to be over, only for the fact that I can turn the page and we can start talking about the future. If I looked at tomorrow as another chance to be judged in case I failed, you know, it’s been a tough year, but I could never look at it that way. It’s an opportunity for me to go out and win a golf tournament, and I’m not trying to make up for the rest of the year. What happened, happened. It’s over with. I can’t change it. I’m never going to feel good about what happened, but it’s done with. It’s an opportunity tomorrow to win a golf tournament, that’s the way I’m going to look at it.” 

Davis spoke about being able to separate his disappointment at the Ryder Cup result and playing his own golf, and also stopping Jim beating him;

“I can separate a lot of things, separate the Ryder Cup with its own experience. People were surprised I played the three weeks after, but I’d had some time off. I was ready to play. I haven’t played enough tournaments, so it’s nice to be back in the swing of things.  I’d love to keep him from it, we’re both very competitive. That’s why I picked him for the Ryder Cup team. He competes hard every time he goes out there and he gives you everything he’s got. I think it would mean a lot to both of us. It would be a pretty close tie.”

Tied in third place are D.J. Trahan and Arjun Atwal, two shots adrift of the lead after rounds of -4 under par 66, and -1 under par 69, respectively, for their -11 under par tournament totals.

Bud Cauley is alone in fifth spot after his third round of -2 under par, 68, and a tournament total of -10 under par.

It will be interesting to see if Jim and Davis spend too  much time looking at each other, and not noticing someone racing up behind them.

 

Bridgestone Invitational, Furyk Flies into the lead.

Furyk in front early

Jim Furyk/Shamus/Getty Images

Jim Furyk fired himself into the first round lead at Firestone Golf  and Country Club in the Bridgestone Invitational  with seven birdies and an eagle for a 7-under 63, and a two shot lead. Jim said he had to stop concentrating on being mechanically orientated, just play some golf;

“I think more than anything I needed a little time to clear my head. It wasn’t anything that was going wrong, but why I wasn’t playing better. I just felt like I needed to come in here and quit concentrating on trying to be so mechanically sound and just go play some golf and try to score and get the ball in the hole a little bit. It worked today. I did a lot better job of scoring. It’s been a while since I made seven birdies and an eagle in a round, so it was a lot of fun.”

Firestone always has a lot of run on the fairways when the conditions are good, and today was no exception, with the big boys getting over 400 yards. When Jim was told was he had hit seven drives over 300 yards, he said;

” Thats it ! I never crack the top 150 in driving distance on Tour. If all of a sudden, out of all the guys that played today, I was 30th in today’s field, I would say I was a lot longer than normal. But if I end up being; was there 80 guys in the field, 78? If I was 63rd today, I really wouldn’t worry about it. It was hot, the ball is going pretty far and the ground is quite firm. Statistically, it’ll probably look pretty good.”

Jim actually ended the day in 59th in driving distance.

Lee Slattery of England is in second place after his -5 under par 65 round edged him one shot clear of a group of six players on -4 under par. These include Bubba Watson and world number one Luke Donald.

Strangely, in the easy running conditions only 30 out of the 78 players who started the day manged to finish under par. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy finished at even par, while Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson were at +1. Ernie Els seems to have sunk back to where he was before The Open, he ended his day at +3 over par.

Tiger sarcastically remarked;

“I think I averaged about four putts per hole, so it was a great day on the greens. I was 3-under par. I mean, that’s not that bad, at the time I was three back of the lead and hadn’t made a thing. I thought that was a good sign. Unfortunately, finished awful and here we are.”

Ernie & Adam at Bridgestone

Ernie Els  (Getty Images)

Ernie Els/getty images

Ernie Els is back at the Bridgestone Invitational a completely rejuvenated man after his win at The Open 2012. Ernie came from four shots adrift of the lead on the back nine at Royal Lytham & St Annes to beat Adam Scott and lift The Claret Jug. Strangely the week after his win, Ernie missed the cut in Canada and he is now keen to return to the high standards he set during his back nine 32 at The Open to clinch a fourth Major.

“The whole thing happened quite fast, I didn’t see what Scotty did obviously in live play. But I heard, and then I basically switched my telephone on and had friends reporting to me what was going on. I was obviously just praying to get in a play-off. The way it finished, I still feel for Scotty, but this one came my way for once. Stats are against you at our age. But I think the 40 somethings have really proven themselves through the years. You can go back to Mark O’Meara, you can even go further back to Ray Floyd, you can go back to Hale Irwin, you can go back to Ben Hogan.
Vijay Singh, myself, Darren Clarke, you’re talking about quite a few guys in their 40s who have won Majors. The game of golf is such that you get lucky every now and again, and I definitely got lucky the other day. I haven’t had a top ten or sniffed a top five here for many, many years, so I’d actually love to have a decent week here this week.”

Ernie had consulted psychologist Sherylle Calder and the gamble has definitely paid off for him. He also insists that he wants to return to the short putter at some point, I will try and contact Ernie and introduce him to our new putter. He said of Sherylle;

” I’ve known her over ten years, I’m a big rugby lover, and Sherylle, she’s worked in a lot of sports, but obviously worked with our Springbok rugby team. The Springboks come to Great Britain in November, and normally when we lived in England, I’d always be on the bandwagon there watching rugby and going around with the players.
I gave Sherylle and some of the staff a lift back to London on our plane, I think it was about in 2003 or something, and we did briefly talk about it. She really wanted to start working with me because she really felt she could help me, but back then I think I was Number Two or Three in the world and pretty bulletproof. I didn’t really think I needed anybody’s help.
It’s funny how times change. Ten years later, and Johann Rupert actually wanted me to start working with her again. I saw Sherylle in January in Fancourt, and I was pretty desperate on the greens and thought I’ll give it a go and see what it’s really all about, and we started working. I felt just things that she was doing ,  just little patch up stuff for that week was things that she took me right back into my heyday on the greens in the late ’90s, with exactly the things that I would do without even thinking about. It just shows you how far I went off the beaten track. She really brought me back, and then we started working on things that she’s really experienced at.”

Adam Scott is the defending champion here at Bridgestone this week, and everyone is wondering how well he will recover from the shock, horror show that gifted The Open title to Ernie;

“I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb of feeling about it, I certainly didn’t beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner.
It just all happened so fast, even looking back on it, how quickly it can slip away. Without doing that much wrong, it was just compounding mistakes. I felt overall the whole week and the way I’ve looked at it is I played some amazing golf and did what I needed to do, and the things I’ve worked on are obviously working. There wasn’t that much healing for me. My game is in really great shape, and I just took a few days to rest up, then just thought about how great I played. I felt like it was my week, and I played like a champion, but I just played four poor holes at the end, and you can’t win and do that. It’s just motivation for me. I think I’m right on the right track, keep doing what I’m doing and I can get myself more chances like that.”