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Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger Triumphs

Tiger Woods triumphed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, on Monday. The win equalled Sam Snead’s record for winning the same tournament eight times, it also took Tiger to the top of the FedExCup standings, not to mention elevating him back to World number one.

 

The eighth wonder

Tiger Woods with Arnold Palmer / Cannon / Getty Images

Tiger strolled round the course, with a final round of -2 under par 70, and a tournament total of  -13 under par, giving him a two shot win over Justin Rose. It has been a long time since Tiger was last World number one, actually it was late October 2010. When the collapse came it was pretty devastating, he fell as low as 58th in the world rankings before making his remarkable recovery.

Tiger said it was all down to hard work;

“It’s a byproduct of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments.”

Arnold thinks Tiger’s record will stand for a long time;

“I don’t really see anybody touching it for a long time. I had the opportunity to win a tournament five times, and I knew how difficult that was.”

Justin Rose also finished with a last round of -2 under par 70, securing him second place alone. Not what Justin would have had in mind when he was leading the tournament by two shots before his uncharacteristic melt down at the end of the third round.

Rickie Fowler had to settle for a +1 over par 73 and a tie for third place with Mark Wilson (71), Keegan Bradley (71) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72).

Congratulations to Tiger, it will be interesting to see if the other players on tour can mount any sort of challenge to Tiger’s dominance.

 

Rory Regrets Folly about Wisdom Teeth.

Rory McIlroy regrets walking off the course at the Honda Classic, and lying to all and sundry about the reason for his sudden withdrawal, initially saying his game was in a dark place. Then his management company came up with the novel idea that Rory had sudden toothache, it just had to be his wisdom tooth, such irony.

Rory McIlroy grabs his nose. I thought it was your tooth! (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

The Worlds Number One ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy had to eat humble pie, with no sign of teething problems, when he fronted up to the media to announce the truth behind his Honda Classic withdrawal.

” I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do,’ no matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut. At that point in time, I was just all over the place, I saw red, it was a mistake and everyone makes mistakes and I’m learning from them. Some people have the pleasure of making mistakes in private, most of my mistakes are in the public eye. I actually think in the long run, Friday will be a blessing in disguise, it was like it just sort of released a valve and all that sort of pressure that I’ve been putting on myself just went away. And I was like, just go out and have fun. It’s not life or death out there. It’s only a game. I had sort of forgotten that this year. I’ve learned from it and as I said, it won’t happen again.”

A contrite Rory spoke for 25 minutes,  with two of his agents from Horizon Sports, Colin Morrissey and Sean O’Flaherty in close attendance, along with Nike representatives and his coach Michael Bannon. Rory said he will have to learn to tough it out;

“I learned that when the tough gets going, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out. There’s no excuse for quitting and it doesn’t set a good example for the kids watching me, trying to emulate what I do. It wasn’t good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournaments, the people coming out watching me. I feel like I let a lot of people down and I am very sorry. Me and all you guys are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed. I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts. I don’t want there to be friction, it’s not like I want it to be a strained relationship because it’s going to be a long one, I hope.”

Ernie Els,  a four-time Major winner, who is also playing in this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster said he regretted not stopping Rory from walking off.

It was obviously a heat of the moment thing, he is who he is. You’ve got to respect what the individual at that moment is like, and he wanted to get off. And we obviously heard that he had his wisdom tooth was bothering him, and if that was the reason, that was that. I would have been out of my depth at that stage to say something to him if something was bothering him. So I didn’t, but I thought I should have.”

Ernie and Mark Wilson were the three-some on the ill-fated round, Ernie went on to say when he was young he had done some silly things, and his experience in the game could have helped out Rory;

“That’s why I thought I needed to say something. Listen, I was also 23; I’m 43 now. I look back, I did a lot of silly things and what he’s done is nothing compared to what I did; speak to my parents. But when it comes to being where he’s at, you’ve got to maybe think a little bit more than two minutes. In a couple of years’ time, he won’t even think about this or talk about this. If he wins this week, it will be the last thing we talk about, it will be history and that’s what it should be. It’s something that’s happened and we should move on from that. He’s a great kid, he’s a great player and if he admits he’s made a mistake, then that’s that and let’s move on.”

 

 

 

The M’s beat the W’s in Accenture Matchplay semi’s

McIlroy and Mahan beat off the challenges of Westwood and Wilson in the Accenture Matchplay semi finals at Dove Mountain in Arizona. McIlroy won 3 & 2 in a good match with Lee Westwood, and now has the chance to go to #1 in the world with a win over Hunter Mahan in the final. Hunter beat Mark Wilson   2 & 1, for his chance at the title.

Live: Final matches

photo/pgatour

Will update this post after the final later today.

Humana Challenge – Mark Wilson Wins

Mark Wilson won the 2012 Humana Challenge at La Quinta by two shots from Johnson Wagner, John Mallinger and Robert Garragus. Mark’s last round 69 gave him a total of -24 for the tournament. He and Robert Garragus vied for the lead during the round, something that Mark touched on during his after tournament interview ;

Wilson interview after winning Humana Challenge

“It feels good obviously here with the trophy. The day went not as planned really, but I guess it never does, but last time I came out here I shot sixty two. So of course had those images in mind. Made a bad swing on the third hole, and just kinda hit a lot of good shots. The pins were in tough spots, to get close to, so I was really patient, and then birdying number eleven. I played that hole very smart, and then holed the bunker shot on twelve, really gave me momentum to go in the right direction. And I felt like Robert and I really had a good time, and Zach for that matter. But Robert and I kinda going back and forth. We enjoyed that, both making the putts on sixteen, and the it just came down to eighteen. And I didn’t want to give him a chance to make that putt and to tie me. So thankfully I rolled mine in and got it done.

Phil Mickelson finished with a round of 69, but never really recovered from the first round 74, which left him way off the pace. He is still hopeful of competing successfully during the West Coast swing.

Kiwi Danny Lee finished tied for 66th place after a poor last round of 74 and will be aiming to improve his challenge over four really competitive rounds next time out.

Highest placed  Englishman was Gary Christian who had a great last round of 64, tied 14th at -17. But he was unable to mount a serious challenge after his third round collapse of 73, too much of a mountain to climb.

 

Humana Challenge Blown off course

The Humana Challenge suspended play midway through the third round after 35 mph winds rampaged across the Palm Springs area.  Mark Wilson was halted at -5 under through 15 holes of the third round and leading at -21 under for the tournament.  The ugly high winds really caused some damage, unbelievably on all three courses, which toppled trees, blew balls off greens, even knocking a scoreboard into a lake. The Humana Challenge will  resume third-round play at La Quinta  California on Sunday morning. Mark Wilson is holding a three-stroke lead over Ben Crane, who is -2 under through 12 holes and -18 under for the tournament. Zach Johnson is in third place, he is -6 under par through 13 holes and -17 under overall. Mark seemed pretty happy with coming off the course early, saying in his after round interview;

” When they blew the horn I wasn’t that disappointed. Regardless your gonna wake up Sunday morning with the lead. With a little bit of a lengthy day you’ve got three holes to play in round number three. Then of course you play the final round, what type of mentality do you have in that day. You’ve got to make a lot of birdies, I mean, this format with these types of courses, you’ve just got to make a lot of birdies. So, I haven’t looked at the board, I know you told me I’m in front, but I’ve got to keep making birdies to win this thing.”

Wilson interview - Round 3 of Humana Challenge

Humana Challenge- Toms Still There

David Toms, Ben Crane and Mark Wilson all share the lead at the Humana Challenge at the PGA West course in La Quinta, California. The trio are at -16 after the second round, three shots ahead of their nearest rivals, headed by Camillo Villegas.

Toms interview after Round 2 of Humana Challenge

Phil Mickleson had a better round today, 69 for a total of -1, but is still a long way from making the cut, a point he mentioned in his after round interview;

” After a rough start today, being three over, I played the last thirteen six under. Played much better and I’m excited about how I was playing heading into this tournament. But, I’ve had a bit of a slap in the face with my first two scores. I’ll try tomorrow to go out and play a good round, hopefully make the cut. Get a bit of momentum heading into next week’s event in San Diego.

Phil tried out a new driver today and it seemed to work pretty well, hitting it much straighter than yesterdays effort.

Mickelson interview after Round 2 of Humana Challenge

New Zealand’s Danny Lee gad another 3 under round 69 to finish the second day at -6. He is playing steady golf and making a good impression, while flying the flag for NZ.

 

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