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Wells Fargo Championship. Phil Fumbles, Nick Nips In.

Phil Mickelson fumbled at the end of his round today, allowing Nick Watney to nip in and tie him for the lead, at the Wells Fargo Championship, Hollow Quail Club. The pair of them are at -8 under par for the tournament.

Moving Day madness

Nick Watney and Phil Mickelson / Lecka / Getty Images

Phil’s third round was a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly, he finished at +1 over par. This was not the direction Phil wanted to be heading in on moving day. The good was the birdies at 5,8.10 and 14, the bad was the bogeys at 3,12 and 16, with the ugly being a double bogey at the par five 15th, a seven, no less. It was some pretty average golf and Phil admitted it was;

“It was some poor play coming down the stretch.After I made that putt on 14, I felt really good. I thought I could get one on 15. I got lucky on the tee shot that didn’t go out-of-bounds, I missed it so bad, but the second shot should not have been a problem.”

Nick had his own troubles, just when it looked like he would grab the lead on his own, and after a long, long wait on the 17th tee, Nick managed a double bogey on the par three, Thanks to a hackers shank off the tee, with a six iron;

” I can’t remember the last time I did that in a tournament, so it was a bit unsettling. The big picture,  I’m tied for the lead, and I would have taken that on Thursday morning. It’s a tough hole, and I’m sure guys hit shots they thought were good and it just hooked a little and went in the water and made double. It just so happened that I’m playing really well and it was on TV, so that’s where the embarrassment comes from. But the other thing is you like to put as much distance as you can between you and the other guys, so a bit of anger and definitely some embarrassment. If I have any chance of playing well tomorrow, I’m going to need to get past it and come out ready to go or else I’m going to get run over, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

In third place alone is George Mcneill, at -7 under par, after his third round of 72, just par. He missed a birdie chance on the 18th to join the two leaders. George, like many of us, thought Phil was going to run away with it, he didn’t;

” Phil looked like he was kind of moving ahead of everyone, and then I don’t know what he did on 16, but it looked like either 15 or 16 he had kind of a mess-up. Then Nick, with the shot that he hit on 17, that actually shook me up probably more than it shook him up. Honestly, I didn’t even know until I was standing on 18 green, and then I looked and I’m like, Oh, wow, I’m tied for the lead.”

There are a whole bunch of players on -6 under par, including Lee Westwood, Lee could only manage a par round today. This tournament is wide open now, almost anybody could still win it, someone will come out tomorrow and shoot a low round.

Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger Wins

Logo Image

Sign of things to come

Tiger Woods / Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Tiger Woods won the Farmers Insurance Open, to nobody’s surprise as he started the last few raining holes with a six shot lead. He finished the tournament at – 14 under par.

Tiger said he had played good all week;

I’m excited the way I played all week. I hit the ball well,  pretty much did everything well and built myself a nice little cushion. I had some mistakes at the end, but all my good play before that allowed me to afford those mistakes. It got a little ugly toward the end, I started losing patience a little bit with the slow play. I lost my concentration a little bit. I think a win always makes it special, especially the way I played, to have not won would have been something else because I really played well. Playing the way I did for most of this tournament, until the very end, the last five holes, I felt like I should have won this tournament. I put myself in a position where I had a big enough lead, and that’s basically how I felt like I played this week.I know I can do that, and it was nice to be able to do it. I’m excited about this year. I’m excited about what I’m doing with Sean Foley and some of the things that I’ve built. This is a nice way to start the year.”

Tied in second place at -10 under par were Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater, and another shot further back were Jimmy Walker and Nick Watney.

Nick summed it up like this;

“I don’t know if anybody would have beaten him this week. He’s definitely on his game.”

Only time will tell if Tiger is really on his game or that he just had enough class to out last this field.

Farmers Insurance Open, Tiger Set to Close the Deal

Cruising into Monday finale

Tiger Woods / Getty Images

Tiger Woods is seven holes into his final round at the Farmers Insurance Open, and has opened up a six shot lead, only divine intervention can stop him from winning his eight title at Torrey Pines. Tiger is at -17 under par for the tournament. Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney are six shots adrift of Tiger and honestly have no hope.  Tiger could win from here using nothing but a five iron, he could even use it for putting.

The rest of the field are so far behind they are not even worth mentioning. This scenario is probably not good for the sponsors, the only paying observers on the course will be Tiger fans, this will include the daft ones who shout, “Get in the hole” even when Tiger tee’s off on the par fives. To my knowledge no one on the PGA Tour has ever had a hole in one on a par five, please correct me if I am wrong.

Tiger said about playing 25 holes;

“It was a long day, and I played well today. Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead. I’ve driven the ball well, I’ve hit my irons well, and I’ve chipped and putted well,  I’ve hit good putts, they all haven’t gone in.”

Nick Watney remarked;

” All we can do tomorrow is go out and try to make him think about it a little bit and see what happens.”

Brandt Snedeker spoke about making up six shots on Tiger;

“I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads. So I have to go catch him. “I’ve got to make some more birdies, I’ve got a long way to go. I did a great job today of staying patient and playing good golf.”

Probably not too much more to say, apart from give the trophy to Tiger.

TW World Challenge, G-Mac still the Master

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Graeme McDowell/ Dunn / Getty Images

Graeme McDowell, G-Mac, is still the master of the Tiger Woods World Challenge after his third round at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, shooting -4 under par 68 in the Northwestern Mutual presented event. He leads by two shots from Keegan Bradley. Graeme said after his round;

“If I was to get the job done Sunday I may have to stay an extra day and get a real estate agent and have a look around the area because there’s something weird going on here. I think it’s certainly my kind of course, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a course that rewards a premium on accuracy and a premium on good, aggressive iron play. I’ve always kind of rolled the ball here well. It’s definitely a golf course that sets up well for me.”

Keegan Bradley is in second place, just two shots behind Graeme, at -11 under par for the tournament, firing a third round -5 under par 67.  Tournament host Tiger Woods is five back of the leader, and has some work to do if he wants to win his own event;

“I felt like I played decent enough to get to 10 under, to get to double digits, and just didn’t do it, and as of right now I’m five back. I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow and see what happens.”

There are rumors that Tiger put his own money up with Northwestern Mutual  when the tournament, which began in 1999 and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, lost its title sponsor last year and a replacement sponsor fell through in September. Tiger would not reveal the numbers publicly but some say the amount required was $4 million. Tiger was coy with his answer when questioned;

“I bridged the gap on it, I’m not going to tell you the exact amount, but it’s a good number. The title sponsor unfortunately fell through, but this is important for us. What’s important is that if it wasn’t for this tournament, we wouldn’t have the success with the foundation. The learning center would not have happened. We wouldn’t have gained the awareness that we have now. There have been so many kids that we have helped, just because of this event. It’s important to me, to the foundation, this is what got us on the map.”

The foundation built the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Orange County. Now there are also two campuses in the Washington, D.C., area, another in south Florida and one in Philadelphia. About 100,000 kids have attended programs at the learning centers. Many of the kids have received scholarships to attend college,  many being the first in their family to go to college. The World Challenge has raised $25 million for the foundation, including nearly $9 million from Tiger, who has donated all his winnings in the tournament to the foundation.

First round leader Nick Watney, who is in seventh place in this field of 18 elite players, called Tiger’s charitable donation and million-dollar infusion to the tournament;

” An incredibly kind thing to do and an amazing gesture by him. I think there will be jokes about him that he can afford it, but it’s a great thing. I hope it receives the credit that it deserves, it’s a credit to him and he’s a great guy. Everybody in this game owes him a debt of gratitude, even though I know he wouldn’t want it.”

If  Tiger does shoot a low round tomorrow and wins again, everyone knows what will happen , the Foundation will receive the $1 million winners purse . I personally hope this does happen, for the Children’s sake. Go Tiger

US PGA, TW World Challenge, G-Mac attack

 

2012-11-30 graeme mcdowell leads

Graeme McDowell, G-Mac, attacked the Tiger Woods World Challenge with a super second round of  -6 under par 66 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks in California, at the Tiger Woods World Challenge which is presented by Northwestern Mutual. Graeme  has managed to do a lot of things right this year without actually winning,  but he has created one last chance to fix that right  here after taking a three-shot lead going into the weekend. Just before he was escorted away for a drugs test, Graeme had time to say;

“A good day’s work. I would love to compete and play well this weekend, really to kind of put a little icing on what’s been a mediocre year, despite the fact that I feel like I’ve played some decent golf this year. I really don’t have a lot to show for myself, and this would be a nice way to finish. It’s just been a golf course that’s always fit my eye, great backdrops, nice undulations. It’s just a fun course to play. I just always have fun here. And you know, I think I’m always in a fairly relaxed mood here because I’m off the back of five weeks on the road, and I’m very glad to be back on U. S. soil, you know, which is kind of home soil for me nowadays.”

Graeme intends to take a couple of months off after this tournament, and when asked what he would do with his spare time, he replied;

Try and stay out of the bar as much as possible. December will be very much recharging and relaxing and moving into my new house in Orlando and spending some time with friends and family. And January will be detoxing and practicing and getting ready to do it all again.”

Tied for second place at -6 under par for the two rounds, are Bo Van Pelt, Jim Furyk and Keegan Bradley with Tiger another shot back at -5 under par.

Tournament Host Tiger Woods felt he had played some of his best gold;

“I had a decent warm-up session, but the work I did last night was some of the best I’ve hit the golf ball all year. I just had to come out here and trust it, and when I did, I got into a nice little run there. I just need to do that all 36 holes on the weekend.”

First round leader Nick Watney, who had a 67 on Thursday, fell apart late in his second round, leaving him five shots off the top of the leaderboard;

Just a terrible way to finish, but we’re only halfway through, so we’ll see if we can make a charge at those guys in the morning.”

Propping everyone else up at the bottom of the table is Aussie Jason Day, perhaps Jason had his mind on the cricket,  South Africa had dismissed Australia for just 163 runs at the WACA Ground.

 

 

 

 

CIMB Classic, Malaysia, Wonderful Watney Wins

           

Magic in Malaysia

Nick Watney/ Getty Images

Nick Watney shot a course record last round on Sunday of -10 under par, 61 to win the CIMB Classic at The MINES Resort & Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a tournament total of -22 under par. Nick had a chance to go for a 59, but a wayward tee shot on eighteen left him with a difficult approach to the green from the left rough. His effort failed to reach the green, and he was then left with a long pitch shot for par, he failed in his attempt and dropped a shot at the last. That mistake left Bo Van Pelt needing to finish with a birdie to tie Nick at -22 under par. Bo was seeking back to back wins after his victory last week in Australia. Bo also missed the fairway on eighteen, then his approach landed in the green-side bunker, and he got up and down for par, to tie second place with Robert Garrigus, who birdied eighteen for his -21 under par tournament total. Both players had last round scores of -6 under par 66.

Tiger Woods made the charge he promised after his disappointing error strewn second nine on Saturday. Tiger had a last round score of -8 under par 63, and finished just three shots off the lead, tied in fourth place, after starting ten shots adrift of the final pairing of Van Pelt and Garrigus. Sharing fourth place with Tiger was Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge, who had a final round of -5 under par, 66, and Chris Kirk who had an average last round of -4 under par 67.  Another really low round came from Carl Pettersson with a -9 under par last round effort, giving him seventh place on his own.

Coca Cola Tour Championship, FedEx cup. Snedeker Wins It All

Brandt Snedeker won the Coca Cola Tour Championship, and in doing so also won the FedEx Cup.

Emotions running high

Winner Brandt Snedeker/Greenwood/Getty Images

Brandt had a last round of   -2 under par 68  and a -10 under par total,  to easily win the Coca Cola Tour Championship by three strokes from second placed Justin Rose, who finished at _8 under par.

Luke Donald and Ryan Moore shared third place at -6 under par.

There was no “W” for Woods, or any of the other top five going in to the tournament, Snedeker was the only player who performed well on the last day.

Tiger Woods finished tied 8th at -2 under par, World number 1 Rory McIlroy was at -1 under par, Phil Mickelson at +1 and the other initial contender Nick Watney slumped big time to +13 over par.

FedEx Cup, Can Jim Win Again ?

TOUR Championship  File:FedEx Cup.svg

Jim Furyk of the U.S. hits a drive from the sixteenth tee during round one of the BMW Championship golf tournament in Carmel, Indiana September 6, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith

Jim Furyk/Reuters/Brent Smith

James Michael Furyk was the 2010 FedEx Cup champion, and also the 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year. Jim, and just about everyone else is wondering if he can win the FedEx Cup again. It would take Albert Einstein to work out all the permutations of the outcome, but some of Jim”s friends have tried to figure out the odds.

Jim is in the elite field of 30 players who will tee off for Thursday’s opening round at East Lake Golf Club, for the Coca Cola Tour Championship, where the lucrative PGA Tour event is on the line along with a staggering $10 million bonus for securing the season-long playoff title. He landed both honors two years ago, but this week he lies in 18th spot on the FedExCup points standings, and would need a lot of help from higher-ranked players to pull off a repeat double, he philosophically said;

” Nope, I have no idea, I know I would have to win the Tour Championship, and a lot of other things would have to happen. But I’m never really worried about that. I had two or three friends try to text me, ‘do you know what you have to do?’ No. It’s hard enough winning a golf tournament. I can’t control the rest. Two years ago I was ranked 11th going into the Tour Championship and needed a little work. But this week those top 10 to 12 guys probably have a really good opportunity. Then past that, it’s going to take a lot of help because the guys that are up there at the top have been playing very well.”

The result is difficult to predict because any of the top five players in the standings would win the FedExCup honours by winning this week’s Tour Championship. The names of that quintet comprise, World number one, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and four Americans, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.

Jim has no illusions as to his task this week, even if he wins the Coca Cola Tour Championship, he still needs a lot of guys to play poorly;

“It’s hard to imagine Rory not being in contention this week as well as he’s been playing. All we can do is really worry about our game and try to get ourselves in position to try to win a golf tournament this week.”

Rory McIlroy has never previously competed at East Lake but he is oozing confidence after winning three times in his last four starts;

“I’m confident in my ability and confident with the shots that I’m hitting and confident on the greens. I’m making the right decisions out there, and everything is really just going to plan at the minute. It’s a nice run to be on, and I want to try and keep it going for as long as possible. The last four weeks, five weeks have been incredible, some of the best golf that I’ve ever played.”

The Barclays, Nick Watney Wins

Nick Watney/Cox/Getty Images

Straight to the top

Nick Watney won The Barclays tournament at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale New York in some style with a score of -10 under par for the event. He won by three shots from fellow American Brandt Snedeker, who had a -1 under par last round to finish with a score of -7 under par.

Nick commented after his win about the extra putting coaching he received, which stopped him from leaning back on his heels;

“I made more putts than I made all year, it paid off. With the way things were going, I don’t know if anybody would have expected this, this week. But you know, Bill Haas proved last year that if you make it to Atlanta, you have a chance. The way they have the FedExCup formatted, it’s pretty neat. You need to be in Atlanta. So I wanted to have a good week. And to be No. 1 now is amazing. It’s been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten. I’m thinking about the Ryder Cup, much more now than I was coming in, because coming in here, I didn’t deserve to be in the conversation, because I had not played my way in. Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go, but I’d love to be on the team. But I’m not really concerned with it just because it’s out of my control.”

The biggest surprise of the day was the way Sergio Garcia went from a commanding leading position to scrambling to finish in a tie for third place. Sergio sunk like a soggy souffle on Sunday afternoon, with five bogeys on the back nine, not the type of performance we were all looking towards, especially European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Equally concerning for American Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love 111, was the collapse of  Tiger Woods, who finished the tournament at +1 over par.

Sergio is a fan of both Nick and Brandt and thinks Davis should consider both players for the Ryder Cup;

” I’m not, obviously, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but I think both Nick and Brandt, they both played great. They have been playing very nicely. Obviously Nick has had a little bit of a slower year this year, but you know, as a player, I hope they make the team, and then we’ll see what happens there.”

Brandt is also thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“The golf course was the winner this week, it was so tough to play the last two days. The greens were just as firm as I can remember on the Tour, the fairways were as firm as I can remember on Tour. It was a great test of how mentally strong you could stay on the course over the last 36 holes, because you knew you were just going to get some bad breaks no, way around it. Nick obviously played great today, to shoot under par today. The Ryder Cup’s definitely on my mind. But I’m not letting it affect the way I play. I try to win every golf tournament. The Ryder Cup gives me more motivation, and if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them. Davis has an extremely difficult choice with a bunch of guys. You can’t go wrong with any of them.”

The Barclays, Bethpage Black, Bites Padraig Back

The Barclays at Bethpage Black took revenge on Padraig Harrington in the second round, he shot a +4 over par round of 75, which left him with a tournament total of -3 under par. He is not yet out of it, but the course humbled him today.

The leaders after the second round are sitting at the top of the scoreboard with a tournament total of -8 under par. Last weeks winner, Sergio Garcia is one of them with his 66, 68, start. He is joined by American Nick Watney who had a good 2nd round of 69, to go with his opening effort of 65.

Updates from The Barclays

Sergio Garcia & Nick Watney/Getty Images

Just one shot back are the big Fijian Vijay Singh, who has won The Barclays four times, although not at this venue, he shares second place with Bob Estes. Both of these players shot lower rounds today than their opening efforts, Vijay with 68, 67, and Bob with 69 and 66.

Best round of the day went to Henrik Stenson who sailed round in 65, a -6 under par score to go with his opening round of +2 over par 73, and tournament total of  -4 under par, tied for eleventh spot.

Tiger Woods tweaked his back when he slept awkwardly,on a soft bed at his hotel Thursday night, he said of the injury;

“As I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course. It didn’t feel very good, but I got it around, and just because the swing didn’t feel very good doesn’t mean I can’t make every putt. I went out there with that kind of mindset and just buried a bunch of putts. It was like a section of movement, so it didn’t hurt standing up, it didn’t hurt at the bottom of a squat, but it was the somewhere in-between there it was going to catch. It would grab just before impact, so you’d kind of expect it, so I could get through that. So I’m right there, this is a very bunched leaderboard. There are so many guys there. I think, what, 70-plus guys within nine shots as of right now.”

Tiger intends to sleep on the floor tonight, he managed a smile as he said;

“I’m probably going to sleep on the floor, I do that in Europe all the time, so this is nothing new. I’ve been through that kind of stuff before, so I know what it feels like.”

Live Report Image

Tiger Woods, bending gingerly on the green/Cox/Getty Images

At -5 under par Tiger is definitely in the chase for the title. Rory McIlroy on the other hand has slipped back to even par for the tournament with today’s round of +2 over par, and unless he produces something very special tomorrow he looks out of contention.

There is a slight possibility that  rain will affect Saturday’s third round, according to the forecast for The Barclays, and also the winds will pick up over the weekend to 15 mph.

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