Category Archives: Masters

  • 0

Tiger Woods struggles in Opening Round

The reigning Masters champion and 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods got out to a slow start Thursday at the 101st PGA Championship. No stranger to New York’s Bethpage Black, Woods won wire-to-wire here at the 2002 U.S. Open and was the only player out of 156 to finish under par that year. Thursday Woods marked up his scorecard with everything from bogeys and double bogeys to birdies and even an eagle.
A difficult opening nine
Starting out on the difficult 502-yard par-4 10th hole Thursday, Woods went right off the tee for his first drive of the day. With fairways at a premium this week he was forced to lay-up from 201 yards out. A third shot over the green led to an eventual double bogey to open Woods’ quest for a record-tying 82nd PGA victory.

After four straight pars, the four-time PGA Championship winner bounced back with a birdie at the par-4 15th. A dialed in approach left Woods with a 15-footer which he rolled home with precision. Unfortunately, that was the last of the good news over his opening nine.

There was nothing positive coming out of the par-3 17th. Woods’ opening tee shot found the greenside bunker before he again flew it over the green with his second. While he was finally on the green with his third shot, he still had over 37 feet to go. Two strokes later the 43-year old carded another double bogey and a drop to 3-over par.

A routine par stopped the front nine bleeding for the time being. Woods took his opening round turn with a 38 and still plenty of work ahead of him.
From good to great to worse
In a tale of two nines, Woods came out of the gate at the turn on a mission. At the 430-yard par-4 1st hole he fired a 295-yard drive again down the right side into the rough. This time he was able to get out and send home a 14-foot putt for birdie to work his way back to 2-over.

Seemingly working out the kinks over the first half of the round Woods went back to back with another birdie at the short par-4 2nd hole. A picture perfect approach left Woods with just a little over three feet left with his third shot. From there

If back to back birdies wasn’t enough to ignite the crowd Tiger certainly lit the fuse at the 517-yard par-5 4th hole. With a 298-yard drive, Woods launched a 220-yard approach to 31 feet. From there he settled in over his putt for three, sent it reading the left break and straight into the heart of the cup as the crowded roared Tiger back to life with an eagle to soar to 1-under par.

The crowd quickly quieted after bogeys at five, seven and eight brought the roller-coaster round all the way back to 2-over par. As he turned in his scorecard, playing partner Brooks Koepka finished 7-under for the early commanding lead giving Woods and the rest of the field a lot of ground to make up Friday.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’9MNQCLn2QmhhGDjbn1ZLhw’,sig:’NwsaLrmywFyfJ6zRHhd9L6859QRqXyDn5qaxWEyeNiM=’,w:’594px’,h:’405px’,items:’1149577015′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Tiger Woods struggles in Opening Round appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Sophomores Finau and Schauffele shine at 2019 Masters

The elation of Tiger Woods winning his fifth green jacket at the 2019 Masters has begun to subside. Well maybe not, and maybe it never will, but the roars have at least died down considerably since this past Sunday. However, the 15-time major winning veteran wasn’t the only player to showcase his talents at Augusta National this year.

While Woods was busy racking up the final round highlights six players were trying to make the most of just their second year playing at one of the most iconic courses in all of golf. Each of the Masters sophomores surprisingly made the cut in a place where experience is greatly favored. The only to finish over par was 2018 RBC Heritage winner Satoshi Kodaira (+6).

Haotong Li (-1)  and the talk of the tour the last two weeks, Canada’s Corey Conners (E) each managed a respectable top-50 finish. One year removed from missing the cut at his first attempt at a green jacket Patton Kizzire (-6) cracked the top-20 in a tie for 18th. But above the others stood two second-year, rising contenders.
Finau finds a rhythm at Augusta
In his maiden Masters voyage in 2018, Tony Finau had a memorable rookie outing for more ways than one. Every golf fan, die-hard or casual, remembers the images of the then 28-year old making a hole in one at the Wednesday Par-3 Contest. Then celebrating, dislocating his ankle, and popping it back into place by himself.

Remarkably, Finau shot 6-under par on his final round alone for the third lowest score of the day and a share of 10th place. Throughout his 2018 campaign on the PGA Tour he climbed to sixth in FedEx Cup rankings, finished top-10 in three of the four majors (including solo fifth at the U.S. Open) and made the most of his first of what is sure to be many more Ryder Cup appearances.

It seemed a logical prediction that with a year of momentum behind him, and two good ankles, Finau would be a force to be reckoned with around Augusta in 2019. Over his opening two rounds the Salt Lake City native stayed stead with below par rounds of 71 (-1) and 70 (-2). It wasn’t until Saturday when then Tongan-Samoan sensation truly broke out with an 8-under third round of 64.

Following his near record-breaking Saturday, Finau found himself in the final pairing Sunday with none other than Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari. Scoring was difficult to come by early on in their closing 18 holes. Making only one birdie before dumping his tee shot into the water on the par-3 12th, the closing six holes were a completely different story.

The 14th ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings closed with three birdies including back to back at 15 and 16. Finau’s ability to finish and bounce back after difficult holes helped propel him into a four-way finish for fifth place. Two years, two top-10 finishes and continued improvement each put Finau into the early discussion for a future green jacket sooner rather than later.
Schauffele starts slow but surges Sunday
In 2017 a San Diego State University standout by the name of Xander Schauffele won twice in his first year on the PGA Tour. Perhaps still the biggest win of his career to date came in September 2017 when he bested Justin Thomas by one stroke in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Tour Championship. While Thomas still captured the FedEx Cup Championship it came as no surprise when Schauffele was announced as the 2017 PGA Rookie of the Year.

The 2018 Masters wasn’t a breakout first trip to Augusta by any means but Xander was still able to make the cut and finish tied for 50th. Compared to his rookie season 2018 was slow by Schauffele standards. However, in the 2018-2019 wraparound season, the reigning ninth-ranked golfer in the World has already secured two victories. His first of which came at the HSBC Champions event in a playoff with none other than fellow Masters sophomore standout Tony Finau.

The 2019 trek to Augusta National started rocky for the already four-time Tour winner. Schauffele turned in a first round 1-over par 73 but bounced back quickly on Friday shooting the low round of the day with a 7-under 65. A steady 2-under 70 on Saturday put him right back in the mix just five shots off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Despite being 1-over through seven holes, a birdie at the par-5 8th began a surge of five birdies before finishing 12-under par for the tournament where the 25-year old, in just his second Masters, took a share of the clubhouse lead. As everyone knows that lead was ultimately overtaken by Tiger Woods but would still leave Schauffele finished in a three-way tie for second with major champions Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka (not a bad way to improve after an 8-over finish at his first Masters).

With both men still improving and bettering their game each and every tournament, both Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele still have plenty of Masters, and majors, moments ahead of them. Finau will be taking a brief break this week while Schauffele will tee it right back up at the RBC Heritage from Harbour Town Golf Links.

MAIN PHOTO

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’Y8W_8FPLTcpA5I9T33v_qw’,sig:’akh6iXmNNF-QZ_qqsbfH8z59ybbwzcIKK47BIPBUQag=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1054515002′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Sophomores Finau and Schauffele shine at 2019 Masters appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Tiger Woods: A Redemption Story

Tiger Woods’ Redemption
Tiger Woods did what many thought would never be done. Not only did he win again after years of injuries and making no progress on his fragile back, but he won at Augusta National Golf Club claiming his fifth green jacket, his 15th major championship, and his 81st PGA tournament. Simply incredible.

But the road to another green jacket didn’t come easily. Over the 11-year drought between the 2019 Masters and the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, and the 14-year drought between Masters, Woods went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel on multiple occasions. For over a decade, Woods’ life wasn’t littered with major championships and a further ascent in the world of golf. Instead, it was defined by injuries, scandals, and at times, total disconnect from the game he dominated for years.
The Road from the 2008 U.S. Open to the 2019 Masters
The Downfall
June 16, 2008: Tiger Woods battles Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines. It took 19 holes on a serious leg injury for Woods to claim his 14th major championship. It would be his last for 11 years.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’0RxG1SWRTUdM3ncL7TksMg’,sig:’S-taeutL2_EgLf3d4XubEldVV3k0YiZEIb_cnduiCMg=’,w:’594px’,h:’411px’,items:’81592763′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

June 18, 2008: Shortly following his win at Torrey Pines, Woods announces he will miss the remainder of the PGA tour season due to ACL surgery on his left knee.

November 27, 2009: Woods crashes his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant close to his Florida mansion. He was injured in the crash and spent less than a day in a Florida hospital. The crash unleashes the scandal involving his wife and the number of extramarital relationships Woods had.

December 2009 – March 2010: Woods spends time away from golf to work on trying to save his marriage after multiple women stepped forward speaking about affairs they’d had with Woods. His wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, files for divorce amidst Woods’ sex scandal and there is some speculation Woods’ crash was a result of him being beaten up by his wife. Multiple endorsements part way with Woods’ including Gilette and Gatorade.

April 2010: Woods makes his return to golf at the 2010 Masters where he finishes in a tie for fourth.

2011: Woods’ 2011 is plagued by an injury suffered during the 2011 Masters. He missed the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship due to a Grade 1 MCL sprain and Achilles strain. He then withdrew from the Players Championship and didn’t play again until the 2011 WGC Bridgestone. During the injury, Woods parted ways with caddie Stevie Williams and fell out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in 15 years.
On the Rise
December 4, 2011: Woods wins the Chevron World Challenge to get his first professional win since November of 2009.

March-July 2012: Woods wins another PGA Tour event, this time the Arnold Palmer Invitational and goes on to win the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National.

2013: Woods returns to the top of the game regaining the OWGR No. 1 spot in March. In 2013, Woods won five times on tour including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, and the WGC Bridgestone.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’I76Vq63HSrB22eugB39u7g’,sig:’JapV7bPN4ueuUXVXNRbuBO9o3aU9JFzZ4-vwvFmsHY8=’,w:’594px’,h:’387px’,items:’164622086′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});
Tiger Woods’ Injury-Plagued Years
March 2014: Woods announced he will undergo a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back. He would return later in the year but withdraw from the WGC Bridgestone and miss the cut at the 2014 PGA Championship.

August and December 2015: After missing the cut at the last three majors of the year, Woods’ undergoes yet another microdiscectomy in August with hopes of returning in the early part of 2016. Woods undergoes a third back surgery in December

2016: Woods misses the entire 2016 season recovering and dealing with his back.

Spring 2017: In April, Woods undergoes spinal fusion surgery in hopes of fixing his back after three previous surgeries were ultimately unsuccessful. In May, Woods is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida. Woods sited an unexpected reaction to prescription drugs as the cause of the incident.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’ljWt8y7gTq9wcqma5V-ScQ’,sig:’hfV_RrF7VzgrfOVEOSIh2BXBucRsoYSIU2hhWqQd9Eg=’,w:’478px’,h:’594px’,items:’689757316′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});
The Return to the PGA Tour
December 2017: After a long wait of over 300 days, Woods returns to the golf course at the Hero World Challenge where he finishes in a tie for ninth.

March 2018: Woods gets a taste of success on the PGA Tour again finishing in the top five in back-to-back weeks at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Summer 2018: Woods returns to form in major championships. He led at one point on the back nine at the Open Championship, finishing sixth and finished in solo second at the PGA Championship.
A Winner Again
September 23, 2018: Woods wins his 80th PGA Tour event at the Tour Championship at East Lake. The win was his first since he claimed the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The win moved him to 13th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’4o4R6tPKR8Fci0twX6EXoA’,sig:’qlvZ8oKr4OvM7xgka8b5fDBGU3tQ0GqC1dryCYC7Bh4=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1040080910′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

April 14, 2019: Tiger Woods, with a final round 70, wins the 2019 Masters. It is his fifth Masters, 15th major championship, and 81st PGA Tour victory

As you can see, the long 11-year journey from Torrey Pines to Augusta National was not easy and challenged Woods both on and off the course. Many thought the former world No. 1 would never win a tournament again, much less a major. But Woods has once again returned to the top of the golf world.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’DDe5RluNT0ZedjX9Tq2nmw’,sig:’cwNkwygloIUHsf_5ddUeX3NwV0CwUNHKaGtatYW0flg=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1142687457′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Tiger Woods: A Redemption Story appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Tiger Woods Wins 5th Masters Title; First Major Victory Since 2008

Tiger Woods already had an all-time great career a decade ago. By 2008, Woods had 14 Major titles and seemed unstoppable. It was a question of when, not if, he would pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 and cement himself as the undisputed greatest player of all time. Then, from a sports perspective, disaster struck. Personal issues followed by injury knocked Woods out of the top players in the world. A devastating back injury with major surgeries followed a few years later. No one knew if we would ever see Tiger play again, let alone play at top form. In the past year or so he has looked competitive at top tournaments, but no one could have honestly expected what we saw at Augusta here today.
Sunday’s Action
To start the final round, Francesco Molinari seemed to be by far the player to beat. He wasn’t putting up eagles or major birdie numbers, but he just wasn’t missing shots. The Italian was playing the course perfectly, and did not hit a single bogey from the 11th hole on Thursday until the 11th hole on Sunday. Molinari held a three-stroke lead at -13 with as little as eight holes remaining. He then shot a double bogey after hitting the water on 12, and did the same on 15. Those were his only over-par holes of the day, but they were enough to knock him way out of contention.

Meanwhile, around the course, players were moving. As Molinari collapsed, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele joined the leaders at -12. Dustin Johnson came roaring back into the picture, birdying three of the final four holes to join the leaders. Brooks Koepka, whose struggles on Friday kept him from easily leading this tournament, almost took himself out of contention by also hitting the water on 12, but came right back into the picture with an eagle at 13. He also shared the -12 lead at one point.

Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, and a few others made late charges as well (and we have plenty of Final Round highlights), but no one else reached -12 to join that group above.
Tiger Emerges
No one, that is, except for Tiger Woods. And as the situation emerged for him, the old Tiger returned. He hit a tremendous approach at the Par 5 15th to give himself a look at eagle. The easy birdie putt let Woods take his outright lead at -13, and the champion never looked back. A perfect tee shot at the Par 3 16th set him up for an easy birdie and a two-stroke lead on the field.

From there, Tiger Woods played the perfect golf that we were accustomed to seeing from him a decade ago. He reached the 17th and 18th fairways perfectly in regulation, and easily made par on 17. Koepka missed a birdie chance at 18–which would have cut the lead to one stroke. With a two-stroke cushion at 18, Tiger Woods had nothing to fear. With the extra shot in hand, he navigated the wind to safely lay up in front of the green. A good chip and two (relatively) safe putts later, and Tiger Woods earned the Green Jacket once again.

The championship is Tiger’s 5th Masters and 15th Major overall. With the win, he is the second-oldest champion in Augusta history. And now, a decade after we stopped thinking he would catch Nicklaus’ record of 18, it’s time to start wondering the Golden Bear’s all-time mark is in play once again.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’1Ew7GUNcQw1LRzbPaRqrSA’,sig:’_O6f1HI_5BOkUTDTgKn1t_pZSnRhmhu6P1QBv-bgi-A=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1142652075′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post Tiger Woods Wins 5th Masters Title; First Major Victory Since 2008 appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

2019 Masters Third Round Highlights

Perfect weather made for as near perfect conditions as we’ve ever seen at The Masters during Saturday’s third round. Luckily for the remaining field the rain held off at least for the day. Championship Sunday will be a different story as tee times have already been adjusted to start earlier, go off on both the 1st and 10th tees and be set in threesomes.

Records were challenged throughout the day at Augusta National as for the first time in tournament history four players shot 8-under rounds of 64 on the same day. One of those men was 29-year old Tony Finau who currently sits as one of the three co-leaders at 11-under par. In his sophomore outing at Augusta Finau also tied to course record with a 30 on the front nine.

Joining Finau in the final pairing Sunday also at 11-under will be the four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods. However, despite stellar play by both challengers they’ll both be chasing the two-stroke leader Francesco Molinari. The 2018 Open champion quietly rose up the leaderboard and into sole possession of the lead thanks to four straight birdies on the back nine. Last Word on Golf has your top highlights and Masters moments from Saturday’s third round at Augusta National.
Finau catches fire
Making just his second Masters start, Tony Finau showed that he can be a true contender no matter the course. After starting his third round with four birdies over the first seven holes Finau nearly holed his 261-yard approach shot for an albatross. An eight-inch tap in would give him an easy eagle and a 6-under start for his round.

Already on a tear Saturday, Finau stepped up to the par-5 13th on a mission. With still 11-feet to navigate he sent the putt home for his fifth birdie of the day to move into the early solo lead at 10-under.

It’s been said the secret to winning at Augusta National is successfully scoring on the par-5’s. Finau did just that Saturday going 5-under across the four par-5’s including a birdie at the 530-yard 15th.


Woods continues to turn back the clocks
Seeking his first major championship since 2008, and his first green jacket since 2005, Tiger Woods continued to ignite the gallery once again Saturday. Following an unfortunate bogey at the 5th hole, Woods fired back at the par-3 6th for birdie to get back to 6-under. Just one hole later a spot on approach would lead to the second of three straight birdies for the 14-time major champion.

On the heels of four straight pars Woods woke the crowd up once again as he rounded Amen Corner with his fourth birdie of the day.

Few moments at The Masters elicit the overwhelming roar of the gallery like a lead tying putt by Tiger Woods. That was exactly what he heard with back to back birdies at 15 and 16 to get to 11-under.


Saturdays other top shots around Augusta
Francesco Molinari’s stealth like precision around the course often flies under the radar until it’s too late. The Italian did exactly that Saturday at Augusta as all eyes were focused on Woods and his crowd roaring run. Molinari quietly made four straight birdies beginning from 12 through 15 to propel himself into a two-stroke lead.

Perennial PGA Tour fan favorite Rickie Fowler has yet to make the big push for the lead but has kept himself in contention thanks to shots like his chip-in eagle at 13 on Saturday.

Saturday may not have been the picture perfect round for Brooks Koepka after capturing a share of the lead over both Thursday and Friday. But an eagle at the par-5 15th helped spark the three-time major winner down the stretch.

Making a steady run Saturday with a 5-under round of 67, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson drained his 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th.

Despite a less than ideal Masters campaign in 2019, Rory McIlroy has refused to go quietly especially after confidently finishing his par-5’s Saturday at 15 for eagle.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’sOdW8ooERmpLQ3Momtz2yw’,sig:’wAH7EC57rWW6jnVG_qOrWdaSDpbT9OawhLAi–r7p9U=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1142472290′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

 The post 2019 Masters Third Round Highlights appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88