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Tiger’s return, Fowler flirts with 59, and more from the Hero World Challenge

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He came, he saw, he purred, he roared. The 41-year-old Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf to much fanfare in the Bahamas. He justified and sated, thrilled and fulfilled. Oh, and 17 other fellows showed up to compete in the Hero World Challenge. It all added up an excellent, last week of top-shelf competition for 2017. Before this year gives way to 2018, let’s have a look at some of the week’s high points.

Tiger Totals

Round One: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Two: 1 eagle, 4 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Three: 2 birdies and 5 bogeys
Round Four: 1 eagle, 6 birdies, 2 bogeys and 1 double

For any fan of golf, these numbers are uplifting. El tigre averaged 4.5 birds and 0.5 eagles per round. With more tournament reps, those numbers can only go up, and the bogeys (2.5 per round) can drop as he gets re-acclimated to competition. For those who point to his weak finish on Sunday, remember that the guy knows a thing or two about closing a tournament.

Dick Fowler, PI, caught up to that 28 he’d been chasing

Don’t remember those Farmer’s Insurance commercials starring Rickie Fowler? Search ’em and laugh out loud. Oh, Fowler shot 28 on Sunday’s outward half, with birdies on every hole but No. 8. So much for Charley Hoffman’s healthy third-round lead. Everyone wants to lead and no one wants to lead. We’ve waited years for Fowler to dominate in the way that we think he can. The front nine called to say, help.

A week of revelations from Tiger

One of the perquisites of a newish Tiger, one who is grateful for much of life, is an expanded openness about the travails of the past year. On Tuesday, Tiger discussed the pain from a back that was worse than he imagined, and the impact on his life that it had. The toll included very little sleep, constant pain, and weakness from foot to lower back. On Thursday, after his opening 69, the 14-time major champion discussed the impact of adrenaline on his game, and the difference between the holes he played at home and the ones he played at Albany. The most refreshing comments came after his Saturday 75, when he discussed the minor mistakes that led to bogeys, and what he missed most about tournament golf: the fight.

Oh, and Rickie Fowler did win!

Almost lost amid the Tiger tracks was the performance that Rickie Fowler offered on Day 4. Following a pattern of 2017 champions who rode on, smoking-hot round to victory, Fowler saved his best for last. Eleven birdies and 0 bogeys led to 61 and an 18-under total. Fowler actually had a chance to shoot 59 by holing his second at the last, and despite taking dead aim at the flagstick, he pushed it a bit, and went on to make a tidy par. His tournament total was Fowler’s career low in competition, and sent him into the off-season in the best of possible moods. Third-round leader Charley Hoffman matched birdies and bogeys on the front nine, then made 9 straight pars on the inward side to finish second alone at 14-under. Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Race To Dubai champion, and Jordan Spieth tied for the third spot at 12-under.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tom54

    Dec 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I think most golf fans are anxious to see how Tiger does to see if he can play a normal schedule again, but can someone please tell The programming directors that we do not need to make every telecast about Tiger. There are many players that shots were not shown this past weekend. Ricky Fowler is extremely popular and Friday or Saturday I recall very few of his shots. It was non-stop Tiger until his round was finished. Then after his hi light reel and his interview was over then it was time to show the leaders. Please, if Tiger is in the hunt he deserves the coverage but let’s not forget there are tons of pros who rate the tv time as well. The game will always be bigger than any one player.

    • T0MD1KH@RRy

      Dec 5, 2017 at 12:15 am

      You must have been watching a different program because I saw plenty of other golfers on the telecast. Even so, why wouldn’t there be more focus on Tiger at Tiger’s tournament, during Tiger’s first competitive round in nearly a year, and during which he displayed signs of greatness that only give way to hope that he’s not yet done playing (or winning)? Tiger is the needle, you hear it from the broadcast booth, you hear it from the players, and it’s proven by the ratings and number of spectators at events in which he plays. I agree the game is bigger than any one player, but we aren’t talking about the game of golf as a whole. We’re talking about the PGA Tour, advertiser dollars, and ticket sales. If Tiger played an exhibition round in which he was the only player on the course, he’d still pack them in better than a handful of regular tour stops and garner more viewers on TV as well.

    • Thomas A

      Dec 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Tiger’s first tournament at Tiger’s tournament and one that doesn’t count for anything. Yeah, it’s gonna be Tiger’s show no matter what.

    • nyguy

      Dec 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      I agree. Love Tiger, think he’s great for golf, and awesome to watch, but he’s not the only one out there. I’m surprised we didn’t know when he went to the bathroom on the course…. It’s a little over the top, although I think that with most mainstream broadcasts

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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Sangmoon Bae is headed back to the PGA Tour

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The schedulers may have whiffed with Tour Championship and Ryder Cup in back-to-back weeks, but that’s what we have on the horizon. As the 2017-18 PGA Tour season comes to a close, and with it, the Web.Com Tour playoffs, number one on everyone’s mind is next season: where will I play? Do I have status? Some of those questions were answered last week, so let’s run down the answers to the questions, in this week’s Tour Rundown.

Bae back on PGA Tour after Web.Com playoff win

The oldest event on the Web.Com Tour was the site of Sang-moon Bae’s comeback completion. Two years of mandatory military service in South Korea did little to derail the 32-year old’s professional career. Bae birdied the 72nd hole to hold off his challengers, including the eponymous Anders Albertson, to win the Albertson’s Boise Open at 19-under. Bae was a stroke off the first-round lead, then moved into a first-place tie after 36-holes. He continued to advance, seizing the 54-hole lead. Albertson caught fire on Sunday, making 5 birdies in his opening 9 holes. After a bogey stall at the 11th, Albertson birdied 5 of the closing 8 holes. Roberto Diaz of Mexico was tied with Bae after round 3, but a Sunday 68 dropped him back to 5th place. Bae guaranteed a return to the 2018-19 PGA Tour with his Idaho triumph.

Wu works wonders in Holland for KLM victory

Like Bae, Ashun Wu of China birdied the 72nd hole at The Dutch club, host site of The KLM championship on the European Tour. Like Bae, his closest pursuer (Chris Wood) failed to match it, and Wu walked away with his third career European tour title. Wood held a 1-stroke lead over Wu after 54 holes, and the battle to see which “W” would emerge with the “W,” came down to the final 9 holes. Wood played well, making 3 birdies in the inward half. They were sandwiched around a double-bogey at the 12th, and the Englishman closed with 5 pars to finish at 15-under. Wu’s card included only one hiccough, a front-nine bogey, and he was a bit more clutch when it counted. The victory moved Wu inside the top 50, in the season-long Race To Dubai.

Stanford claims first LPGA major title at Evian

For her entire career, Angela Stanford has been a fixture in the top 5 of major championships. It has been a wonder that she did not claim one of them until the fall of 2018. In France, Stanford mounted a final-round comeback, overcame 3rd round-leader Amy Olson, and captured the Evian Championship by one shot over Olson and 3 others. Stanford opened with 72 on Thursday, then dived into the 60s with abandon. Rounds of 64-68-68 brought her to 12-under par. The Texan was able to keep her head, despite an eagle-double-birdie stretch on holes 15-17. Austin Ernst had a clean card on Sunday, but 3 birdies were 1 shy of victory. Mo Martin also had 3 birdies on day 4, but 2 bogeys brought her back to 11-under with Ernst. Sei Young Kim and Olson both went above par in the 4th round, after playing marvelous golf through the first 3 days. Despite their struggles, they also finished in that second-place tie.

Broadhurst claims third title of PGA Tour Champions

Paul Broadhurst won his first 2 Champions title in 2016. After taking a break in 2017, the Englishman returned with abandon in 2018. Wins at the 2-man Bass Pro and the May Senior PGA were followed this week with a triumph in Michigan. Broadhurst overcame a surging Brandt Jobe, who birdied 5 of his firs 6, back-9 holes, before he stalled. Jobe reached 13-under to claim second place alone. Broadhurst finished in style, with birdie at the last, for a 2-shot win.

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Photos from the 2018 European Tour Properties Senior Classic

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Thanks to photographer Mladen Aleksandrov, GolfWRX was live from the 2018 European Tour Properties Senior Championship at Lighthouse Resort & Spa in Balchik, Bulgaria.

For those who don’t know, this tour is essentially the equivalent to America’s Champions Tour, and this event hosted legends such as Ian Woosnam and Jarmo Sandelin. Magnus P Atlevi took home this year’s title, winning by three shots over Stephen Dodd.

Check out our photos from the event, including a bit of culture and a bit of golf equipment. Enjoy!

Photo Galleries

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Tiger Woods puts his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 back in the bag at the BMW Championship

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Tiger Woods and his beloved flatstick have ended their separation and are once again an item. Woods put his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 back in the bag for the first round of the BMW Championship. The putter, which Woods has used for 13 of his 14 major championship victories, had been on the shelf since the Quicken Loans National in June.

We hinted this was a possibility earlier this week after spotting Woods practicing with both his famed Newport 2 and a TaylorMade Juno. Woods arrived at Aronomink without the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he’s been using for five events prior to last week’s Dell Technologies Championship.

Woods used the Juno at TPC Boston to less than satisfying results: Woods was 36th in the field in strokes gained putting and was particularly poor during the final round when he needed 33 putts and lost 1.352 strokes to the field on the greens.

Woods, who is 50th in strokes gained: putting this season, put the Cameron in play for a nine-hole practice round Tuesday.

 

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