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In contention, Tiger blew one OB on the 16th hole at Bay Hill

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“For a moment, it looked like it was going to be Tiger Woods’ day,” NBC anchor Dan Hicks intoned late during Sunday’s final-round telecast of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Rory McIlroy, pouring in birdies, winning for the first time on the PGA Tour since the 2016, is the story at Bay Hill this week. That said, when Tiger Woods birdied the 13th hole to get within one stroke of the lead, it looked like we could be party to a very different Sunday story.

The story, that of Woods’ potential 80th PGA Tour went, went off the rails with a pulled tee shot at the 16th hole that sailed out of bounds. After the round, Woods admitted to not fully committing to a shot shape at the 16th hole.

Speaking with Steve Sands, Woods indicated he was deciding between a left-to-right slider off the tee, bombing his driver (presumably right to left), and hitting a 3-wood. He was somewhere between options one and two when he pulled the trigger, and the result was a foul ball left.

Woods limped home after the bogey five at the 16th with a bogey at the par-three 17th. After a poor tee shot at the 18th hole, Woods played short of the green with his second and got up and down for par and a final-round three-under 69 and a tie for fifth at 10 under par.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner was five shots behind Henrik Stenson to begin the day. He birdied both the par-5 fourth and par-5 sixth holes before adding another birdie at the par-4 eighth. Woods rebounded from a bogey at the ninth with a birdie at the 10th.

A sand save at the par-5 12th moved Woods to 11 under, and rolling one in from 13 feet at the par-4 13th got him to one off the lead.

After pars at the 14th and 15th holes, Woods imploded with the already discussed out-of-bounds effort off the tee.

Ultimately, with Rory McIlroy finishing at 17 under par, Woods was never going to win this tournament; he’d have needed a final-round 61 just to tie McIlroy. However, looking ahead to Augusta, fans won’t be encouraged by his stumble down the stretch or his performance off the tee–Woods was 71st in strokes gained: tee-to-green, losing 3.526 strokes to the field.

The other side of the coin, of course, most positively, is Woods played his second tournament in as many weeks and remains unhindered by his surgically repaired back. He was 19th in strokes gained: approach, second in strokes gained: around-the-green, and eight in strokes gained: putting for the week.

Woods isn’t expected to tee it up before the Masters (April 5), where he’ll be seeking his fifth green jacket.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Robert Kelley

    Mar 19, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    As you surely know, Ben, context or the situation or the precise moment in sports is crucial, which makes your observation “Ultimately, with Rory McIlroy finishing at 17 under par, Woods was never going to win this tournament,” off the mark, to wit, if Tiger doesn’t hit his ball out of bounds and, instead, birdies one and preferably two more holes with sans bogeys to finish his round and post his score, Rory’s mindset would have been totally different and there is no telling how the resulting pressure would have effected his play from that point on.

  2. Tom54

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    How can Tiger appear in a Taylormade add promoting the new “twist face technology” that supposedly fixes amateurs tee balls and yet it has been reported that his driver is not equipped with it? Perhaps he should have had one in the bag after some of his wild tee balls. Rory sure likes his. Tigers strength was his power. Laying back with irons because he can’t hit his driver only makes him just a better than average player. Another reason I think it will be harder for him to win is he normally plays tournaments with great fields. I do think he could win as long as his health doesn’t deteriorate because he still knows what it takes to win out there.

  3. Ian

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Rory finished -18

  4. Tom Horonzy

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I have loved Tiger and what he brought to the game in the nineties, almost brought in 2013 and is doing it again. Valspar sold 15000 extra tickets and needed 6 addl parking lots. There are still so many that won’t like him because he broke the color barrier like no other. He is smart, energetic, not a clone of anyone else. He is the straw that stirs the PGA and the players not only know but fear it. Sure, he gets more time on tv and everyone speaks about him but who are they MOST interested in? Sorta like politics too. The press feeds on Trump and Hillary is an also ran.

  5. Darryl

    Mar 19, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Have to think Woods is going to close the deal at some point this season, must be another half dozen courses he knows well enough to ham and egg it round in contention. On current form, will his ranking get low enough to play at Firestone?

    I didn’t watch last night as I have taken the decision not to watch tournaments he has entered because of the medias obsessional coverage of every little move he makes makes me want to throw my putter through the TV. Whilst I don’t wish him any ill will particularly, I was pretty pleased he binned one last night when I heard about it on social media. But I’m realistic enough to know that its probably only delaying the inevitable Second Coming moment in the media when he does win.

    I don’t want him to get Snead’s record, but there’s too many Stricker/Furyk (sorry lads) friendly courses (John Deere track for example, I forget what its called) out there that he could play his Hoylake strategy on and win for him not to reach that in the next couple of seasons before a different bit of his body gives out.

    His enemy is father time now (as it is for us all), how long can the non fusible parts of his golf vital anatomy hold out?

    • The Maestro

      Mar 19, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Darryl is trying a wee bit too hard to be glib. Notwithstanding the behavior that coincided with his downfall, his return to moderate form after myriad health issues is becoming remarkable.

      Darryl, take a hike.

    • jeffrey monnich

      Mar 19, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      amen! cant watch this anymore- I loved to watch golf mostly for the swings now it is like a reality show.

  6. acew/7iron

    Mar 19, 2018 at 8:25 am

    In other news…Speith has totally lost his game.

    Back to you Jim on the latest on what Tiger had for breakfast this morning…

  7. Foo

    Mar 19, 2018 at 3:33 am

    Good. Keep blowing those drives all over the planet.

    • Travis

      Mar 19, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Now, now, we know you secretly love Tiger. Stop trying so hard to act the opposite.

  8. Andrew Stein

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:55 am

    He should have used the face twist….it’s the reverse of the driver he was playing. Balls ends up in play and Tiger makes birdie.

  9. john peterson

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:53 am

    McElroy shot 18 under.

  10. Andrew

    Mar 18, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Is Tiger still the favorite to win the Masters? Suckers.

    • Tartan Golf Travel

      Mar 19, 2018 at 9:52 am

      He never was the favorite. Just the betting favorite. Means a lot of non golfers think Tiger will win.

      • Andrew

        Mar 19, 2018 at 10:30 am

        But, uh, ……. how do I need to respond? Oh yea. Hater!

        • Tartan Golf Travel

          Mar 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

          Right because I don’t think he’s the favorite I must be hater. Sad argument. How about he hasn’t won a tournament in 5 year. Hasn’t won the Masters in 13 years. FACTS. He certainly might contend and I hope he does but there is NO WAY he is the actual favorite. “Hater” is the argument of an unintelligent person!

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Detroit could be getting a PGA Tour event

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As a business based in the Detroit metro area, GolfWRX is happy to hear this: the Motor City could be getting a PGA Tour event.

With the PGA Tour’s 2019-2020 schedule expected in the weeks ahead, the Detroit News reports the Tour could announce (Detroit-based) Quicken Loans will sponsor an event at Detroit Golf Club. The company ceased sponsorship of the former Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Detroit News quotes a source with knowledge of the Tour’s scheduling discussions as saying an official announcement is near.

While the Tour, Quicken Loans, and Detroit Golf Club are mum on the matter, Quicken Loans’ statement to the paper last year made clear the company’s intention to bring a tournament to the city.

“As we look to the future, we remain interested in exploring ways to highlight the energy and revitalization taking place in Detroit…A prime golf event, featuring the world’s best players, is certainly something we would be interested in pursuing as a way to showcase our great American city.”

If the Detroit tournament takes the calendar spot of the The National, it would be contested in late June/early July. Additionally, with the PGA Championship’s move to may next year, there’s some speculation the Detroit event could be contested in August.

As mentioned, we know the PGA Championship is moving to May in 2019. Additionally, The Players will move to March, TPC Southwind will take over  WGC hosting duties from Firestone Country Club, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap before start of football season.

We’ll have to wait (eagerly) for official word on the Detroit event.

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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