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Woods-Mickelson practice round: Tiger eagles No. 13, 15, duo thump Couples-Pieters team

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How did Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, once bitter rivals, wind up teaming up for a practice round at Augusta National?

“Phil asked Joey [LaCava, Woods’ caddie] if we were free for a game,’ Woods said in his Tuesday press conference. “Phil and I talked about it and decided to play. We partnered up against Thomas [Pieters] and poor Freddie.”

“Thomas and I, we got shalayleed,” Couples said after the round. “We were 2 up after 2 and then it didn’t go so well after that. It was fun. It was very loud, it was very fun, and they hit some really good shots. Wow.”

Shalayleed! Mickelson made a string of birdies and Woods eagled both par-5s on the back nine. After the pair played the par-5 15th, Mickelson put on a flop shot exhibition while Woods looked on. Per Fred Couples, Woods was driving the ball well.

And of course, the duo engaged (along with Pieters and Couples) in the obligatory ball skipping at the 16th hole.

AUGUSTA, GA – APRIL 03: Fred Couples,Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson of the United States and Thomas Pieters of Belgium skip balls on the 16th hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Asked about his relationship with Mickelson, Woods said,

“Phil and I’ve been through it for so long…when I got hurt, I had to take a different role on the teams…Phil was great. He tried to help me out when I was planning a comeback. Our friendship has gotten stronger over the years…we’ve gone through it for a long time…We understand where we are in the game versus where we were in our early 20s.”

The 14-time major champion was full of praise for the left-hander, calling him competitive, feisty, determined, and full of self-belief, adding, “That’s why he’s won so many tournaments.”

Woods tees off with Marc Leishman and Tommy Fleetwood at 10:42 a.m. Thursday. Mickelson is off at 1:27 with Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Big Dog

    Apr 5, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Tiger tiger tiger… so sick of it. He’s in 30th place and I’m forced to watch every shot he plays in replays. How in the world is he favored to win , pathetic . He is finished why don’t they admit it. He’s on the way to a Waffle House right now to find a companion for the night

  2. joro

    Apr 4, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, the Tiger Woods show is about to begin.

  3. Miles Bruce

    Apr 4, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Is it just me or does it look like Phil is holding a right handed driver in this pic?

    • Tom

      Apr 4, 2018 at 9:15 am

      At first glance I can see it, but the driver shaft is on the far side of the head (which is pointing up), so it’s a lefty.

  4. MT

    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Phil and Tiger can become the modern day Jack and Arnold. With their combined popularity they can make great progress promoting the game of golf, charities…etc.

    The possibilities could be endless If they can keep their egos and personal lives in check.

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Andiamo! Molinari claims first major title for Italia at Carnoustie

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Forecasters had suggested that Francesco Molinari was rounding into proper form as the 147th Open championship at Carnoustie approached. He had finished in the top 25 of the last three major championships, including a tie for 2nd at last summer’s PGA Championship. To reach the Claret Jug as champion golfer of the year, he would have to manage his emotions in a pairing with Tiger Woods, and would have to defeat defending champion Jordan Spieth, resurgent Rory McIlroy, inspired Justin Rose, and a host of other, worthy golfers. The golfer from Torino, Italia, was up to the task, and raised the golf world’s loveliest trophy in celebration, Italy’s first major golf champion.

His play over the first portion of the course

Molinari began his round on Sunday with zero birdies and zero bogeys over the first 13 holes. Even as Tiger Woods electrified the crowd with his move to the top of the leaderboard, Molinari ground out par after par, biding his time. His game from tee to green was on point, and when he missed the target, his short game got him to safety.

His approach to 18

It may have looked like a bowling alley, but Molinari was staring down golf’s greatest gauntlet. With unforgiving Barry Burn lurking, with out of bounds so close up the fairway’s port side, no approach shot was easy. With a deep breath and light hands, Molinari played the iron of the tournament, to four short feet.

His putt on 18

Four feet, four miles. Molinari took care of business with a putt that he may not have needed, but a putt that forced Xander Schauffele and others to push that little bit harder. Knowing that the two-time Ryder Cup representative was in at 8 under meant that they needed more than just one birdie. Justin Rose knew that his excellent 6 under would not be good enough. And thus spake Molinari, certain to represent Europe in this fall’s 2018 Ryder Cup.

Perhaps it was fate that Woods presented Molinari with the last Quicken Loans National champion’s trophy earlier this month. A bit more than a fortnight later, Woods would escort Molinari on his walk to golfing greatness. Consider, too, these fateful words from the champion, on the eve of the fourth day: It’s not a day to be aggressive. It’s more a day to make as many pars as possible. 16 pars, along with those two late birdies, were the proper amount.

Forza, Francesco!

 

 

 

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5 things we learned Saturday at the British Open

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Yes, CarNASTY is fun, but CarNICEty is electrifying. The former demands that we empathize with the greats of the game, as they stumble and bumble toward numbers we know well. The Nice version of the course along the river Tay offers birdies and eagles (and perhaps even an albatross?) and keeps us glued to sofas, chairs and yoga balls. I’m hoping for the Nice version on Sunday, because I want excitement with my morning Joe. Let’s toss out five things we learned today, and see if you agree that they matter.

1. What the Royal and Ancient does properly

It allows magic to happen, but only when the wizard properly wields the wand. Jordan Spieth’s driver-putter combination for eagle at the 1st on Saturday was brilliant. Other major championships, thanks mostly to being held on topsoil courses, cannot permit such vagaries. Brilliance is rewarded at Open rota courses, but beware: tomorrow is another day, and should the weather turn, the winds pick up, the raindrops fall, we just might see the antithesis of that result.

2. Jordan Spieth may be a golfer for the ages

Haircuts aside, we will know on Sunday around 3 pm, eastern standard time, but the young Texan relishes the limelight, the pressure cooker, and the major victories. As he admitted in interviews this week, he’s not afraid to press the STOP button and recharge the batteries, clear the mind, whatever it takes. Long game, short game, common shot, creativity required, Spieth played flawless golf on Sunday, beginning with THAT eagle, then adding four birdies over the remaining 17 holes. Sure, he sometimes looks pouty, but he’s hard to bet, or root, against. A win on Sunday would be the first second victory in a major (still with us?) and might set him in the Watson/Vardon/Thomson track for all-time Open winners.

3. Tomato, TomAHto, Zander, Xander, let’s call the whole thing golf

Both golfers have shown us that uncommon names/nicknames are a nice conversation point, but stellar golf in a major championship is something else. Zander Lombard has been completely off form this year, but Carnoustie brought out his finest golf. Xander Schauffele was the surprise of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, and has revealed a major championship-level skillset during his time alongside the Tay and the Barry. Xander enters day four in a first-place tie with Spieth and Kisner. He’ll play in the final pairing on Sunday with Spieth. Zander sits 5 back of the leading triumvirate, and if his finish on Saturday serves as motivation, he will be part of the conversation on July 22nd.

4. Growl

Johnny Miller said it best today, when he opined that Tiger Woods was ready to burst out and challenge, if not win. Woods 2.0 played marvelous shots on day 3, and other than Spieth, worked his way around Carnoustie better than any other golfer in the field. If the 3-time champion golfer of the year combines mental fortitude with a hot putter, this writer predicts that he will hoist Claret No. 4 on Sunday.

5. Kisner proved me wrong, and might do so again on Sunday

It was Zach, and not Kevin, who failed to manage the closing stretch of Hogan’s Alley. Kisner’s putter stayed warm and his mind remained sharp. He learned from his faux pas on the 36th hole, and played within himself over the final 18 holes. 3 birdies and 15 pars brought the pride of Aiken, South Carolina, to the top of the firs page again. He’ll play with that other Kevin (Chappell) in the penultimate pair on day the fourth. Kisner knows the major pressure from recent touts with immortality, and might break through for a deserved major title.

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Tiger Woods makes a huge move on Saturday at The Open: Here are his updated odds to win

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In case you missed it, Tiger Woods made a huge move on Saturday at Carnoustie in the 2018 Open Championship, making 6 birdies along with only 1 bogey for a 66. Starting at even par for the tournament on the day, he actually got himself into a tie for the lead after playing his 14th hole, but gave a shot back at 16 and now sits 4 strokes back of the 9-under lead (Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele tied at the top).

Here are a few highlights from Tiger’s third round.

On Sunday, Tiger will tee off in the third-to-last group, playing with Francesco Molinari.

Although Tiger has 4 strokes and 4 golfers to overcome — one of them being 3-time major champion (and defending champion) Jordan Spieth — he certainly has a chance to win his 15th major on Sunday.

What are his chances exactly? Here’s what Bovada has listed as their odds after Saturday’s round.

Bovada is giving the nod, and rightfully so, to Spieth. He’s been there done that, but there’s plenty of talent right there with him.

Who’s your pick to win the Claret Jug on Sunday?

Related: Tiger Woods playing a new TaylorMade GAPR Lo driving iron at Carnoustie

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