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19th Hole

Did Tiger Woods choke at The Open?

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The winds picked up along the coast as the tide came in. The fickle gods of links golf reared their grey heads. Tiger Woods, stitched up and fused together, chasing his 15th major, felt the fury of both late Sunday at The Open.

Carnoustie’s 11th and 12th holes: A pair of poor efforts off the tee in howling crosswinds found the fescue. A pair of recovery efforts saw Woods’ True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft ensnared and golf ball gone awry.

At the par-4 11th, pressing, feeling he couldn’t afford to drop any shots (Woods stated he thought the winning score would be 9 under)–and indeed would need more birdies coming in–Woods left a flop shot out of the rough just short. Trusting in his powers with a 60-degree in hand, Woods went for a shot that would have left him a good look at par, had he pulled it off. Instead, his ball ultimately trickled away from the putting surface in sad retreat.

Two shots later, he filled in a double-bogey 6 on his scorecard, dropping back to even par for the day through 11 holes. He bogeyed the 12th after another sojourn into the thick stuff.

From that point on, Woods escaped the par-5 14th with what was probably an undeserved birdie, but it was all pars on a difficult stretch of holes. After wedging his approach to seven feet at the 72nd hole, Woods should’ve made the putt, sure–his impotent effort fizzled and fell away from the cup. A made putt would have left him one stroke back of Molinari, who was closer (and ultimately made his putt), but it wouldn’t have won him the tournament.

While it’s fair to say Woods didn’t play his best golf down the stretch, and perhaps he asked too much from shots from the rough at the 11th and 12th, the suggestion that he choked, failed to capitalize, or got nervy when the heat was on is off base.

That said, Woods’ legion of detractors will gleefully claim he choked. The Choke Lite take is that while Woods didn’t totally let things slip through his fingers, but the combination of opponents not self-destructing (most did though, Sunday, didn’t they?) and lacking the “step on their necks” gear he displayed so often earlier in his career did him in.

More to the point, the 79-time Tour winner hit a few poor shots and tried to do too much on a couple of occasions. He paid the price for both. The larger import we see likely had more to do with our preconceived notions of Woods than anything that happened inside the ropes at Carnoustie Sunday.

A final word: In the course of admitting that he was “ticked off” at himself for not getting the job done, Woods said

“I need to try and keep it in perspective because, the beginning of the year, if they’d have said you’re playing The Open Championship, I would have said I’d be very lucky to do that.”

We’d do well to maintain the same perspective: If you’re a fan, be glad you have something to cheer for, and if you’re an anti-Tigerite, be glad you have fodder for criticism. Everybody wins!

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Keenan Van Zile

    Jul 24, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Spieth was leading sunday and all he had to do was shoot par. IF any one choked he did-it was his to win-he ended up +5…Tiger was trying to make something out of bad lies in which he did not have too..

  2. Dave r

    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Love these people who think golfers choke. They have and never will be in the position to even known . So stop asking the question. Did he choke? No he was trying to win just like the others in the field. So mabey ask yourself did the rest of the field choke or were they not good enough that week at that time to win.

  3. joro

    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:40 am

    HE DID NOT CHOKE !! His normal game just came back and his luck ran out. Simple

  4. Kfischer

    Jul 24, 2018 at 8:56 am

    This from a writer that never won anything!

  5. D

    Jul 24, 2018 at 3:29 am

    That bounce on 18 off the edge of the burn on the left was lucky.
    But no, he did not choke, but his strategy to play only cuts cost him as he could not hit a proper draw to target to save his life

    • Mihaly

      Jul 24, 2018 at 8:22 am

      There was a 20mph wind swirling every which way but loose. Nobody was hitting secondary shots with any real knowledge of where the ball might end up.

      • D

        Jul 24, 2018 at 10:11 am

        Not for the whole week! Wind was up only on Sunday

  6. Mat

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Eddie Pepperell choked. On scotch.

  7. Chris

    Jul 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    No he didn’t choke he was 4 shots back to start the day Spieth kisner and shaufelle choked

  8. Liberty Apples

    Jul 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    You seem to be the only one posing the choke question.

  9. Kfischer

    Jul 23, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Really, and 2 yrs ago you probably said his done………wake up pancake…….did Spieth choke, did Johnson give up …..no……..get a life pleeeease.

  10. XO

    Jul 23, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Not a choke in my opinion, but ONE bad decision. Everything changing with that double bogey…..Tiger honestly took himself out of the win attempting that flop shot. Yes, he is capable of pulling it off but if he looked around the leaderboard and was aware that the trio of leaders were rapidly dropping strokes, the time and place to attempt that shot was not right. The play was to the left and trying to save a 10-15ft putt. He was playing so solidly too up until then. After walking off that hole, the strokes to be made up was just too much to ask with the finishing stretch ahead.

    • Kevin

      Jul 24, 2018 at 10:45 am

      if he plays it safe, bogey’s the hole, and loses by 1 people criticize him for not playing to win. he’s pulled those shots off numerous times. it didn’t work out, but it was inches from being the shot of the tournament that could’ve propelled him to a win. hindsight always 20/20

    • BowieMan

      Jul 24, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      I think you are right…

  11. drashley

    Jul 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Tiger played well…the two holes cost him. Yes the old Tiger would not make bogeys or double on the back 9…but this is TW2.0. He has to learn to win again and be in the heat of the battle/opportunity. Small steps folks…be patient he is back competing.

  12. Tartan Golf Travel

    Jul 23, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Unfortunately Tiger has choked every time he has gotten close this year. It’s something he needs to overcome to get that first win. It’s certainly mental at this point. May be he will get over it but those things get harder with age. We will see.

    • Caroline

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:51 pm

      I would agree, I think his lack of faith in his driver on Sunday was the killer….and Taylormade thinks they can fit you and I…….

  13. orangeology

    Jul 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    a few folks—including the writer—seems to choke at Tiger’s return as well as his performance. dude. look at where he was 6 months ago and where he is now. such impatient bunches, whether you are a fan, a hater or a writer…

  14. Birdswing

    Jul 23, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    He never choked he went for it! even going for the miracle lob shot that ultimately cost him big time.

    If he played safe there then we would be knowing he wasn’t confident of the W he went for and got punished

    • Caroline

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Only on that one shot, 4 tee shots could have been driver on that back nine if he was really “Going for it”.

  15. Greg V

    Jul 23, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I don’t know why anyone in the press would suggest that Tiger choked. He was coming from behind, and he felt he had to take some chances. They didnt’ work out.

    Jordan choked. But the press gives him a pass. What’s up with that?

    • D

      Jul 24, 2018 at 10:12 am

      They don’t want to call him “Metldown” Spieth is why

    • JR

      Jul 25, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Spieth didn’t choke. If you’ve watched golf at all this year you’d know he’s been playing poorly all season and Carnoustie isn’t a course you’re going to score on when the wind blows if you’re playing poorly. As for Woods, I wouldn’t say he choked either but he wanted the win so badly that he let it cloud his judgement on a few big decisions.

  16. Sam

    Jul 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    I thought his caddie could have helped him a lot down the stretch, and that just didn’t happen. Not a fan of Joe …

  17. Nolan

    Jul 23, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    No. He played really well. Really well just wasnt good enough to win a major. Way she goes.

  18. DaveJ

    Jul 23, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    He was the solo leader on the back nine then lost by 3 strokes (to his playing partner no less)… he kinda choked. He didn’t collapse or anything, but he had a very good chance to win and couldn’t get it done. Missing the putt on 18 was pretty chokey as well, though it didn’t matter at that point.

    • George

      Jul 25, 2018 at 7:04 am

      That last putt DID matter. He could have finished T2, more points, more money, higher position in WGR etc. T2 or T6, the difference can be huge.

  19. Tee-Bone

    Jul 23, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    For 12 years, Tiger’s play was supernatural. Now he’s mortal. Still, this is one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever seen in sports. Not only was he away from the game for a long time, but he legit had the chipping yips. When he wins again, which will happen soon, then it will be official.

  20. TONEY P

    Jul 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Tiger doesn’t seem to realize what those surgeries have done to his swing. He has to become a left to right golfer now, back injuries don’t play well with fare shots.

    • Geohogan

      Jul 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Its what his swing contnues to do to his spine. Now the part of his spine, not fused is the weak link and his steep DS will do its damage. Its been that way since his ‘Expert’ instructors changed his swing post 2000.

      Lets hope Tiger will be lucky to be able to continue to play a half dozen tournaments a year, and not become incapacitated.

  21. Jolter

    Jul 23, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Hardly a choke but more likely the result of a 42 y/o surgically repaired adult who has a mind that still believes he can will a win even with less then a perfect round. This is the Tiger everyone will see for the foreseeable future which will be entertaining but loss of skill and nerves will be evident with each passing year now. He has fought injuries and scandals with a miraculous recovery but Father Time is now close on his heels seeking him to pay his fees for all those years of greatness.

  22. Paul

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Tiger hit many irons off the tees but still missed allot of fairways. His drives are still his worst enemy, regardless of what he hits off the tee. Good thing the corse had no trees.

    • John

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Guessing you didn’t watch the tournament. Tiger led the field in fairways hit by a significant margin.

    • JW

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Standing on 12 tee he was leading the entire tournament in driving accuracy…. Lol.

    • orangeology

      Jul 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      do some google at the least if you want to comment on something you didn’t even watch. SMH

  23. Rob

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:56 am

    This is someone trying to make something out of nothing. You should be ashamed of yourself. He played well overall. T6 in tough conditions and only 1 player…..1 player separated himself from a congested group at top the leader board. Give credit where it’s due! It was good golf all around.

  24. Painter33

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Pathetic commentary by a know-nothing. Tiger had only two “bad” holes among the many good to better-than-good holes. His composure, ability to hit the correct quality shots, and his other-worldly skills (bunker 2nd on 11) made his round remarkable and only in comparison to Moliari’s great round did it pale. Anyone old enough to have seen Tiger in his prime was allotted a flashback of sorts, and we loved it. This absurd, immature “article” deserves to be sent back to grammar school.

    • Ben Alberstadt

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Did you read the article? That’s exactly what I said…

      • Gary

        Jul 23, 2018 at 4:51 pm

        Ben’s a fa*got cuck!

        • Ben Alberstadt

          Jul 23, 2018 at 8:03 pm

          Thanks for the kind words, Gary. Much appreciated.

          • Kevin

            Jul 24, 2018 at 10:47 am

            i’m willing to bet 90% of commenters read the headline and then jump to the comments

  25. Kevin

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Choke? No. Made bad decisions? Yes. If you want to see the definition of choking at a major, go watch Spieth at the masters a few years back. That is choking.

    • JW

      Jul 23, 2018 at 11:25 am

      Jordan did a pretty good job choking Sunday @ Carnoustie as well… TW shooting 71 with two bad holes is choking but Jordan shooting 76 after starting the day -9. He simply needed an even par round to win or +1 for a playoff. And who knows had he done that Molinari may have felt some added pressure.

      I think the tides totally changed for Tiger with the double… he should have just pitched that ball to 10-12 feet and tried to make 4 with no worse than 5 but he got cute trying to hit it tight and made 6. The old Tiger would have just chipped it to 12 feet knowing he was gonna hole the putt. Even with that he literally missed the easiest birdie putt possible on 18 for a share of 2nd place.

      • Geohogan

        Jul 23, 2018 at 5:03 pm

        Ye OLD TIGER would have hit the impossible flop and it would have gone in the hole for 3 rather 6, tournament over.

        Now those days are gone.

      • XO

        Jul 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm

        Totally agree with everything changing with that double bogey…..Tiger honestly took himself out of the win attempting that flop shot. Yes, he is capable of pulling it off but if he looked around the leaderboard and was aware that the trio of leaders were rapidly dropping strokes, the time and place to attempt that shot was not right. The play was to the left and trying to save a 10-15ft putt. He was playing so solidly too up until then. After walking off that hole, the strokes to be made up was just too much to ask with the finishing stretch.

  26. Dixie doc

    Jul 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Maybe choked is a little harsh but it was, at least, a hiccup. He hit an iron on both those for goodness sake.

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19th Hole

Terrible hats are proof Koepka not human, likely an alien robot from the future

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For all this talk about Brooks Koepka not receiving the credit he deserves, it’s time we put the focus on the important things — like hats. And the overwhelming evidence that Koepka is, in fact, a high-functioning alien robot. From the future.

Case in point: everyone who appreciates a classic aliens-hide-among-humans-disguised-as-humans movie knows the most important scene — the first reveal of the aliens! Think back to that first time you watched Men in Black, and that cold open where Tommy Lee Jones confronts “Mikey,” who turns out to be a flippered blue alien, and then (sadly) has to shoot Mikey when he attempts to attack a police officer with all seven of his limbs. A beautiful piece of filmmaking, no doubt.

Well, inadvertently, during the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Nike pulled a Mikey, but without having Tommy Lee Jones’ famous memory-wiping technology. They weren’t quite ready to tell the world their poster boy of dominance wasn’t a real human, but the cat’s out of the bag, folks.

After all, if Koepka wasn’t a robot, how could we explain his willingness to wear that hat in public, let alone wear it on television, during one of the sports biggest stages, at one of the world’s best courses? And we all know exactly which hat we’re talking about — the one that looks exactly like your grandmother’s shower curtain in her spare bathroom. If we can all agree there’s no feasible way all the designers at Nike thought the hat in question actually looked good, we’re forced to consider…something mysterious is afoot. What is Nike trying to hide from us? They’re clearly trying to divert our attention away from something, but — what is it?!

The answer is clear. There’s a murderous blue alien robot underneath that hat. He just happens to be really damn good at golf.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of Koepka’s dominance over the past 24 months. The dude has done nothing but win majors, winning with an aura of unflappability we haven’t seen since the original robot said “Hello, World” back when Koepka was learning how to read. (Or, more likely, Koepka never actually learned to read, just programmed to read).

Would it be that much of a surprise to learn Koepka is the world’s first successful application of Artificial Intelligence? A robot designed not for war, but a delightful piece of technology designed for smashing drives, pushing weights, and holing an obscene amount of pressure-packed putts.

Here’s where this gets tricky – what do we do next, golf fans? Do we call our suspicions into the USGA, the same way some dude at home on his couch somehow called a penalty(-ish) on Dustin Johnson a couple years ago? Probably not. We know with certainy the USGA would completely screw that up. They might not even rule on an appropriate penalty for Koepka’s non-humanness until the event is over, keeping us all in the dark all evening Sunday.

Here’s my thoughts: maybe we just accept it. Act like it’s n.b.d. Brooks Koepka is just an alien robot, most likely from some time in the future, sent here to entertain us with some of the most unbelievable golf we’ll ever see on this planet or the next.

But please, Nike, let’s all wink at each other with knowing smiles, and at least pretend he’s just your run of the mill (non-alien) professional golfer. Give him one of your clean looking white swoosh hats Rory wears. They look great! Or, hell, let him just take off the hat altogether and let the alien hang out. We don’t care. Just don’t make us look at grandma’s shower curtain over the weekend. It’s an insult to spare bathrooms everywhere.

 

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19th Hole

The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (6.14.19)

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In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case you aren’t already, there’s a whole load of action going on at our page, so follow us: @golfwrx

Let’s get to it then, here are six of the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Dormie Workshop with limited edition covers using real flags from Pebble Beach.

 ”Banksy Gilmore” U.S. Open – Pebble Beach Headcover from American Flatsticks.

How about this custom Scotty from Embrace Putters?

Andrew Halford sharing his cool video of Tiger Woods on the practice green at Pebble Beach.

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Just @tigerwoods practicing putting.

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Immaculate work from those in charge at Pebble.

Swag’s King putter cover in action.

Get hashtagging your golf posts #GolfWRX for your chance to feature in our best of Instagram posts in the future!

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19th Hole

Jordan Spieth blasts caddie, Michael Greller, during round one of the U.S. Open after back-to-back errors

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Jordan Spieth began his U.S. Open campaign with a one-over round of 72, and on the eight hole at Pebble Beach, the Texan let his frustration spill over as he laid into his caddie, Michael Greller, after back-to-back mistakes.

The 25-year-old was even par at the time, but on the treacherous eight hole he hit his tee shot through the fairway and off the cliff, before taking a drop and hitting his third shot over the green.

Fox Sports microphones picked up Spieth’s frustration at this moment, as he appeared to blast his caddie.

“Two perfect shots, Michael. You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.”

After his round, Spieth clarified that the comment was made due to his frustration that as a team, the two couldn’t figure out how to get things right on the hole.

“When you hit a couple of shots exactly where you want and one’s in the water and the next one’s dead over the green, I’m going to be frustrated that as a team we didn’t figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen.

I may have looked like the bad guy, but my intentions were that we should be in play if the ball is hit solidly.”

Spieth tees off on day two alongside Tiger Woods and Justin Rose at 11:24 AM ET.

 

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