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Tiger Woods avoids penalty at Hero World Challenge



5-under through 17 holes in his second round at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods was sailing along nicely until his drive at Albany’s 18th, well, sailed right and wound up beneath a bush in the native area.

After considering his options, Woods, from his knees, attempted a quick swat at the ball with an iron. The good news: Woods extricated himself from the trouble. The bad news: Woods’ rules trouble was only beginning.

First, have a look at the shot here, via on Twitter.

As you can see, and as the coverage team suggests, the ball appeared to stay on the club face for an extended period of time. If Woods “pushed, scraped or spooned the ball” he violated Rule 14-1 (a two-stroke penalty).

Secondarily, some questioned whether Woods struck the ball twice in the course of freeing it from the native area, a violation of Rule 14-4 (which is still in effect until the 2019 revision goes into effect).

When Woods entered the scorer’s tent, he was asked to review footage of the incident in conjunction with Tour Officials.

(via PGA Tour on Twitter)

Ultimately, as PGA Tour Rules Official Mark Russell told Golf Channel, Woods wasn’t assessed a penalty, it seems, because all parties believed he intended to make a legal strike. Further, as a double-hit couldn’t be determined by the naked eye, and per the 2017 rule limited the power of later video evidence, Woods was cleared of a breach of Rule 14-4.

Russell cited Decision 18/4 , which states “a player’s determination that the ball has not moved will be deemed to be conclusive, even if that determination is later shown to be incorrect through the use of sophisticated technology.”

He added the following later, via Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on Twitter

For his part, Woods has this to say to Golf Channel’s Steve Sands

“First of all, I didn’t feel like I violated any rules. I felt like I was trying to play a shot. But the rules committee pulled me aside and said ‘Hey, there may be a violation there’ so we took a look at it. I didn’t feel like I hit it twice, it happened so fast and it was such a short motion, but under high def and super slow-mo, you can see it. I made contact twice, but there was no, they’ll explain it to you. There is no violation, I guess, so I shot what I shot today.”

What he shot — after an 18th hole double bogey — was a 3-under 69. Through two rounds, he sits at 2 under, eight strokes behind leader Jon Rahm and tied for 15th in the field of 18.

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  1. Darryl

    Dec 5, 2018 at 6:38 am

    What I love is that the raking story has had zero coverage on the home page here. If Eldrick had hit a 290 yard baby fade out of a pot bunker to a tight cut pin with a 6 iron, all top 5 stories would be about it, three days later, even if he still only finished 17 of 18. But since the actual story doesn’t depict him as Jeebus on a flaming bun, all is quiet.

  2. Tom

    Dec 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    He has impeccable character and honesty, just ask Elin or Lindsey. lol!

  3. Kelly Gallagher

    Dec 3, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    All players can feel the difference between pushing the ball away and hitting it. I wish just once he would admit to doing something wrong. But I’m sure that will never happen. He showed with all his lying and cheating he has no morals. Yes he is one great golfer. But that is where it ends.

  4. Bob Jones

    Dec 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    They said he wasn’t assessed a penalty because he was intending to make a legal strike.

    I was intending to hit my ball in bounds, so I shouldn’t have to take a penalty because I missed.

  5. Bob Jones

    Dec 3, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    They said he wasn’t assessed a penalty because he was intending to make a legal strike.

    Well, I was intending to hit my ball in bounds, so I shouldn’t have to take a penalty because I missed.

  6. Dave r

    Dec 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Who cares he finished 17th out of 18 players. And yes he hit it twice and then proceeded to rake it out, the call was up to him to make and as usual he did not , can’t recall him ever calling himself on anything it must be great to be so perfect.

    • Tartan Golf Travel

      Dec 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Correct. In 20 years on tour he had never called a penalty on himself. In fact he has argued vehemently when visual proof has been shown to him.

    • Kelly Gallagher

      Dec 3, 2018 at 11:32 pm

      Yes he did push it out. One of many things he has been caught at. He just won’t admit it. Liar,Liar.

  7. Ron

    Dec 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

    All these comments on here about Woods cheating….The determination was made by the officials, not Tiger.

    • Jack Nash

      Dec 3, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      It was Tigers Tourney, I’m sure they’ll penalize him. Kinda like years ago at the Masters where he “wasn’t” penalized for an obvious infraction on 15 with the “yellow” staked area.

  8. CJ

    Dec 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I believe he got away with a clear penalty. Not on purpose but its still a penalty regardless

  9. Tartan Golf Travel

    Dec 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

    It’s obvious he cheated and it’s certainly Not his first time. Sad to see especially in a hit and giggle.

  10. Tony

    Dec 3, 2018 at 1:13 am

    In my opinion (and as an experienced trial lawyer and long-term golfer I think I bring to bear objectivity and experience) it was a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 14.1.a, which provides that “The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.” The fact that it was also a double hit (as determined on slow motion television) compounds the offence.

    Any experienced golfer who has been in that position will know when the ball has been scraped or spooned. I can recall several occasions when I have been against a tree with limited backswing and I have genuinely attempted to strike the ball but it has stayed on the clubface resulting in a scrape or spoon. I have always felt it and penalised myself.

    Ruling 14.1.a/4 provides, inter-alia, as follows: “It is possible to strike a ball fairly with a half inch backswing. However, in most such cases the player would be pushing the ball, contrary to Rule 14-1a. In the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, it should be ruled that the player has pushed the ball. In order to strike the ball fairly, it must be swung at with the clubhead. If the ball is moved by any other method, it has been pushed, scraped or spooned. If a ball is fairly struck at, there is only momentary contact between the clubhead and the ball or whatever intervenes between the clubhead and the ball.”

    I note part of Mark Russell’s explanation that you could see the “club [sic-ball] stay on the clubface quite a bit of time”. Why, then, did they not have reference to Ruling 14.1.a/4 — the contact was not momentary and the ball was pushed, scraped or spooned.

    Admittedly the backswing was more than half an inch – but it was only a few inches, and the ball was in sand. The fact that Tiger genuinely attempted to strike the ball is irrelevant. If the motion was a push, scrape or scoop there is a two shot penalty. A compelling piece of evidence against the “first strike” finding by the PGA officials is the fact that, in the motion, Tiger turns his wrist to hood the toe of the club to scrape it in the right direction. Also, I don’t believe a fair strike with such a limited backswing, with the ball in sand, would ever have resulted in the ball travelling as far as it did.

    Finally, all of those who say get over it because the rule changes next year are missing the point that rule 14.1 does not change and has nothing to do with double hits. It is Rule 14.4 which will change from January.

  11. b

    Dec 2, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Woods purposely RAKED the ball with the clubface!!!

    It was raking just like you would use to rake leaves or rake anything by keeping the object you are trying to move on the clubface or head of the stick.

    If Woods at made a strike (in lieu of a raking motion) the ball would have compressed and bounced (sprung) off the clubface instead of remaining on the clubface as it was raked.

    It was definitely a PENALTY that Woods got away with. BIG TIME BAD RULING!!!

    • geohogan

      Dec 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Ball clubface contact is 5, 10, 000 th of a second

      Clearly , in real time, without stop action camera, Tiger raked the ball.

      If Woods “pushed, scraped or spooned the ball” he violated Rule 14-1 (a two-stroke penalty).

  12. Bert Gwaltney

    Dec 2, 2018 at 10:42 am

    1″ back swung usually doesn’t produce a 3′ follow-through, yes he was trying to get the ball out and into the grass, past the sand area. Certainly looks like a swoop and not a normal hit, but he said he make a stroke at the ball, and didn’t believe he hit it twice. OK, but maybe when he viewed the shot on camera, he might have thought of calling the penalty on himself. “I saw the ball move” seems to remember a great amateur making that comment.

    in 2019, golfers will Intentionally strike the ball twice, perhaps with the putter and claim, it wasn’t intentional. This is why a rule for double-strike was put into the Rules of Golf in the first place. A putt that might come up a little short on slow greens could be made with a long follow-through.

  13. Tom

    Dec 1, 2018 at 11:33 pm


  14. Johnny Penso

    Dec 1, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    You’re in 15th place out of 18. One would think that legacy would triumph personal reward at an event that is almost entirely meaningless within Tigers’ career.

  15. RulesCop

    Dec 1, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    There are golf pros and there are true, iconic, consummate sports heros. I can’t imagine Arnie, Jack or Jones not owning up to a rules breach, but not Eldrick. That’s yet another reason why Eldrick will never be in their league no matter which and how many wins. You have to have the whole package to qualify……performance and integrity.

    • TWE

      Dec 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      Ummmm…..please don’t make statements when you don’t know the facts…..Palmer won his first Master after he insisted on playing two balls because he did not get the ruling he desired on an embedded ball rule. I love Arnie, but please don’t spew garbage.

      • Peter McGill

        Dec 4, 2018 at 5:38 am

        You’re allowed to play a second ball in those circumstances. Apples and oranges.

    • Kelly Gallagher

      Dec 3, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Rules Cop you are so bang on. He has no class and that has shone through for years. The greats would have put their hand up and said yes I did that. And taken their penalty. Not him. I don’t care how many wins or majors he has. Just cause you can golf does not make you a stand up person.

  16. Nack Jicklaus

    Dec 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    I rake my balls too.

  17. Rich Douglas

    Dec 1, 2018 at 1:54 pm


    This isn’t even close, and it doesn’t require high-def replay to discern it. (Lame excuse, Tour officials!)

    How is that any different than swiping away someone’s gimme putt? He used the exact same method you’d use to pull the ball out of there so you could drop it.

    Another example of Tiger being Tiger and the Tour being his best friend.

  18. RulesCop

    Dec 1, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Double hits aside, it was obvious, even a normal speed, that he raked it out. That is a penalty in any year. Shame on Tour officials and so much for Woods ‘integrity’ setting an example for the 1st tee kidz.

  19. David

    Dec 1, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    ANOTHER example of Woods CHEATING again…
    There’s no way in this world anyone can make a pulling motion to the ball with no back swing without double touching/ball sticking on the club face .. and Woods KNOWS that.
    He also KNEW immediately he’d double touched. Anyone else would have called it on himself but not Woods… it shows his total lack of honesty.
    Anyone that’s ever played golf know exactly when they’ve double hit … anyone reading this and feels differently has never played golf.
    And that they let him off without penalty is utterly RIDICULOUS … anyone other than Woods would DEFINITELY have received a penalty.

  20. S&TisKing

    Dec 1, 2018 at 11:32 am

    That wasn’t a swing, that was a swipe!!!

  21. Andrew Wainer

    Dec 1, 2018 at 6:00 am

    He “scoop/spooned” it


    Dec 1, 2018 at 12:06 am


  23. Lovejoy

    Nov 30, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    A player admits to a double hit having seen the evidence and does not call a penalty on himself?


    • Scheiss

      Dec 1, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Exactly. Signed for wrong score, therefore DQ

  24. He Who Remembers

    Nov 30, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Yeah, this kind of stuff reminds me of the EXTRA favorable drop Woods received at the Players Championship……got away with that one too. It took a call from a distinguished senior tour player to make the officials rule Tiger made an illegal drop at The Masters. Cmon, how many time does the tour have to roll over for this guy.

  25. BF

    Nov 30, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    If they were playing under the new 2019 rules, which I know they aren’t, isn’t there no penalty for hitting it twice if it’s unintentional?

    • Bubbert

      Dec 1, 2018 at 8:33 am

      In the new 2019 rules, there is no penalty for unintentionally hitting the ball twice.

    • Rich Douglas

      Dec 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      This wasn’t a case of “hitting it twice” with one swing. This was a scrape. He yanked the ball out of there, not using a clean hit. That is a penalty now, and it will be a penalty in 2019.

  26. dat

    Nov 30, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Certainly didn’t look like a double hit or a scoop to me in real time. Slo-mo is deceptive and irrelevant here. Officials made the right call.

  27. Brian McGrnahan

    Nov 30, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Its obvious the ball was compressed on the clubface.

  28. Tom

    Nov 30, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Ray Lewis told him to say “I didn’t see nuttin!”

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Honda Classic




GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course (par 70: 7,125 yards) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The field this week is stacked at the top, and it includes Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen and more.

Last year, Keith Mitchell canned a 15-footer on the 72nd hole, outlasting Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from PGA National.

General galleries

Special galleries

Vijay Singh using custom Mizuno MP-20 irons with lofts modified enough they had to stamp new numbers. Link to his full WITB

Camilo Villegas with old-school Air Jordans

Close up of Tommy Fleetwood’s putting grip

Luke Donald with a new putting training aid

LA Golf has a couple of new shafts

Brooks Kopeka with his pink and white Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour shoes

Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with new sightlines.  Link to galleries and discussion

Kevin Streelman is a huge Chicago Cubs fan, so he went to a spring training game and had the players sign his staff bag (to be fair, he probably took just the panel and not the whole bag)

Jim Furyk has gone back to his standard length putter and cross-handed after trying the arm-lock style for a while.

Kyle Stanley’s coach is taking a worm’s-eye view of Kyle’s alignment and stroke.

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Morning 9: Koepka talks golf | Tiger’s Champions Dinner menu | Tour caddies and hot seats



1. Koepka talks golf
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…The former World No. 1 – who now sits third behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm – opened up in great detail in a profile in GQ about what he would change about the game of golf, a sport that he truly loves despite some outside perception.
  • “One thing I’d change is maybe the stuffiness,” said Koepka, who’s never viewed himself as just a golfer. “Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn’t always have to be that way. That’s part of the problem.”
  • ...”Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You’re not allowed in here unless you’re a member – or unless the member’s here.’…
  • …”I just think people confuse all this for me not loving the game. I love the game. I absolutely love the game,” said Koepka. “I don’t love the stuffy atmosphere that comes along with it. That, to me, isn’t enjoyable.”

Full piece.

2. Fajitas and sushi
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.”
  • “Woods also said he’s considering serving milkshakes for desert like he did during the 1998 dinner.”
  • “That was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98,” he said.”

Full piece.

3. Why a tour caddie is always on the hot seat 
The Undercover Tour Caddie writeth again…“I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times-and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum…”
  • “The majority of the time, the breakups are amicable and done in person. I consider myself friends with almost all the players I’ve worked for, and though there were some strong emotions from both sides when it came time to disband, I get it. This is a business, and they’re making a business decision. Plus, you don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ve had two guys toss me aside after a month’s work, only for them to circle back within the year, one of which ended up sticking for five seasons.”
  • “There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith-faith that his 9 was the wrong club.”

Full piece.

4. The best part of Tiger’s Masters win…
Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”Last April at Augusta National Golf Club, behind the 18th green, after tapping in for a one-stroke victory and fifth Masters triumph, there were hugs all around, none sweeter than those from his daughter and son.”
  • “I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open. I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco,” Woods said. “To have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget. And the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie … to have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds.”
  • “It’s a long and rambling thought, and totally justified in the context of all the emotion woven into the two experiences. Some things are just difficult to express cogently, and the struggle with doing so only underscores their impact.”
5. Dream of Coul is dead
Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”Coul Links was supposed to be Scotland’s next great links golf course. Envisioned to be built by Coore-Crenshaw on a protected wildlife site in Embo on dunes near Dornoch, those hopes took a serious blow on Feb. 21, when the Scottish government denied planning permission for a project spearheaded by golf course developer Mike Keiser.”
  • “I’m moving on. I have so many other projects,” Keiser tells The Forecaddie. “God bless Dornoch.”
  • “In its decision notice, Scottish Ministers determined that the proposed development would adversely affect the local environment, stating in their findings that the “likely detriment to natural heritage is not outweighed by the socio-economic benefits of the proposal.”
6. Koepka: Great round of golf with Trump
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard…“In a profile in GQ, Koepka…talked about a recent round with President Trump…Koepka, his father, younger brother Chase and President Trump “had a blast” at Trump’s course in West Palm Beach.”
  • “It was nice to have my family there, my dad, my brother. Anytime it’s with a president, it’s pretty cool,” said Koepka. “I don’t care what your political beliefs are, it’s the President of the United States. It’s an honor that he even wanted to play with me.”
  • “I respect the office, I don’t care who it is,” added Koepka. “Still probably the most powerful man in the entire world. It’s a respect thing.”

Full piece.

7. Tiger on lengthening Augusta National 
Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport…”Augusta National has been at the forefront of trying to keep it competitive, keep it fair, keep it fun, and they’ve been at the forefront of lengthening the golf course,” Woods said. “Granted, they have the property and they can do virtually whatever they want. They have complete autonomy. It’s kind of nice.
  • “But also they’ve been at the forefront of trying to keep it exciting as the game has evolved. We have gotten longer, equipment changed, but they’ve been trying to keep it so the winning score is right around the 12- to 18-under-par mark, and they have.”
8. Inside the Bear Trap
Golf Channel Digital team…“Here’s a look at some of the notable Bear Trap stats according to the PGA Tour (all figures since 2007, when the tournament moved to PGA National):”
  • “Among non-majors, the Bear Trap ranks as the third-toughest three-hole stretch on Tour at 0.644 over par on average. It’s behind only Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow (+0.873) and Nos. 8-10 at Pebble Beach (+0.673).”
  • “The Honda Classic field is a combined 3,629 over par across the Bear Trap and 4,934 over par across the other 15 holes at PGA National.”
  • “543 different players have played at least one competitive round at the Honda since 2007, with 76 percent (415) of them hitting at least one ball in the water on the Bear Trap.”

Full piece.

9. San Diego muni renovations (including Torrey)
Jason Lusk of Golfweek…“San Diego’s city council has allotted $15 million for upgrades and renovations to the city’s three municipally operated golf facilities including Torrey Pines’ South Course, site of the 2021 U.S. Open, according to a report Tuesday by the San Diego Union-Tribune.”
  • “…The $15 million approved Monday by the city council also will include contract work at San Diego’s other municipally operated golf facilities at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, the Union-Tribune reported. The courses will remain open during the jobs that include installing new irrigation systems and drainage, replacing and repairing cart paths, renovating bunkers and tree work.”


*featured image via Augusta National/the Masters

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Tour Rundown




Only two of the world’s featured tours were in action this week, but the golf that they provided was memorable and historic. Not the type of historic that you find in school books, but certainly the type that golf aficionados point to, down the road. On the one hand, a prodigious yet poliarizing talent demonstrated complete control down the stretch, during his march to a 2nd World Golf Championship victory. On the other, a precocious competitor joined into a talented triumvirate with a marvelous birdie at the last, to secure an inaugural PGA Tour championship.Tuesday Tour Rundown is back, for this week only!

WGC-Mexico flies away in the hands of Patrick Reed 

Golf Twitter, depending on your perspective, is either entertaining or inflamatory. As happens in the world today, people take sides. In the case of Patrick Reed, that’s not difficult. One either forgives (or denies) Reed’s free interpretation (on multiple occasions) of the rules and their enforcement, or one preserves a disregard for a leading player who simply doesn’t act like one. What isn’t up for debate, is Reed’s seizure of this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico. What looked for so long like a Bryson-DeChambaeau win, ultimately stowed away in Patrick Reed’s check-on pouch.

The tournament came down to the aforementioned duo. Both Jon Rahm and Erik Van Rooyen swam along the margin, but neither made enough of a Sunday move to figure in the outcome. Both, in fact, tied for 3rd place, 2 back of DeChambeau and 3 behind the champion. Bryson and his on-display muscles barged out of the 10th-hole gate like a man (and muscles) on a mission. Birdies at 4 of the first 5 holes on the inward half, staked him to a 2-shot advantage. Over the closing four, however, the magic went away, and a bogey at the penultimate hole brought him back to 17-under par.

Reed looked like a man playing for second. His long game was nothing exceptional, but his putter kept him afloat, time and again. And then, whatever DeChambeau had in his water bottle, came over to Reed. Birdies at 15, 16 and 17 suddenly brought the 2-shot advantage to the 2018 Masters champion. Even the cough of an expectorant fan, mid-backswing on the 18th, was not enough to convulse the champion. A closing bogey made the margin closer than it was, and Reed jumped from 33rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

PGA Tour Puerto Rico is Viktor Hovland’s debut decision

It wasn’t as mauling as Tyson Fury’s technical decision over Deontay Wilder, but Viktor Hovland and Josh Teater came down the stretch in Puerto Rico, like a pair of pugilists. The young Norwegian, Hovland, was pitted against the career grinder, Teater. First it was the veteran, with 3 birdies on the opening nine, to reach minus-19. Hovland chipped away, with a birdie at 5, and a 2nd at 10. And then, Teater hit Hovland with a right-cross (or Hovland hit himself with a sucker punch; you make the call.) Triple bogey! A startling six at the 11th, dropped Hovland into a tie with Teater (bogeys of his own on 10 and 11) who now had new life … and new pressure.

To his credit, Teater didn’t back down. He made birdies at 15 and 17, to recoup the lost shots at the turn. Unfortunately for him, tour victory the first would have to wait. Hovland, the Oklahoma State alumnus, made a sensational eagle at the 15th, to counter Teater’s birdie, and reclaim the advantage. The pair reached the 18th tee, a par five, all square, and it was there that Hovland dealt the final thrust. He took every bit of break out of a 25-feet birdie putt, and banged it into the hole. With the win, Hovland joined Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa as anticipated winners who actually won. Now comes the hard part: winning again and reaching a new echelon of champion.

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