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Tiger allows journalists to finally write THAT story

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We’ve been writing it in our minds for over 10 years, you know. Since the glory at Torrey, in June of 2008. No one imagined that 10 years and 10 months would pass before Tiger Woods would move from 14 to 15 major titles. We’ve been writing it since April of 2005, when Phil Mickelson draped the green jacket on Woods’ shoulders, 14 years ago. Despite the best efforts of Xander Schauffele, Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, we finally get to write our story, his story.

Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters tournament, in the 83rd telling of the golfing rite of spring. He won quietly, with a bogey at the last, accompanied by the reigning Open champion, Francesco Molinari, and Woods’ 2018 Ryder Cup teammate, Tony Finau. Molinari led most of the final day, until a pair of double bogeys did him in. Finau was also in contention, until the tiniest of flowers tore his heart. To the credit of both, they rebounded from disaster to finish in a tie for fifth, at 11 under.

Ahead of Woods, magic was taking place on a day threatened by the weather gods. Dustin Johnson, for whom Masters success has been long predicted, reached the clubhouse at 12-under par, on the strength of a Sunday 68. Johnson birdied four of his final six holes, in a Greg Norman-esque charge. Like Norman, he came agonizingly close to victory. Tied with Johnson were Schauffele, who overcame a mid-round case of bogey indigestion with five birdies in seven holes. Schauffele could not find the necessary birdie over the final four holes, to reach 13 under and put even more pressure on Woods. Also at a dozen under par was Brooks Koepka. The double defender at the U.S. Open joined Molinari and Finau in Rae’s 12th-hole, double-bogey lagoon, but rebounded immediately with eagle at the 13th, to pick up the chase. Koepka had another birdie at the 15th but, like the X Man, the crucial number would remain an excruciating step away.

And what of Woods? He and Molinari played a game of cat and mouse from the first tee into Amen Corner. Molinari opened with eight pars, plus one bogey, and one birdie. Meanwhile, Woods had three of each to also remain at even on the day. No blood as the reckoning arrived. It appeared that Woods flinched first, as his drive at 11 dropped into the right-side trees. There was a gap, though, and that was all that Tiger required. As on Saturday at the 14th, as so many times before, he threaded the needle and found the putting surface. Disaster averted, Golden Bell on deck.

The Fates selected the 12th, as they had so many times in the past, to encourage an outcome at Augusta. Both Finau and Molinari inexplicably found the water. Neither one fanned the blade open; they simply underclubbed, or misjudged the wind, or caught the ball a groove too high. Woods watched each one rinse, then aimed at the left edge of the bunker, toward center green and safety. His par to their doubles ensured that the game was truly afoot. Woods would birdie 13 and 15, reaching 13-under par. Molinari did rebound with birdies at 13 and 17, but another double bogey, at the 15th, would assure that victory at Augusta was at least a year off for him.

Far ahead, both Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas found the precise slope point at 16, allowing their tee balls to find the cup in one for an ace. How’s that for a skins game? Not even an ace gets you any cash! Woods came to 16 in need of his A game, and he found it. Not quite the ace, but close enough. He tapped in for two and a two-stroke lead, heading toward the closing holes.

Perhaps it was Saint Earl watching over his son from above. First, it was Fowler, missing a short birdie putt at 16. Next came Cantlay, making bogeys after eagle at 15 gave him the lead. Later, it was Koepka, missing from 11 feet at the last, to reach Tiger’s winning score of 13 under. And also, Dustin Johnson, hitting a silly driver at 18 into a fairway bunker. He did well to get it on the green, but his 20-something feet putt came up short of -13 as well. The chances were there, but the competition failed to cross the threshold. Woods was partially blocked by trees on his approach, and wisely chose to lay back of the green. His pitch reached 10 feet, and two putts later, his and our wait were over. 22 years after father and son hugged to celebrate Tiger’s first major championship, another father and his son hugged to celebrate the 15th.

The wheel turns, the ball rolls on.

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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.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Tika

    Apr 16, 2019 at 12:17 am

    He absolutely striped his irons, dont think he misses one on back….pure ballstriking under pressure….say this or that but at end of day he was one better than field…just like any other tourney….

  2. Eric C OBrien

    Apr 15, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Best account I have read – explains why Tiger was short at 18 – I got distracted and was confused by that – Koepka had missed birdie putt so Tiger knew he only needed a 5 after being blocked by trees right !

  3. Me2

    Apr 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    You notice how when his girl tried to kiss him on the mouth he turned his face away and just gave her a hug? Poor girl. Why wouldn’t he give her a nice long smooch for the cameras? We all know what’s going on there, don’t we

    • Not Me2

      Apr 15, 2019 at 3:14 pm

      What is the matter with you? You win clown comment of the day award.

      • gff

        Apr 16, 2019 at 2:18 am

        He’s only writing down what he observed, just like this article.

    • Pelling

      Apr 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      I think he was chewing gum.

  4. S

    Apr 15, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Do you think the result would have been the same had the tee times been normal, 2somes, in the afternoon? The eternal question

    • norom detector

      Apr 15, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      And would you have said that if Johnson or Molinari or another player won? I doubt it.

      Now go fluff your lie before the rest of your foursome catches up to you.

      • Idiot Detector

        Apr 15, 2019 at 6:40 pm

        That’s why it’s a hypothetical question for eternity

  5. Bobbyg

    Apr 14, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    It’s still amazing that Tiger is even playing golf after his surgeriess. Miracle comeback.

  6. Jamie

    Apr 14, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    First off, his story is not “our” story. Second, Earl was not a saint in the least. Today’s nonstop slurpfest by CBS re-confirms that golf commentary is dead.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 14, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      Sure it is, lad. His story is our story.

      So he was a saint in the most?

      What do you want from your golf coverage, steamy exposees? Hard-hitting, investigative journalism that uncovers the scandal behind the ANGC sub air drainage system?

      The easy way to write this piece, in my estimation, would have been to focus on the victor’s flaws and why we should not care if he ever won/wins again. That’s a chop piece, better left to the checkout rags.

  7. Just Believe It

    Apr 14, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    When are you fanboys gonna wake up? Dude is done! lololololol

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DailyWRX (10/26/2020): From dumpster fire to greatness

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From dumpster fire to greatness…

 

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#TigerTuesdays A remarkable par that shook Sherwood.

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I love this guy….

Kind of agree with Poppa Spieth on this one…….I mean at this point maybe listening to Dad will get it done…

 

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Jordan’s dad Shawn is on the bag this week, and he’s already committed the cardinal sin of caddying ?

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Looks like Mel Gibsons crib from Lethal Weapon…..

 

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Caddie John Wood’s Airbnb accommodations for this week’s @zozochamp are, well, not terrible! Check out those views! ?

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DM @johnny_wunder

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Tour Rundown: Cantlay’s home cooking

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Sherwood Country Club lies one hour north and west of where Patrick Cantlay was raised. That proximity disposes his participation in the ZOZO Championship as home cooking. The California Kid lurks as a late returner, for the many established reasons (we’ll mention a pair below) and when on his game, is a bet for contention.

Ross McGowan is not those things. Prior to Sunday, he had won twice in his professional orbit. One came in Europe, on the big tour, while the other celebrated in South Africa, on the Sunshine circuit. As you can guess, he receives mention for a reason.

Finally, Ally McDonald was a head-scratcher of a USA Captain’s Pick in the 2019 Solheim Cup. Unfortunately for her, she played true to form, and didn’t help much as the USA went down in defeat. Fast forward to 2020, and McDonald faced off against the defacto number one, Danielle Kang, and…it’s time for Tour Rundown on my birthday!

Cantlay wins relocated ZOZO championship

Doesn’t seem to matter where they play the ZOZO; a Californian comes out on top. Tiger Woods won the inaugural playing in 2019, some 5500 miles distant from this year’s venue. Pandemics compel that sort of rearrangement. For all the world, it looked like a Justin Thomas vs. Jon Rahm duel, a golfers who don’t win as often as they should sort of showdown. As if to prove a point, neither one won.

Instead, it was Patrick Cantlay, the Patrick-return-lately who suffered a back injury early in his pro career, then lost his caddie/best friend in a tragic, hit-and-run when he returned. Since 2017, when the Long Beach native was finally able to put the puzzle together, he has won thrice on the PGA Tour. This week, he never looked uncomfortable until an inexplicably-pulled wedge at the 70th hole led to a comedic bogey, reducing his margin of advantage to one stroke over Rahm.

The Basque had no more stroke-savers in his pocket, and ended on -22. At the 18th, his playing partner Thomas made a birdie of his own, to tie Rahm at -22. As for Cantlay, he found pars at the bottom of the cup on 17 and 18, and signed for 23-under par on the week, thanks to a 9-birdie round of 65 on day four.

McDonald makes Drive On her first title

Ally McDonald was not anyone’s favorite when the week began at Reynolds Plantation, in Georgia. The Mississippi native (and Mississippi State alum) certainly felt at home in the southeast, but prior to Sunday, had zero professional wins to her name. That’s not to say she hadn’t experienced success. The Tupelo Kid was a major-event lurker, with six, top-25 finishes in the past two years. What made things better for her, perhaps karmic, was the coinciding of her birthday with Sunday’s final round. Making it an anniversary to remember for all time, McDonald implausibly won.

Danielle Kang was on march toward another tour victory. The black belt in karate had gone deep into the golfing dans in 2020 with two wins and a number-one ranking. All that had eluded her thus far was major championship success. Coming down the stretch, she and McDonald were locked in a battle with wunderkind Bianca Pagdanganan, the current distance leader on tour. Here’s how it shook out:

  • Pagdanganan birdied the final two holes … and lost. She had Faldoed her way to 16 consecutive pars on the day, and the pair of birds brought her to -14, two back of the winner;
  • Kang birdied the final hole … and lost. She made six birdies on the day, but a pair of bogeys did her in.

McDonald’s birdie at 16 gave her a three-shot cushion. She gave one back at 17 with bogey, then dropped a par putt at 18 to keep Kang at bay. Nothing like celebrating your 28th birthday with champagne!

McGowan lays claim to victory in Italia

As happens with many professional athletes, injuries slowed Ross McGowan as he entered the prime of his 20s. His burgeoning career stalled, and he returned to Europe’s Challenge Tour, in an effort to stoke the embers of a promising future. His inaugural victory, at the 2009 Madrid Masters, lay in the distant past. With fortitude on his side, McGowan returned to the winner’s podium in 2020, halfway between Milan and Venice.

McGowan was the talk of Brescia over three days, reaching 19 strokes below par by Saturday evening. As might have been predicted, Sunday would be different, and the Englishman endured three bogies and a double in his fourth round. It’s important to have a short memory if you wish to compete successfully, and the man from Surrey followed that double with an eagle. He wasn’t out of the choppy waters just yet, but he did uncover three more birdies along the road to the final green. McGowan made birdie at the final hole for the fourth consecutive day, slipping past another resurgent golfer by one squeaky stroke.

Nicolas Colsaerts, the lean and long-hitting Belgian, was fast-tracked for success early in his career. The anticipated never arrived, and the title journeyman was affixed to his plot line. On Sunday, Colsaerts opened with bogey, but then produced five birdies over the next 17 holes. His 68 wasn’t low round of the day, but it was low round among those who mattered. Colsaerts might have caught McGowan if golf still adhered to the St. Andrean standard of 22 holes, but that’s a matter for another epoch.

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Morning 9: JT: Hard to win without fans | Bryson hits it 400 yards | Cantlay spoils the party | Biggest YOY increase in rounds played

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1. Cantlay spoils the party
All due respect to one Patrick Cantlay, but both the scribes and the fans alike were expecting/rooting for a Jon Rahm or Justin Thomas victory. However, it was the surging Cantlay who seized the day.
  • “Patrick Cantlay rallied from four shots behind and got far enough ahead that Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas couldn’t quite catch him Sunday in the Zozo Championship at Sherwood.”
  • “Cantlay closed with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot victory, the third of his career, and first in his home state of California. All three required making up a deficit of three shots or more.”
  • “As much as Cantlay celebrated a victory he felt was overdue, Rahm and Thomas were left to rue their mistakes.”
2. An Englishman in Italy
Reuters report…”England’s Ross McGowan kept his cool to win the Italian Open by a single stroke on Sunday to clinch his second European Tour title — 11 years after his maiden win in Madrid.”
  • “McGowan started the day tied for the lead along with compatriot Laurie Canter, three shots clear and despite a topsy-turvy final round, a one-under-par 71 was enough to keep Canter and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts at bay.”
  • The 38-year-old Englishman did not start well, playing the front nine over par for the first time at the tournament despite an eagle on the sixth.”
  • “However, he took the outright lead when he holed a perfect bunker shot at the 16th for a birdie and finished the tournament at 20-under-par.”
3. Happy Birthday! 
AP report… “Ally McDonald gave herself a big birthday present Sunday, winning the LPGA Drive On Championship-Lake Reynolds Oconee for her first tour title. The 28-year-old from Mississippi held off Danielle Kang by a stroke on the Great Waters Course, closing with a 3-under 69 for a 16-under 272 total. Kang birdied the par-5 18th for a 68.”
  • “I’ve never doubted my ability, but I’ve definitely questioned whether I would be able to win out here,” McDonald said. “It’s really hard to win out here. So, I’ve just really hung in there and tried to stick to my process since Day 1. That was able to get me in the winner’s circle today. I’m really thankful.”
  • “McDonald birdied the first three holes on the back nine, dropped a stroke on 14, birdied 16, bogeyed 17 and parred the par-5 18th. Kang birdied Nos. 12. 13 and 14 to pull within a stroke, but bogeyed the 15th.”
4. September 2020: Biggest YOY increase In rounds played at 25.5%
Golf Datatech as reported by Geoff Shackelford…“Entering October, play was up 8.7% nationally versus the same period a year ago. That reflects a year-to-date increase of about 29 million more rounds, even with the loss of about 20 million rounds during the spring due to Covid-related shutdowns.”
5. 400 yards…on the fly
Sound the alarms or shrug. Golf.com’s Nick Piastowski... “Bryson DeChambeau is practicing at his home in Dallas. The PGA Tour is playing the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif. They are about 1,500 miles apart.
  • “DeChambeau might hit a drive out to them.”
  • “While his fellow Tour pros were hitting shots at Sherwood Country Club on Friday, DeChambeau hit at least one driver. Far. Even for him, the Tour’s longest player…403.1 yards…On the fly.”
6. Thomas: Hard to ‘keep the killer instinct’ when it’s so quiet
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“You could say a lot of things,” said Thomas, who closed with a 69 and tied for second at Sherwood. “Making one birdie my last 12 holes out here, shooting even par on the back nine, playing the par 5s 1 under, you can name a lot of things.”
  • “But there was one element of his finish that he will spend extra time focusing on before next month’s Masters. Many players have talked about life on the PGA Tour without fans and how difficult it is to stay mentally sharp and on Sunday Thomas struggled.”
  • “I’ve got to find a way to kind of just stay a little bit more focused out there,” he said. “It’s crazy, but sometimes it’s hard to just kind of keep the killer instinct and stay in the zone when it’s as quiet as it is out there. It’s tough, but we’re all dealing with it and I just have to find a little bit better way to cope with that.”
7. Stacy Lewis on the secrets to her success, motherhood and beating scoliosis
Matthew Gutierrez for The Athletic…“Lewis had spent the bulk of her teenage years wearing a back brace 18 hours a day. Following surgery, she wore the brace for three additional months then rehabbed for another six. But she dedicated that redshirt year to harnessing her short game, which helped transform her into one of the top amateur players. Shauna Taylor, her coach at Arkansas, remembers Lewis how used to stay at the course until dark, always seeking to improve.”
8. Gritty’s “monster” shot at TopGolf
Presented without comment (other than to say Gritty remains the GOAT of mascots)
9. Cantlay’s winning WITB
Driver: Titleist TS3 (9.5 @ 8.75 degrees, C1 Setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 TX
3-wood: Titleist 915F (15 degrees, B1 Setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 70 TX
Hybrid: Titleist 816 H2 (21 degrees, B1 Setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black 9 X
 
Irons: Titleist 718 AP2 (4-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46-10F, 52-08F, 56-08M) Titleist Vokey SM8 (61 Proto)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS prototype
 
Golf ball: Titleist Pro V1x (2019)
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Pics here.

 

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