Blog Entry

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Posted on: March 4, 2012 7:27 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 8:46 pm
Tiger Woods tips his hat to the crowd after a final round 62. (AP)

By Steve Elling

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- After a 30-month run of news and blues that was notable almost exclusively for the career worsts that were piling up, Tiger Woods summoned the greatest final round of his career on Sunday.

He might have been the only one who saw it coming.

Woods, after starting the day nine strokes behind 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy, mustered dome of his former firepower that fans hadn’t seen since late 2009, shooting an 8-under 62 to finish in a tie for second to the Northern Irishman by two strokes at the Honda Classic.

With two eagles and four birdies, Woods actually trimmed his whopping overnight deficit to a shot as he knocked in an eight-footer for eagle on the 18th, but McIlroy never wavered, taking over the top spot as the new world No. 1.

But just as many eyes were on the former No. 1 as he looked very much like the guy in the red short that amassed 71 PGA Tour wins, including 14 majors. As the cacophony of cheers was blowing up around the back nine of PGA National, nobody could mistake what was happening.

Woods summoned the thunder and joined the back-nine mix for the first time in months at an official event, McIlroy completed his coronation, and with Phil Mickelson off to a tremendous start in 2012 as well, the plot has definitely thickened.

"Regardless of what happens today," former U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell said as the Woods-McIlroy duel was playing out, "this golf season just got a lot more spicy."

Nobody was hotter than Woods, who finally found his putting stroke and pieced together all 14 clubs on the same day. He was within a shot of his all-time best score, 61, which he has recorded three times over the years.

Woods psyched himself up by relating the day's blustery conditions to when he played in Australia three months ago at the Presidents Cup, and scored what proved to be the winning point on the final day.

"I just kept telling myself, I played great in Australia and they are the same kind of conditions," he said. "There's no reason why I can't do it today. Took some pretty good comfort in that."

Caused some pretty good discomfort elsewhere as a result.

McIlroy didn’t much notice, or really care, what Woods was doing until the latter eagled the 18th. AT that point, McIlroy faced an eight-footer on the 13th and answered, restoring a two-shot lead he would not surrender.

It's debatable whether the Woods of a few years ago would have seemed so relieved to have finished in a tie for second, but given the water under the bridge of late, it was a huge step forward. It represents his best finish in a PGA Tour event since he won the BMW Championship on Sept. 9, 2009. He shot 62 in that event, too.

"It feels good, because I felt like I was close," he said, repeating his mantra of earlier in the week. "I've been close to shooting this score, or scores like this, and it was just a matter of time before things all fell into place.

"Maybe I just needed the wind to blow or something like that today to feel comfortable with it."

He blew some brain fuses. In the toughest weather of the week, he came within one of the course record, which had been set earlier in the week. When Woods saw the winds howling in the morning, he figured a 64 would get him in the competitive picture, but then the breeze softened and he had to stomp on the gas.

"I had to change that game plan because the wind was not blowing as hard," he said, "and I knew the guys were not going to back up as much."

McIlroy didn’t back up at all, and while Woods has never been one for moral victories or consolation prizes, this near-miss won’t hurt too badly. He will climb four spots to No. 16 in the world on Monday.

"I think I just need the time," he said. "I switched coaches and I got hurt for most of last year, and I started putting the pieces together. Overall, my finishes have been pretty good since Australia on. It was just a matter of keep building, keep sticking with it, the process is coming, I'm hitting more solid shots, I'm making more putts, my speed is getting back. 

"It's just everything is coming, and I just need to keep progressing, just keep sticking with it, and it's going to turn."

If this was a glimpse of what Woods can summon on a regular basis, then the rest of 2012 ought to be positively dizzying. Knowing he needed an eagle at the last, he nuked a 325-yard drive and hoisted a 5-iron from 205 yards to within eight feet.

This after he'd canned a 25-footer on the 17th for a birdie. It was, at long last, vintage stuff.

"It's great to have Tiger Woods back playing the kind of golf we know he can play, because he's exciting for golf," McDowell said. "Let's all be honest about that. Great to have him back on the leaderboards and we all want to win majors with him in the field.

"It's exciting to be part of golf right now."

Category: Golf

Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:41 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Big Daddy Pump,

You have to be kidding me with this rant. The
round that Tiger shot on Sunday was phenomenal by anyone’s comparison or by anyone’s
standard; simply stated that was news! Rory was in an excellent position to
play old man par with a consistent conservative game, nothing fancy no pressure.
Was Rory’s feat news worthy, I’ll answer with a resounding yes 1) because he
won 2)because he should be the world’s #1 and 3) see # 1. However on your way
to the trophy circle, if someone shoots a 62, I think sharing the lime light a
little is very appropriate. When was the last time you or any of the pro’s on
tour shot a 62…… point made.

Now for Elin (as you called her), I believe
she has made out by the numbers with no disrespect intended. Started out as a nanny
and now does not have to work for the remainder of her life. Bought an estate
and demolished the mansion because it was old. This was a little harsh and I
apologize but the former Mrs. #1 is not hurting financially by any means. And
anyway how long have they been apart? Tiger and Elin are factors in only a
select few people’s lives please let it remain that way. Tiger publically took
full responsibility for his actions during his marriage; remember some golfers
took exception because it upstaged the tournament that he did not play in.

For the record, during the same time that
Tiger was being bashed in blogs, the news media and press conferences, his
foundation was reaching “an estimated 10 million young people through character
development, career exploration, scholarships and grant-making programs.
Programs developed and supported by the Tiger Woods Foundation all share a
similar mission of empowering young people to dream big and to set specific
goals to achieve their dreams. His scholarship program works to send bright,
underserved young people to college for up to four years.”

should be so lucky to reach 1000 children while making a positive impact in at
least 100 lives, our own children included.

So in closing, remain positive and you
might be the next recipient of a Tiger Woods autograph ball cap…..  

Since: Jul 11, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:52 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Rory McIlroy was definitely "scared" of Tiger Woods during the 4th round of the Honda Classic. 
If you looked closely, McIlroy's hand was shaking when he was lifting the Winner's Trophy because he was laughing so hard.

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:24 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

One of the toughest things to do in sports is win a golf tournament. You generally have world class fields in every event and a player ranked outside of the top 250 can beat anyone in a given event. Rory had Tiger beaten before the 1st shot was struck on Sunday. While 62 was a great score Rory could have played more aggressively if he needed  however he didnt have to. Tiger has the ability to shoot 62 anytime he steps up to the tee however what has been killing him is he is shooting more rounds of 72 plus which makes him just your everyday tour player. Tiger will be back not when he shoots more rounds in the low 60's but once he turns one of his 73s to a 69 or 70.

Since: Feb 28, 2012
Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:51 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

On Sunday TW showed us on his scorecard what he has been saying about his game for the past while.  It doesn't matter what we think, and you might say it doesn't matter what he says - it's what he does that counts.  Well remember that he is responding to questions about his swing and form every tournament because he is obligated to sit before the press and answer the same questions over and over again.  He was only telling the truth but he has been criticized because he wasn't shooting 66's every day?! 

I'm not pinning too much to one round but, let's face it, a 62 has to say to him, if nobody else, that his swing work is working - it can produce results.  And a reminder to those who said he lost yesterday...every week there are about 150 golfers who lose the tournament.  Last week in the WGC the #2 golfer lost, the #1 golfer was ousted in the first match.  Do you consider it a failure if Tiger or the #1 golfer doesn't win evry week?! Ludicrous.

There's a new story brewing every week on the tour and that's why I watch it.  I don't know what's going to happen but I do know that there are a few golfers that I wouldn't bet against right now...McIlroy, Mickelson and Woods.  And I also know that other golfers besides these 3 will win tournaments from here on can't win them all but if you get in contention and you have a pedigree of winning I doubt you forget what to do come crunch time.  Bring on the Masters - should be a great ride.

Since: Jun 6, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:44 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

This 62 was not meaningless.  It came on Sunday and put Tiger within one of the leader, who still had 5 holes left to play.  Tiger had been playing well but faltering on Sunday in his latest events in Abu Dhabi and then again at Pebble Beach.  Tiger just put the rest of the Tour on notice - he's back and ready to challenge for major titles again. 

The 2012 season sets up to be very exciting.  No more Donald and Westwood and Kaymer dominating golf broadcasts with their blandness.  Mickelson is ready to show he still has some great golf left in him, Tiger is returning to top form, and there is a great young new kid in McIlroy who is ready to knopck these old guys off their thrones.   The majors are going to be a blast this year. 

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:37 pm

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Why is everything about Tiger? How about a story like Tom Gillis, a 40 year old journeyman tying for 2nd with the "Great Tiger Woods". It makes me puke that people still cheer Tiger on. There was a louder applause for Tiger when he finished than there was for Rory's win. He screwed around on his wife not once, but numerous times. He has an excuse for everything except taking total blame on himself in his personal life and golf playing. He blows off fans for a simple autograph. He treats reporters like dog crap if they don't ask the preset questions they are given before a Tiger press conference. He pumps his fist and dances around like he was only one capable of making that shot. Yet most golf fans and sports channels still idolize this piece of garbage. Think about it people, Elin could have easily been your daughter. Or it could your son or daughter get disappointed as Tiger blows off your autograph request. Think about it. Thank goodness for Rory. He has class and will be a great No. 1 and hopefully we can watch Tiger ride off into the Senior Tour sunset. Besides, he did not throw a scare into McIlroy. Rory didn't flinch or choke on any holes.

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:57 am

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

He's Back!!!! yes Brian Harman is back. Brian shot a 61 at the Honda on Friday good enough for the lowest round of the tournament good enough to tie for 12th. The tournament however was 72 holes not 18. The tour is full of players that on a given day can go low but can they do that over a 72 hole period? most cant. Tiger has been the best player over the past 15 years so the idea that he shot a 62 with no pressure shouldnt be a surprise to anyone. Tiger is out to win events period, seconds and thirds dont matter like they would to Tom Gillis who is just trying to keep his card. Tiger was out to go as low as he could and if he shot 78 he wouldnt have cared a lick. Rory played well enough after 54 holes to insure that Tiger had no chance to win this event. I dont think Tiger will ever dominate the game the way he once did you have a new generation of players that are not afraid of him like they used to be. Next week will be a great measuring stick for Tiger who has won this event 6 out of 11 times he played in it. We will see if he can put 4 rounds together.  

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:32 am

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

with a 9 shot lead who would be scaried but he felt pressure Tigwer game is coming along hate all you like but the fact is he will be winning again soon enough then what will your excuse be

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:03 am

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Woods loses again, end of story, so what else is new?

Since: Jun 26, 2008
Posted on: March 5, 2012 7:48 am

Woods throws scare into McIlroy, rest of golf

Atta boy Tiger!!  It was great watching you play the way you have so many times before and being able to be excited to watch you play again! Hoping for more this year!

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