Tag:tiger woods
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:12 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 8:36 pm
 

Tiger Woods out in second round of match play

Tiger reacts after a second shot at the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

There was a stunned silence in the golf world when Tiger Woods, standing over a six-footer on the 18th hole to extend his match to extra holes against Nick Watney slide past the right lip, but it wasn’t as much a shocked silence as it was understandable disappointment. 

A man that used to drop just about every meaningful putt you put in front of him had once again missed a fairly simple putt in a match that was just begging for him to snag it the way Woods used to always do. Watney, for as well as he played on Thursday, was mediocre at best at the Accenture Match Play, allowing Tiger a chance to get back in the match time and time again. 

And when Woods stuffed his 9-iron just below the hole on the final green, sudden death almost seemed inevitable. But a strange thing happened. I actually thought Watney had a better chance of holing his birdie chip from just on the fringe than Tiger did of his short birdie putt on greens that he’s never seemed kosher with. 

Tiger is out at the match play, a result most experts probably guessed would happen when they saw him matched up against the steady Watney on Thursday. Woods hit the ball loose for much of the two days he played in Marana. He powered putt after putt through the break, never seeming comfortable with either his stroke or lines. 

But it goes back to the silence that fell right after his putt slide by, not even catching a lip to give the Tiger fans hope. It seemed ... likely. 

Woods is obviously not the same golfer he once was, and we all need to understand that. He was great at one point and now he’s another guy on tour with a staff bag and great golf swing. He plays well some days and bad others. He hits magnificent golf shots at times and follows it up with a poor putt. These are only shocking because he once was so great and now is so average. 

It was just that this match seemed strange because it was so predictable. Tiger playing a guy that he should lose to, losing to him, and doing it in a fashion that never seemed to be the Woods way. 

Woods has had some great moments this year, both at the start of Abu Dhabi and Pebble Beach. He has failed to close either of those events out for one reason or the other, much like any other professional golfer does at times when the trophy doesn’t end up in their outgoing luggage. And when the putt slipped by the hole at a match play event in the early part of the 2012 PGA Tour season, things seemed eerily normal. For the first time in the history of the Tiger era, a missed putt on his behalf seemed like the only logical conclusion. 

This game is a testy witch at times. Tiger feels that now as much as ever. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:23 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 6:27 pm
 

Tiger Woods 'survives' in every sense of the word

Tiger Woods survived a tough first round match at the Accenture. (Getty)

By Shane Bacon

If you ever wanted a view of where Tiger Woods’ golf game has been the last two and a half years, you needed to spend a few hours watching his first round match at the Accenture Match Play on Wednesday.

Luck had always been on Tiger’s side for so many years, but the first hole showed that wasn’t really the case anymore. His opponent, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, a man that said Tiger was beatable before the match began, had a short birdie putt on the first hole that went on a victory lap before falling in to put the rather unknown 1-up. Tiger lost the next hole as well, and while he steadied the ship, and eventually won, it was anything but pretty.

Missed opportunities when it seemed like Fernandez-Castano was giving him the hole, powering birdie putts past the hole forcing him to mark and re-putt and looking fairly lost with his golf swing, the greatest thing you can say about Tiger’s Wednesday is he’s lucky he played a guy that didn’t seem ready to slam the door on the 14-time major winner.  

But, he did win, and that’s what this is all about. Tiger made a mess of the 18th hole after missing a fairly routine birdie putt on the 17th hole, but a clutch par save on the last gave him the win, and he advances to the second round to play a red-hot Nick Watney.

Tiger’s game plan on Wednesday seemed off. He had opportunities to play match play golf against someone that might not know exactly how to win these type of matches, but he continued to hit the hero shot and didn’t seem to get away with hit. His drive on No. 2 was just the start, but a few other decisions weren’t exactly right for the format. 

The strangest shot might have come on the final hole, when all Tiger really needed was to find the green and force his opponent to make birdie off a slippery slope, but Woods missed it in the toughest place he could have to leave a nasty up-and-in from the greenside bunker.

He got it, gave a muted fist pump, and is on to Thursday. Was it his best stuff? No, not by a long shot. Is advancing the only thing that matters at Marana? Absolutely, and we will see another freshly pressed Nike shirt in the second round. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on twitter.  

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 21, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 1:23 pm
 

Matches we'd love to see at the Accenture

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shake hands earlier this season in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

We know, we know, predicting things in golf is absolutely impossible, but the interesting nature of match play has us thinking ahead. What are the best possible matches that COULD happen this week at the Accenture? These are our favorite possible matchups. 

Nick Watney vs. Tiger Woods (second round) -- Any match Tiger is in will be featured, but I’d love see a player like Watney go up against him Tiger in a fairly even match.

Graeme McDowell vs. Hunter Mahan (second round) -- I’m fairly certain Mahan would love a piece of McDowell in match player after what happened at the 2010 Ryder Cup, and it would be the featured round of Thursday.  

Sergio Garcia vs. Keegan Bradley (second round) -- I’d like this just for the pre-match ceremony where Garcia hands over the “Incredibly Long Pre-Shot Gold Medal.” He’s held it for so many years!  

Adam Scott vs. Dustin Johnson (third round) -- I just like the idea of zero University of Arizona girls going to class on Friday so they can head out and see Mr. Scott vs. Mr. Johnson. 

Lee Westwood vs. Tiger Woods (third round) -- A clash of titans before the quarter-finals? Yes please.  

Rory McIlroy vs. Sergio Garcia (third round) -- Probably the best chance for McIlroy to get upset out of his bracket, Garcia is headed in playing some seriously good golf, and two of the bigger names in the game would bring tons of attention to the Gary Player bracket. 

Martin Kaymer vs. Bubba Watson (third round) -- I think just about everyone would be excited to see this rematch of the 2011 semi-finals, just as long as Kaymer leaves the scarf at home. 

Rory McIlroy vs. Jason Day (quarter-finals) -- I have a feeling this will happen, and I’m absolutely jazzed about it. 

Ben Crane vs. Kevin Na (quarter-finals) -- Can an entire match be put on the clock? Can even the guy putting people on the clock be put on the clock? No chance this isn't the final match of the day. It has to be!   

Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods (semi-finals) -- Do I really need to explain why this would be awesome? 

Luke Donald vs. Tiger Woods (finals) -- Because I’d really like to see Tiger get his first win in something like this, over a bunch of big names, the last being the world number one. I think that would really show just where he is with his golf game, and give the guy about a 400 percent boost, confidence-wise. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.  

Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:20 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Tiger Woods responds to 'beatable' comments

Tiger Woods talks to the media. (Getty Images)

By Steve Elling


MARANA, Ariz. -- It hasn't taken long for golf's admittedly rather polite version of trash talking to commence at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, site of the 2012 Accenture Match Play event. 

Either way, because it relates to former world No.1 Tiger Woods, people have taken notice.

First it was the Wednesday opponent of Woods, speaking about the former champion, admitting, "I think [Tiger'] beatable." It didn't take long for Woods to respond to Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano's comments about his golf game, giving the five-time European Tour winner a taste of his own medicine. 

Smirked Woods on Tuesday, relating to the remarks of the guy nicknamed Gonzo: "I feel exactly the same way he does. I think he's beatable."

Woods said there was a day when smack lit a fire under his posterior. That's not so much the case anymore. After all, given what has transpired the past two years, he's doubtlessdly got a thicker skin. He even self-edited a comment when he compared opinions to a certain anatomical area.

"As I've matured and gone beyond that, it's just an opinion, it's their own opinion," he said. "Everyone has a (pause) 'hole,' and it's just like that."

The self-censorship generated a pretty good laugh, since everybody got the point without the actual profanity.

"That's kind of how I look at it, it's their prerogative, it's their opinion," he said. "What matters is how I go out and play and how I'm progressing in my game.  At the end of the day when I'm retired, I think I will have mastered a pretty good record."

Woods is a three-time event champion, also a former runner-up, and has a 32-8 mark in the Accenture, far and away the most wins of anybody in tournament history. In 11 tries, only twice has Woods been upset in the first round.

Woods is seeded fifth in his bracket and the Spaniard is seeded 12th. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Steve Elling and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Category: Golf
Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Does golf need more match play events?



By Shane Bacon


Admit it, you love match play. Absolutely love it. It takes golf to another level. Instead of playing the usual format (you versus everyone else including the golf course) you are HEAD-to-HEAD against one guy, loser jumps on the phone with their travel agent.

It used to decide one of the majors, is the format to the best in both men’s and women’s golf (Ryder and Solheim Cups) and is what us regular folks play everyday when competing against friends on the links.

So, why in the world is it only once a year?

I know the reason why we only see it in one big event each season. Match play is feast or famine for networks, because if Tiger Woods plays Phil Mickelson in the finals, and all the matches before that, eyes will be glued to the television. If the finals are Ian Poulter and Paul Casey (like in 2010), it will be me, Elling and Nick Faldo watching on Sunday. 

But just once could we forget about the money and viewers and advertisers and all that and just make match play more relevant? It’s a beautiful format that changes the way professional golfers play the game. It brings in a whole new edge to the golf world, and as we’ve seen in the past, some are good at it, and some aren’t (Good? Geoff Ogilvy, Poulter, Tiger, and Casey. Bad? Vijay Singh, Vijay Singh and Vijay Singh). 

If your opponent hits his drive into a Jumping Cholla, you can hit iron off the tee and let him battle with the cacti. If your opponent drives the green, you are most definitely pulling out the big dog to try and answer his feat. Putts are just as much about strategy as they are about the line, and the whole goal is to win that shot, that hole, and honors. 

It gives golf an almost tennis feel. Rafeal Nadal talks in his book about just the point he’s in, and how neither the point before or the point after matters. That’s very similar in match play. Sure, when you play stroke play the shot you’re playing is the only thing you have control over, but it’s your whole round that matters. In this format, you can play the entire hole backwards in your mind, figure out exactly what you plan on doing, and execute it that way in hopes your opponent won’t have the same game plan.

Match play is beautiful, simple and exciting. It mixes golf with the shootout of hockey, the overtime of the NFL and buzzer beaters in basketball. It makes us think of March Madness (the best sports time of the entire year) and has a side comedy factor that one minute some millionaire golfer is out playing to win, and the next he’s figuring out how to get out of the rental agreement on his mansion in the foothills of Dove Mountain. 

I just wish we had it more than once a year. I wish the PGA Championship still went with this format because I think one major should be decided by match play, but I guess for now, enjoying the week and being excited about all the outcomes is the way to go. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:35 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:18 pm
 

Tiger Woods' opponent says 'he's beatable'

Tiger Woods sighs after missing a putt at Pebble Beach. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

There are a few rules in sports trash talking that everyone should know. Don’t predict a big victory unless your name is Joe. Don’t say anything you don’t have to say if you’re a superstar, just go do it.

And don’t push Tiger Woods’ buttons the week of a match-play event. 

Stephen Ames knows this. Back in 2006 at at this same event, a smile crept across his face when he mentioned, “Anything can happen when [Tiger’s] hitting the golf ball.” Woods went on to beat the man 9 & 8, the biggest defeat in the history of the tournament.

This week, Tiger is no No. 1 seed, but he is still playing a rather unknown in Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who broke our third rule of trash talking already.

When asked about his first-round match this week with Tiger, Fernandez-Castano said he thinks he could take him. 

"I think he’s beatable,” Fernandez-Castano said. "Of course, I need to play good. That’s all I can think about and that’s all I’m going to try on Wednesday, just try playing my best game and hope that he doesn’t play his best."

Now, it isn’t the smartest thing to get Tiger riled up at his best format. Sure, Woods isn’t the same golfer as he was when he treated Ames like a pro-am partner, but I think match play is something that could really work for Tiger. It allows him to have a loose hole or two, and he could still make a bunch of birdies and advance far in this tournament. 

That said, would anyone be totally surprised if this Spaniard, who has never finished in the top-30 of a major, beat him? Is that something that would floor the golf community? I say no. 

Tiger’s golf game is unpredictable, and if anything, those words Ames spoke six years ago ring true even more today. Anything could happen when Tiger is swinging the club, good or bad. 

At this event, it’s more about the actions of Woods than the words of his opponent.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on twitter. 

Category: Golf
Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:47 am
Edited on: February 14, 2012 9:48 am
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Posted on: February 14, 2012 9:46 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:49 pm
 

Tiger's pairing pummelling by Phil not his worst

By Steve Elling

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gotta admit, this came as rather surprising news.

When Phil Mickelson slaughtered Tiger Woods by 11 strokes in the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, blowing past the former world No. 1 like he was an unproven rookie, it wasn't even the worst head-to-head beat-down of Woods' career.

Or even of the past two years.

It was, however, the most lopsided score imbalance in a final round in Woods' considerable PGA Tour experience.

Mickelson started the final round six shots off the pace on Sunday, and after six holes, has already taken a two-stroke lead, leaving playing partner Woods and everybody else behind. For Woods, only twice before had he been whacked more brusquely by a playing partner.

Courtesy of former ABC Sports golf statistician Sal Johnson of Golfobserver.com, here are the gory details of Woods' most lopsided blowouts by a pairings mate.

2010
Wells Fargo Championship
Second round
Paired with Angel Cabrera, who shot 67, while Tiger shot 79
12 shots

1998

Tour Championship
First round
Paired with Vijay Singh, who shot 63, while Tiger shot 75
12 shots

2012
 
Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Final round
Paired with Phil Mickelson, who shot 64, while Tiger shot 75
11 shots

2011
PGA Championship
First round
Paired with Davis Love, who shot 68, while Tiger shot 77
9 shots

2004

PGA Championship
First round
Paired with Vijay Singh, who shot 67, while Tiger shot 75
8 shots

1996
Greater Milwaukee Open
Third round, paired with Woody Austin, who shot 65, while Tiger shot 73
8 shots
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com