Tiger Woods spoke for some 20 minutes about the state of his game, belly putters, the U.S. Open and the AT&T National. As he was wrapping up, he needed just one word to cover the topic of Sergio Garcia.
Asked if he had any thought of contacting Garcia to make amends between the two, Woods quickly answered: “No.” He smiled. Nearly everyone else in the room laughed.
The Players Championship already provides plenty of theater because of its thrill-a-minute golf course. Making it even more compelling is the star attraction of Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods, playing in the final group on the weekend for the first time in nearly seven years.
Tiger Woods was nine shots out of the lead, not the best position at The Players Championship, especially since he had not even started his round. Perhaps the bigger surprise was the guy who posted the record-tying round Thursday.
The 14-year-old from China isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. And this Masters is still a long way from taking shape.
Despite being the first player at Augusta National to get hit with a one-shot penalty for slow play, teen sensation Guan Tianlang still made history Friday as the youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.
The men in green jackets could barely contain themselves, sitting there smugly as if they had done something to transform the game of golf. Augusta National now has women members and, if it was a long time coming, they now seem to think it’s the best addition to the Masters since flowering azaleas were planted on the back nine.
“It’s just awesome,” Masters chairman Billy Payne said.
Around every corner at Augusta National is another reminder that Tiger Woods isn’t getting any younger.
He played a practice round with a teenager from China who wasn’t even born when Woods won his first Masters. He was introduced at his news conference Tuesday as playing the Masters for the 19th time, which caused Woods to bow his head and cover his eyes.
Guan Tianlang is in good company this week at Augusta National.
He played a practice round Monday with two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, then headed out in the afternoon with Tiger Woods. He has a game lined up Tuesday with Tom Watson, an eight-time major champion. On Wednesday, he plans to play the Par 3 Tournament with Nick Faldo, winner of six majors.
The march to the Masters for Rory McIlroy looks more like a crawl.
McIlroy only had four birdie putts on the front nine, none closer than 20 feet. He took two chips to reach the second green. He found the water on the third-easiest hole at Redstone Golf Club and made double bogey. What he salvaged Thursday in the Houston Open was a 73, along with some optimism.
Tiger Woods struggled on the practice range, and he didn’t feel much better two holes into his second round Friday at the Cadillac Championship. He would not have guessed this would be the day to set a personal record for birdies, much less wind up with a two-shot lead.
“All I need is one shot,” he said. “And as soon as I feel it on one, I can pretty much carry through. And I did that today.”
Rory McIlroy says he should have finished his second round at the Honda Classic, telling Sports Illustrated magazine that “it was not the right thing to do” to walk out after eight holes of his second round.
Dustin Johnson disappeared into a small valley of bushes and high grass as he searched for another errant tee shot, this one costing him a double bogey and making the final round of the Tournament of Champions far more exciting than he needed it to be.
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