Tiger Woods handles 'moving day,' but will he close?
(Getty Images photo)
By Dave Shedloski
MIAMI - Tiger Woods is getting the hang of moving day again, shooting the day's low round for the second week in a row in the third round. Now he'll try his hand at finishing and perhaps registering his first win since August.
Playing his most solid round of the year, Woods carded eight birdies in a six-under-par 66 Saturday - known as "moving day" in tournament golf - and gave himself a chance to successfully defend his title in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral.
"I hit it good today. I felt like my swing is coming around, which is nice," said Woods, playing in just his fourth tournament of the year. "I just need to get healthy enough to where I can put the club in that position. When I feel good, I can put it there."
Last week at the Honda Classic at PGA National, Woods fired a third-round 65 that gave him an outside chance to win only to withdraw after 13 holes in the final round because of severe back spasms. The No. 1 player in the world was questionable for this week's event at the revamped Blue Course, and he didn't play a practice round before the competition began.
Despite the sore back and his lack of course knowledge, Woods held it together Friday in high winds, shooting a second-round 73 that left him at five-over 149 and only six behind the leaders. Saturday's effort, with the winds barely a whisper, helped Woods move into position to vie for his 80th PGA Tour title. When he holed out, the leaders were just making the turn and Woods, at one-under 215, was just one behind.
"It was nice to get back in the tournament again," said Woods, who tied for 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open, his only complete tournament on tour this year. "I held it together yesterday - a long day, a long, tough day - and that gave me a chance today. I figured, 'Hey, I'm only six back, that's definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing.' If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I'll be right there, and I did one better."
Related: Where have you gone, Tiger Woods?
Woods opened with a birdie from seven feet and seldom looked uncomfortable with his swing or his back. He hit eight fairways, 14 greens and needed only 25 putts, including a crowd-pleasing 30-footer at the par-4 16th, his last birdie of the day. He got up and down at 18 for his lowest round in relation to par in 2014.
He said he is still receiving treatment for his back each day. It's helping, obviously. His game looks much healthier, too.
"As far as [it being the] most complete round, absolutely," Woods acknowledged. "I hit the ball a lot better than I did at Honda last Saturday. This was certainly a lot better round."
Perhaps it will lead to a much better result.
Los Angeles Country Club in Beverly Hills spat
By John Strege
A dispute between wealthy Beverly Hills neighbors has broken out, though wealthy does not begin to do it justice. In one corner is the Los Angeles Country Club, its 295 acres straddling Wilshire Blvd. and worth billions. In the other corner is BH Wilshire International, a development company that paid $148.3 million for 7.57 acres adjacent to the 16th hole of LACC's South Course, for the purpose of building two high-rise condominium buildings.
At issue, is a 280-foot long, 150 to 166-foot high mesh fence that LACC said it wants to build to prevent golf balls from pelting the buildings and thus reducing its liability.
LACC has received a waiver of the 30-foot maximum height allowed by Los Angeles' zoning code and the city has approved the installation of the taller fence.
BHWI, meanwhile, filed an appeal, accusing LACC of employing the NIMBY strategy, Not In My Back Yard, to discourage the construction of the condo buildings.
"Specifically," BHWI stated in its appeal, "LACC's apparent plan is to permit a fence so massive and visually unattractive that it will block views and cast excessive shade on the new buildings, thereby inhibiting BH Wilshire's ability to sell condominiums."
Related: America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses
In its appeal, it also stated:
-- "BH Wilshire never asked LACC for additional protection from errant golf balls and even submitted expert reports demonstrating that the 'risk' is not statistically significant."
-- "There is no credible evidence of any prior injury or property damage resulting from an errant golf ball at the Impacted Property, despite the fact that for more than 50 years, the site was occupied by a heavily-trafficked department store...that ran right up to the shared property line with LACC."
-- LACC is perfectly content with relying on trees and/or small fences to protect every other use adjoining its 295-acre property, including trees (with no fence) to protect errant golf balls from hitting the tens of thousands of cars traveling on Santa Monica Boulevard every day."
LACC, meanwhile, has argued that "the tower location and design with balconies and glazing windows facing the LACC property may result in the potential for damage or injury from errant golf balls." It also noted that BHWI's two experts could not agree on the number of balls a day that would strike property. One said roughly 3.5 per day, another 0.77 per day. "No one can determine how many errant balls will' be 'significant or acceptable'...Regardless of how many errant balls will land on the neighboring properties, one incident resulting in any injury should be considered too many."
The Los Angeles City Council will take up the matter next month, unless a resolution is reached before then, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.
LACC's North Course is ranked 41st on Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Historically, more rounds have been played on its South Course, however, given the difficulty of the North.
Poulter calls Matsuyama an 'idiot,' paired with him Saturday
By John Strege
Potentially the most interesting pairing in the third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral is Ian Poulter and Hideki Matsuyama (11:15 a.m. EST), based on Poulter's Tweets about an apparent Matsuyama incident on the 13th green in round two.
Poulter tweeted that Matsuyama, the 22-year-old from Japan, took a gouge out of the green with his putter and that it required an official to come repair it. Let Poulter tell the story:
"It almost felt like we were playing a major today." Players react to a tough day at Doral
By Dave Shedloski
MIAMI -- Bubba Watson laid up on a par 3. Brandt Snedeker laid up on a par 4 from just 175 yards. Zach Johnson hit a 5-wood 190 yards and hit the same club 295 yards on the very next hole.
The second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship went according to plan Friday afternoon at Trump National Doral -- if the plan was total chaos. The ineffably difficult combination of high winds and a new, firm, exacting layout designed by Gil Hanse wreaked havoc on a field that included 49 of the top 50 players in the world rankings.
"Almost felt like we were playing a major today," said Patrick Reed, who shot a three-over 75 on the renovated Blue Course but stood at one-under 143 overall, just one of two players who completed 36 holes under par.
"I don't think I've played in conditions this difficult in the U.S," Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell said following a one-under 71, one of just three players to break par in the second round. "It's an Open Championship day. It's a real Friday afternoon at St. Andrews in 2010, you know, before they called it."
More than 100 balls found the water on the course dubbed the Blue Monster, and it earned that name long before the dragon's breath of 30-mile-per-hour winds that strafed it all day Friday. The second-round scoring average was 75.9.
Julien Trudeau, a former tour player who caddies for Graham DeLaet, said he'd have struggled to break 100. "I'd have lost a dozen balls easy," he joked.
Defending champion Tiger Woods, who carded a 73 to finish at five-over 149 (18 shots higher than where he stood after 36 holes a year ago) was asked which hole was the most difficult. The No. 1 player in the world cracked, "One through 18 right now. For me, yes, I don't know about the other players, but I found all of them pretty hard out there today."
The wind, gusting out of the west, caused the young, already firm greens to dry out. Hitting them was one kind of challenge; keeping the ball on them another entirely. That led to some interesting shot selections.
Faced with a shot of 201 yards on the par-3 ninth, Watson chose to layup short and left of the putting surface with a pitching wedge. He executed the up-and-down perfectly for a par and a handsome 72.
At the par-4 seventh, Brandt Snedeker struck a 6-iron 130 yards into the green. But the carry was 175; he purposely played short of the green because he felt there was nowhere to land the ball.
While a few players thought the setup was too penal for a golf course that Donald Trump purposely wanted made more difficult, the gusting winds were the real issue.
"Hey, look, with no wind any golf course and any setup are fine," Webb Simpson said. "When you have conditions like this, there's so much luck that comes into play."
"It stinks that the first year they're getting extreme conditions," Bill Haas added. "A new course, it's playing as firm as it can be. And with this wind, it just exposes every little area and every bad swing."
Jim Furyk, who stood 11 over par after two rounds, summed up his predicament best. "As bad as I'm playing, the good news is they'll let me keep playing this weekend, and then they'll pay me."
Tiger Woods finally smiles at Doral and all it took was him holing a 92-foot putt
By Alex Myers
OK, so it wasn't a full 92 feet. We rounded up from 91 feet, seven inches. Hope you don't mind.
Related: Phil Mickelson is having a bad day. Here's the photo to prove it.
Trump National Doral's new Blue Course has played extremely tough so far this week, but Tiger Woods managed to snake this long birdie putt in on the par-3 fourth hole for a rare highlight. Check it out:
The improbable make drew an even rarer smile from the World No. 1, who finished a first-round 76 Friday morning and shot 73 in the afternoon.
Phil Mickelson is having a really bad day. Here's the photo to prove it
By Alex Myers
Tiger Woods isn't the only big name struggling at the new Blue Course at Trump National Doral. Phil Mickelson's second try on the difficult track -- swirling, high winds aren't helping -- is a total disaster thus far.
Related: New Blue Course giving players fits
After a 74 and a par to start his second round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Mickelson double bogeyed his next three holes. In other words, he's got a lot of work to do if he's going to match that 74.
So, what does it look like when one of the best golfers in the world makes three straight double bogeys? This:
(h/t Kyle Porter for the fantastic screengrab)
Did these British burglars steal $1 million in golf clubs?
By Alex Myers
Have you ever worried -- even for a moment -- about the security of your golf clubs when you leave them unattended at a course? Well, these two guys in England probably will give you nightmares then.
Related: Man steals golf clubs... and a bunch of steaks
The good news is that Daniel Lloyd and Joe McCaughey have been caught. The bad news is it came after the pair stole golf clubs and other valuables from lockers at 36 courses in England, according to the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency.
The report states the two simply dressed as golfers and entered golf clubs to commit their crimes. And while evidence from 36 of their burglaries was used in their trial, officers believe the two could have stolen from as many as 1,000 lockers, taking goods worth more than $1 million in golf clubs alone.
Related: Florida police investigating gambling on golf course
The duo's crimes date back more than four years and their thefts were featured on BBC's Crimewatch in 2010. After a three-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Lloyd and McCaughey were convicted of conspiracy to burgle and sentened to five and three years in jail, respectively.
Dr. Frank Jobe's enduring contributions to golf
By John Strege
Dr. Frank Jobe was best known for performing the first ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, more widely known as Tommy John surgery, that resurrected many baseball careers, but he also left his mark on golf, too.
Jobe, who died on Thursday, was instrumental in introducing the fitness trailer to the PGA Tour. At the time, he was researching how a training regimen might help golfers and later authored a book on the subject, "Thirty Exercises for Better Golf."
(Getty Images photo)
In 1983, Jobe and an avid golfer, Lanier Johnson, who was involved in the research, presented to PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman their idea of a mobile gym that would travel with the tour and would include physical therapists, trainers and other medical professionals.
Today, the tour fitness van is among the most popular perks for PGA Tour players, and features a mobile gym and physical therapy center.
Jobe also was involved in the detection and treatment of the cancer in Paul Azinger's right shoulder. In the summer of 1993, the year he won three times, including the PGA Championship, Jobe, concerned with Azinger's unrelenting pain in his right shoulder, suggested he get an biopsy.
Related: Golf Tech: Checking your swing
"He's unbelievable," Azinger told Golf World contributor Bob Verdi in December of 1993. "Dr. Jobe worked on my shoulder in 1991, when I was having problems. He cleaned it out, removed a small sliver of bone, tested it for cancer. Negative. Since then, he'd been all over me to come in again. He was after me like I was his son. He treated me like his son. And when he told me the results of the latest biopsy, you'd have thought I was his son. But, I think we got it in time, thanks to him."
Jobe was 88.
Ping i25 irons are making converts
By Mike StachuraIt has apparently been an easy transition for tour players from Ping's i20 irons to the new i25, a progressively designed line that alters blade length, sole size and even the width of...A golf trip even I would not take
By Peter Finch
I'll go anywhere for a golf trip. Or so I always assumed.
Then yesterday afternoon I got a call from Miami Herald reporter Evan Benn
doing an article on Cavalry + Company. This is a Florida tourism company that aims
to take "high-end" golfers on trips to places like the Kabul Golf Club (pictured)
and Beirut Golf Club.
These trips start out soaked in luxury, with stays at the One
& Only Palm and the Four Seasons hotels in Dubai. Travelers will play a
handful of courses there, including Emirates Golf Club and Jumeirah Golf
Estates, site of the Dubai World Championship.
Then -- to put it in golfer terms -- the wheels come off.
Next thing you know, you and your "special forces guides" are jetting off to
Afghanistan or Lebanon.
"The most intimidating round in golf," the company's website
declares of Kabul Golf Club.
"Tee off in Hezzbolah's backyard," it says about Beirut Golf
I probably came across a little too negative when I spoke
with Evan Benn about this yesterday. It's not that golfers don't want
adventure. Golf Digest has gotten good reader reactions to features on golf in
India, Bhutan, even North Korea. We've assigned upcoming stories on Iceland and
But for me? I'll leave the war zones to the armed forces.