By Doug Ferguson
AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) – If history is any indication, perhaps Internet detectives tracking flight patterns should turn May 10 on the calendar and search for a private jet bound from South Florida to Tulsa, Oklahoma. This will be your next chance to play Tiger Woods.
And all this didn’t look so promising when he left the Masters.
Woods has been consistent since first speaking publicly in the Bahamas last December that he finished playing with a full schedule due to his right leg being damaged in a car accident 14 months ago, to have five surgeries on his lower back.
“I’m not going to play a full table again,” he told Sky Sports on Sunday after closing in with 78 for his highest Masters score. “It’s just going to be the big events. I don’t know if I’m going to play in South Hills or not.”
South Hills is the site of the PGA Championship on May 19-22. Woods played it three times. He tied for twenty-first on a 30-man field on the Tour Championship in 1996 (8 – over 288), and his streak of four consecutive major wins at Southern Hills at the 2001 US Open ended when he tied for twelfth (3 – more than 283)).
Most recently it will be his fourth PGA Championship title in 2007. This will be his first major tournament since then at the Southern Hills.
May 10 is a date to keep in mind because it’s the Tuesday before the week of the PGA Championship. It was the Tuesday before the Masters when Woods ignited hopes with an expedition to Augusta National, not to see the track but to test his right leg. He played, cut for the 22nd in a row, and managed to get through four days of golf’s toughest walks.
“I will try, there is no doubt. Like this week, I will try to prepare for Southern Hills, and we will see what this body can do.
Oddly enough, the US Open on June 16-19 at The Country Club outside Boston was missing, perhaps because he’s only looking at the next possibility. He made it clear that it would be in St Andrews, where he won in 2000 and 2005, and called it “my favorite golf course in the world.”
“I’ll be there for it,” he said.
Otherwise, stay tuned. He’s won five times at the Memorial, but is unlikely to play another big track (walking uphill from every green to a tee) which falls two weeks after the PGA Championship and two weeks before the US Open.
“I got it all wrong”
Before the TV spot of Rory McIlroy hiding from bunker on the 18th of The Masters, every viewer knew how it would end unless the sound was on mute.
It was destroyed by CBS analyst and three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo.
“I don’t want to spoil it, but something incredible just happened,” Faldo said from the booth while the cameras were still showing Scotty Scheffler and Cameron Smith on Day 12.
Faldo went on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday and tried to own it.
“I commented on it for a split second and it reacted. So you’re right, I got everything wrong for a split second,” Faldo said. “I was shivering so hard because I thought Rory was going to win.” He makes an impossible shot, his reaction, and I I sit right in the middle of it.
“So I’m sorry. I screamed—I didn’t say what actually happened. Yeah, spoiler alert.”
Eagles don’t land
Going to this year’s Masters, the par-4 10th hole historically ranks as the toughest at the Augusta National. Rank 5 15 is the second easiest.
Want to guess which hole yielded more vultures?
Gary Woodland in the second round and Charles Schwarzel in the third round each hid from the waterway to make a 10th-placed eagle, who had no more than one eagle in the same tournament.
And for the first time since 1965, no one made an eagle on the 15th.
The fifteenth tee was pushed back 20 yards and lowered, leaving the tee slightly up. To make matters worse, the winds were west and northwest, in the players’ faces, adding to the lengths and resolutions.
Dustin Johnson had 7 woodcuts in the green on Friday and instead chose to lie down. Players who had favorable conditions – especially the moribund wind – never got close enough to get a good look at the eagle. With the winds low on Sunday, Scotty Scheffler went over his back with a bit of an iron.
Mostly it was about the wind, especially when you’re on and off the left.
“It’s very difficult to hit that right side and stick. I made it a harder shot,” said Rory McIlroy. “You are likely to be blocked by those trees on the left only because of the hump of the driveway. Then there is no decision to be made there. You cannot go green.”
PGA TOUR BOUND
There was a lot of feast of starvation for Carl Yuan, and now the 25-year-old from China is confident of getting his PGA Tour ticket next season.
Yuan became the first player to cross 900 points on the Korn Ferry Tour, which officials deemed safe for players to be among the top 25 players on the points list for graduation to the major tournaments. It only took seven yuan to get there, and he missed cutting in three of them.
But he tied for third in the opening week in the Bahamas (then missed the cut), was runner-up in Panama (then missed the cut), won a playoff at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open (then missed the cut), and earned his place in the Tours With a seventh draw two weeks ago in Georgia.
And now he’s waiting. Unless he’s going to win two more times, Yuan has 15 championships left in the regular season.
The US Curtis Cup team is semi-fitted.
Rose Chang secured her spot as the number one player in the women’s amateur rankings at the end of 2021. Jensen Castle earned her spot on the eight-member team as the USA Amateur Champion. Rachel Heck (#3) and Rachel Quinn (#8) joined the squad last week as being among the world’s 10 best players in the April 6 deadline.
The USGA International Team Selection Group will select the other four players. Curtis Cup June 10-12 in Merrion.
CBS said the average viewership for the final round of the Masters was 10.17 million, up 7% from last year, and more than any other golf broadcast network since Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters… The US Women’s Open set a record of 1874 participation for pine needles. This breaks by entering one’s previous mark in 2015 when the Women’s Open was at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania. The June 2-5 Championship purse is $10 million. … Australia’s PGA will participate in Royal Queensland in late November with the European Tour for the first time since 2019. … Chevron donated more than $2 million last week to select charities focused on supporting and championing women in sport, the workplace and the community. Chevron is the new sponsor of this year’s LPGA Tour’s first major tournament. …Scottie Scheffler has four wins this year. The last player to have four wins on the PGA Tour during the Masters was David Duvall (Kapalua, Bob Hope Classic, Players Championship and Atlanta).
status of the week
He led the last three Masters champions by at least three shots in the final round.
“Maybe I’d be better off if I came back as a pack here instead of trying to putt.” – Terrell Hutton, after a 79-80 weekend at the Masters to finish last. He shot in the ’60s once in his 20 tours at Augusta National.
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