Golf.com live blogged the opening round of the World Challenge. Read what happened below.
Category: Chevron World Challenge
In case you hadn’t heard, Tiger Woods won for the first time in more than two years at the Chevron World Challenge on Sunday, besting 17 other players with a birdie-birdie finish that was vintage Tiger. The celebration left many of us wondering if Tiger forgot he was at Sherwood Country Club and not Augusta National, but he reportedly sent several bottles of champagne to the media center after his win, and we can all appreciate that.
Certainly the Chevron was a vital stop on Tiger’s road to redemption—he looked confident on the course, was able to shape shots, putted well and even had the stinger going. So what was the key to Tiger’s W? Maybe it was changing his putter grip. Maybe he finally got enough reps in. Or, maybe it was mashed potatoes.
This isn’t the first time the "Mashed Potato Guy" has struck Tiger. Mashed Potato Guy made himself known at the Australian Open, as well as last year’s PGA Championship. Does Mashed Potato Guy inspire Tiger? Probably not, but we're sure he will take mashed potatoes over hot dogs any day of the week.
Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open trophy detained in China
While Tiger Woods added another piece of hardware to his collection, Rory McIlroy lost his trophy room’s star attraction. According to Bernie McGuire of Reuters, McIlroy intended to showcase his U.S. Open trophy at his final six events of the season. ISM, Rory’s former management company, shipped the trophy to Lake Maclaren Golf Club for the Shanghai Masters, but no one picked it up, McGuire reports. McIlroy’s new representation, Horizon Sports, is now trying to track down the young star’s prized possession.
“ISM shipped the trophy out in its special protective box to Shanghai and the Lake Maclaren Shanghai Masters but there was no one present at the course to receive it so it was taken back to the shipping agents depot,” said Horizon Sports Conor Ridge.
“So I then got in contact with IMG in order we could at least have the trophy on hand for the following week’s HSBC Champions event because they wanted to put the trophy on display at Sheshan as they’ve done in the past.”
In a weird twist, Chinese custom officials now have the U.S. Open trophy in their possession, but they're holding it hostage.
“I was informed that China customs said they were now not releasing the trophy, and they still won’t give it to us.”
“We’ve now got the USGA involved while IMG are working on the case and our guys at Horizon are also working with IMG trying to get the trophy released from customs.”
“We’ve tried to send someone to Shanghai so they can be handed the trophy in person but they’re just not releasing it.”
McIlroy had hinted something was amiss when asked if the U.S. Open trophy was in his possession during his stop at Hainan Island for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup.
“Well, not exactly!” was all he said.
How big a deal was Tiger's win at the Chevron? Consider this: "Tiger Woods," "he's back," and "fist pump" were all trending on Twitter in the wake of his victory. And it wasn't just golf fans weighing in on the occasion...
Is Tiger Woods back? Golf fans have been arguing this point since watching Woods get out-clutched by Graeme McDowell at the end of the Chevron World Challenge on Sunday. However, there is no question that Tiger is back as the game’s star attraction.
According to the Associated Press, ratings for the Chevron were up 170 percent against last year when Woods was recovering from his Thanksgiving night car accident and did not attend the tournament he hosts.
Tigers Woods can still draw television viewers.
His playoff loss at the Chevron World Challenge drew the tournament's highest preliminary rating for the final round in eight years. U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell's comeback victory earned a 2.7 overnight rating for Sunday's round. That's up 170 percent from last year.
It's the best since a 3.1 in 2002, when Padraig Harrington beat Woods by two strokes.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.
Geoff Shackelford of GeoffShackelford.com points out that this rating is slightly higher than the ratings for this year's British Open and that more importantly the Chevron drew this number against the NFL, the most popular televised sport in the United States. However, Shackelford sees a cloud in the silver lining.
The most unfortunate ramification: it underscores the power of Tiger, likely inspiring the PGA Tour to lean on his star power, without digging a little deeper to improve the "product" for the long term benefit of the tour and the game.
It’s that Furyk, he’s so hot right now
Somebody forgot to tell Jim Furyk that there’s been a generational shift in the game. While fans swoon over Rickie, Rory and Dustin, Furyk keeps collecting honors like Player of the Year, and cashing checks like the $10,000,000 FedEx Cup purse. He’s also landed a new TaylorMade equipment deal, according to Golfweek’s Adam Schupak.
His agent, Andrew Whitlieb, confirmed to Golfweek that Furyk will sign a deal to endorse equipment with TaylorMade next season and be featured in the company’s 2011 print and TV advertising campaigns. Furyk’s contract with Srixon expires Dec. 31.
Furyk will be required to use only the TaylorMade driver, which he already has been playing this season, and golf ball. Furyk, the 2010 Player of the Year, didn’t want to make significant changes and will stick with Srixon irons and Callaway wedges.
Stray Shots: Things we heard while wondering how long it will be before Phil Mickelson comes out with his own wine...
Unlike fellow Punahou School grad President Obama, Michelle Wie is not interested in a political career when she retires from golf. (Via GulfNews.com)
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell is on track to become Ulster’s richest athlete ever. (Via The Belfast Telegraph)
This week's Shark Shootout in Naples, Fla., might be the Shark Freeze-out with temperatures in the 30s. (Via The Naples News)
Sunday at the Chevron World Challenge featured one of the most exciting finishes of the year, but it also featured a Rules-related scenario from which any recreational player would be wise to learn.
Up one stroke on the tee of the par-3 17th, Graeme McDowell pulled his ball into deep fescue left of the green. The reigning U.S. Open champion had little choice but to take an unplayable lie, but he had a tough decision to make, as there was no good spot for him to take his drop within two club-lengths no closer to the pin (Rule 28a). While most golfers know that the player also has the option to return to the spot of his previous shot and play the ball again with a one-stroke penalty (Rule 28c), I'm willing to bet that many were surprised to learn that there was a third option.
McDowell knew that a player may also drop his ball anywhere behind its original landing spot as long as that landing spot stays between the drop location and the hole (Rule 28b). Since there is no limit to how far back a player can go, McDowell dropped his ball all the way back on the 18th tee. With a clear shot (and a perfect lie) into the green, the Irishman got up and down for bogey, salvaging a tie that he would eventually convert into a playoff victory. It was McDowell's steely putting that will get the credit for this win, but it may just have been his knowledge of the Rules that really saved the day.
(Photo: Gus Ruelas/AP)
"That's the Tiger I know from '08, Torrey Pines! You're back!"
At the Chevron World Challenge pro-am on Wednesday the only people keeping score were the amateurs. Still, both Woods and his coach Sean Foley will take progress wherever they can get it. Shots like Tiger's second into the 580-yard, par-5 12th, which set up a two-putt birdie, impressed more than just the odd excitable fan. What's more, they were plentiful.
At the 570-yard, par-5 16th hole, Woods smashed a 3-wood well past the bunkers, his ball cutting just the right amount to leave him a perfect 4-iron into the green. His second shot never left the flag and cozied up to less than four feet from the cup. Using the Nike Method putter he experimented with at the British Open and Australian Masters earlier this year, Woods made the putt for eagle.
The 14-time major winner is coming to the end of the first winless season of his 14-year career and is in the midst of making a swing change, his fourth major overhaul as a pro. He has seen the change pay dividends only for one or two rounds at a time, such as at the recent Ryder Cup and the Australian Masters. The next step, he's said, is to put together four good rounds in a row when it counts.
A victory this week would be Tiger's first since the 2009 Australian Masters over a year ago.
(Photo: Reed Saxon/AP)