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Tiger holds off the field for 3rd British Open Victory July 24, 2006

Posted by holdencaulfield in Golf, Sports, Tiger Woods.
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Earlier today, Tiger Woods surged to an emotional victory with his 3rd British Open title in the past 7 years at the 135th edition of the Open Championship.  Playing in his second major tournament since losing his father on May 3rd (He missed the cut in the US Open last month, his first missed cut in a major championship as a professional), Tiger put away the field to win the Claret Jug for the 2nd year in a row.  In what was a closely contested final round, Tiger Woods pulled away with birdies on the 14th, 15th, and 16th holes in route to a final round 67 and a total of 18 under par.  By tying the low round of the day, Tiger held off a hard-charging Chris DiMarco who shot a final round 68 and finished in 2nd place, 2 shots behind Woods.  With many big name players just a shot or two behind Woods to start the Sunday, fans were prepared for a final round shootout at Royal Liverpool, but that never really materialized. 

Tiger started the day with 3 players in the top 10 of the World Rankings just 2 shots behind him, but early bogeys quickly knocked Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia from contention.  Ernie Els hung on within striking distance through most of the round but couldn’t capitalize on his birdie opportunities throughout the round.  That left DiMarco as the only player who seemed up to the pressure of going toe to toe with the #1 player in the world in the final round of a major.  This wasn’t the first time DiMarco had pushed Tiger in the final round of a major either, he played with Tiger in the final round of the 2005 Masters, eventually losing on the first hole of a playoff.  DiMarco, who has dropped to 26th in the World Rankings after reaching the top 10 last year due to a injury earlier in the season, played some of the best golf of his career as he was also dealing with a great personal loss.  His mother died 2 weeks ago suddenly and he dedicated his performance this week to her at the end of his round.  Although he felt it was “his destiny” to win this weekend, he just didn’t have enough ammunition to take down a driven Tiger.

The victory gave Tiger a total of 11 major titles, tying him for second with Walter Hagan and leaving him 7 titles behind tying Jack Nicklaus for the most career titles.  The victory also cemented his status as the greatest closer in any sport by moving his record to 7-0 when leading after 2 rounds of a major.  Tiger also scored 2 legendary firsts by winning; he won his first major without his father and won his first major without his driver.  By taking a conservative approach, Tiger hit mostly 2-iron and 3-wood off the tee the entire tournament, only taking his driver out of his bag once, during his first round.  Tiger also showed more emotion than we’ve ever seen as he broke down in his caddy, Steve William’s arms after sinking his par putt on the 18th hole and then in his wife Elin’s arms.  “I’ve never done that,” he acknowledged after the trophy ceremony, “You know me. … I guess I’m kind of the one who bottles things up a little bit and moves on, tries to deal with things in my own way. But at the moment it just came pouring out.”  With his victory, Tiger also said he was planning a celebration with the jug, “This jug will be filled up, I’ll tell you that,” he said, “Beverage of my choice, and not just once.”

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HC

British Open Update July 21, 2006

Posted by holdencaulfield in Golf, Sports, Tiger Woods.
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With 6 birdies and an eagle (as a result of holing a 204 yard 4-iron from the fairway on the 14th hole) Tiger Woods has pulled in front of the field by 1 shot at the British Open.  Rolling through the course early this morning, Tiger tied the course record (set by Chris DiMarco an hour earlier and later tied by Ernie Els) by posting a 7 under round of 65.  That puts him at 12 under for the tournament, 1 shot ahead of Els and 3 shots ahead of DiMarco.  The afternoon tee times had some great players, including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia, but they had to post great rounds today to just stay close to Woods and Els was the only one of the group that could keep up.  Mickelson played a solid round yesterday, shooting a 3 under 69, but couldn’t get anything going today only shooting a 1 under 71 and is currently 8 shots back of Woods.  After capping off his 1st round yesterday with a 35 foot putt for eagle on the 18th hole, Tiger continued his dominance of the Royal Liverpool course today and seems to be well on his way to his 3rd British Open title and 11th major title overall.  With a record of 6-0 when leading a major after 36 holes, Tiger seems to be putting his patented stranglehold on both the course and his competitors and should be raising the Claret Jug Sunday afternoon.

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HC

British Open Preview July 18, 2006

Posted by holdencaulfield in Golf, Sports, Tiger Woods.
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For all the golf fans out there that love getting up at 7AM on a Saturday to watch some championship golf, this weekend you are in luck.  Starting this Thursday, the 135th British Open begins and will be held at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.  It may be surprising to you that England isn’t just famous for bad teeth and Mr. Bean; they also host the British Open which is the oldest major.  So, with the 3rd major championship of the year coming up, many questions come to mind that probably won’t be fully answered until play is over on Sunday afternoon but are worth the discussion now. 

First of all, is Tiger truly back and ready to play?  His return to the US Open was less than superb, as Tiger missed the cut for the first time in 38 tries as a professional in a major tournament.  Everyone questioned his return to the tour on such a difficult course after a 9-week layoff after the death of his father, Earl Woods, on May 3rd, and the rust showed as he shot a 12 over par and watched the weekend from his home in Orlando (his punishment to himself).  Then 3 weeks later at the Cialis Western Open, Tiger started off rough with a 1-over 72 but finished strong with 3 rounds in the 60’s for a 2nd place finish.  Now the question is, which Tiger will show up?  Of his 10 overall major championships, only 2 have been at the British Open with both of those coming at St. Andrews.  The pressure is on for him to regain his form as the #1 player in the world, and if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s Tiger.

Next up, will Phil Mickelson still be in his post-US Open funk?  Unless you follow sports as much as I dream about Star Jones naked in my hot tub, you probably heard about Phil’s legendary collapse at this year’s US Open at Winged Foot.  His adventures on the 71st and 72nd holes as the tournament leader led his golfball into a trashcan, off a hospitality tent, and into the center of a tree, which resulted in double bogey on the last hole and a tie for 2nd place.  Mickelson has always been a bit of a gambler on the golf course but had seemed to harness that in and play more conservatively in winning last year’s PGA Championship and this year’s Masters.  But if his play at the Western Open was any indication, he still hasn’t shaken off that disaster at Winged Foot as he tied for 65th with a final score of 3 over.  Mickelson has never faired well at the British, having only 1 top 10 in his 13 tries, so this doesn’t look to be the week he breaks out of his post-US Open slump.

Which unknown will surface as a contender on the weekend?  The British Open along with the PGA Championship seem to provide the best opportunity for relative unknowns to contend for a major championship.  With Todd Hamilton in 2004, Ben Curtis in 2003, and the last European winner – Paul Lawrie in 1999; there is definitely an opportunity for another Jean Van de Velde type performance (minus the 3 shot meltdown on the 18th hole in 1999).  And along these lines, when will the next European win the Claret Jug?  It’s been 6 years now since Paul Lawrie hoisted the cup at Carnoustie, and there are many possiblities this year for a European champion including David Howell (European tour money leader), Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, and Darren Clarke to name a few.  But will one of them step up on the biggest stage? 

And lastly, what will happen on the John Daly show this week?  Will he make the cut, or will he be tied for 102nd like the last time the British Open was not played at St Andrews (where he won his British Open title).  The long driving sideshow will definitely be playing this week, so we’ll once again have a chance to see if a man can smoke an entire pack of cigarettes, drink a case of Diet Cokes, and swear profusely all during one round of golf. 

This tournament should definitely make for some great TV.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen them in a while, Tiger’s hottie wife and Big John Daly.

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HC

Wie, Wie, Wie all the way home July 14, 2006

Posted by holdencaulfield in Golf, Michelle Wie, Sports.
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Well, once again, Michelle Wie will miss the cut and her chance at making history at the John Deere Classic.  Trying for the fifth time to make the weekend in a PGA tournament, Wie withdrew due to “heat exhaustion” after playing 9 holes this afternoon.  After finishing the first day 13 shots off the lead and 8 shots behind the projected cut, Wie needed the round of her life to make the cut, but shot 2 over in the first 9 holes, pushing her score to a terrible 8 shots over par.  I’m not trying to start a Michelle Wie bashing page, but I still find this fiasco completely ridiculous.  I understand that she is a very talented 16-year old female golfer and has a very bright future in WOMEN’S golf, but not MEN’S golf.  I understand her desire to play and make the cut in a men’t tournament, but just like every other sport, shouldn’t you prove yourself on your tour first?  If a guy hits 3 home runs in a Single A game should we send him directly to the big leagues??  Of course not, but because Michelle Wie is hot golf-jailbait (according to my friend, who WILL remain nameless) people will keep paying money to watch her fail.  If people want to watch me fail, I do it on a daily basis, so make checks payable to HC.

Since Michelle is 16 and that’ll get you 20, here’s a picture of Pam Anderson and the twins:

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HC

Nicely done Michelle Wie… July 13, 2006

Posted by holdencaulfield in Golf, Michelle Wie, Sports.
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In a move that has become even less anticipated than Britney shoveling in another twinkie, Michelle Wie has once again tried to compete with men on the PGA tour.  This is her 5th attempt at being the first woman to make a cut on the PGA tour since 1945 and if her first round is any indicator, she’s still not ready.  Michelle posted a first round 77 (6 over par) at the John Deere Classic, which puts her 13 shots off the lead and ties her for 154th and 2nd to last place.  She’ll need to shoot at least 5 under par tomorrow to even have a chance of making her first cut in a men’s tournament.  Maybe Michelle Wie should first try winning a tournament on the women’s circuit before subjecting us to another terrible performance in a men’s tournament.  Her closest call came last year when she finished 2 shots off of making the cut and after playing well in the Women’s majors this year there was some excitement about the possibility of her playing the weekend this year.  I find this whole obsession of Wie’s to make the cut in a men’s tourney completely ridiculous.  When I was 16, I was still running down to the creek and fishing with my cousin Huck Finn.  But she continues trying to become a trailblazer on the men’s tour even though, like I said before, SHE’S NEVER WON ON THE WOMEN’S TOUR!!!  Shouldn’t there be some kind of natural progression here??  I think I’m more likely to to hire K-Fed at $20K to make an appearance at my next party for use as a pinata than the chances that Wie makes the cut in the next 5 years.