Tag:doral friday
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:54 pm

McDowell takes honorable, but costly, route

DORAL, Fla. -- World No. 4 Graeme McDowell's attempts to get back in the hunt at the Cadillac Championship got another shot tougher a few minutes after his round ended.

McDowell spoke with a European Tour rules official who broke the news to the Northern Ireland that that another shot would be added to hit tally, giving him a 1-over 73 that dropped him eight shots off the lead and into a tie for 28th.

He brought it to the attention of officials himself.

"As I made my stroke to hit it, I was aware of the ball just starting to move," he said. "I was on a bit of a side slope, obviously some strong winds out there. And as I made my backstroke, the ball just ever so slightly just started to move."

He was unable to stop his stroke by then.

"It was kind of too late. I had made my transition, and I just continued on with the putt. And you know, [rules official] Andy McFee just showed me that in the decisions of golf there -- whether you stop or continue your stroke, the ball has moved from its original position, and I'm deemed to have moved that ball, so it's a one-shot penalty."

McDowell immediately turned to playing partner Phil Mickelson after hitting the putt and told Lefty that the ball had moved slightly. Nobody in the group knew whether McDowell would be subject to a penalty, so he asked as soon as he finished the round, to his credit.

"It was just kind of one of those niggling things," he said. "I figured I had to ask before I signed my scorecard. And I was surprised to see it was a one shot penalty, but it's just kind of one of those horrible rules of golf that catches us all out from time to time. 

"Just one of those things unfortunately. You know, got to get those doubts out of your mind."

McDowell has taken the honorable route before, and in the same geographic vicinity, too. Last year at the Honda Classic, McDowell was in contention in the second round when he added a shot to his total because he felt he had unwittingly grounded his club while hitting a shot from a water hazard, which isn't permitted.

Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:54 pm

Woods' two tee shots defy description

DORAL, Fla. -- It goes by many names.

A smother hook, a drop-kick, a quick snap, a quacking duck.

By any description, it was one of the ugliest, head-turning shots of Tiger Woods' career.

Playing his second hole of the second round at the Cadillac Championship on Friday, Woods lunged so far off the ball at impact that he took a divot in the tee box and hit a snapping hook than got perhaps 10 feet off the ground and barely traveled 50 yards in the air.

It fast dived dead left into the rough and stopped just a few yards past the end of the main tee box -- and well short of the women's tee. Though the PGA Tour's laser tracking system estimated the drive at 120 yards, the measurement was taken by a device situated at least 150 yards away. In actuality, it likely didn't crack triple figures.

"It's not the first time I've hit a snipe," said Woods, who shot 2-over 74 and none too happy that the shot was brought up after the round. "I've done it at the Masters. It is what it is."

His playing partners stared at each other, wordlessly. Mickelson was next on the tee to hit.

"It was difficult following that," Lefty said, smirking. "But it's really not for me to talk about anybody's bad drives."

True enough, given his occasionally scattershot dispersal patterns over the years. Graeme McDowell, world No. 4 and the third member of the high-powered trio, had no such hesitation in discussing the shot. Moreover, the duck hook was hardly the lone squirrelly miss that Woods produced -- he badly popped up a 3-wood shot in the 14th hole that went 102 yards shorter than McDowell's 290-yard drive. He angrily slammed the club into the turf. 

"Yeah, it's pretty tough not to have a giggle," McDowell said. "We all hit bad shots -- hit a couple of those in my time. You know, Tiger actually hit two tee shots today, that I would say, combined, didn't go further than 200 yards. 

"He hit that snap hook off No. 2, which didn't go further than 85 yards, and he hit a pop up fly to midfield on 14, which probably wasn't about 120, max.

"So a couple interesting ones ... The guy is working on his golf swing and working hard on things and every now and again you have a few weird ones in there."

Posted on: March 11, 2011 5:37 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:19 pm

Ikeda still looking for answers on Japan tragedy

DORAL, Fla. -- Yuta Ikeda stared straight ahead and tried to impassively answer the questions without tearing up. He was mostly successful, despite heartbreak that was obvious.

Ikeda, No. 46 in the world ranking, shot a 1-over 73 in the second round of the Cadillac Championship while his mind was essentially elsewhere.

There are three players from Japan in the 66-player field this week, none with more ties to the area most ravaged by the quake and tsunami than Ikeda.

He attended school in Sendai, the town that has been leveled by the disaster that has killed hundreds and caused untold damage.

"The tough part is the cell phones still are not working in Japan," he said. "So I made many calls, but everyone, I haven't been able to contact. It doesn't mean they are not accounted for. It just means I haven't been able to contact them to make sure they are OK."

Ikeda found it difficult to talk about his feelings for the region.

"It's tough, it's my second hometown," he said. "I was born and raised in Chiba, but I went to school in Sendai and to see what you had to see on TV was very difficult to take in."

Scotland's Martin Laird, who played Friday with Ikeda, could tell the day wasn't easy for the Japan Tour veteran.

"I'm sure his mind was not really on the golf tournament today," Laird said. "You can't really blame him for it at all."

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 11, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:20 pm

Woods, Lefty, GMac can't bring out best

DORAL, Fla. -- As everybody knows by now, Phil Mickelson has a pretty acute sense of humor, so the self-deprecation he offered on the eighth hole on Friday was no real surprise.

Wandering in the fairway, he spotted Golf Channel analyst Roger Maltbie and exchanged greetings. Asked how he was doing, Mickelson smirked.

"Just trying to get as little out of my round as possible," Mickelson said.

In that regard, Mickelson and heavyweight playing companions Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell were succeeding wildly in the second round of the Cadillac Championship on Friday.

"We dragged each other down a little bit today," McDowell said. "I didn't hit very many fairways. Tiger didn't hit very many fairways. Phil missed a few.

"We started off with a beautiful crowd the front nine holes and wasn't surprised to see it dwindle in the back nine. I think they got it a little bored with us, perhaps."

By the time the trio made the turn, they all were nine or more strokes off the lead. Worse, it took a stultifying 2:33 minutes to play the front nine. Of course, when nobody's making many birdies, it taked a little longer. Ranked Nos. 4-5-6 in the world, they clearly played like the B Team. 

Mickelson finished with a 71, McDowell shot 73 and Woods skidded in with a 74.

On the fourth hole, a loud male fan turned up wearing a red T-shirt that read: "Tiger Woods, 71 wins, 14 majors, Enough Said." He could also have added, "three bogeys," which is what Woods had totalled over his wildly uneven first five holes, mixed with two birdies.

In one of the most anticipated groupings of the year -- Woods and Mickelson have rarely been paired in the first two rounds over the years -- none of the three was under par through 10 holes.

The trio has 19 majors between them, including two recorded in 2010.
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:49 pm
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Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 2:18 pm

McIlroy a black-and-blue monster at Doral

DORAL, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy finally told the tale of the toe.

McIlroy smashed his right big toe on Wednesday and has been icing it ever since, but it didn't seem to affect him much over parts of two days as he finished with a 4-under 68 in the weather-delayed first round at the Cadillac Championship.

He was lifting weights at Doral Golf Resort & Spa when a 50-pound dumbbell fell on his foot.

"I was just putting it back on the rack, and it just slipped off and just hit the big toe," he said.

McIlroy said he glanced around the workout room before he let out a yelp. 

"I looked around first to see if anyone saw me," he said. "It was pretty sore but it's OK. I iced it again last night but doesn't feel too bad this morning. Feels a little stiff."

McIlroy didn't have time to explain what happened Thursday night when play was suspended with part of the first round completed, because he was hustlling off the an NBA game betwen the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. As friend and countryman Graeme McDowell noted, the arena was filled with celebs.

"Lil' Wayne, Snoop Dog, Busta Rhymes and Rory McIlroy," McDowell said, laughing.

First time that sentence construct has ever been uttered, obviously.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:44 am

Warning: McDowell sees progress in Woods' game

DORAL, Fla. -- Graeme McDowell has had his nose to the glass over the past few months.

Indeed, it would be hard to find another player who is more qualified to render an opinion, iif not a verdict, on the state of Tiger Woods' game at the moment.

They were paired at the HSBC event last fall in China, at the Chevron Challenge in December and again this week at the Cadillac Championship. McDowell, world No. 4 and the defending U.S. Open champion, believes Woods is gradually starting to find his mojo.

"I can see the improvement," he said. "Sorry to say."

McDowell was cracking wise. Sort of.

He and playing partner Phil Mickelson, playing alongside Woods over the first two days at Doral, had a conversation on the 12th hole that was illuminating. Mickelson brought up Woods' once-dominant ways.

"Phil said, 'Thank god for all of us that he didn't keep playing like that, because it would have been tough for the rest of the world to win anything,'" McDowell said.

Woods and McDowell both shot 2-under 70 to finish the first round at T25, while Mickelson played his last three holes Friday morning in 3-over and shot 73.
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 2:17 pm

Mickelson takes double-dip on 17th

DORAL, Fla. -- Hunter Mahan took the lead at the Cadillac Championship by sticking to a fairly simple mantra.

"Just got to take what the wind gives you, really," he said, "and just try to avoid the water and avoid the big numbers."

Easier said than done for Phil Mickelson.

Playing with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell, Mickelson was 2 under when play resumed in the weather-delayed first round on Friday morning, and it didn't take long for the wind and water to ruin his round.

After making a bogey on the par-4 seventh hole, his 16th of the day, Mickelson bounced a drive off a cart path and into a pond on the left side of the par-5 eighth, which was playing dead downwind. After the penalty drop, he tried to reach the green from 218 yards, but failed to clear the greenside water hazard.

By the time he stumbled off the course, Mickelson had given away three strokes, shot 73, and been passed by both Woods and McDowell, who both finished at 2-under 70.

Entering the week, Mickelson had finished 5-1-1 against Woods in a head-to-head comparison of their daily scores when paired together. So much for that streak.

The same trio, ranked Nos. 4-5-6 in the world, are grouped in Friday's second round, too.

Mickelson did not stop for interviews after the round.

Category: Golf
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