Early Friday morning, Tiger’s return to golf hit a big snag when he withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with back spasms. Tiger’s WD came during a week where he was forced to fly commercial to Dubai and following a disappointing opening round 77. During Thursday’s opening round, Woods looked very tentative, walking very slowly and playing poorly. The withdrawal makes Woods’ future look very gloomy. He is dealing with two major issues: a bad back which has had multiple operations and a cloud of mental doubt which has plagued him since his personal “transgressions” in 2009. These two aspects make his return to golf highly questionable for both the short and long term.
A birdie binge
Playing in dome-like conditions, the PGA Tour’s stars are lighting up the TPC Scottsdale. After one round, the leaderboard promises a fun weekend of golf ahead. Leading the way is veteran Matt Kuchar, who used a back-nine 31 to shoot a 7-under 64, one shot better than both defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and Brendan Steele, who limped home after being 7-under through 10 holes on Thursday. While Kuchar’s golf game was on point, his outfit was far from it. The offender? His awful-looking Skechers golf shoes.
Outside the top three, a plethora of big names lurk with 27 players at 3-under or better, including 2015 champion Brooks Koepka (-4), last year’s runner-up Rickie Fowler (-4), 2-time champion Phil Mickelson (-3) and J.B. Holmes (-4). Full Scores
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TOUR Players Take Aim at a Range Picker
If you’re at the range while the range picker is doing some laps, it’s only natural to take a couple shots at it. Apparently, PGA Tour pros are no different. They might just be a little better than the rest of us…
Outside of Tiger...
The rest of the field at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic enduring gail force winds during Friday’s second round which caused officials to eventually suspend play. As it stands, George Coetzee leads by one shot over first round leader Sergio Garcia. Play will resume late tonight with winds that are expected to remain strong.
Streamsong Blue: Quintessential Doak
My trip to Streamsong a couple weeks ago concluded with an early morning round on Tom Doak’s Streamsong Blue. I was treated to a foggy morning stroll around my now favorite Tom Doak design to date. Check out my the detailed review and photos here.
An elite gathering
The prestigious Jones Cup Invitational kicks off today at Ocean Forest. The annual event brings together some of the world’s best amateur golfers. Check out Andy Hill’s preview of the event and follow live scoring here.
The start of spring season
College golf is back with the Amer Ari Invitational, which kicked off in Hawaii on Thursday. The strong field has 11 of the top 40 teams in the country, and through one round, Texas Tech leads the way over USC and Stanford. On the individual side, both USC’s Kyle Suppa and Arizona State’s Jared Du Toit scorched the Waikoloa Kings' course to the tune of 8-under 64’s to lead by 1-shot.
Future star: Rico Hoey
After USC standout Rico Hoey’s first-round 67, he took the time to talk with our very own Andy Hill for the latest edition of the College Podcast. Rico talks in detail about his background, amateur and collegiate career, future and much more. Listen in here or on Soundcloud.
Amazing photo from the European Tour shows Dubai 26 years later.
Sean Zak collects favorite shots PGA Tour pros have witnessed.
Speaking of shots, Zac Blair captures his hole-in-one on video.
JT sticks it on the 16th at TPC Scottsdale.