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5:08PM

Newsday (N.Y.): Tiger Woods, Rory McIllroy, Phil Mickelson, miss cut at British Open

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — One last putt. That’s all Rory McIlroy needed to make the cut, to make his countrymen ecstatic, to make himself proud.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019 Newsday. All rights reserved.

10:19AM

After ‘the Troubles,’ an Open returns to Portrush

By Art Spander

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — A wonderful golf course. Tiger Woods said that about Royal Portrush. Of course it is, which is why a British Open is being played here, after a long lapse.

What Tiger Woods also said Tuesday about The Open and the course was, “It’s amazing it hasn’t been held here in such a long period of time.”

Not really. As Tiger, very up on history, inside and outside golf, surely knows. And if he doesn’t, all he needs to do is travel the 60 miles south to Belfast, where the brick walls are painted with slogans that have not faded even though the reason for their existence may have.

It was known as “the Troubles,” a euphemism for the conflict — war, if you choose — at the end of the 20th century between the Catholic nationalist minority and the Protestant/unionist government. They tell stories of neighbors playing golf with each other by day and then shooting at each other after dark.

The fighting, in effect, came to a halt with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, although some bitterness goes on. The Royal and Ancient Golf Association wanted to return the Open to Portrush, the Dunluce Links, where it was held in 1951, but needed a guarantee of calm for its premier event.

And shifting the Open to Ireland from the British island was no easy task logistically. All the equipment, the electronic scoreboards, the bleachers, had to be shipped across the Irish Sea.

But here we are and here is Tiger, literally at the most northeastern point of Ireland, where cliffs and linksland meet and the 148th Open Championship begins Thursday.

“The difference between this layout versus most of the Open rota layouts,” said Woods, “is that the ball seems to repel around the greens. You’re going to have a lot of bump and run chips or quite slow putts coming up the hills. But it’s an unbelievable golf course.”

A year ago, at Carnoustie in Scotland, Tiger had a resurgence, a verification that he still was a contender after the back surgery, after the rehab. He took the Open lead and, although he did not win, the thought was that sometime, somewhere he would.

And he did, at the Tour Champion and even more dramatically and emphatically earlier this year at the Masters. Old guys rule.

It was 10 years ago when Tom Watson, then 59, was in front for 71 holes at the Open at Turnberry. He lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink, but he proved that especially on linksland courses, where the ball rolls and rolls, that a veteran has a chance against the kids who hit it miles.

“Getting myself into position to win the Masters,” said Woods, “took a lot out of me.”

It didn’t take away the self-belief.  

“The great thing about playing in an Open championship,” said Woods, “is you can do it.”

Woods is 43. He said his game is not where he would like it. “Right now,” although his touch around the greens is good enough and that part of golf always is the most important. It is a fact a one-foot putt and a 300-yard drive each count one stroke.

“I still need to get the shape of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now,” said Tiger, “especially with the weather coming in and the winds are going to be changing.”

Oh yes, the weather, often the determining factor in the Open. It was pleasant Tuesday, some sunshine, but the forecast is for rain and wind. Depending on the severity, a golfer could be punished by what is beyond his control.

“I’m going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit at different heights and move it all around. (Tuesday) it was a good range session. I need another one tomorrow. And hopefully that will be enough to be ready."

He will find out quickly enough or endure troubles of his own.

9:50AM

Newsday (N.Y.): Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson celebrated but not in hunt at U.S. Open

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — For Phil Mickelson it was a round of nostalgia. For Tiger Woods it was one of staying relevant. Others were leading this 119th U.S. Open on Saturday, but for a few hours early on Phil and Tiger were the attractions.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2019 Newsday. All rights reserved.

6:23PM

Tiger on Durant’s injury: ‘As athletes, we’ve all been there’

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Tiger Woods was watching along with the rest of us. Kevin Durant had pulled up after another injury. It was a blow to the Warriors and certainly Durant. It also was a jolting reminder to Woods.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 

3:19PM

Now Tiger knows how others once felt

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Now he knows what it was like. Now Tiger Woods understands how the others felt when he was the man, dominating golf. Woods still can play. As we found out last month in the Masters, which he won. But it’s not like before.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven