Woods wins at Torrey Pines for 8th time

Updated 29 January 2013
0

Woods wins at Torrey Pines for 8th time

SAN DIEGO: Tiger Woods was so good for so long at Torrey Pines that it didn’t matter how bad it looked at the end.
In a finish that was fitting for such a long and exasperating week, Woods built an eight-shot lead with five holes to play on Monday until he lost patience with the slow play and started losing shots that only determined the margin of victory.
Despite two bogeys and a double bogey in the final hour, he closed with an even-par 72 for a four-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.
“I’m excited the way I played all week,” Woods said. “I hit the ball well — pretty much did everything well and built myself a nice little cushion. I had some mistakes at the end, but all my good play before that allowed me to afford those mistakes.”
He won for the 75th time in his PGA Tour career, seven behind the record held by Sam Snead.
Woods won this tournament for the seventh time, and he set a PGA Tour record by winning at Torrey Pines for the eighth time, including his 2008 US Open. Woods also has won seven times at Bay Hill and at Firestone.
Torrey Pines is a public course that he has turned into his private domain.
“I don’t know if anybody would have beaten him this week,” said Nick Watney, who got within five shots of Woods when the tournament was still undecided until making three bogeys on his next five holes. “He’s definitely on his game.”
It was the 23rd time Woods has won by at least four shots on the PGA Tour. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker (69) and Josh Teater (69) tied for second. Watney had a 71 and tied for fourth with Jimmy Walker.
It was a strong statement for Woods, who was coming off a missed cut last week in Abu Dhabi. This was the second time in his career that Woods won in his next tournament after missing the cut, but this was the first time it happened the following week.
Abu Dhabi is now a distant memory. The question how is what kind of season is shaping up for Woods.
“I think he wanted to send a message,” said Hunter Mahan, who shares a swing coach with Woods. “I think deep down he did. You play some games to try to motivate yourself. There’s been so much talk about Rory (McIlroy). Rory is now with Nike. That would be my guess.”
The last time Woods won at Torrey Pines also was on a Monday, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to capture the US Open for his 14th major.
Of all his wins on this course along the Pacific, this might have been the most peculiar.
Thick fog cost the tournament an entire day of golf on Saturday, forcing the first Monday finish in tournament history. Woods effectively won the tournament during his 25 holes on Sunday, when he turned a two-shot lead into a six-shot margin with only 11 holes to play. CBS Sports wanted to televise the final day in late afternoon on the East Coast, but it still went long because of the pace of play.
It took Woods about 3 hours, 45 minutes to finish his 11 holes on Monday. His 19-hole win over Mediate lasted 4 1/2 hours.
As much as Woods got off to a good start, equal attention was given to slow play, an increasing problem on the PGA Tour.
“It got a little ugly toward the end,” Woods said. “I started losing patience a little bit with the slow play. I lost my concentration a little bit.”
He made bogey from the bunker on No. 14. He hooked a tee shot off the eucalyptus trees and into a patch of ice plant on the 15th, leading to double bogey. After another long wait on the 17th tee, he popped up his tee shot and made another bogey. With a four-shot lead on the 18th — Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead a year ago — he hit wedge safely behind the hole for a two-putt par.
Woods finished on 14-under 274 for his 14th win in California, and 11th in San Diego County.
“I think a win always makes it special, especially the way I played,” Woods said. “To have not won would have been something else because I really played well. Playing the way I did for most of this tournament, until the very end, the last five holes, I felt like I should have won this tournament. I put myself in a position where I had a big enough lead, and that’s basically how I felt like I played this week.
“I know I can do that, and it was nice to be able to do it.”
Like so many of his big wins, the only drama was for second place.
Brad Fritsch, the rookie from Canada, birdied his last two holes for a 75. That put him into a tie for ninth, however, making him eligible for the Phoenix Open next week. Fritsch had been entered in the Monday qualifier that he had to abandon when the Farmers Insurance Open lost Saturday to a fog delay.
Woods was so far ahead that he would have had to collapse for anyone to have a chance, and that never looked possible.
Even so, the red shirt seemed to put him on edge. It didn’t help that as he settled over his tee shot on the par-5 ninth, he backed off when he heard a man behind the ropes take his picture.
Woods rarely hits the fairway after an encounter with a camera shutter, and this was no different — it went so far right that it landed on the other side of a fence enclosing a corporate hospitality area.
Woods took his free drop, punched out below the trees into the fairway and then showed more irritation when his wedge nicked the flag after one hop and spun down the slope 30 feet away instead of stopping next to the hole.
He didn’t show much reaction on perhaps his most memorable shot of the day — with his legs near the edge of a bunker some 75 feet to the left of the 11th green, he blasted out to the top shelf and watched the ball take dead aim until it stopped a foot short. A two-putt birdie on the 13th gave him an eight-shot lead, and then it was only a matter of time — a lot of time — until the trophy presentation.
Before anyone projects a monster year for Woods based on one week, especially when that week is at Torrey Pines, remember that no one else in golf — not even McIlroy — is the subject of more snap judgments.
Woods, however, likes the direction he is headed, especially with his short game.
“I’m excited about this year. I’m excited about what I’m doing with Sean (Foley) and some of the things that I’ve built,” he said. “This is a nice way to start the year.”
Woods is not likely to return to golf until the Match Play Championship next month.


Chelsea face Manchester United in FA Cup final as Olivier Giroud sinks Southampton

Updated 1 min 50 sec ago
0

Chelsea face Manchester United in FA Cup final as Olivier Giroud sinks Southampton

London: Chelsea booked an FA Cup final showdown with Manchester United as Olivier Giroud tormented Southampton again with a sublime strike in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Wembley.
Giroud has made a habit of scoring against Southampton and the France forward was their nemesis in a one-sided semifinal.
Opting to select Giroud instead of Alvaro Morata proved a shrewd move by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as the former Arsenal star produced a tremendous piece of skill to break the deadlock early in the second half.
Giroud has feasted on Southampton this season, scoring twice to spark Chelsea’s 3-2 win last weekend and also netting a late equalizer against them for Arsenal in December.
His fourth goal for Chelsea since his January signing was followed by a late header from substitute Morata, setting up a heavyweight final against United at Wembley on May 19.
That will be Chelsea’s last chance to win major silverware at the end of a troubled season.
“The most important thing is to reach the final. This is the second FA Cup final in a row for us. I’m delighted for our fans,” Conte said.
“For sure, Olivier has been a good signing for us. I needed a player like him, strong physically, to hold the ball up.
“Today I decided to start with Olivier because I knew we were playing against three strong central defenders, but when Morata came on the impact was impressive as well.”
Chelsea’s 13th FA Cup final appearance will be a repeat of the 2007 showpiece, when Jose Mourinho’s men won 1-0.
The Blues, back in the final after losing to Arsenal in May, last won the competition in 2012 and are bidding to lift the trophy for the eighth time.
Winning the FA Cup might not be enough to convince either Conte or Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that their two-year partnership should be extended.
Conte has spent much of the season complaining about Chelsea’s failure to back his transfer plans, while several of his players are believed to be unhappy with his demanding training sessions and intense personality.
The Blues face a tough task to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League as they trail fourth-placed Tottenham by five points.
Against that backdrop, winning the Cup would at least provide an uplifting conclusion to a frustrating campaign.
For Southampton, the focus returns to their desperate battle to avoid relegation, with just four games left to climb out of the bottom three.
Saints boss Mark Hughes claimed the crucial moment was the officials’ refusal to use the video assistant referee when Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero may have dropped the ball over the line under pressure from Charlie Austin.
“We are disappointed with the officials. Their goalkeeper has thrown the ball into the back of the net,” Hughes complained.
“If ever there was a case for VAR to review, that was the moment. Why it wasn’t referred I’ve no idea.”
Giroud was warming to the task of giving Southampton another headache and he went close to breaking the deadlock with an acrobatic volley before half-time.
Chelsea’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 46th minute.
Cesc Fabregas lofted a pass toward Eden Hazard and he controlled brilliantly in mid-air before slipping the ball through to Giroud.
There was still work for Giroud to do and he side-stepped three defenders with surprising grace, his nimble footwork giving him just enough space to slot home from close range.
After Caballero got away with his sloppy handling, Austin appealed in vain for a penalty when Giroud left his arm out to block the forward’s header.
But it was too little, too late and Morata came off the bench to wrap up the win with just his third goal in his last 19 appearances.
Morata, who has failed to impress since his move from Real Madrid last year, was furious after being hauled off at Burnley.
Just days later, he was all smiles when he nodded home from Cesar Azpilicueta’s 82nd-minute cross.