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Singh withdraws from Phoenix Open, O’Meara says he should be suspended

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vijay Singh has withdrawn from the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a day after saying he used deer-antler spray.

Singh cited a back injury in pulling out Thursday before the first round.

PHOENIX OPEN

Full leaderboardWhat’s in the winners’ bagGolf on TVLocal Knowledge: Phoenix OpenPhotos: Golf around the worldQuick Nine: Best courses in ArizonaWoods takes chunk of out McIlroy’s lead in world rankingNotebook: Ogilvy changes home baseClark makes points in opposition to anchor banWoods making progress one step at a timeBleacher Report: 10 Phoenix Open storylinesPhoenix Open tees off with deer antler spray dominating the talkSingh withdraws, O’Meara calls for suspensionThursday recapMickelson credits new Callaway driver for 60Friday recapSaturday recapSunday recap

The 49-year-old Fijian first revealed he used the spray in an interview with Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Singh paid one of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids’ owners $9,000 last November for the spray, hologram chips and other products. The deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.

Singh released a statement Wednesday at the Phoenix Open, saying: ”While I have used deer-antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy.”

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw says the tour is ”looking into the matter.”

Meanwhile, Former British Open winner Bob Charles of New Zealand says he used and promoted a banned deer-antler spray for more than 20 years and is surprised to learn it contains a substance that violates golf’s doping protocols.

The 1963 Open winner was a spokesman for the deer-antler product and used it daily over two decades.

He said he was ”totally unaware of illegal substances … being in the horn or the antler of the deer. I take one or two deer velvet capsules daily and have been doing so for virtually 20 years or more.”

Also Thursday, Mark O’Meara said he doesn’t think Singh would ever try to cheat but still believes the Fijian should be suspended ”for a couple of months” by the PGA Tour for admitting he used deer-antler spray.

O’Meara, who called Singh a friend, said he heard about the Fijian’s admission on Wednesday while preparing for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but doesn’t believe he benefited on the course from the unorthodox treatment.

”I was obviously a little bit surprised with what I heard, but I don’t think Vijay is a guy that would ever take advantage of anything. I know Vijay,” O’Meara.

”I guess they could probably suspend him for a couple of months. I would think so,” the two-time major winner said. ”Listen, people have had to pay the price before and he should be no different. If that is the case and the commissioner and tour feels he should be suspended for X amount of time, I think Vijay is man enough that he’ll do that.”

Singh, who won the last of his 56 titles in 2008, said he will cooperate with the tour’s review of the issue.

Despite Singh’s admission, O’Meara and other golfers said they felt the measures in place to combat doping in golf, including random testing, were adequate.

”I don’t think doping is a problem in golf whatsoever. I really don’t,” Paul Casey said. ”There are so many facets to our sport. Why was he taking it? Was he taking it to recover from injury? It doesn’t help you get the ball in the hole at the end of the day. This is the first case I’ve heard where a guy admitted to taking anything.”

The oddity of deer-antler spray being used by golfers was the talk on the Dubai course on Thursday, with Lee Westwood among the players having a good laugh about it. Most said they had never heard of it until the story on Singh.

”Deer-antler spray? That sounds like something you wax your car with, doesn’t it?” Westwood said. ”I’ve never heard of it. … You have to be careful about what you take. I try not to take anything now, really, other than Corona and vodka.”

Colin Montgomerie, a rival of Singh during their heydays, called the whole case ”odd” and said the European Tour doctor ”came to us (and said) deer antler, whatever it is, don’t take that this afternoon lads.”

Montgomerie said the tour had nothing to worry about with him when it came to doping.

”I can only speak for myself and it’s not widespread within the Montgomerie family,” the 2010 Europe Ryder Cup captain said, looking down at his torso. ”Unfortunately. You can see that though, can’t you, really.”

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Singh withdraws from Phoenix Open, O’Meara says he should be suspended

Singh admits using deer antler spray, says he was unaware it was banned

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vijay Singh says he has used deer-antler spray and wasn’t aware that it may contain a substance banned by the PGA Tour.

The 49-year-old Fijian first revealed he used the spray in an interview with Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Singh paid one of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids’ owners $9,000 last November for the spray, hologram chips and other products.

The magazine also reported Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis sought help from SWATS in his recovery from a torn right triceps. The company says its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.

Singh released a statement Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

”While I have used deer-antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy,” Singh said in the statement.

”In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer-antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time.”

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the tour is ”looking into the matter.”

”I know that it’s obviously illegal, whatever it is,” Masters champion Bubba Watson said. ”It sounds like something I would never want near me. … I don’t even know how you take deer-antler spray.

”It’s sad that people live and die by their sport and they have to, I guess, cheat and go around it and try to better themselves with deer-antler spray. I’m not just going to take something and ask questions later. I’m not going to take deer antler-spray and find out what it is later. … I think we should check them for mental problems if they’re taking deer-antler spray. That’s kind of weird.”

Singh won the last of his 34 PGA Tour titles in 2008. The three-time major champion also has 22 international victories. Early in his career, he was suspended from the Asian Tour for two years for altering his scorecard during a tournament in Indonesia.

Doug Barron is the only player to be suspended under the tour’s anti-doping policy, missing part of 2009 and most of 2010. The one-year suspension was lifted in September 2010, and Barron was granted a therapeutic use exemption for low testosterone.

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Singh admits using deer antler spray, says he was unaware it was banned

Harrington eager to see McGinley in action as European Ryder Cup captain

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Padraig Harrington describes Europe’s new Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley as having “a little guy syndrome” – and cannot wait to see that side of his fellow Dubliner’s character come out next year.

McGinley will take charge of the European team as it aims to retain the title in Scotland, and Harrington, who is making his debut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, is already looking forward to the occasion.

OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC

What’s in the winners’ bagsGolf on TVWoods takes chunk out of McIlroy’s lead in world rankingPhotos: Golf around the world3 get into British Open via Australian qualifierWestwood ready to go after offseason full of changeHarrington eager to see McGinley in action as Ryder Cup captainSlump and eye surgery behind him, Garcia looks for good startThursday recapFriday recapSaturday recapSunday recap

“He’s a little fella and he likes to fight,” Harrington said of McGinley. “He really has that little bit from his (Gaelic) football days. He’s got it inside him and will lead the team well in that respect, as well as being organised.”the

Harrington missed last year’s Ryder Cup after a slump that took him down to 96th in the world, but he is back up to just outside the top 50 and knows the importance of continuing his climb.

“I only got a chance of making it on the world ranking points with the schedule I keep,” he said. “I didn’t play seven events that basically give you points for turning up and I realized in order to make it easier you have to be in those.

“It put a huge amount of pressure on my game because two or three guys are going to have exceptional years, and then you’re really only playing for one or two spots.”

As for the incentive of returning under McGinley, with whom he won the World Cup and played alongside in three Ryder Cups, the 41-year-old said: “I don’t think it motivates me more – I’m fully motivated. I’ve known him for a long time and it’s going to be fantastic having him as captain, but it would be fantastic to be in the Ryder Cup no matter who was captaining the team.

“Professional golf is one of the most selfish games that you can play. It’s an individual sport and it’s all about managing ourselves, but Paul McGinley loves teams,” Harrington explained. “He’s probably sacrificed the last three years of his playing career and the next 18 months for the Ryder Cup. It’s been all about the team for him.”

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Harrington eager to see McGinley in action as European Ryder Cup captain

Garcia, slump and eye issues behind him, looks for hot start in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Less than three years ago, Sergio Garcia was mired in a slump so prolonged that he missed out on the 2010 Ryder Cup team and saw his world ranking fall as low as 85th. He moped around the golf course and at one point talked of giving up the game altogether.

But rather than walking away, the former No. 2-ranked Spaniard said Wednesday he used those dark days in 2009 and 2010 as an inspiration to find his way back. He has won twice in each of the past two years, and a victory this week at the Dubai Desert Classic could propel him back into the top 10.

OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC

What’s in the winners’ bagsGolf on TVWoods takes chunk out of McIlroy’s lead in world rankingPhotos: Golf around the world3 get into British Open via Australian qualifierWestwood ready to go after offseason full of changeHarrington eager to see McGinley in action as Ryder Cup captainSlump and eye surgery behind him, Garcia looks for good startThursday recapFriday recapSaturday recapSunday recap

He is up to No. 14 in the latest rankings, after finishing second at last week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, a shot behind winner Chris Wood, who only won because he eagled the final hole to pass Garcia and George Coetzee.

”Excited. It’s been two good years,” Garcia said. ”But more than anything, I’m excited because I know how I’m feeling. I know how my attitude is on the course. I know how my will is to try to do things to get better.

”We had a good start of the season, which is always nice. So I just want to make sure that everything stays the same. Because I’m going to have bad weeks, but if I can manage to stay with the right attitude, even on the bad weeks, it’s going to make the year go so easy and so much better.”

His return to form has also stoked talk of Garcia finally winning a major – something he has come agonizingly close to on several occasions. Garcia has twice been in the final group with Tiger Woods (U.S. Open at Bethpage, British Open at Hoylake), the runner-up at age 19 at Medinah, in a playoff at Carnoustie in 2007, and a runner-up to Padraig Harrington at Oakland Hills in the 1998 PGA Championship.

The 33-year-old Garcia brushed aside talk of a major victory, saying he will just keep playing golf and let the results speak for themselves.

”My form, I feel pretty good about it,” Garcia said. ”Do I feel like it’s the best I’ve played my career? Probably not. But I feel fairly good for the most part.”

After winning the HSBC Champions in November 2008, Garcia went 2 1/2 years without a top-three finish. It would be almost three years before he would win again, on either the PGA Tour or European Tour. His ranking, a career-best No. 2 in 2009, plunged as low as 85.

Garcia credits his recovery that began with a string of wins in Spain in 2011 partly to his improved short game – on display down the stretch in Qatar – as well as a better attitude on and off the course. He also benefited from laser eye surgery last year that corrected his astigmatism, improving his aim and reading of the greens.

”I’ve always said that the bad days and things like that or the bad losses, if you take them the right way, they are very good, because you can learn a lot from those days,” Garcia said. ”I think that obviously putting is improved. It’s got a lot more consistent. Chipping is improved. Probably my long game is obviously better than it was before.”

Garcia’s resurgence has not gone unnoticed by his Ryder Cup teammates, or those younger players who have long idolized him.

”He played well at end of last year, winning at the Wyndham Championship and had a few other good results winning in Johor [Open on the Asian Tour],” said Lee Westwood, a Ryder Cup teammate who is also playing this week in Dubai. ”It’s nice to see him playing well. The game of golf needs characters like Sergio.”

Rafael Cabrera-Bello, a Spaniard who won the Dubai tournament last year and grew up trying to emulate Garcia’s bold and aggressive play, said he has seen a different player on the course in recent months.

”We all know he had a period where he wasn’t enjoying golf, wasn’t playing too good,” Cabrera-Bello said. ”I think he is well over that. Even if he is on the course and things are not going his way, he is looking at it from a different perspective. He is enjoying the game again.”

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Garcia, slump and eye issues behind him, looks for hot start in Dubai

Brown, Jeffress and Dartnall get into British Open via Australia qualifier

MELBOURNE, Australia — New Zealand’s Mark Brown will take his place in the 2013 British Open Championship at Muirfield after setting a new course record at Kingston Heath Golf Club on Wednesday during International Final Qualifying (IFQ) Australasia. The two-day 36-hole qualifier awarded three spots in the Open from a field of 70 challengers.

Starting the final day at even par and five shots off the pace, Brown produced an eagle and eight birdies to card a 10-under-par 62 and secure his slot in golf’s oldest major championship, which takes place July 18-21.

IFQ AUSTRALASIA

The top three finishers from the starting field of 70 earned spots in the 2013 British Open.

Player

Score

1. Mark Brown

-10

2. Steven Jeffress

-9

3. Stephen Dartnall

-8

4. Neven Basic

-7

4. Peter O’Malley

-7

4. Scott Laycock

-7

4. Anthony Summers

-7

4. Cameron Smith

-7

9. Adam Crawford

-6

9. David McKenzie

-6

Brown is proud to become New Zealand’s first representative to qualify for this year’s Open. This will be his second time at the Open having qualified in 2009, when he missed the cut at Turnberry. He said he was very much looking forward to the challenge of playing a Scottish links again.

“If there’s one major you want to play, for me, this would be it,” said Brown, whose best performance in a major was 24th at the 2008 PGA Championship.

He added that he was delighted to qualify by beating the previous course record of 63 set by amateur Cruze Strange.

“Yesterday I was a fair way back, so today I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,” said Brown. “I just went out and tried to enjoy it.

“I made six birdies in the first nine, then it got serious and it wasn’t so much fun anymore,” he explained. “But it’s massive. I love this place and I played well here in November,” when he tied for third in the Australian Masters here last year.

“I’ve got so much respect for the place,” he added. “It’s quite a thrill to hold the course record.”

The two other qualifiers for Muirfield were Australians Steven Jeffress on 9 under par and Stephen Dartnall on 8 under par.

It has still yet to sink in for Jeffress that at 37 years of age he will tee it up in his first major championship thanks to a composed round.

“It’s pretty impressive – it probably hasn’t even sunk in yet, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be unbelievable,” said Jeffress immediately following his round. “I had a number that I wanted to get to, 10 under. I thought if I get to that, then it’s going to be competitive.

“I had 2 under around the front nine and then I parred through to 15, which I was pretty frustrated at,” he explained. “I said to my caddie that we have to do something here because only the top three get in and then I birdied 15 and 16.”

Dartnall, who was tied for the lead after the first round, is heading to his first major thanks to two solid rounds.

“I started off a bit scratchy, actually – I was 1 over after six then made a few birdies and just played solid from there on in. It wasn’t quite as good as yesterday but it was enough, I guess,” said Dartnall. “I have never played a major before so will be a good learning experience, to go there and obviously try and play well.”

Amateur Cameron Smith, who share the first-round lead with Dartnall, was one of five to finish one shot off the top three spots on 7 under par, the others being Nevan Basic, Scott Laycock, Anthony Summers and veteran Peter O’Malley.

International Final Qualifying (IFQ) events were introduced in 2004 and are held on five continents to give more players from around the world the chance to gain direct entry into the British Open. Ther IFQ events are set for Feb. 28-March 1 at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand; March 5-6 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in South Africa; May 20 at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas; and June 24 at Sunningdale Golf Club in Sunningsale, England.

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Brown, Jeffress and Dartnall get into British Open via Australia qualifier

Woods takes chunk out of McIlroy’s world rankings lead with Torrey win

SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods never looked so irritated winning a golf tournament so comfortably.

His record eighth victory at Torrey Pines was all but over when Woods ripped a 5-iron from 244 yards over the corner of a bunker and onto the green at the par-5 13th hole, setting up a two-putt birdie that gave him an eight shot lead in the Farmers Insurance Open.

WORLD RANKING

Rory McIlroy is now in his 32nd week atop the world rankings, and has tied Vijay Singh for the eight-longest reign at No. 1. The seventh-longest holder of the top spot is Nick Price at 44 weeks.

Player

Points

1. Rory McIlroy

12.43

2. Tiger Woods

9.29

3. Luke Donald

7.94

4. Justin Rose

6.63

5. Louis Oosthuizen

6.60

6. Adam Scott

6.08

7. Brandt Snedeker

5.74

8. Lee Westwood

5.69

9. Bubba Watson

5.26

10. Jason Dufner

5.15

At least he had plenty of time to savor this victory. The final five holes felt like they took forever.

Woods twirled his club on the tee and leaned on it in the fairway as the final round dragged on. He lost rhythm and appeared to lose interest, and it showed. A bogey from the bunker on the 14th. A tee shot that caromed off a eucalyptus tree on the 15th hole that led to double bogey. A tee shot he popped up on the 17th hole that left him 50 yards behind the other players and led to another bogey.

”It got a little ugly at the end,” Woods said. ”I started losing patience a little bit with the slow play.”

No matter. It only affected the margin, not the outcome. Woods had to settle for an even-par 72 that gave him a four-shot win over defending champion Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater, who each had a 69.

The victory also helped the No. 2-ranked Woods take a sizeable chunk out of Rory McIlroy’s lead at the top of the world rankings.

McIlroy has held the No. 1 spot since his PGA Championship victory last August, but his advantage is now down to 3.14 points with Woods having shaved 1.06 points off his deficit at Torrey Pines. Both Woods and McIlroy are next scheduled to play in the WGC-Accenture Match Play, which starts Feb. 20 in Arizona.

The top of the top 10 remained static as the top six continued to be McIlroy, Woods, No. 3 Luke Donald, No. 4 Justin Rose, No. 5 Louis Oosthuizen and No. 6 Adam Scott. But there was a lot of movement below them.

Snedeker moved from eighth up to seventh place, while Lee Westwood, who makes his season debut this week in Dubai, slipped from seventh to eighth. Bubba Watson remained in ninth place, while Jason Dufner advanced from 11th place up to 10th.

The second 10 includes No. 11 Steve Stricker (down from 10th), No. 12 Ian Poulter (up from 13th), No. 13 Keegan Bradley (down from 12th), No. 14 Sergio Garcia (up from 19th after tying for second in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters), No. 15 Dustin Johnson (down from 14th), No. 16 Webb Simpson (down from 15th), No. 17 Charl Schwartzel (down from 16th), No. 18 Graeme McDowell (down from 17th), No. 19 Nick Watney (up from 21st) and No. 20 Peter Hanson (down from 18th).

Also this week, Chris Wood of England leaped up to 60th from his previous perch at No. 142 thanks to his victory in the Qatar Masters.

With the PGA Tour being criticized for slow play, Torrey Pines wasn’t an ideal start to the network portion of its schedule. With Woods virtually a lock to win, CBS Sports wanted the final round to resume Monday later than normal so that it could be televised in late afternoon on the East Coast. Play was so slow that CBS went over its allotted time.

Woods, meanwhile, had the ideal start to his tour season.

Only a week earlier, he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, in part because of a two-shot penalty assessed after his second round for taking an illegal drop. Woods had never missed the cut on the European Tour, and he had never started his season with the weekend off.

He might have been the only one who didn’t panic.

Woods seized control with a 65 on the North Course at Torrey Pines, the spent the rest of the week pulling away from the field until no one could catch him.

”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’s still too early to figure out the state of his game, especially in relation to McIlroy, who also missed the cut in Abu Dhabi.

Torrey Pines is a public course that Woods treats like his private domain. He won the tournament for the seventh time, one short of the PGA Tour record for most wins in a single event. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Woods won for the eighth time at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, and that’s a PGA Tour record that Woods previously shared with … himself. He also has won seven times at Firestone and Bay Hill.

”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. Rory is now with Nike. That would be my guess.”

And it was his 75th win on the PGA Tour, seven short of the record held by Snead. Woods has won 23 of those tournaments by at least four shots.

”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.”

Woods mostly had reason to be excited about his short game.

In the third round Sunday, he was furious with himself for going long on the par-3 eighth green, without much green between his ball and the hole. Woods hit a chip solidly, with just enough loft, to leave himself a tap-in par. In the conclusion of the final round Monday, he pulled his tee shot into a bad spot in the bunker on the par-3 11th. The lie was good, but he had to aim well left, meaning his legs were spread wide on the slope of the sand.

He blasted it out with his 60-degree wedge to a top shelf, and then watched it feed down a slope to the right. It lost pace at the end or it might have gone in.

It looked good for television. It was a difficult shot, but not impossible.

But Woods believes those are the shots he wasn’t converting a year ago. And that’s one reason his outlook was so bright on the rest of the year, even after having to cope with so much fog along the Pacific bluffs.

He played the par 5s in 12 under for the lead — that alone would have been enough to win — and attributed that to his short game.

”My short game was back to how I know it can be,” Woods said. ”My shots that I hit, especially out of these nasty little lies, I hit some really good ones this week. And that allowed me to save some pars, make some birdies, and move my way up the board. And basically, that’s what I did.”

Woods figures his swing change under Sean Foley took root at some point last year, but that he had devoted so much time to the swing that he neglected his wedges. Now that he is practicing more on his short game, he expects better results – turning a 74 into a 70, and not losing leads at the majors, like he did twice last year.

Still, the season is young. Any measure of Woods likely will have to wait until the road to the Masters gets going during the Florida Swing.

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Woods takes chunk out of McIlroy’s world rankings lead with Torrey win

Golf-Dominant Woods issues timely warning at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Tiger Woods signalled he is likely to be a formidable force at this year’s majors as he rekindled memories of his best form while building a commanding six-shot lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

Woods has just 11 holes remaining at the fog-delayed event in his bid to clinch a 75th PGA Tour victory and the dominance he has so far displayed at one of his favourite venues has certainly shaken much of the golfing world.

Though unquestionably not the player he was in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he reigned supreme in the game, Woods appears to have completed the finishing touches to the fourth swing change of his professional career.

“It’s probably the whole package,” the 14-times major champion told reporters when asked which aspect of his game had contributed most to his 17-under total after 61 holes at Torrey Pines.

“I’ve driven the ball well, I’ve hit my irons well, and I’ve chipped and putted well. Well, I’ve hit good putts. They all haven’t gone in.

“Today certainly you’re just trying to get your speed right, because it was wobbling all over the place,” Woods said of greens that became increasingly bumpy during the afternoon.

NOTED STRENGTH

Woods is so far 11 under on the par-five holes this week at Torrey Pines, a noted strength of his game during his prime. While driving the ball considerable distances here, he has also been surprisingly accurate.

“I just drove it on a string all day, at least all morning,” he said of his form off the tee during his three-under-par 69 in the third round. “I hit the ball pretty good. It seemed like I was always in pretty good position.”

Woods has always enjoyed playing at Torrey Pines where he has won six Farmers Insurance Open titles and also the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff with fellow American Rocco Mediate, the most recent of his 14 major victories.

Should he go on to triumph on Monday, he would claim his 75th win on the PGA Tour with only Sam Snead, on 82, ahead of him.

“I’ve had a very successful career,” Woods said of what the achievement would mean to him. “This is my 18th season, so I think I’ve had some really good years in there. I’m very proud of what I’ve done.”

Asked whether he would have a different strategy in mind going into the final 11 holes at Torrey Pines with such a commanding lead, he replied: “No, I just go out there and play.

“I had the lead, and the whole idea was to build on my lead, and I’ve done that so far. I’ve got to do it again tomorrow.”

Woods held a two-shot lead coming into Sunday after virtually all of Saturday’s scheduled play was wiped out by thick fog at Torrey Pines.

He doubled that advantage by the end of round three and then built a six-stroke cushion after making three birdies in his first seven holes of the final round.

“I’ve got 11 holes to play, and I’ve got to go out there and play them well,” Woods smiled. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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Golf-Dominant Woods issues timely warning at Torrey Pines

Woods in full command at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Tiger Woods closed in on his 75th PGA Tour victory by stretching his lead to a commanding six shots with 11 holes remaining in the final round of the fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

The former world number one, a six-times winner of the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, birdied three of his first seven holes to move to 17 under overall when play was suspended for the day in fading light.

Fellow American Nick Watney, winner here in 2009, was tied for second, after eight holes, with defending champion Brandt Snedeker, who had completed 13.

Burly Canadian Brad Fritsch, a PGA Tour rookie at the age of 35, was a further two strokes back at nine under after seven holes.

However, Woods was in full command at one of his favourite venues in his bid to win a third different PGA Tour event for a seventh time. He has already recorded seven victories apiece at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I played well today,” a smiling Woods told reporters. “Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead. As of right now, I’ve got a six-shot lead, so that’s a positive.

“I’ve got to continue with executing my game plan. That’s the idea. I’ve got 11 holes to play, and I’ve got to go out there and play them well.”

His rivals are well aware of his stellar overall track record on the U.S. circuit where he has gone on to win 49 times out of 53 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, including 14 of 15 in the majors.

So far this week, he has dominated a medium-strength field at the PGA Tour event which began with 17 players ranked in the world’s top 50.

“I’ve got to make some more birdies,” said FedExCup champion Snedeker, who came from seven strokes behind in the final round last year to win the title in a playoff. “I’ve got a long way to go.

“I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads, so I have to go catch him.”

SCRAMBLED PARS

Four strokes in front when the weather-delayed third round was completed earlier in the day, Woods did well to scramble pars on the first two holes after missing both fairways badly to the left.

As the late afternoon shadows lengthened in soft sunlight, the world number two hit a superb tee shot to 10 feet at the par-three third and rolled in the birdie putt to regain a four-shot cushion.

Woods then conjured an outrageous birdie at the par-four fourth after his ball ended up behind a tree to the right of the fairway following another wayward tee shot.

Having considered his options, he cut a low second shot around the tree to just short of the green before chipping in from 40 feet for a miraculous three to forge five strokes clear.

Woods also birdied the par-five sixth, rifling an exquisite 232-yard second shot from the right rough to 28 feet and comfortably two-putting to move six ahead.

He then found the right fairway off the tee at the seventh before the siren sounded to halt play for the day and, with the option to complete the hole, struck his approach to 30 feet and safely two-putted for par.

Woods began a marathon day at Torrey Pines two strokes in front of the chasing pack after thick fog had allowed only five minutes of play on a frustrating Saturday at the coastal venue.

Looking sharp in every component of his game, he revived memories of his former dominant self as he doubled that lead by shooting a three-under-par 69 in the third round.

At one point a commanding six shots ahead, Woods bogeyed the par-five 18th after finding a poor lie in a fairway bunker off the tee and a greenside bunker with his third shot to finish four ahead of Fritsch (70).

Double heart-transplant recipient Erik Compton was a further stroke back after eagling the last for a 71 while Watney (71) was among a group of five players knotted at eight under.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Originally posted here:

Woods in full command at Torrey Pines

UPDATE 1-Golf-Woods in full command at Torrey Pines

(Adds quotes, detail)

SAN DIEGO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Tiger Woods closed in on his 75th PGA Tour victory by stretching his lead to a commanding six shots with 11 holes remaining in the final round of the fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

The former world number one, a six-times winner of the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, birdied three of his first seven holes to move to 17 under overall when play was suspended for the day in fading light.

Fellow American Nick Watney, winner here in 2009, was tied for second, after eight holes, with defending champion Brandt Snedeker, who had completed 13.

Burly Canadian Brad Fritsch, a PGA Tour rookie at the age of 35, was a further two strokes back at nine under after seven holes.

However, Woods was in full command at one of his favourite venues in his bid to win a third different PGA Tour event for a seventh time. He has already recorded seven victories apiece at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I played well today,” a smiling Woods told reporters. “Overall, I’m very pleased that I was able to build on my lead. As of right now, I’ve got a six-shot lead, so that’s a positive.

“I’ve got to continue with executing my game plan. That’s the idea. I’ve got 11 holes to play, and I’ve got to go out there and play them well.”

His rivals are well aware of his stellar overall track record on the U.S. circuit where he has gone on to win 49 times out of 53 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, including 14 of 15 in the majors.

So far this week, he has dominated a medium-strength field at the PGA Tour event which began with 17 players ranked in the world’s top 50.

“I’ve got to make some more birdies,” said FedExCup champion Snedeker, who came from seven strokes behind in the final round last year to win the title in a playoff. “I’ve got a long way to go.

“I’ve got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn’t like giving up leads, so I have to go catch him.”

SCRAMBLED PARS

Four strokes in front when the weather-delayed third round was completed earlier in the day, Woods did well to scramble pars on the first two holes after missing both fairways badly to the left.

As the late afternoon shadows lengthened in soft sunlight, the world number two hit a superb tee shot to 10 feet at the par-three third and rolled in the birdie putt to regain a four-shot cushion.

Woods then conjured an outrageous birdie at the par-four fourth after his ball ended up behind a tree to the right of the fairway following another wayward tee shot.

Having considered his options, he cut a low second shot around the tree to just short of the green before chipping in from 40 feet for a miraculous three to forge five strokes clear.

Woods also birdied the par-five sixth, rifling an exquisite 232-yard second shot from the right rough to 28 feet and comfortably two-putting to move six ahead.

He then found the right fairway off the tee at the seventh before the siren sounded to halt play for the day and, with the option to complete the hole, struck his approach to 30 feet and safely two-putted for par.

Woods began a marathon day at Torrey Pines two strokes in front of the chasing pack after thick fog had allowed only five minutes of play on a frustrating Saturday at the coastal venue.

Looking sharp in every component of his game, he revived memories of his former dominant self as he doubled that lead by shooting a three-under-par 69 in the third round.

At one point a commanding six shots ahead, Woods bogeyed the par-five 18th after finding a poor lie in a fairway bunker off the tee and a greenside bunker with his third shot to finish four ahead of Fritsch (70).

Double heart-transplant recipient Erik Compton was a further stroke back after eagling the last for a 71 while Watney (71) was among a group of five players knotted at eight under. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Link – 

UPDATE 1-Golf-Woods in full command at Torrey Pines

Golf-U.S. PGA Tour San Diego Open scores

Jan 28 (Infostrada Sports) – Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour San Diego Open at the par-72 course on Sunday in La Jolla, California

holes

played rounds

-17 Tiger Woods (U.S.) 7 68 65 69

-11 Brandt Snedeker (U.S.) 13 65 75 69

Nick Watney (U.S.) 8 69 68 71

-9 Brad Fritsch (Canada) 7 69 67 70

-8 Luke Guthrie (U.S.) 8 68 69 71

Josh Teater (U.S.) 8 66 70 73

Erik Compton (U.S.) 7 71 65 71

Steve Marino (U.S.) 7 68 68 73

Casey Wittenberg (U.S.) 7 69 67 72

-7 Hunter Mahan (U.S.) 14 69 72 69

Pat Perez (U.S.) 12 72 67 70

Graham DeLaet (Canada) 11 68 70 72

Bill Haas (U.S.) 10 69 69 72

Ross Fisher (Britain) 9 66 71 73

Jimmy Walker (U.S.) 8 67 69 72

-6 Robert Garrigus (U.S.) 14 72 69 72

Brendon De Jonge (Zimbabwe) 13 74 66 73

Rickie Fowler (U.S.) 13 77 65 70

Cameron Tringale (U.S.) 12 68 72 69

Charles Howell III (U.S.) 9 66 72 71

K.J. Choi (South Korea) 9 65 73 71

Charlie Wi (South Korea) 8 71 66 75

Tag Ridings (U.S.) 8 67 70 71

Billy Horschel (U.S.) 7 66 69 76

-5 Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 8 71 72 68

-4 Vijay Singh (Fiji) 14 68 73 70

Gary Woodland (U.S.) 14 72 69 69

Brendan Steele (U.S.) 13 67 73 71

Nicholas Thompson (U.S.) 12 69 70 72

Lucas Glover (U.S.) 12 69 73 70

John Senden (Australia) 8 69 68 74

-3 David Lynn (Britain) 12 67 75 73

Jason Day (Australia) 9 73 70 72

-2 Chez Reavie (U.S.) 15 71 70 74

Charley Hoffman (U.S.) 14 70 72 74

J.J. Henry (U.S.) 13 69 71 75

Jeff Overton (U.S.) 13 71 69 75

Justin Bolli (U.S.) 12 72 67 74

Bo Van Pelt (U.S.) 12 67 72 72

Trevor Immelman (South Africa) 10 72 71 71

Noh Seung-Yul (South Korea) 9 71 72 72

-1 Dustin Johnson (U.S.) 14 69 72 75

Patrick Reed (U.S.) 13 73 69 74

Colt Knost (U.S.) 12 69 71 73

Roberto Castro (U.S.) 12 71 68 75

Peter Tomasulo (U.S.) 12 67 75 75

Martin Flores (U.S.) 12 69 69 76

Jerry Kelly (U.S.) 11 67 71 78

Jeff Klauk (U.S.) 10 71 72 72

Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) 9 69 74 75

0 Boo Weekley (U.S.) 15 74 67 73

John Rollins (U.S.) 15 70 71 75

John Huh (U.S.) 14 69 71 77

Brian Harman (U.S.) 14 74 68 72

Jonas Blixt (Sweden) 13 70 72 72

Greg Owen (Britain) 12 74 68 71

Park Jin (South Korea) 11 72 70 74

Jim Herman (U.S.) 10 69 69 76

Ben Curtis (U.S.) 10 72 71 73

Eric Meierdierks (U.S.) 8 69 74 72

James Hahn (U.S.) 8 71 72 70

1 Mike Weir (Canada) 15 66 75 73

Michael Letzig (U.S.) 15 68 73 75

Luke List (U.S.) 14 66 75 78

Tom Gillis (U.S.) 14 69 73 73

Bryce Molder (U.S.) 13 68 72 78

Hank Kuehne (U.S.) 13 68 74 76

Brian Stuard (U.S.) 12 68 74 73

Harris English (U.S.) 9 68 70 75

Martin Laird (Britain) 8 72 71 73

Matt Every (U.S.) 8 69 74 73

2 John Mallinger (U.S.) 15 67 74 77

James Driscoll (U.S.) 10 68 75 77

Neal Lancaster (U.S.) 10 72 71 73

Daniel Summerhays (U.S.) 10 72 71 74

Phil Mickelson (U.S.) 9 72 71 75

Scott Gardiner (Australia) 8 70 73 74

Steve LeBrun (U.S.) 8 68 75 74

Doug LaBelle II (U.S.) 8 72 71 75

3 Justin Leonard (U.S.) 12 68 71 77

Will Claxton (U.S.) 11 69 69 79

4 Justin Hicks (U.S.) 8 67 70 80

5 Adam Hadwin (Canada) 15 66 74 69

Michael Thompson (U.S.) 14 71 71 75

Bae Sang-Moon (South Korea) 14 70 72 76

Lee Dong-Hwan (South Korea) 11 68 74 78

Robert Karlsson (Sweden) 11 69 74 77

TOP10 AFTER COMPLETE ROUND

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Golf-U.S. PGA Tour San Diego Open scores

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