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The cattiness between Tiger Woods and his former caddy Steve Williams has escalated in recent days. After being officially fired on July 20, then going on national TV and essentially bashing his former employer, Williams revealed to The Golf Channel's Jason Sobel that Woods fired him weeks before the July 20 announcement.
Adam Scott, Williams' new loop, won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Sunday, which, in case you haven't heard, was Woods' first professional tournament in months, and Williams is feeling saucy:
Williams was apparently interviewed before Scott after the win, a rarity in golf, and is clearly enjoying the enhanced attention of being the latest individual to pile on Woods. Not everyone is enjoying the Stevie Williams coming out party, though:
You can't win 'em all, Stevie.
The narrative completed itself, and now we can be done with it, you'd hope: Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' recently fired caddy, helped his new boss Adam Scott score a victory over Woods at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational. Wrap it up in a neat and tidy bow and let's put it somewhere nice.
Scott came into the day with a lead and pushed the advantage through the final round, shooting a 65 to reach 17-under for the tourney. At 13-under, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald split second place after each shooting 66 on Sunday, followed by Jason Day and Ryo Ishikawa at 12-under. That's two Aussies in the top four, if you're mapping at home.
Woods finished 1-over after shooting even par for the day.
The final groups are making the turn at the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and Adam Scott and Ryo Ishikawa look destined for a back nine duel for the title.
The two golfers, both in the final group, sit in the same order — Scott leading, Ishikawa one stroke back — as they were at the beginning of the day. Scott is 14-under par after a birdie on the 10th hole, and Ishikawa's 13-under par for the tournament after a topsy-turvy front nine in Sunday's final round at Firestone.
Scott's made just two birdies on his day, but eight pars have prevented him from dropping any shots to Ishikawa or the field. Ishikawa's been more up-and-down: with four birdies and two bogeys, he's been able to do some chasing of and create some space for Scott with his own play.
Behind Ishikawa are a few more strong players: Jason Day and Keegan Bradley both sit two strokes off the lead at 12-under par through 10 holes, and Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald are both at 11-under par for the tournament through 12 Sunday holes.
The leading two groups don't start their final rounds in the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational until 1:50 pm ET, but most of the golfers have already started their fourth rounds. Tiger Woods is, just like his other days, having a relatively average and uneventful Sunday. When he thinks about it he'll probably be pleased that he's playing golf at a reasonably high level in his first tournament back, but he's nowhere near contention at the moment, as he sits at one-over for the day and two-over for the tournament.
None of the golfers in the middle of the pack are surging up the leaderboard, so the final round should be a fight between the guys who finished on top after Saturday. Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Geoff Ogilvy are all shooting three-under on the day, but none of them are anywhere near the leaders. Here's the entire leaderboad from PGATour.com.
Jason Day, who is 11-under tees off at 1:50 pm ET along with 10-under Keegan Bradley. The final group, 12-under Adam Scott and 11-under Ryo Ishikawa, tees off at 2:00 pm ET.
The final round of the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational gets underway on Sunday morning, and though Tiger Woods is out of contention, his former caddy is not. Adam Scott, who now employs Woods' ex-mate Steve Williams, has a one-shot advantage over the field after working his way to 12-under after three rounds. He's being chased by Ryo Ishikawa and Jason Day, who each sit one-shot back at 11-under for the tournament.
Woods' comeback has been less than perfect, with different deficiencies showing in each round, from his drives to his putting. The result is a score of 1-over for the tournament, putting him in a tie for 38th. Sadly, Woods and Phil Mickelson, who is also at 1-over, will not be paired together on Sunday, and instead will tee-off 10 minutes apart, with Woods assigned the later of the two tee times.
Here's the full set of tee times for Sunday's final round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
|2:00 pm||Scott, Adam||Ishikawa, Ryo|
|1:50 pm||Day, Jason||Bradley, Keegan|
|1:40 pm||Laird, Martin||Donald, Luke|
|1:30 pm||Jacobson, Fredrik||Fowler, Rickie|
|1:20 pm||Johnson, Zach||McIlroy, Rory|
|1:10 pm||Stricker, Steve||Kim, Kyung-tae|
|1:00 pm||Toms, David||Kuchar, Matt|
|12:50 pm||Molinari, Francesco||Watney, Nick|
|12:40 pm||Karlsson, Robert||Westwood, Lee|
|12:30 pm||Moore, Ryan||Watson, Bubba|
|12:20 pm||Baddeley, Aaron||Hoffman, Charley|
|12:10 pm||Cink, Stewart||Hanson, Peter|
|12:00 pm||Goosen, Retief||Molinari, Edoardo|
|11:50 am||Glover, Lucas||Points, D.A.|
|11:40 am||Snedeker, Brandt||Wilson, Mark|
|11:30 am||Van Pelt, Bo||Hansen, Anders|
|11:20 am||Manassero, Matteo||Furyk, Jim|
|11:10 am||Stallings, Scott||Woodland, Gary|
|11:00 am||Otto, Hennie||Woods, Tiger|
|10:50 am||Mickelson, Phil||Green, Richard|
|10:40 am||Slocum, Heath||Garcia, Sergio|
|10:30 am||Kaymer, Martin||Mahan, Hunter|
|10:20 am||Atwal, Arjun||Johnson, Dustin|
|10:10 am||Noren, Alexander||Oosthuizen, Louis|
|10:00 am||Dyson, Simon||Yang, Y.E.|
|9:50 am||Bjorn, Thomas||Rose, Justin|
|9:40 am||Els, Ernie||Allenby, Robert|
|9:30 am||O'Hair, Sean||Schwartzel, Charl|
|9:20 am||Ogilvy, Geoff||Harrington, Padraig|
|9:10 am||Sabbatini, Rory||Haas, Bill|
|9:00 am||Quiros, Alvaro||Casey, Paul|
|8:50 am||Choi, K.J.||Byrd, Jonathan|
|8:40 am||Larrazabal, Pablo||Vegas, Jhonattan|
|8:30 am||Steele, Brendan||McDowell, Graeme|
|8:20 am||Overton, Jeff||Poulter, Ian|
|8:10 am||Jimenez, Miguel A.||Clarke, Darren|
|8:00 am||Frazar, Harrison||Park, Jae-bum|
|7:50 am||Ikeda, Yuta||Appleby, Stuart|
Adam Scott finished his third consecutive round at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational with the lead on Saturday afternoon. The Australian is probably happy that, for a change, first place is in his sole possession after finishing the first two rounds in a tie atop the leaderboard.
Scott finished his third round of the weekend at the Firestone Country Club's golf course by hitting a four-under 66 after finishing even-par at 70 on Friday. Scott's best stretch on Saturday came from Holes 12 to 16 as he birdied three of the four after finishing just one-under through the front-nine on Saturday morning.
It isn't time for Scott to start breathing easy yet, however, as he'll need to have a solid Sunday to stay in front of China's Ryo Ishikawa and fellow Aussie Jason Day -- both of which trail Scott by just a single stroke.
As noted earlier in the day, Tiger Woods finished his third round one over par, leaving him in a tie for 38th place in the standings heading into the final day of the Bridgestone Invitational.
All of Tiger Woods' talk about feeling great in advance of the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational this week was well and good. But it hasn't translated to great golf at Firestone this week, and his disappointing third round has been his most dispiriting stretch yet.
Woods shot a 2-over par 72 on Saturday, falling out of red numbers for the tournament by moving to 1-over par after 54 holes. Woods bogeyed two of his last three holes to scuttle a relatively clean back nine that had him at even par for the day through 15 holes. He also bogeyed the par-5 16th hole, one he birdied in his first two rounds, as a minor reversal of his typical play continued. Woods has ravaged par 5s during his career, but is just 1-under on them this week at Firestone; his game has been excellent on par 3s, though, as Woods has three birdies and no bogeys or worse on them through three rounds.
Woods' 72 dropped him from a tie for 36th to begin the day to a tie for 38th to end it. He's currently well out of contention, 12 shots behind leader Keegan Bradley.
Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf has not been embarrassing or even poor by any stretch of the imagination, but it's clear that Tiger is going to have to get quite a few more rounds of competitive golf under his belt before he's anywhere near the old Tiger. He was a respectable one-under par through two rounds, seven back of the leaders, and he's not climbing the leaderboard on Sunday at Firestone.
Woods is now one-over on the day and even par for the tournament through nine holes, with his most recent bogey coming on the eighth. However, he did drain a 20-foot birdie putt on nine, so the worst might be behind Woods. He's now eight behind Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler, who are in a four-way tie for the lead. Jason Day, Martin Laird and Robert Karlsson are just behind them at seven-under. Luke Donald is making a serious charge up the leaderboard this morning, shooting three-under through six holes to take him to six-under for the tournament.
Tiger Woods has a huge obstacle standing in his way if he hopes to win his eighth Bridgestone Invitational Tournament: a seven-stroke gap behind the four leaders. Entering Round 3, Woods sits at 1-under while the leaders are at 8-under.
But Woods does have a solid history in the third round of this tournament. The first year he won the tournament (1999), Woods fired off an 8-under on the par-70 course. In his victories at the Invitational, Woods has only shot over-par once in the third round, and that was a 1-over in 2006.
But this Tiger Woods isn't the Tiger Woods of old, of course. It may be too much to ask of him to come up with that fast-charging round. As Woods told reporters after his 1-over second round on Friday:
"I am just going out there and playing, having fun doing it, but unfortunately I didn't make as many putts today," Woods said. "But I am close to putting it all together."
Woods sounds as though the best thing right now is that he is back on the golf course.
Adam Scott came into Friday play at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational with the lead. He leaves it the same way, albeit with a little more company this time.
Four player are tied for the tournament lead after Day 2. Scott, Ryan Moore, Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley all ended the day 8-under.
Fowler made the biggest move of everyone, shooting 6-under on the day, dropping birdies on four of the last six holes.
Bradley shot 5-under on the day, though he did most of his work early on, garnering birdies on four of his first seven holes. He played it par the rest of the way until finishing with a birdie on 18.
Moore shot 4-under to grab a piece of the leaderboard and did so in spite of three-straight bogeys at 7, 8 and 9. He immeditately turned things around with birdies on five of the next six holes.
Scott shot even par for the day to remain at 8-under. Two early birdies were offset by two bogeys.
Three golfers are right behind the leaders at 7-under, including Jason Day, who spent much of Thursday atop the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods finished the day 1-over and 1-under overall. Phil Mickelson was at Even after shooting 3-over while British Open champion Darren Clarke had the worst overall score of anyone still playing at 11-over.
Tiger Woods does not look likely to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, but sitting at 1-under through two rounds, it does appear he's well on his way back from an injury that had kept him from playing competitive golf since May 12. After a second-round score of 1-over 71 at Firestone Country Club, the noted golf enthusiast finds himself around the middle of the pack and currently seven strokes off the lead, currently a four-way tie with Australian Jason Day still on the course.
Woods' second round was a bit of a roller-coaster. His day featured four birdies, three bogeys a double-bogey 6 on No. 6. It was a far cry from his first-round, which featured pars across the front 9 and just one bogey. The good news is that Woods appears to be striking the ball well, currently averaging more than 310 yards off the tee, a marked improvement over his 290-yard average so far this year. He was a little more accurate off the tee in Round 2, oddly enough, hitting 57.4 percent of his fairways, a day after hitting just five.
Such rust can probably be expected, even from someone who only a few months ago was the top-ranked golfer in the world. He now ranks 28th in the world after a year in which he's not won any of the seven events he's entered.
Assuming he doesn't re-injure himself, Woods is assured of playing the weekend as there is no cut in the WGC event, as the field is only about half the size of a normal PGA event.
Tiger Woods' 2-under 68 in his return to competitive golf at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday landed him in a tie for 18th, solidly in the upper half of the 76 golfers who competed. True, he's six shots behind leader Adam Scott, whose caddy is Woods' old friend Steve Williams. But Woods' return after three months away has to be viewed as a qualified success. Here's what he had to say:
"I hit the ball really flush," Woods said after Thursday's two-under-par 68 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "The hardest part I had today was controlling my distances because I hadn't hit the ball this flush in a long time."
Woods also said that "I went out there and just let it go," which was possible because the course played very smoothly on Thursday, with well over half the field finishing at par or better.
The 2011 Bridgestone Invitational gets back underway on Friday after Adam Scott fired a blistering round to take the lead. Scott, playing with Tiger Woods' former caddy, Steve Williams, bested the mark put up by Jason Day earlier in the day, carding an 8-under 62 to take the lead. Tiger Woods said he felt healthy and happy, but errant drives and missed fairways led to just a 2-under 68 to open the tournament.
Leader Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson begin at tee No. 10 at 10:10 AM. Jason Day, who trails Scott by one stroke, starts at 1:50 PM with Phil Mickelson at tee No. 1. Nick Watney, who is three strokes behind, starts at 9:40 AM on tee No. 10. Tiger Woods, who is tied for 18th after shooting two under par in his return on Thursday, will start 10 minutes after Watney, and he continues to be paired with Darren Clarke.
The second round will be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 2:00 to 6:00 PM Eastern.
For more on the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational, check out SB Nation's golf blog, Waggle Room.
For most of the day at the 2011 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, Jason Day was atop the leaderboard. Day shot a 7-under 63 and no other golf seemed able to get within two shots of him after he entered the clubhouse.
That is, until Adam Scott made his late charge and overtook Day to end the day in the top spot with an 8-under 62.
Scott’s move was literally a late charge as he had the latest tee time of the day (2:00 p.m. ET). He also made a late surge, hitting birdies on 13, 14, 15 and 17. He had eight birdies on the day and no bogeys.
The 31-year-old Australian has made a name for himself in 2011. He finished 2nd in the Masters and made headlines when then-Tiger Woods caddy Steve William carried his bags at the British Open.
Almost everyone is in the clubhouse after Thursday's first round at the 2011 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Tiger Woods' return to golf went out fairly-smooth as he finished the day 2-under tied for 18th place, shooting a 68.
Woods made par on fourteen holes, including the first nine. He birdied 10,11 and 16 and his only bogey on the day was at 14.
Woods drew a massive crowd on his first day. The gallery was so big on his first tee shot, the crowd wrapped all the way down and around the green.
Jason Day was atop the leaderboard most of the day with a 7-under 63. However, Adam Scott has propelled himself above Day with a late surge and is currently 8-under with one hole left. Nick Watney is in the third place after a 5-under 65 and nine golfers are tied at 4-under.
2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke had a rough day alongside Tiger Woods. He shot 7-over, which tied him for the worst round of the day.
Two-thirds of the field are in the clubhouse and Jason Day's 7-under round remains atop the leaderboard by two stokes at the 2011 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Martain Laird is along in 2nd at 5-under on the 17th hole with a chance to draw even closer. Ten golfers are right behind him a 4-under including Rory Sabbatini, Stewart Cink and Thomas Bjorn.
Currently on the 14th hole, Tiger Woods sits at 2-under. After making par on each of his first nine holes, Woods birdied 10 and 11 and then made par on 12 and 13. He's still got plenty of time to make some ground and not that many active golfers between him and Day.
Other notables include Phil Mickelson (3-under), Luke Donald (2-under), Sergio Garcia (2-under) and Darren Clarke (3-over).
With more than half of the field in the clubhouse, Jason Day's 7-under round has him atop the current leader of the 2011 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Day birdied three holes to shoot a 32 on the front nine before adding four more birdies on the back nine. South Africa's Rory Sabbatini, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Americans D.A. Point, Stewart Cink, and Brandt Snedeker are all in the clubhouse at 4-under, three shots off the current lead.
South Korea's Kyung-tae Kim is at four-under through seven holes, birdying the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 14th holes at he starts his round on the back nine. Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson is also at four-under, birdying the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th holes on the front nine.
Phil Mickelson birdied the final two holes to finish the day at 3-under.
Appearing in his first tournament since May, Tiger Woods, with new caddy Bryon Bell, is on the course with his first round having just begun.
The golfers who started the 2011 WCG-Bridgestone Invitational with early morning tee times are right at the turn, and D.A. Points is the early leader at five-under par through eight holes. He has a two shot lead on the two men tied for second, Jonathan Byrd and Rory Sabbatini, who both sit at three-under par.
Rory McIlroy isn't off to the strongest start, already scoring one bogey. He's one-over through three holes. Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald are both off to slow but steady starts, as both sit at one-under par. Mickelson has finished three holes, while Donald has finished six. Graeme McDowell, Jason Day and Y.E. Yang are among the other big names in the early groups who are under par so far on the day.
Some of the groups who have not yet started their rounds and who will get out on the course in the afternoon include big names Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson and Adam Scott. Here's a link to the full leaderboard at PGATour.com.
Once upon a time, Tiger Woods returning to the PGA Tour from an injury would have struck fear into the hearts and minds of the rest of the professional golfers that he was up against. However, the 2011 version of Tiger is coming off of a long layoff, has screws in his knee and has not won a major in just under four years. Still, someone felt the need to ask 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy if he was scared of Tiger. He's not.
"I wouldn't use the word scary. It'd be maybe a little intimidating if you knew for sure if [Woods] was going to play the way he did in 2000, 2001, but no one knows that."
McIlroy also added that he thinks a top-20 finish will be "a great effort." This sounds mildly condescending, like Rory is a grade school teacher and Tiger is a little kid, no? Just do your best, little Tiger! All we expect is that you do your best!
The 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tees off Thursday in Akron, Ohio and marks the return of Tiger Woods to the golf course.
With the first round pairings and tee times released, Tiger will be paired up with one of the golfers who's grabbed the headlines while he's been away. Tiger will share time with 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke as the two tee off at 1:40pm ET.
Woods sent Clarke text messages before the Open that he says helped him win and the two "just get on very well."
"It'll be very interesting the first two rounds. And knowing Tiger like I do, I don't think he would come back to play unless he was ready to come back and play, both physically and mentally, and ready for the challenge again."
Other notable pairings include Retief Goosen & Sergio Garcia at 9:40 a.m., Luke Donald & Charl Schwartzel at 9:20 a.m., Phil Mickelson & Jason Day at 10:00 a.m. and K.J. Choi & Ian Poulter at 1:40 p.m.
See the full tee times and pairings here.
The 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational starts on Thursday, August 4 from Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio and ends on Sunday, August 7.
Tiger Woods is set to return to golf for this weekend's Bridgestone Invitational, but he has some work to do to make the PGA Tour's version of the playoffs, the FedEx Cup. SB Nation's golf blog, Waggle Room, looked at what Tiger Woods would need to do beginning with this week's Bridgestone Invitational to dig out of the hole his injury left him in. Woods' road to the FedEx Cup is a difficult one, but he can help his case by returning to form, and fast.
Boston golfers may care only about a Tiger sighting on September 2. But should Woods care to advance toward the $10 million FedEx Cup payoff, he would have to be among the top 70 before the BMW Championship (where Woods won his last PGA Tour win in 2009, as Harig noted) and in the top 30 to earn his way to the Tour Championship.
In more concise terms, to get to the playoffs, Woods needs one seventh-place finish, two 24ths, or three top-40 closings.
Strong results in the next couple of weeks should get Woods into the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston on Labor Day Weekend. He'll then need to keep performing well through September, eventually making his way into the top 30.
Of course, all this assumes that strong results are a likelihood. Some in the golf world have expressed optimism, but he could be rusty after missing three months due to injury. Still, he's Tiger, and he appears to finally be healthy, so it would be foolish to rule anything out.
For more golf coverage, check out SB Nation's golf hub.
Tiger Woods played a practice nine on Tuesday at Firestone Country Club in preparation for the former World No. 1's first tournament since May, and said his surgically repaired knee is feeling better than it has in years.
Woods is now ranked 28th in the world, the lowest he's been since his first full season. He had previously said, after withdrawing from TPC Sawgrass before the end of the second round in his most recent tournament, that he wouldn't return until he was fully healthy.
Woods initially was prepared to play last weekend, but he said in his press conference Tuesday his doctors advised him to wait another week. He debuted a new chin-only goatee and a shiny new knee:
He did not appear affected at all during Tuesday's practice round, either walking or swinging.
"The great thing is, I don't feel a thing. It feels solid, it feels stable, no pain," Woods said.
Woods will walk the course in fly new kicks and with a new caddy, longtime friend Bryon Bell, but oddsmakers don't share his optimism.
According to super-tweeter Darren Rovell, BetOnline.com has Woods at 25/1 odds to win the tournament, the lowest they've ever had for him, and Sportsbook.com opened betting at 20/1, only to raise them to 15/1 after heavy action.
Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf continues apace ahead of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitation, which begins Thursday. A practice round at the Firestone Country Club course that hosts the event had Woods feeling very good both about his health and his chances when he talked to media members on Tuesday:
"The shots felt very crisp, very clean. I was very pleased. … Everything that we've been working on, we're very pleased with today. I've just got to keep working at it."
Asked how long it's been since he felt as good physically as he does now, Woods responded: "Years."
Woods hasn't played on the PGA Tour since The Players Championship in May, where he played nine holes before withdrawing due to injury. He has since retooled his swing — though new swing coach Sean Foley told reporters on Monday that he hadn't worked with Woods since the Players — and fired caddie Stevie Williams, replacing him with longtime friend Bryon Bell on an interim basis.
For more on Woods and the world of pro golf, visit Waggle Room.
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