Following a final-round 71, Tiger Woods talks about his play in the 2012 World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual with Steve Sands from Golf Channel.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A year ago, Tiger Woods ended a 748-day drought with a win at the World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual. Sunday, he was pleased with how far he’d come since.
“Last year was a very disappointing year,” said Woods, who tied for fourth behind winner Graeme McDowell at Sherwood Country Club following a 71 in a rain-soaked final round. “I was hurt for most of the year and didn't really do much.”
This season, Woods won three times with victories at Bay Hill, Murifield Village and Congressional. He also ended the regular season first in FedExCup points and ends this year having moved to second in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Success didn’t come easy for Woods, though.
He suffered an Achilles injury that forced him to withdraw from the final round in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Two weeks later, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard but followed with a a tie for 40th at the Masters, shooting a 74 in the final round to finish the week 5 over for the highest total score he’s ever recorded at Augusta National as a professional.
In Woods’ next start, he missed the cut at Quail Hollow before another disappointing performance at THE PLAYERS Championship, where he tied for 40th.
Then came two more wins in his next three starts before another missed cut, this time at The Greenbrier Classic, which he played for the first time in his career.
Twice in 2012 Woods played events he hadn’t previously -- The Honda Classic in Jupiter, Fla., where he now lives, was the other.
In all, Woods played in 19 events on the PGA TOUR, the most since 2005 when he made 21 starts. The last two years combined, he played in 21 tournaments.
Up next for Woods? Six weeks off.
“I need it,” Woods said. “It's been a long year and I've played a lot. Just really looking forward to it, just having nothing to do with golf for a few weeks, just put the clubs away, enjoy the holidays, be with my kids and just really enjoy that.
“I'll hit a few balls, but as far as actually sitting out there and working on my technique and my numbers and all that stuff, that's probably not going to happen at least until after Christmas.”
When Woods does return to practice, one of the areas he’ll likely focus on is his short game. From 75-100 yards, Woods ranked 140th on TOUR. From 125-150 yards, he was 111th.
”My short game has been really good from late summer on,” Woods said. “I was hitting the ball a little better and I was spending more time chipping and putting, but now I have to hit the ball better than I have. So I've got six weeks off, so will be nice to throw the clubs in the closet for a few weeks and then get back after it.”
By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
Not only was Charlie Beljan nervous at the start of the final round, so was his caddie. Veteran looper Rick Adcox picked up a can of soda and noticed his hands were shaking. Beljan and Adcox worked extremely well together during the tournament, discussing wind, yardage and hole location until everyone was in agreement on strategy. It was also obvious Beljan was nervous. Several times he would take a deep breath and exhale. He also backed off or took a stutter-step while walking into a shot. The fact Beljan could overcome all those nerves and health issues are remarkable. His final round ranks as one of the better this year.
Distance: Beljan led the tournament in driving distance this week at 307 yards and is second on the PGA TOUR for the year with a 311.9-yard average. If you are wondering where he gets that prodigious length from, some of it comes from his physical tools and setup. Beljan stands 6 feet, 4 inches with long arms and sets up to the ball with his hands low, all of which leads to a very wide arc and tremendous speed. Beljan’s clubhead speed is 122.7 mph and ball speed is 180.7 mph, both of which are third fastest on TOUR.
Experience: I talked with Tim Herron after his opening round in Las Vegas and he calmly told me he had one advantage in the closing events -- experience. Herron said he had the advantage of knowing when to press and when to back off during a round of golf because of his veteran knowledge. It sounded like a very confident comment coming from a player that was outside the top 125. So how did Herron perform in the final four events of the season? He posted finishes of T10, T35, T49, T9. Herron finished 124th on the money list.
Good stretch: Beljan won the tournament with some great golf on the seventh through 12th holes. He birdied five of the six and even when he made double bogey at the 13th, Beljan bounced back with a birdie at the 14th. His three at the ninth was special; there were only seven birdies at the 425-yard par 4 the entire day.
Wind: Blustery conditions put a premium on course management. Players had to keep their misses on the correct side of the green. At No. 17, Russell Knox hit what appeared to be a perfect bunker shot, only to have the wind push it to the edge of the green leading to bogey. Knox raised his arms in disbelief. The problem wasn’t the bunker shot, it was missing the green on the wrong side, forcing the next shot to be played downwind. A bogey-bogey finish was costly but it was still a solid week for Knox, as he moved to No. 143 on the money list.
Attitude: It’s hard to find a player with a better attitude than Jeff Maggert. He’ll turn 49 in February and readily admits looking for a “bridge” to the the Champions Tour. Some players with his list of accomplishments would be too embarrassed or stubborn to attend qualifying school, but not Maggert. He said he would go back through the qualifying process if necessary, though now won’t be needed. Maggert finished T50 this week and 123rd on the money list.
Good karma: Jerry Kelly sent a bottle of wine to a group of announcers while dining the week of Wyndham. That magnanimous gesture earned him all kinds of good karma. Kelly shot a final-round 66 to finish T9 and move up 30 spots to No. 126 on the money list. Speaking on behalf of broadcasters everywhere, we will gladly do our part and accept all dinners and drinks sent our way during 2013, purely with the intent of helping players and their karma.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .
In the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic from Walt Disney World Resort, Charlie Beljan shot a 3-under 69 to win his first PGA TOUR event.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For all the back and forth, permutations, and scoreboard watching, only two players moved from outside the top 125 on the money list to inside it, and one of them was the winner of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
Charlie Beljan, who entered the week 139th in money, locked up a PGA TOUR card for the next two years after his two-shot victory. Tim Herron’s journey to full status was a little more harrowing.
Herron, who came here 136th in money, was cruising along with five birdies through his first 14 holes Sunday. Then he double bogeyed the 17th hole after hitting his tee shot into the water and left his putt from just off the green a few inches short of the hole.
“I needed to suck it up and hit it down the left and try to hit a cut and I came over and hooked it in the water,” Herron said. “I thought if I got in at 12 under, I was in.”
But Herron finished at 11 under and thought he was out, kicking and walking on his bag in frustration. “Usually when I walk on something, it breaks,” he said.
Then he was informed he was safe.
“Billy Andrade told me, ‘Don't worry about it; you’re in; don't break any more stuff’,” Herron said. “But I didn't believe him.”
Herron finished 124th, about $13,000 ahead of Kevin Chappell.
Chappell, who tied for 34th, teetered back and forth most of the day before finishing just over $1,800 ahead of Jerry Kelly, who finished outside the top 125 for the first time in more than a decade.
Chappell, though, wasn't safe until Charlie Wi and Josh Teater each made par on the last hole. If either made bogey, Kelly would have moved up on the leaderboard and passed Chappell on the money list.
Kelly, meanwhile, can use a career money exemption.
Only two players fell out of the top 125. Rod Pampling and Billy Mayfair, who began the week 124th and 125th, respectively, both missed the cut and had to watch their fate from home.