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Tiger Woods leads by six at Torrey Pines but Farmers Insurance Open finish delayed by fog

Tiger hits top form to build six-shot lead at Torrey Pines but finish delayed by fog

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

02:15 GMT, 28 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:15 GMT, 28 January 2013

Tiger Woods remained on course for victory as the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines went into a fifth day.

After fog remarkably wiped out all but five minutes of day three's play, the third round and a large chunk of the fourth was completed today before darkness fell.

When that moment came, Woods was 17 under par with 11 holes to play, six shots clear of nearest challengers Brandt Snedeker and Nick Watney.

Can't see the Woods for the tree: Tiger hits out of the rough on the fourth hole at Torrey Pines

Can't see the Woods for the tree: Tiger hits out of the rough on the fourth hole at Torrey Pines

He's flying: Woods looks in fine form

He's flying: Woods looks in fine form

Woods was two shots clear at the start of play and extended his lead with a three-under-par third round of 69, bettered only by Australian Aaron Baddeley with 68.

The world number two began his final round four clear, having won on 39 of the 41 previous occasions he has led outright with 18 holes remaining – though the quick turnaround meant he had not changed into his trademark red shirt.

Nor did he start in typical fashion. He sent his first tee shot way left and needed a good recovery shot to set up a par, and then hit his second tee shot on to the fringe of the sixth fairway and was fortunate to have a clear shot in, though even then he needed an excellent 10-yard pitch to save par.
But he birdied the next two and gained another shot at the sixth before finishing with a par at the seventh.

Reigning champion Snedeker had spoken during Saturday's inactivity of the need to score low in today's extended play, and he certainly did so.

After also shooting 69 in the third round, Snedeker began his fourth with four birdies on the front nine and ended the day on 11 under par with five holes to play in the tournament.

Watney, the 2009 champion, could only manage 71 in his third round but was three under through eight to move in to contention on 11 under.

Head and shoulders above: World No 2 chips in for birdie on the fourth hole in San Diego

Head and shoulders above: The world No 2 chips in for birdie on the fourth hole in San Diego

Farmers Insurance Open

Click here for all the latest scores

Canada's Brad Fritsch was nine under through seven but Woods' playing partner Casey Wittenberg dropped back from that mark after bogeying the seventh, failing to get up and down from a ridiculous position near the second tee.

Luke Guthrie, Josh Teater, Steve Marino and Erik Compton were also at eight under, with six players including Englishman Ross Fisher tied on seven under.

VIDEO: Tiger Woods hits embarrassing drive at Abu Dhabi Championship

VIDEO: Tiger hits embarrassing topped drive that just makes it past ladies' tee

PUBLISHED:

11:52 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

11:52 GMT, 18 January 2013

The ugly topped drive that barely makes it past the ladies' tee – it's the shot that brings us hackers out in cold sweats. Is there anything more embarrassing on the golf course

Well, just ask Tiger Woods. The 14-time major champion proved that even golfing Gods are not immune from first-tee meltdowns (although it was actually his tenth hole) when he pulled his drive low into the rough at the Abu Dhabi Championship, his first tournament of the year.

Woods looked on aghast as his shot travelled barely 130 yards. We know how you feel, Tiger. But we also secretly enjoy it when it happens…

Oh Tiger! Woods reacts after hitting his shocking drive off the first tee

Oh Tiger! Woods reacts after hitting his shocking drive off the first tee

***** CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO *****

Ryder Cup 2012: Europe must prove they can overcome USA home crowd

The time for trash talk is over… Europe's finest must prove they can be pitch perfect

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UPDATED:

21:37 GMT, 27 September 2012

At the end of this sporting summer, where one moment of a lifetime has followed another, is it too much to ask for a glorious encore that stands comparison

Fortunately, we might just have one with the 39th Ryder Cup, a contest that promises three days of mesmerising drama and unspeakable tension.

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

Keepy-uppy: Europe star and world No 1 Rory McIlroy shows off his football skills on the 17th tee

It's tee time!

At 7.20am in Medinah (1.20pm UK time),
a very nervous European will tee off to kick-start the 39th Ryder Cup.
So how does it feel to stand on that first tee with the eyes of the world on you It’s a jelly-legs moment, as these players recount.

Colin Montgomerie
(Oak Hill, 1995)

‘The pressure facing the first shot
is as intense as it gets. It became an achievement just to stand up. I
was just gulping air like mad. The electricity was fantastic. Nick
Faldo, my playing partner, said it was a three-wood, so I teed the ball
down, took a practice swing and, thankfully, managed to make contact,
which is all you can really ask for in those situations.’

Corey Pavin
(The Belfry, 1993)

‘I can’t even describe how nervous I
was. I put the tee in the ground and I went to put the ball on and
realised my hand was shaking so much. I decided to just drop the ball,
hoping it would stay on the tee. Thank goodness it did. I was able to
compose myself and hit a drive down the middle.’

Nick Faldo
(Lytham St Annes, 1977)

‘Peter Oosterhuis told me I’d be
first. I was a bag of nerves and decided to go off and calm down by
hitting 20 extra five and six irons. Of course, when I stepped on the
tee I saw instantly it was a four-iron shot. I missed the green.
Thereafter, it was the first time I’d ever experienced my stomach
churning for a whole round.’

The game and its supporters stand ready
to make their own, unique contribution. Nowhere else would you find
50,000 people prepared to gather at a shade after 7am to make an unholy
racket. Nowhere else are sportsmen asked to strain every sinew for the
best part of 12 hours and then come back the next day and do it all over
again, with no monetary reward but the chance of something far more
precious: points for their team.

Here we have a course set up to demonstrate just how good the best players from the United States and Europe have become. With no rough, the bombers on either team are going to have no qualms in firing off howitzers. Around the greens, the great short-game merchants are going to relish the tight lies that offer the chance to show off and chip in. The putting surfaces are so pure, the wizards with the short stick cannot wait to weave their spell.

There is a lot of nonsense spoken about setting up a course to favour one side over the other but what America’s captain Davis Love has done is create the conditions for an extravaganza of attacking play in the knowledge that this offers him his best chance of fully involving the crowd, the so-called ‘13th man’.

Boy, is it likely to be loud. At the gala dinner on Wednesday, brilliant compere Justin Timberlake (best line: ‘I’m so into golf that the first time I heard them talk about a pop superstar obsessed with wearing a white glove, I assumed they meant me.’) was extolling the virtues of Europe’s captain, Jose Maria Olazabal. Suddenly, a lone voice yelled: ‘Goin’ down, baby!’ It prompted an extended chorus of ‘USA! USA!’ that almost took the roof off.

That will be sweet music to the likes of Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, of course. The noisier the better as far as they are concerned. They are accustomed to playing in front of large, excitable crowds, and never happier than when someone lays down a challenge.

Passion: Fans cheer at the start of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Passion: Fans cheer at the start of the opening ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club

Mo problem: American fans show off their patriotic moustaches on Thursday at Medinah

Mo problem: American fans show off their patriotic moustaches on Thursday at Medinah

Ryder Cup bingo!

Seven items to mark off on your card on day one…

6.01am
With the gates open, the first sighting of someone dressed head to toe in Stars and Stripes.

6.45am
The first chant of the ever-imaginative ‘USA, USA!’ Europe fans respond with football-style ditties.

7.20am
Players
arrive on the first tee, with the colour drained from their faces as
they are about to play golf’s most nerve-racking opening shot.

7.31am
The first annoying shout of ‘Get in the Hole!’ is heard on the first green.

8.30am
Initial sighting of Ian Poulter’s eyes bulging out on their stalks as he starts to get his putter going.

11.20am

Davis Love and Jose Maria Olazabal submit their afternoon pairings. Tactical geniuses or Captain Calamities

2.00pm

With the fourballs having gone off, the first reports come in of
European players being abused by the odd home supporter fresh from a
bibulous lunch.

But what about the unsung men on the
team, the honest souls who largely ply their trade in quiet corners of
the European Tour, where the galleries restrict themselves to a
smattering of applause and the odd moment of vocal encouragement

Look
back through the annals and the difference between winning and losing
often comes down to how these players rise to the challenge on Sunday.
They are usually ‘hidden’ somewhere in the middle of the order but there
is no hiding place when the fate of the Ryder Cup comes down to your
match.

Think back to how Eamonn Darcy met the challenge in 1987, Christy O’Connor Jnr in 1989, Philip Walton in 1995 and Paul McGinley in 2002. Europe’s destiny this weekend might well lie in how the unheralded continental members of this team handle the atmosphere.

Thank goodness the action is about to start, because frankly some of the players have not covered themselves in glory in the build-up. Yes, we know where Poulter and Brandt Snedeker are coming from. But do we really need to hear inflammatory rhetoric like ‘killing the opposition’ from Poulter, or ‘beating their brains in’ from Snedeker No prizes for phraseology, chaps.

Let us hope the partisanship does not
overstep the mark. Offering encouragement is the fact that Chicago is
undoubtedly one of the friendliest big cities in America. At the gala
dinner, Luke Donald got a wonderful hometown reception while the roar
that greeted McIlroy’s entrance was only a shade behind that afforded US
superstars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

United under one flag: European fans are heavily outnumbered but can match their hosts for excitment

United under one flag: European fans are heavily outnumbered but can match their hosts for excitment

Hair-raising: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal signs autographs for a group of fans on the 18th hole

Hair-raising: Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal signs autographs for a group of fans on the 18th hole

The basics

The winner of each match
earns a point. There is half a point each if a match is halved. There
are 28 points on offer, so 14 points wins the cup. At 14-14, the
defending team (Europe) retain the cup.

Schedule

Friday – 4 x foursomes in the morning and 4 x fourballs in the afternoon.

Saturday – 4 x foursomes in the morning and 4 x fourballs in the afternoon.

Sunday — 12 singles matches.

Format

Fourballs
Two players on either side, four balls in play. The player with the lowest score wins the hole for his team.

Foursomes
Two
players on either side but only one ball is used by each pair as
players hit alternate shots. The team with the lowest score wins the
hole.

Singles
Captains list their players from 1 to 12. They then play against their opposite numbers.

But you can guarantee the likes of
Mickelson and Bubba Watson will be doing plenty of arm-waving, intent on
whipping up the atmosphere. They will want it every bit as
uncomfortable for the Europeans as it was for the Americans at Celtic
Manor.

Shadowing the proceedings, of course, will be the spectral presence of Seve Ballesteros in this, the first Ryder Cup since his death. It is a great sadness to those of us lucky enough to have witnessed Seve and Ollie’s great moments on the course that the pair are not walking in tandem off it here. But on this, the 25th anniversary of the first time they played together in the Ryder Cup, you can be sure the memory of Seve will be instilled in Olazabal’s every thought and deed.

‘What did I learn from Seve You
always try your hardest and you never, ever give in.’ You could see
Olazabal repeating that message in his final words to his team, couldn’t
you

And so the sporting
year that none of us really want to end has reached its final, great
occasion — and it is that time of a preview when a correspondent is
required to make a prediction. This one really is so close to call.
Europe have most of the best partnerships and America have the
formidable advantage of home soil.

Only
once in the last seven Ryder Cups has the home team not won, so that is
the scale of the task facing the away side. But, in the spirit of
Seve, let’s go with the heart.

Let’s go with Europe.

Home advantage: America's (left-right) Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson

Home advantage: America's (left-right) Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson

Ryder Cup 2012: Hole-by-hole guide to Medinah No 3

Your essential hole-by-hole guide to Medinah No 3 – the venue for the Ryder Cup 2012… plus schedule for the three big days

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UPDATED:

08:30 GMT, 25 September 2012

The venue for this year's Ryder Cup is the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, where the No 3 course will challenge the best players from the United States and Europe. Here, Sportsmail guides you through all 18 holes.

GOLF Ryder Cup2012.jpg

Ryder Cup 2012 schedule (All times BST)

Friday, September 28 – Foursomes – 1:20 PM First Tee Time; Fourballs – 6:05 PM or 7:05 PM First Tee Time

Saturday, September 29 – Foursomes – 1:20 PM First Tee Time; Fourballs – 6:05 PM First Tee Time

Sunday, September 30 – Singles – 5:03 PM-7:04 PM Tee Times; Closing Ceremony 11:30 PM (Approximately 30 minutes after play concludes)

Rory McIlroy wins shot of the year

Perfect 10th! McIlroy wins shot of the year for stunning six iron at US Open

Rory McIlroy's six-iron to the 10th hole on the final day of his runaway US Open victory has been voted by fans the European Tour Shot of the Year for 2011.

The towering tee shot over water came to rest just a few inches from the cup and for most people removed any lingering fear that the young Ulsterman would collapse like he did at The Masters two months earlier.

'I thought that shot was probably the most important in the round because YE Yang had just stuck it in there close,' he said.

Brilliant: The crowd hailed Rory McIlroy's effort at the 10th hole

Brilliant: The crowd hailed Rory McIlroy's effort at the 10th hole

'To follow that up with mine was pretty cool. I had a big lead, but there was always the chance that if I had hit it in the water or done something silly and YE had made his birdie then it would have put a bit of pressure on me.

'Hopefully I can produce a few more of those in 2012.'

With 30 per cent of the vote McIlroy was an overwhelming winner. Miguel Angel Jimenez had 21 per cent for his 250-yard second shot to the long 17th – again over water – at Valderrama in the Andalucia Masters, while McIlroy also took third place for his holed bunker shot on the final hole of his Hong Kong Open win.

Now watch Rory's amazing shot at Congressional

Rory McIlroy makes perfect start at Dubai World Championship

McIlroy makes perfect start as world No 1 Donald pays the price in Dubai

Anyone watching Rory McIlroy’s breathtaking exhibition over the back nine at the Dubai World Championship on Thursday could easily have drawn the conclusion that he is the most talented golfer around.

Poor Luke Donald. One day after paying the Northern Irishman that ultimate compliment, he must have beenhoping not to witness quite such an exquisite illustration of what he was talking about.

In the hunt: Rory McIlroy is two shots off the lead at the Earth Course in Dubai

In the hunt: Rory McIlroy is two shots off the lead at the Earth Course in Dubai

Dubai World Championship

Click here for the full leaderboard

As for all neutrals and fans of McIlroy, this was the opening day they craved, one that promises to turn the Race to Dubai into a sprint to the 18th green on Sunday.

Yet who could have predicted this at the halfway stage yesterday Donald, rock-solid as he has been all season, had gone to the turn in 33 strokes, while McIlroy had paid for a couple of mental mistakes and taken three shots more.

Remember, McIlroy has to win this event and hope the Englishman finishes worse than ninth to snatch the Order of Merit from him at the last gasp. Never mind the Earth Course. After all the anticipation leading up to the first tee shots, it was looking like the venue ought to be renamed the Down to Earth course.

Until tomorrow: McIlroy shakes hands with Luke Donald after round one in Dubai

Until tomorrow: McIlroy shakes hands with Luke Donald after round one in Dubai

Fortunately, McIlroy doesn’t do boring, does he Over nine scintillating holes, the mistakes disappearedand so did no fewer than six birdie putts. If you added up the length of those strokes he holed, they came to — if you can believe this — 137 feet. And that’s supposed to be the weakest part of his game.

Donald admitted afterwards he had allowed himself to get caught up into thinking that it was a head-to-head against McIlroy, and duly paid the price. Two successive drives on the 14th and 15th holes were so wild he had to declare both unplayable. When did that last happen — when he was about nine ‘I couldn’t tell you, I try to block out things like that,’ he said, with a rueful grin.

All told, he needed no fewer than nine shots more over that back nine than his only rival for the Race to Dubai and ended up with a 72 to McIlroy’s 66. McIlroy lies third behind the Scot Paul Lawrie, who shot 65, while the Swede Peter Hanson leads following a wonderful 64.

Level par: Donald was a bit wayward off the tee during his round of 72

Level par: Donald was a bit wayward off the tee during his round of 72

Donald is in the middle of the chasing pack, and it might suit him that he will not be playing with McIlroy again today.

‘It was definitely a mixture of two halves for me, with some very loose shots on the back nine,’ said Donald. ‘The good thing is I’ve got plentyof time to repair the damage. It’s important I get back to taking careof my own business over the next three days.’

As for the buoyant McIlroy, he was only too happy to revel in his psychological advantage at this early stage. He couldn’t hide the glint in his eye as he reflected: ‘This was the perfect start for me. To shoot a great score like that really sets me up nicely for the next three days.

‘There were a couple of silly mistakes on the front nine but the back nine was pretty much flawless.’

Nicely done: Sweden

Nicely done: Sweden”s Peter Hanson is out in front on his own after a 64

McIlroy is currently enjoying the most consistent form of his professional career. Since recovering from injuring his hand at the US PGA Championship in August he hasn’t finished outside the top four in any event and has won twice. ‘I do feel every time I tee it up right nowI’ve got a good chance of shooting a good score,’ he said.

‘Everything seems sort of stress-free right now.’

What made McIlroy’s score all the more remarkable is that he lost a ballon the second hole and ran up an ugly seven — but how he made amends.
McIlroy’s girlfriend, world No 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, is due in town today for the potentially thrilling denouement.

As she might put it, following a wonderful opening day: advantage, McIlroy.