Sunday, December 07, 2014


                               JORDAN SPIETH ..... impressive performance.


Rising American star Jordan Spieth outclassed Tiger Woods (and the rest of the classy field) on his comeback appearance in his own tournament, winning by TEN strokes with a phenomenal 26-under-par total of 262.
Spieth, a second-year pro, is now No 9 in the world rankings.
Winner of the Australian Open the previous week, Spieth had rounds of 66, 67, 63 and 66 in the Hero World Challenge.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson was runner-up on 272, a distant second even though he had four rounds in the 60s
The 10-shot victory was the largest margin of the year in top-class pro golf, and broke the tournament record of seven shots that Woods had in 2007.
''Whether my emotions showed it or not I'm not sure, but inside we were really very pleased with the year and how it came to a close,'' said Spieth
 ''This caps the best golfing year that I've ever had.''
Spieth had set a goal of two wins, and that looked out of reach when he began the last leg of a long journey. He finished one shot out of a play-off in Japan, won the Australian Open by six shots and then turned in another dominant performance in Florida.
''The kid is playing great,'' said Keegan Bradley, who had a 70 to tie for third with Patrick Reed (68). ''You have to look at his past three events. He almost won them all. He's a great player. I wouldn't look more into it other than he dominated this week.''
Woods, in his first tournament in four months while recovering from back injuries, stubbed two more chips on the 13th hole for a triple bogey and closed with a 72. He tied for last place in the 18-man field with Hunter Mahan, 26 shots out of the lead.
Woods noted that Spieth closed with a 63 in Australia and flew some 9,000 miles to get to Isleworth.
''He's playing some pretty special golf right now,'' Woods said.
Spieth completes his second full year as a pro by moving into the top 10 in the world ranking at No. 9. 
The Hero World Challenge is not an official PGA Tour event, so the $1 million prize does not count toward the money list.


WINDERMERE, Florida  – At least Tiger Woods knows what to address this offseason.
Continuing to struggle on and around the greens, Woods turned one of his cleanest, most efficient rounds into an even-par 72 Sunday at the Hero World Challenge. 
Only a closing 75 from Hunter Mahan kept Woods  from finishing in 18th and  last place on his own and at his own event at Isleworth. They tied for last place.
At even-par 288, Woods was 26 shots behind Jordan Spieth as the leader played the back nine.
“I made some progress,” Woods said. “I hadn’t played in four months and I’m in absolutely no pain, which is nice. To be able to go all-out on some of these drives like I did this week really enforces what I’m doing is the right thing for my body.”
For all of his short-game woes, Woods’ long game continued to impress in the final round, hitting nine of 14 fairways and 11 greens. (He putted for birdie on 14 holes)
Steve Stricker, who was paired with Woods, said that the former world No. 1 was swinging freely and aggressively.
“It feels like he was always trying to steer it in play the last five, six, seven years,” Stricker said. “Today it looked like he really let it go and trusted it, for the most part. I think he feels like it’s headed in the right direction.”
Cruising along at 2 under for the day, Woods’ final round took a turn for the worse on the 13th when he stubbed a pair of shots on his way to a triple-bogey 8. It was his eighth and ninth chunked chips of the week – six of which have come on the 13th, a reachable par 5 with a severe slope on the right.
“All it is is practice,” Woods said of his short-game woes. “I’ve just gotta work.”
Said Stricker: “He’s fighting some of those things in his chipping technique that he’s trying to do in his big swing. He’ll be fine. He gets frustrated with it, but he’ll be fine. It looks like he’s swinging at it a lot more aggressively.”
Woods said that he would practise next week and then shut it down for the holidays. After years of being on a ball count or unable to practise fully, he said that he should have no limitations going forward. 
“Obviously there are some things that I can do with my short game that I definitely can work on,” Woods said. “Overall, it’s so nice to be able to go out there and hit drives that hard again, take bunkers out of play, cut corners. Hadn’t felt healthy enough to do that in a very long time.” 
Woods remained coy about the early part of his 2015 schedule, saying only, “I know it’s a pretty full schedule.
But he does not plan playing in any of the European Tour's Middle East events.


Par 288 (4x72) Players from USA unless stated otherwise
262 Jordan Spieth 66 67 63 66
272 Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 67 68 68 69
273 Patrick Reed 73 63 69 68, Keegan Bradley 72 66 65 70.

274 Jason Day (Australia) 71 67 70 66
277 Rickie Fowler  67 70 72 68, Justin Rose (England) 72 64 70 71
279 Billy Horschel 73 72 67 67, Zach Johnson 67 71 72 69, Matt Kuchar 69 70 70 70
280 Graeme McDowell (N Ireland) 68 73 68 71, Bubba Watson 69 68 72 71
281 Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) 68 73 71 69
283 Steve Stricker 67 73 74 69
284 Jimmy Walker 68 69 75 72
285 Chris Kirk 70 68 74 73
288 Hunter Mahan 71 71 71 75, Tiger Woods 77 70 69 72.

+Live scoring as the leaders complete their final rounds




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