The Golf Blog: How Tiger Woods lost the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie, Hole No. 11, in one flop

mulligan, 23 July 2018, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: How Tiger Woods lost the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie, Hole No. 11, in one flop
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The Golf Blog says: Francesco Molinari, who may be the hottest golfer on the planet the past two months, won his first major at the 2018 Open Championship, with an unbelievable bogey-free weekend. Molinari shot a 2-under to finish 8-under for the tourney, which was 2 shots clear of the field. Third-round leaders Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele faltered on the front nine to give up the lead, but Schauffele recovered and came close, but bogeyed No. 17. And then there was Molinari’s playing partner, ahem, Tiger Woods, who was the first one in that group to take the lead for the tournament on Sunday. Twitter erupted as Tiger was leading another major on Sunday–for the first time in a decade.

But Tiger’s lead was short-lived. Here’s what happened.

Hole 10

Tiger Woods took a 1-shot lead after the front nine, after shooting 2-under 34 and going 7-under for the tournament. Spieth and Molinari were 1 back. Woods hit his 3-wood into the left-side fairway bunker. Woods then hit a miraculous bunker shot from the fairway, swinging his wedge with all his muscles. Woods saved par, to keep a 1-shot lead.

Hole 11

Woods must have been feeling confident or pumped up, because he pulled out a 3-iron on the tee. NBC analyst Johnny Miller immediately questioned the selection, wondering why Tiger wasn’t going with the driving iron with graphite shaft. Miller may have been thinking about the 20 mph wind blowing into the tee and also in a slice direction, or he might have been thinking that Tiger had hit the driving iron well. Sure enough, Tiger made a bad swing with the 3-iron and the ball sliced to the rough, blown even more off course by the wind. On his approach shot, Tiger either bladed the ball or hit a flyer out of the rough, and the ball went straight for the gallery well off-course and deep. Luckily for Tiger, the ball hit a spectator on the head and bounced back toward the bunker and green.

All things considered, it could have been worse–such as with his ball into gourse bushes. Tiger had a green-side pitch, which wasn’t easy, but it was much better than where it looked like the ball was heading. On-course analyst David Feherty said Tiger had 2 options: (1) he could try a high flop shot with very little green to work with, or (2) a pitch to the left side of the green. Feherty said the “more sensible” shot was pitching to the left part of the green, away from the flag. Miller said that Tiger looked like he was practicing for the flop. Feherty remarked, “Really?? Now it’s a party.”

Tiger Woods sets up for a high flop shot toward the pin

But the party was over for Tiger. His flop failed to hit the green. And from off the green, Tiger elected to putt his ball, but it went too far by the hole and Tiger had to settle for a 2-putt double bogey. Tiger had birdied Hole No. 11 three days in a row. But, on Sunday, the hole came back to bite Tiger. Tiger’s decision off the tee and off the green cost him the tournament and a chance at his 15th major, what would have been his first in a decade. Tiger gave up the lead on that hole and never got it back. The high-risk flop shot was unnecessary. It’s something you might see out of Phil Mickelson, who’s known for his gambler’s, go-for-broke mentality. But, with a one-shot lead on the back nine, Tiger probably should have settled for bogey at worst and played the easier pitch to the left side of the green. C’mon, how many times have you seen a flop shot at Carnoustie this week, let along links courses in general?

At 42 years old and in a 10-year majors drought, Tiger may have squandered his best chance to win his 15th major. What could have been.


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