Tiger Woods' Spasm, Phil Mickelson's Near-Miracle, Adam Scott Pulls a Norman
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If The Barclays was any predictor, the upcoming Deutsche Bank Championship should be exhilarating. Barclays was better than car crashes and dangerous pit stops at NASCAR, particularly in the last three hours.
Had Tiger Woods not hit his ball into the junk on the 13th hole, which gave him a penalty stroke, he would have tied clubhouse leader Adam Scott to force a playoff. Had Matt Kuchar or Gary Woodland played par golf, they would have tied Scott and forced a playoff. Had Kevin Chappell finished at 12 under, he would have been the champion.
But none of those things happened.
Instead, Adam Scott, who was six shots back at the start of the day on Sunday, pulled a Greg Norman. He fired a final-round 66, finished eight groups and 90 minutes ahead of the final twosome and waited for everyone else to collapse. In the time-honored Greg Norman tradition, Scott was done so early, he almost had time for a shower, massage and lunch while waiting for the field to finish.
Woods' charge looked good for a potential victory until he collapsed on his knees in the 13th fairway with a back spasm. You could almost hear the collective gasp across the country—and not just because his shot ended up in some slimy green stuff.
"I felt great until that tee shot at 12. I was perfectly fine," Woods explained, adding it wasn't really the second shot at the 13th where the Sunday problem started, no matter how it looked to everyone else. "Thirteen just kind of accentuated it."
Woods described the changes in the injury.
"It starts off great every day, and then it progressively deteriorates as the day goes on," he added, meaning progressively worse. "Last week I was fine."
Well, at least caddie Joe LaCava knows what to do for a player with a bad back. He looped from Fred Couples for nearly 20 years. Hopefully he has Couples' back guy, Tom Boers, on speed dial. Maybe Mattress Warehouse should be the next call.
Phil Mickelson was even further back than Adam Scott, and had he won, it would have been a full-fledged golf miracle.
Mickelson was headed for 10 or 11 under, but he finished with a par-bogey for nine under. He hit his second shot at the final hole poorly and came up short in a green-side bunker. Typically, that's an easy transition for Mickelson. But surprisingly, he was not able to get up and down.
"I felt a good round coming, because the pieces were there for a low round yesterday, but I didn't put it together. I made a lot of little mistakes," Mickelson said. "I just played sloppy, but I felt my ball‑striking was coming, and I felt the putter was coming."
He added that he thought he needed to get to 11 under to win, and he was right.
Adam Scott, the surprise winner, did not think 11 under would do it when he finished.
"It's different playing an hour-and-a-half in front of the leaders and the guys who have been under pressure all day than when you're out there—and I know how they feel," Scott said after he finished. "When the pressure is on you to close out, it's much harder and the holes become much harder and shots are far more crucial. I mean, I feel like I've been given a bit of a gift, but I'll take it, that's for sure."
He said he got some good luck with the difficulties the rest of the field was having.
"The guys struggled coming in. I've been in their position, too. It's hard getting it done, and I was playing from a position of nothing to lose today." Scott had no bogeys on his card.
Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar, either of whom really should have won the tournament, didn't get it done, although Woodland technically had a chance for a playoff if he'd made birdie at the last. It was not to be.
Now, after Woods on all fours, Scott firing on a low number, Mickelson making a charge, and leaders tumbling, what can we possibly expect at Deutsche Bank? According to Nick Faldo, look to the guys who had hot rounds on Sunday: Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Canadian Graham DeLaet.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.
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