Devil Ball Golf

  • Tiger Woods roars with phenomenal Round 2

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 2 hrs ago

    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — You believing yet?

    Tiger Woods followed up a decent enough return performance on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge with an outstanding one on Friday, throwing another layer of beach sand on the doubts about his return from a long layoff. Yes, yes, the usual caveats apply: easy course, small field, benign conditions … but still, shooting 7-under 65 on the day is quite an achievement for a guy on the cusp of retirement this time last year.

    Thursday’s round was all about sizing up the course, and Friday’s round was all about picking it apart. Woods opened the front nine Friday with the exact same score, 33, but this was far different than Thursday’s start-hot, collapse-late run. Woods birdied the first, sixth, and ninth holes, his drives long, his approaches accurate, his putts true.

    But Woods has made it this far without incident. The baby steps are turning to full strides forward.

  • Tiger Woods finds plenty of good and plenty of bad in first round since 2015

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    NASSAU, Bahamas — It’s just one round, and you can take from it what you wish.

    Tiger Woods returned to the world of competitive golf Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man event, and finished his opening round at 1-over 73.

    If you’re pulling for Woods, as are many fans, most of his competitors, and pretty much every golf executive, there’s plenty to build on, including a front nine in which he carded four birdies, three of them in a three-hole stretch. For a time, he even held a share of the lead.

    If you’re sick of Woods/ready to focus on the next generation, there’s this: after his hot start, Woods gave back two strokes in three holes, bogeying two par 5s. Then he double-bogeyed two of the last three holes to finish 17th of 18 players. And he’s playing in the friendliest environs imaginable: a small-field, no-cut event at which he’s the host. It’s like Springsteen singing in Jersey, or LeBron shooting in Cleveland – total homefield advantage.

    Thirty-three on the front, 40 on the back.

    From what I saw today I see Tiger winning more tournaments and at least one more major, lot's of positives today.

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  • Tiger Woods returns to golf with an opening-hole par

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    NASSAU, Bahamas — At long last, Tiger Woods is once again a professional golfer.

    Woods began his comeback at high noon on Thursday in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, a no-cut, small-field event at which he’s the host. He teed off alongside Patrick Reed, hero of the recent Ryder Cup, a guy who wears red and black on Sundays in honor of Woods … but on this day, Reed was merely the opening act.

    Reed teed off first, his drive accompanied by several calls of “Nice ball!” Woods’ tee shot, which drifted left, sailed into the air in uncomfortable silence before someone shouted an awkward “Get ’em, Tiger!” And then they set off over the blinding white Bahamas sand en route to the fairway, dozens of cameras in tow.

    As it turned out, Woods outdrove Reed by a couple yards, but Reed was in the fairway, whereas Woods narrowly averted a fairway bunker. From there, Woods chipped onto the green and rolled his birdie putt just past the hole. Woods’ par putt brought back a familiar scene: the entire gallery moving en masse even though Reed still needed to putt; Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava had to instruct the hundred or so patrons ringing the green to remain still.

  • Brazilian golf officials dispute dire reports about Olympic golf course

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    Days after a dire report from Brazil bemoaned the potential early demise of the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro, a conflicting account suggests there’s some gamesmanship involved in the future handling of the Gil Hanse-designed track.

    However, the Brazilian Golf Confederation disputes an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report that the course was on life support and could fall into disrepair if course maintenance isn’t paid for moving forward. The report claimed the course could be ruined — returning the land to nature — in less than a month.

    Brazilian Golf Confederation president Paulo Pacheco told Golf Channel that the course is currently in a “soft opening.”

    “The field will not die ‘in 3 or 4 weeks,’ as some sources indicated,” Pacheco said in the statement. “We are not promoting the OGC (Olympic Golf Course) with great publicity precisely because it does not yet have the structure at the international level.”

  • Zach Johnson got the Ryder Cup team 'Make Tiger Great Again' shirts

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

    It worked for Donald Trump, so why not for Tiger Woods?

    That must have been the idea Zach Johnson had before the Ryder Cup, trying to get a rise out of the 14-time major champion in the team room at Hazeltine National. After a successful Friday that saw the U.S. take a 5-3 lead over their European foes, Johnson spoke up to the assembled team.

    “I just want to pay tribute to one of our assistant captains,” he said, according to ESPN. “A man who has done so much for this game.”

    And that was the cue for the entire team — and we mean the entire team — to get up, unzip the tops of their Rickie Fowler-presented red, white and blue onesies and reveal red T-shirts with the phrase “Make Tiger Great Again” on them. Johnson had bought the shirts.

    Woods loved it.

    “I thought it was awesome,” Woods said. “For them to come together and do something like that, it unified all of us. It was great.”

  • Jordan Spieth rates his 2016 as a 'B-plus'

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    Jordan Spieth’s 2016 is going to be remembered most for what didn’t happen. He didn’t win the Masters, despite heading to the back nine at Augusta National with a four-stroke lead. However, Spieth has also won three times this year, including an eight-shot rout at the Tournament of Champions, a dramatic win at Colonial in his native Texas and, recently, a playoff win at the Australian Open.

    While 2016 hasn’t been nearly as mind-blowing as his two-major, five-win, FedEx Cup-taking 2015, Spieth has enjoyed a good year.

    “I would say a B, B-plus,” Spieth said Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “I wish I was in contention more than once in the majors, so that was a bit of a letdown.”

    Spieth wasn’t a factor in the final three majors of the year, going T-37 at the U.S. Open, T-30 at the British Open and T-13 at the PGA Championship. Spieth, in his view, did sneak in a fourth win this year, though.

    “You guys look around, (but) the Ryder Cup was a win,” he said. “Everyone on that team contributed. Everyone did their part and it should count as a win.”

  • Tiger Woods plays strong golf ... in a pro-am, yes, but still

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

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    NASSAU, Bahamas — As one of his playing partners chopped a low liner across the 18th fairway, another shanked a shot wide left into greenside water, and a third just gave up entirely and dropped his ball where he felt like he had a better lie, Tiger Woods remained serene and drained a 15-foot-long putt for par. Well, after taking a practice putt to get the roll of the green.

    Welcome to Tiger’s Return, Day -1: The pro-am. Woods, playing with four amateurs in advance of this week’s Hero World Challenge, carded a (very) unofficial 70 with two eagles, two birdies and a rather loose approach to golf etiquette. Don’t read much — or, indeed, anything — into this performance, but Woods looked comfortable and at ease.

    At 8:30 a.m. local time, a course announcer uttered words not heard for well over a year: “Now on the tee, please welcome … Tiger Woods.” A smattering of applause, and then Woods stepped up and laid into his first shot with his always-suspect driver. The result? A 300-plus-yard drive piped right down the fairway.

  • How the 2016 Ryder Cup lit a fire under Tiger Woods

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

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    NASSAU, Bahamas — It was a quick moment, a quick flash. The American Ryder Cup team was lining up for photos prior to its eventual thrashing of the European team. Woods, a vice captain, had lined up in the back row of the team when a photographer told him to move. Woods simply walked around to the other end of the row, but then the photographer motioned for him to get out of the frame entirely. Woods didn’t belong in this photo at all.

    Oh, sure, everyone had a fine laugh about it, the world’s onetime finest golfer banished like a child sent to the kids’ table at Thanksgiving. But it had to burn, getting shamed like that in front of players he’d once stepped over on his way up the leaderboard, and players who were still in elementary school when Woods was stocking his closet with green jackets.

    Woods, who returns to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, got a Christmas Carol-esque glimpse of his future, a time when he would be a remember-when. For a guy who once prided himself on breaking, beating, and then burying opponents, it must have been hell.

  • Power rankings: Hero World Challenge

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

    Tiger Woods is back this week, as he makes his return to competitive golf after a 15-month absence at the Hero World Challenge. Woods is one of just 18 players in the field at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, where Bubba Watson is defending champion in an event in which 25-under total won last year.

    So, who are the five best players in the field? Here’s our Tiger-less ranking.

    1. Brooks Koepka — Love Koepka here. A winner in Japan in his last start, and this is a course where he should be able to bang it around and make plenty of birdies.

    2. Jordan Spieth — Spieth won the Aussie Open without his best stuff, showing the grit that is the core of his talent. Was fourth here last year.

    3. Henrik Stenson — Stenson won the Race to Dubai with a T-9 in his last start in Dubai. He does well on courses where he can use the bionic 3-wood to make plenty of par-5 birdies.

    4. Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama won the WGC-HSBC Champions and has been tearing it up in Japan in the PGA Tour off-season. Putting always a question.

    5. Dustin Johnson — DJ wasn’t a threat here last year, and that didn’t really make much sense. Comfortable Day 1 pairing with Koepka.

  • The return of Tiger Woods: What you need to know

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago

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    NASSAU, Bahamas — The Hero World Challenge is this weekend, an event featuring the most prestigious field of the young 2016-17 PGA Tour season. But with no disrespect intended toward the Bubba Watsons and Patrick Reeds of the field, for most of the sports world this event is about one story, and one story only: the return of Tiger Woods.

    The greatest or second-greatest player ever to swing a club, depending on when you were born, Woods has not played a competitive round of golf since August 2015, back in the days when neither the Cubs nor the Cavaliers nor Donald Trump had won anything of significance. Woods has spent the last 16 months, the longest layoff of his career, in everything from cereal-eating seclusion to practice-range grinding to Ryder Cup vice-captaining, and finally makes his return to the game this weekend … and the venue couldn’t be more comforting.

    The particulars:

    Tournament location: Albany, The Bahamas

    Format: 72-hole stroke play, no cut

    Defending champion: Bubba Watson

    As for Woods himself, he’ll be sporting a range of new equipment, starting with his bag, adorned with Monster Energy: