Devil Ball Golf

  • Tiger Woods’ return, Day 3: 'Not quite there, but it’s coming'

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 6 hrs ago

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    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Turns out climbing back to the top of the mountain is a hell of a lot tougher than getting there the first time.

    Tiger Woods’ Grand Return hit a mud patch late Saturday afternoon, sputtering to a two-under-par 70 and an eight-under overall score after the kind of impressive, four-birdies-in-five-holes start that made even curmudgeons start wondering if maybe this guy was plugging into some long-lost mojo. With every long putt and sand save, every bombed drive and dart-accurate pitch, the years seemed to melt away and Woods seemed the Woods of old.

    Woods was playing with Rickie Fowler Saturday, but he could have been playing with Mickelson, or Els, or Garcia, or Norman, or Watson, or even Nicklaus, any of the greats whom Woods had sized up and beaten head-to-head. He was playing in front of galleries of a few dozen, but it wasn’t hard to call up images of him pulling off these kinds of shots in front of thousands stacked 20 deep. Nobody said this comeback would be easy, but Woods was making it look that way as he plowed around the front nine in 32.

  • Tiger Woods brings even more momentum to his return

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 8 hrs ago

    NASSAU, Bahamas — Forgot about what Tiger Woods could do, didn’t you?

    Forgot how he could grab control of a leaderboard. Forgot how he could make a better shot than you could even imagine. Forgot how he could singlehandedly take down an entire tournament, nothing but him, his putter and that stare.

    Woods started the first two days at the Hero World Challenge by hitting every realistic mark. Saturday, he got ridiculous.

    With all the conditionals about this being an easy setup and a small field, the facts remain: Woods opened his third round with four birdies in the first five holes. After being nine strokes off the lead after the first day, by his fifth hole on Saturday he was just two strokes behind Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson atop the leaderboard.

    Still, considering the fact that we figured there was a decent chance some body part on Woods would detonate and he wouldn’t even finish the tournament, what he’s done so far at the Hero World Challenge has been an unqualified success.

    He sits at 8-under for the tournament, after a double bogey on 18, middle of the pack for this now 17-person field.

  • Tiger Woods wasted little time switching back to his Scotty Cameron putter

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 9 hrs ago

    Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback at the Hero World Challenge, and he is thanking an old friend for helping him.

    Woods put in his bag this week the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter he used to win 13 of his 14 major championships. It’s a move he made quickly after Nike Golf announced in August that they would be getting out of the golf-club business. How quickly?

    “The day that we (Nike) were no longer a part of the hardgoods side,” Woods said Friday.

    Woods said earlier in the week that the Newport 2 and the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Teryllium Newport he used to win the 1997 Masters are the only two putters off-limits to his son, Charlie, in his home putting studio.

    “These two, Daddy only,” Woods said, referring to those putters.

    Dating back to 2010, Woods had been using varying Nike Method putters, but he didn’t win a major championship using a Swoosh-branded flat stick. And now we know he likely never will.

    However, Nike isn’t completely out of Woods’ bag. Hardly. He’s using the same Nike VR Pro blades he had been using prior to his pair of 2015 back surgeries that put him on the shelf for 15 months.

  • Report: Peyton Manning invited to join Augusta National Golf Club

    Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 9 hrs ago

    Pey-ton in a green jack-et.

    Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is apparently set to become a member of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, according to a report from Austin Rhodes of the Augusta-area radio station, WGAC.

    I have a report that the Augusta National has invited Peyton Manning to become a member!

    — Austin Rhodes (@GetAustinRhodes) November 25, 2016

    Augusta National does not (and is under no obligation to) discuss membership matters, so it’s not like there will be confirmation or denial. However, according to Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Manning was playing golf at Augusta National recently.

    “Peyton’s at Augusta [National] playing golf,” Manning’s father, Archie, told Paige. “I think he’s really enjoying his retirement, but I know he misses the game.”

    Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl in February with the Denver Broncos, his second Super Bowl win.

  • The story of the hole that could hold the key to Tiger Woods' return

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Losing your grip on a golf course is like losing your grip on a snowy road. When things go awry, they can go very bad, very fast.

    Tiger Woods had been picking apart the Albany course Friday at the Hero World Challenge, taking advantage of calm winds and generous pin placements to post a seven-under round through the 15th hole of his second round. As he stood on the tee at 16, he was riding a four-birdies-in-five-holes run, a fist-pumping, putter-slapping streak that could make even the cynical wonder, what if …

    The 16th at Albany is the toughest hole on the course, a 485-yard uphill par-4 that victimized Woods on Thursday to the tune of a double-bogey. The clubhouse was virtually in sight, a fine round all but in the books. Woods, playing solo after Justin Rose’s withdrawal, had been blazing through the course at a pace of 9 minutes, 40 seconds per hole, and he was less than half an hour from capping off a triumphant second verse of his return.

    A fan just scooped up sand left by Tiger's spikes and club as a souvenir.

  • Tiger Woods roars with phenomenal Round 2

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.”