Tiger Woods to skip US Open at Oakmont

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For the third time in the past six years, the U.S. Open will go on without three-time champion Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference in a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference in a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Woods said on his website Tuesday that he is not ready for tournament competition and will skip the U.S. Open next week at Oakmont, along with his Quicken Loans National the following week at Congressional.

“While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year’s U.S. Open and the Quicken Loans National,” he said. “I am making progress, but I’m not yet ready for tournament competition.”

Woods first missed the U.S. Open in 2011 when he was recovering from leg injuries. He missed in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2 while recovering from his first back surgery a week before the Masters that year.

He has not played since a tie for 10th in the Wyndham Championship in August. Woods had two more surgeries on his back after that, in September and October.

Meanwhile, his absence fueled speculation about when he might return, even though Woods repeatedly has said he does not know. Woods played five holes when he opened his golf course in Houston, and also was seen swinging a club at a junior clinic in South Carolina and at his media day at Congressional — three swings from 100 yards to the 10th green, all of them in the water.

Jack Nicklaus said last week at the Memorial he expects Woods to return.

“I think Tiger would have liked to have played this week,” Nicklaus said. “He’s just not ready.”

Since Woods was exempt from having to qualify because he won the 2008 U.S. Open, his spot will be filled by an alternate from the 12 sectional qualify sites, though it was not clear which one. The USGA compiles an alternate list that is based on how many spots each qualifying site was allocated and the strength of each field in determining the list.

When qualifying ended on Tuesday, and with Woods saying he will not play, 149 of the 156-man field for Oakmont was set.

The USGA set aside six spots for any players who crack the top 60 in the world ranking after this week. One of them will be William McGirt, who now is No. 44 in the world after winning the Memorial. If fewer than five more players get into the top 60, the extra spots also go to the main alternate list.

But if a player who qualified has to withdraw, his spot is taken by the alternate from his qualifying site.

Meanwhile, speculation on when or if Woods returns this year will resume after two weeks. The Greenbrier Classic, which he has played twice in the last four years when not dealing with injuries, is July 7-10. That’s one week before the British Open at Royal Troon.

The PGA Championship is two weeks after Troon, followed by the Travelers Championship, the John Deere Classic and the Wyndham Champion. Woods has never played the Travelers Championship and has not played at John Deere since he was a 20-year-old rookie.

After that, he would not be eligible for any PGA Tour event for the next six weeks during the FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup.

Exclusive: Jack Nicklaus ‘disappointed’ WGC is leaving Donald Trump’s Doral course

MIAMI: Jack Nicklaus chips on the 18th during the second round of the Genuity Championship at Doral on March 2, 2001. (Staff Photo by Scott Wiseman/The Palm Beach Post)
MIAMI: Jack Nicklaus chips on the 18th during the second round of the Genuity Championship at Doral on March 2, 2001. (Staff Photo by Scott Wiseman/The Palm Beach Post)

As was reported earlier Wednesday, the PGA’s annual golf tournament at Donald Trump’s Trump National Doral course is relocating to Mexico City. The PGA said Tuesday night — and repeated again Wednesday — that it was leaving South Florida because it was unable to find a title sponsor to replace Cadillac.

Reached for comment, golf legend and North Palm Beach resident Jack Nicklaus was frustrated with the idea of the tournament leaving South Florida.

“I am disappointed for Doral and the city of Miami,” he told the Post. “Both have been a staple on the PGA Tour schedule, as well as my own, since my rookie year in 1962.”

[Dave George: After 54 golden years, Doral deserves better than to be discarded like this]

Yet the 18-time major winner does see some positives in the tournament moving south of the border.

“I have always believed that golf is a global game,” he continued, “and I have made it a lifelong mission to travel the world to introduce and grow the game by either playing it or designing golf courses. So I am delighted that an event with the significance of a World Golf Championship is coming to Mexico City, and I think it is a huge positive for the Tour and the game itself.

“My only hope is that golf played at its highest level will soon return to Miami and Trump Doral.”

The 76-year-old Nicklaus recently praised Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, on “CBS Sunday Morning,” saying he likes “what Donald has done … he’s turning America upside down. He’s awakening the country.”

Nicklaus said he anticipates voting for Trump in November.

Video: Three holes-in-one on 16th hole in final round of the Masters

Davis Love III of the United States celebrates his hole in one on the 16th green as Webb Simpson of the United States looks on during the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Davis Love III of the United States celebrates his hole in one on the 16th green as Webb Simpson of the United States looks on during the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2016 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

A hole-in-one at the Masters is a pretty special moment, even if your name is nowhere near the top of the leaderboard. ​In fact, as of Saturday, there had only been 15 aces on the par-3 16th hole in the 80-plus-year history of the Masters.

Yet Sunday at Augusta National saw not one … not two … but THREE holes-in-one at 16. And the third — in particular — is not to be missed.

(RELATED: Photos from Sunday’s incredible final round at Augusta)

First was Shane Lowry:

Davis Love III came next, approximately 30 minutes later:

And, finally, Louis Oosthuizen did the deed in amazing fashion, as his tee shot hit the green, rolled back and kissed off the ball of his playing partner before rolling miraculously into the cup.

Yes, Sunday will be remembered for Jordan Spieth’s back-nine collapse.

But three aces on the same hole? That’s pretty cool, too.

Quiz: How much do you remember about Jack Nicklaus and sports in 1986?

We celebrate the 30th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus’ last win at the Masters with this quiz looking back at 1986 in the world of sports. Just how much do you remember from 30 years ago?

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Rory McIlroy misses cut at Honda Classic for second straight year

Rory McIlroy grimaces after missing a putt on the 14th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on February 26, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Rory McIlroy grimaces after missing a putt on the 14th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on February 26, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Golf fans who opted to wait for the weekend to see world No. 3 Rory McIlroy play in the Honda Classic won’t get that opportunity.

McIlroy, a part-time Palm Beach Gardens resident, offset four birdies with a double bogey, triple-bogey and bogey on his way to a 2-over 72 Friday and missed the cut for the second straight year. McIlroy uncharacteristically declined media requests for interviews after his round.

McIlroy has failed to reach the final 36 holes of only four tournaments in the past five years, three of which have been in the Honda Classic. He shot 73-74-147 in the first two rounds last year to miss the cut, and also withdrew midway through the second round of the 2013 Honda, later blaming the decision on a toothache.

McIlroy won the Honda Classic in 2013 and tied for second after reaching a four-man playoff in 2014. His only other missed cut in the past four years came at the 2013 British Open.

McIlroy, who also shot a 72 Thursday, was 5-over on two par-3 holes Friday. His tee shot on No. 15 found the water, resulting in a double-bogey. On No. 5, his approach from 30 feet from the pin rolled down a hill and also wound up in the water. After taking a drop, he chipped on and two-putted for triple-bogey.

Former Dwyer High student Daniel Berger, who finished second last year, also missed the cut.

Video: Alex Cejka scores hole-in-one on 17th hole at PGA National

Alex Cejka of Germany lines up a putt on the eighth green during the first round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa - Champions Course on February 25, 2016 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Alex Cejka of Germany lines up a putt on the eighth green during the first round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa – Champions Course on February 25, 2016 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The 17th hole on the Champion course at PGA National is the final hole of the notoriously challenging three-hole section known as the Bear Trap. Those three holes have claimed many victims over the years.

But not Alex Cejka on Day 1 of the 2016 Honda Classic.

Cejka aced the 177-yard par 3 in the glorious afternoon sunlight, setting off a roar from the crowd surrounding the small green.

Despite the late hole-in-one, the first round was an up-and-down affair for Cejka, who hovered around the projected cut line and stands at 1-over-par after an eagle-birdie finish to his day. Check out the full leaderboard here.

Jack Nicklaus’ take on 17?

The 17th is a par 3 that has been lengthened to 190 yards over the water and into a very small green that is bunkered left. This is a par 3 that will present a lot of problems; it always has in the past.

No problems on Thursday for Cejka.

Honda Classic: Live blog of Round 1: George McNeill clubhouse leader

Rory McIlroy tees off on the 7th hole during the Honda Classic Pro-Am in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on February 24, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Rory McIlroy tees off on the 7th hole during the Honda Classic Pro-Am in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on February 24, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Welcome to the 2016 Honda Classic from the Champion course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens!

We at The Palm Beach Post will be here all day long with scores, news, updates and more from Thursday’s Round 1 of the tournament.


2:50 p.m.: Through eight holes, stars Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler have moved into first place and a tie for second, respectively. Garcia is currently four under par, while Fowler is a stroke behind him.

1:35 p.m.: Shane Lowry finishes his first round with a birdie and an eagle on Holes 17 and 18. He is tied for first with George McNeill at three-under 67

1:20 p.m.: Phil Mickelson wraps up his first round with a score of 1-under 69, good for a tie for sixth.

12:10 p.m.: George McNeill made a par putt on the 18th hole to cap off a steady 3-under-par opening round, good for the clubhouse lead. McNeill had six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on the par-4 11th. David Lingmerth, Ricky Barnes and Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back. Phil Mickelson is in a large group two back.

11:52 a.m.: George McNeill has moved into a tie with David Lingmerth atop the leaderboard at 3-under par. McNeill has completed 17 holes and is trying to become the first clubhouse leader of the week. Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back.

11:30 a.m.: David Lingmerth continues to lead at 3 under through 12 holes on his round. He is being chased by a pack of four golfers at 2 under, including Phil Mickelson and Cardinal Newman product Brooks Koepka (through 12 holes) and Ricky Barnes (10 holes). Jupiter resident Ernie Els is at 1 under. Nicholas Thompson is at 10 over through 17 holes.

11:15 a.m.: Phil Mickelson suffered a bogey on the par-4 second hole, his 11th hole of the day, to fall into a tie for second, one shot behind leader David Lingmerth. Mickelson is tied with Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka, Ricky Barnes and George McNeill.

10:56 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth continue to lead the tournament at 3 under. Palm Beach Gardens resident Brooks Koepka has birdied three straight holes (17, 18 and 1) to move to 2 under.

10:40 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth are tied for the lead at 3 under. Mickelson, who started on the back nine, birdied the par-5 18th hole to complete his first nine holes with four birdies and a bogey. He began the front nine with a par. Lingmerth was playing the front nine while Mickelson was on the back and  like Lefty he birdied his last hole before making the turn.

10:25 a.m.. Ricky Barnes’ solo hold on the lead was short. He bogeyed the sixth hole and is now in a seven-way tie for first at 2 under with Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, David Lingmerth and Paul Casey.

10:15 am.: Ricky Barnes has sole possession of the lead at 3 under through five holes after George McNeill suffered a double-bogey at the par-4 11th hole to fall to 1 under. Phil Mickelson, who started on the back nine, is playing No. 18 and is at 2 under, locked in a seven-way tie for second.

10 a.m.: Ricky Barnes (through five holes) and George McNeill (through 10) continue to share the lead at 3  under par. Phil Mickelson is at 2 under through eight holes. He started on the back nine. Six golfers are tied at 2 under, including Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb and Paul Casey.

9:55 a.m.: Ricky Barnes has birdied the par 3 fifth hole to move into a tie for the lead with George McNeill at 3 under.

9:50 a.m.: George McNeill continues to lead at 3 under par as he plays his 10th hole of the day. There is a six-way tie for second that includes Phil Mickelson, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb, Paul Casey and Ricky Barnes. Several stars are over par early, including Keegan Bradley, Ernie  Els and Adam Scott, all at 1 over. Jonas Blixt, who was among the leaders early, has fallen to 3 over after back-to-back bogies at 10 and 11.

9:34 a.m.: George McNeill has made the turn at 3 under and leads a group of seven golfers, including Phil Mickelson, by one shot. McNeill ran off a string of birdies at Nos. 3-5, bogeyed No. 6 but then made his birdie putt at No. 9 to move out front.

9:24 a.m.:  Phil Mickelson started the Bear Trap with a birdie and Shane Lowry bogeyed the par-3 seventh hole, helping create a logjam at 2 under in the Honda Classic. Mickelson and Lowry are tied with George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Russell Knox and David Lingmerth. After making a birdie on two of his first three  holes, Mickelson, who started on the back nine, bogeyed the 14th but rebounded with a birdie at No. 15 to get to 2 under.

9 a.m.: Shane Lowry is at the top of the leaderboard after a birdie on the fourth hole has him at 3 under. George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson and Russell Knox are at 2 under.

8 a.m.:  There is a six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Honda Classic this morning. Phil Mickelson birdied  his first hole and is tied with Cameron Tringale, George McNeill, Daniel Summerhays, Emiliano Grillo and Branden Grace at 1 under.

7:30 a.m.:  Daniel Summerhays birdies his first hole to take the lead at the 2016 Honda Classic

7:15 a.m.: Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair are at even par through the two holes. Hudson Swafford rebounds from his opening double-bogey to post the first birdie of the tournament.

7 a.m.: The first scores are in from round one of the Honda Classic.  Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair par their first holes.  Blixt went off the first tee, O’Hair off the 10th. Hudson Swafford and Chad Collins double-bogey their first holes.

6 a.m.: Here are the groups and tee times for Rounds 1 and 2. Remember, things get started pretty early both days: The first groups tee off at 6:45 a.m. But they’re long days, since the final groups don’t get out on the course until 1:35 p.m.

Please stick with us as we’ll be updating this post all day with news from on and off the course. And you can always keep track of the updated leaderboard.

For more Honda Classic coverage, check out our spectator guide, read through a full schedule of events and take our Honda Classic quiz.

 

Tiger Woods posts video to rebut rumors of his demise

Tiger Woods practices in a golf simulator. (Courtesy of @TigerWoods on Twitter)
Tiger Woods practices in a golf simulator. (Courtesy of @TigerWoods on Twitter)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tiger Woods has posted a video of him swinging a 9-iron in a golf simulator. His agent says the video was posted to rebut rumors on social media that he had taken a turn for the worse following two back surgeries last fall.

Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports Management said Monday that the rumors were ridiculous.

The video has a time stamp of Wednesday. It shows Woods, in shorts and golf shoes, taking one smooth swing accompanied by the words, “Progressing nicely.”

The rumors began with a Twitter account called “Secret Tour Pro” saying Sunday that Woods could no longer sit in a chair and spends most of the day lying down.

Steinberg says there’s still no timetable for his return. Woods has had three back surgeries in roughly 18 months.