Golf roundup: Nick Watney beats Tiger Woods in match play
Marana, Ariz. • The roar resonated across Dove Mountain from fans packed around the 18th green as Tiger Woods, needing a birdie on the last hole to stay in his match, hit a shot that dropped out of the Arizona sky and landed 5 feet from the hole.
That was followed by silence.
Woods missed the putt so badly that it never even touched the hole.
No one was more surprised than Nick Watney, who removed his cap to shake hands with Woods after a 1-up victory Thursday in the Match Play Championship. It was the third straight time in this fickle event that Woods failed to get out of the second round, and it raised more questions about his ability to make key putts that once seemed so automatic.
"I was fighting the blocks all day with my putter," said Woods, who missed three putts inside 10 feet on the last six holes. "Left-to-right putt, I took it slightly shut right there, and I knew it and blocked it open."
Watney was so sure that Woods would square the match that he already had his yardage book out, checking the hole location on the first green (the 19th hole of their match), trying to decide if 3-wood was the right club off the tee.
"The old adage is to expect your opponent to make it," Watney said. "And when it's Tiger Woods, you really expect him to make it."
Just not this Tiger Woods.
"I didn't miss a single shot coming in, which is good. And that was fun, to hit the ball that well," Woods said. "Unfortunately, I just didn't make a putt when I needed it."
In Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, Will Claxton shot a 5-under 66 in windy conditions to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Making his fifth career start on the PGA Tour, the 30-year-old former Auburn player had four straight birdies early on his back nine on the El Camaleon course.
In Singapore, Angela Stanford shot a 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the HSBC Women's Champions on Thursday.
The American started her round with a birdie on the 10th hole and added another on the 16th to make the turn at 2-under 34.