DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods isn’t likely to storm off the 18th green on Sunday if he doesn’t win the Memorial Tournament.
Woods was asked earlier this week whether athletes should shake hands after a competition. Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James was criticized when he did not shake hands with Orlando Magic players after losing in Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Woods, who attended some of the games in his hometown of Orlando, is a huge sports fan. He tried to put the controversy in historical perspective.
“Well, if you look at it, not everyone shakes hands after every game,” he said. “Football, a lot of guys just walk off the field. A lot of sports, they walk off the court or field. Hockey, they line up. It’s tradition. And it’s part of our sport, the tradition of taking the hat off and shaking hands.
“The history of our game is about sportsmanship. We call penalties on ourselves. I don’t see anybody in the NFL saying, ‘I’m sorry. I held the guy. Give me 10 yards.’ That doesn’t happen.
“But I think that what separates our sport from other sports is just the traditions of the sportsmanship, when you doff your cap and shake someone’s hand and look them in the eyes and say, ‘Well done.”‘
Woods said he was rooting for the favorite team of his youth (the Los Angeles Lakers) over the Magic in the NBA Finals.
“I live in Orlando and root for the Magic, but I’m from L.A.,” he said. “I grew up watching Magic (Johnson), Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and (James) Worthy and Byron (Scott) and all those teams. Before that, (Bob) McAdoo and (Norm) Nixon, you name it. It’s hard, but I’m from L.A.”
CAMILO COMEBACK: After ending his first round with back-to-back bogeys, it got even worse for Camilo Villegas. He started Friday bogey-triple bogey-bogey-bogey. Instead of trying to get into contention, he was trying to make the cut.
But the Colombian produced quite the comeback, making eagle at No. 15, chipping in for par on the 18th, and finishing his round with three birdies over the final four holes for a 72.
Even better was his attitude.
“You know, these things can be good for you,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it to happen. But you never know when you’re going to have to deal with that in a U.S. Open or a major.”
Villegas inquired about the cut line after his birdie on the 16th hole put him at 2 over. He was told it might be around 3-over par, and he finished par-birdie for good measure.
Manny Villegas is the caddy for his brother this week. Manny is playing on the smaller circuits and is trying to qualify on Monday’s for Nationwide events.
MAKE PUTTS OR ELS: Ernie Els is tied for seventh at the Memorial Tournament after shooting his second consecutive 70. He’s playing well enough to be way ahead of everybody.
Here are the numbers through 36 holes: 59 total putts, 21 of 28 fairways hit, 28 of 36 greens hit in regulation.
A closer look at his second round shows he could easily have gone much, much lower. He missed three birdie putts of less than 8 feet, failed to make six that were inside 13 feet and also missed a 4-foot par putt.
The longest putt he made Friday was 9 feet, and it was a par save at the 17th.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Chris DiMarco, on his putting style, after a 67 that left him at 140: “I’ve always felt like I’m more of a speed putter rather than a banger-inner.”
TREE ON THREE: Brian Davis made quintuple-bogey nine at the 401-yard, par-4 third hole.
He was even through 11 holes when he reached the No. 4 tee, but his drive hit a tree left of the fairway and dropped down. He punched the ball across to the other side of a small creek that borders the hole, then elected to play toward the No. 4 tee rather than go back toward his own fairway. His next shot flew into the back bunker and from there he blasted out to the green and three-putted.
Davis ended up with a 77 and missed the cut.
FOR THE DEFENSE: A lot of players said that with the wind blowing and the sun shining on already fast greens, they find themselves trying to avoid major catastrophes on the greens at Muirfield Village.
“You’re actually playing defensive a little bit,” said Mark Wilson, whose 70 left him tied for third. “You want to make it, but if you take the speed where you want to make (the putt), here that putt could probably go 12 feet past the hole.”
DiMarco said where your ball is on the green is paramount.
“You’d rather have a 10-footer from down low than a 4- or 5-footer above the hole,” he said.
Ryuji Imada, who shot 69 and is at 139, said it’s important to be careful on approach shots.
“If you put the ball on the wrong tier, you’re definitely looking at a three-putt,” he said. “You’ve got to get yourself in the right spot, the right tier, to actually have a shot at birdies, let alone two-putting.”
DIVOTS: Sean O’Hair withdrew after an opening 76, citing a left forearm injury sustained last week in Colonial. … Jerry Kelly, wincing on every swing and stretching his aching back between shots, had another 72. … Woods struggled Friday with a 2-over 74 – his highest score since shooting 74 in the second round of the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie. … Matt Bettencourt, twice a winner on the Nationwide Tour, birdied four of his first eight holes in a 69 in his 17th career PGA Tour start.