Woods hits over clubhouse roof

Tiger Woods hitts a 9-iron over the clubhouse roof and escaping with bogey because it was not marked out-of-bounds.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Akron, Ohio:Tiger Woods in the lead at Firestone is typical. Woods hitting a 9-iron over the clubhouse roof and escaping with bogey because it was not marked out-of-bounds made the Bridgestone Invitational nothing short of bizarre on Friday. Woods birdied his first four holes and shot a 6-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Davis Love III, but what made the second round memorable was a bogey on his final hole that left Woods feeling lucky after a strange sequence of events. It started from the right rough on No. 9 when Woods hit a 9-iron from 167 yards (153 meters) that jumped out of the grass, soared over the flag and over the grandstands. It hit the concrete path and bounced over a balcony and onto the roof. Deputy Sheriff From the back of the clubhouse, Summit County deputy sheriff Bill Muncy was sitting in his chair when he noticed a golf ball bouncing around the service area below him and next to someone from the Firestone kitchen staff. The worker, Josh Stuber, put the ball in the cup holder of a cart and drove off to a villa. "We were unloading pies on the back of the cart and we saw this golf ball bouncing by," Stuber said. "I said, 'Who's throwing golf balls at me" I went down to the lodge, and the next thing I know, everyone is looking for me. They said, 'You stole Tiger Woods' ball.' Stuber said he saw a swoosh and One Platinum written in fine print on the ball. "I didn't notice the TW," he said. Woods stood in the fairway for nearly 10 minutes before rules officials arrived and tried to figure out the next step. It was pure chaos behind the ninth green, especially after Paul McGinley hit his shot from the fairway over the green. Some were shouting that the ball went into an air-conditioning duct. Others said it went over the roof. Muncy, guarding the back door of the clubhouse, told rules officials what happened. Then, PGA Tour rules official Dillard Pruitt walked in an arc away from the clubhouse until another official, Steve Carman, used a laser to determine his distance. They came up with 97 yards (87 meters). No penalty There was no penalty because the grandstands were in the way. Woods got another drop from the cart path, and eventually hit a lob wedge to 30 feet (9 meters) and two-putted for bogey to reach 9-under 131. Woods said it was an 84-yard (77-meter) shot; the discrepancy was not explained. "I hit a drive and a 9-iron and a 60-degree wedge and two-putted. First bogey of the day," Woods said. If only it were that simple. Players in the clubhouse went to the back door to see where it landed and shook their heads, muttering that the world's No. 1 player was also the luckiest at Firestone because the clubhouse was not deemed to be out-of-bounds. If that had been the case, he would have had to drop from the rough and play his fourth shot, and Woods might have been happy to escape with a double bogey at best. The only out-of-bounds at Firestone is the driving range. Woods' ball could have kept bouncing across Warner Road and onto the North Course and it still would have been in play. "I thought for sure it must have been out-of-bounds," Woods said. "On top of that, I thought we had to somehow find it. It was a huge break to get out of there with a 5." It took him to a familiar spot - atop the leaderboard at Firestone, where he is defending champion. Woods now is in great shape to capture his fourth consecutive PGA Tour victory, dating to the British Open last month. He also won the Buick Open, and picked up his third straight win last week at the PGA Championship. Before arriving to the circus on No. 9, he looked as sharp as he has all summer. Woods opened with four straight birdies, all of them inside 15 feet (4.6 meters), and pulled into the lead on the front nine with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first, a two-putt birdie from 40 feet (12 meters) on No. 2 and an 8-iron into 10 feet (3 meters) on the third. Adam scott He made pars the rest of the day as first-round leader Adam Scott faltered, and wound up one shot clear of Love and in the final pairing Saturday. Love said he heard about the incident while he was finishing his round of 65. He was asked what he thought of a ball that went over the bleachers, over the clubhouse and into the service area. "It's out-of-bounds, right?'' Love said. "I would have thought it would have been. Obstruction? Biggest obstruction ever? I guess if you still miss this side of the road. Is the road not out-of-bounds, either?'' The greater concern is trying to stop Woods. Scott overcame a sloppy double bogey at No. 6 to get within one shot of the lead, then closed with two bogeys for a 71 and was at 134. He was joined by Jim Furyk, who lost a seven-hole playoff to Woods at Firestone in 2001. Furyk had an ace on the 15th hole, and shot 31 on the front nine for a 65. Ernie Els, shaking his head when he saw Woods getting a drop, had a 67 and was at 5-under 135 with Lucas Glover (69) and Kevin Stadler (67). Love also was one shot behind going into the weekend at Medinah, closing with rounds of 73-76 that ultimately cost him consideration as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team. He had been on every U.S. team since 1993. With the pressure of trying to make the team gone, Love believes he is able to play more freely. What changes the dynamics is being paired with Woods, who beat Love for his first of 51 victories in 1996, and usually gets the best of Love. "The last thing I need to think about is how good Tiger is playing and what a streak he's on, and how I need to a win and how nice it would be to go to Kapalua (for the winners-only Mercedes Championships) and all those things," Love said. "I've just got to concentrate on playing a round of golf and let the rest take care of itself," he added. (AP)

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