49ers

Tiger's ex-caddie exacts measure of revenge

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Tiger's ex-caddie exacts measure of revenge

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 8, 2011

AKRON, Ohio (AP)Adam Scott won his first World Golf Championship.

No one celebrated more than his caddie.

Steve Williams attributed Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational to destiny. This was the first tournament for Tiger Woods in three months because of his injured left leg, and Woods first tournament since he fired Williams as his caddie after 12 years.

Williams was irritated at getting cut loose, and he made that clear in an interview with a New Zealand television station two weeks ago when he said he had wasted the last two years of his life sticking by Woods through all his trouble.

If that wasnt enough of an indication, one only had to see the smile on his face as the fans chanted Williams name walking to the 18th green. Or the way he pumped his fist when Scott holed a 5-foot birdie on the final hole for a four-shot victory.

And the interviewsyes, interviewsthat Williams gave after Scott signed for a 5-under 65.

Williams has only spoken to a few reporters he knows over the years, but he had so many media around him after the tournament ended that all anyone could see was the Titleist capnot the familiar Nike TW brandon his head.

Woods shot a 70 to tie for 37th, 18 shots behind, and his interview transcript was only 1 12 pages. Williams didnt hit a shot all day and a transcript of his interview was nearly twice as long.

Even more shocking was how Williams described the feeling.

Ive caddied for 33 years145 wins nowand thats the best win Ive ever had, Williams told CBS Sports on the 18th green. This from a guy whose 12 years working for Woods featured 13 majors and 16 world titles among 72 wins worldwide. That includes the 2001 Masters, when Woods won an unprecedented fourth straight major.

Scott didnt seem to mind that Williams comment became a bigger story than the 31-year-old Australian going the final 26 holes without a bogey for a win that moved him up to No. 9 in the world.

Told about Williams comment that this was his best week as a caddie, Scott smiled and winced.

Hes obviously really happy to get a win, he said.

As for the distraction? Scott is used to it by now. Williams first worked for him at the U.S. Open, the first step toward Woods deciding to end the partnership, and he has been hounded by questions all week about using Woods former caddie and how much a difference it would make for him.

I can talk about Steve now and not Tiger, Scott said to laughter, alluding to the countless times he and other players have been asked about Woods. Im sure there are a lot of other golfers who wouldnt mind that, either.

It added another chapter to a saga that never seems to end with Woods. His left leg looked good all week. His scores were pedestrian, but there were signs that his game is not terribly far off. And yet the week ends with him being mocked.

Woods pushed back his news conference at the PGA Championship one day to Wednesday, although no reason was given. It at least means he wont have to cope with the media for his first two full days of practice at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Lost in this soap opera was a strong golf tournament, and a command performance not only by Scott, but players chasing him, including 19-year-old Ryo Ishikawa.

Scott and Ishikawa were tied for a big part of the front nine, and Scott took a one-shot leadthe same one he started out with on Sundayinto the back nine.

Ishikawa stuffed his approach to 7 feet on the 10th hole. Scott hit his to 6 feet, and both made birdie.

Scott seized control on the 12th, when he chipped in for birdie to take a two-shot lead, then used his long putter to roll in a birdie putt just inside 30 feet on the 14th. On the next hole, Scott saved par with a 10-foot putt, while Ishikawa three-putted for bogey, and suddenly the Australian had a three-shot lead.

Ahead of him, Rickie Fowler played the kind of golf that usually wins at Firestone on Sunday. He had a bogey-free round of 66, but it simply wasnt enough to catch Scott. Luke Donald, the world No. 1 for the last 10 weeks, also had a 66 and wound up tied for second with Fowler.

Ishikawa made a bogey on the final hole for a 69 and tied for fourthhis best finish in Americawith Jason Day.

Today, I was on, Scott said. To win here at this place, a World Golf Championship, its huge.

It didnt hurt having Williams at his side. Along with his experience working for Woods, along with major champions Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd, Williams was on the bag for all seven of Woods victories at Firestone.

He has such a great knowledge of this golf course and the greens, Scott said. Hes seen a guy play incredible golf, the best golf anyone has ever played around here, so many times. He really guided me around the course nicely. So he was, no doubt, a help.

Scott finished at 17-under 263, the lowest score to win at Firestone since Woods had 259 in 2000 in an 11-shot win. He became the third Australian to win a world title, joining Geoff Ogilvy and Craig Parry.

With a three-shot lead, Scott thought about playing it safe on the 18th. Williams told him to take 6-iron at the flag, and Scott obliged with a shot that rolled past the cup and settled 5 feet away. When they got to the green, one fan shouted out, How do you like him now, Tiger?

By then, Woods was long gone.

After missing three months with a leg injury, he finished a tournament for the first time since the Masters on April 10 and closed with a 70 to tie for 37th, 18 shots behind.

I had it in spurts this week, Woods said.

While his old boss was on the mend, Williams agreed to caddie for Scott at the U.S. Open. Williams said he was led to believe that Woods was going to play practice rounds at Congressional, but only after the New Zealand caddie arrived in America was he told that Woods was not healthy enough for the U.S. Open.

Thats when Williams decided to work for Scott, and he worked for Scott again at the AT&T National, the tournament that benefits Woods foundation. Woods said he fired him after the final round that week, and they kept it quiet until Williams was done working for Scott at the British Open.

Woods said he told him face-to-face. Williams said Sunday that Woods fired him over the phone.

I was told on the phone that we need to take a break, and in caddie lingo, that means youre fired, simple as that, Williams said.

I was absolutely shocked that I got the boot, to be honest with you, he said. Ive been incredibly loyal to the guy, and I got short-shrifted. Very disappointed.

But he wasnt disappointed on Sunday. Its been awhile since Williams has smiled so much on the golf course.

Instant Analysis: Turnovers cost 49ers in preseason loss to Broncos

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AP

Instant Analysis: Turnovers cost 49ers in preseason loss to Broncos

BOX SCORE

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers don’t have to worry about peaking too soon, that’s for sure.

The 49ers first-team offense was plagued by turnovers and penalties against the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium in the second exhibition game for both teams. And things did not get much better when the backups entered the action.

After two days during which the 49ers more than held their own against Denver in joint practices, there was no debate about which team was better when it was time for a game.

The 49ers put together an all-around sloppy performance -- low-lighted by 11 penalties and five turnovers -- in a 33-14 loss to the Broncos on Saturday night.

While the starters were in the game, the 49ers were outscored 10-0. The 49ers committed six penalties for 53 yards and committed four turnovers in the first half, as the 49ers fell behind 20-0 through two quarters.

“I thought the D did a solid job,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during his halftime interview on KPIX. “We put them in a bad situation four times, so I was happy that they just held it to what it was.”

Jaquiski Tartt was responsible for one of the giveaways when it was ruled he inadvertently touched the ball on a punt in the first quarter. The Broncos recovered the muffed punt to retain possession.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer lost a fumble when the ball slipped out of his hand as he was throwing. Hoyer was also tagged with an interception. Denver defensive back Chris Lewis-Harris ripped the ball away from Marquise Goodwin as he juggled a Hoyer pass that was thrown behind him.

Running back Tim Hightower lost a fumble in the second quarter.

The Broncos capitalized on those four turnovers for all 20 of their points while shutting out the 49ers through halftime.

The 49ers’ offense showed some signs of life with Hoyer at the controls. The team gained 111 yards on their 22 plays. Hoyer completed 8 of 11 passes for 89 yards before rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard replaced him late in the first half.

Beathard continued to make a strong case to win the backup job. Beathard is in competition with Matt Barkley as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback.

Beathard teamed up with his former Iowa teammate, tight end George Kittle, on a 29-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Kittle caught the short pass from Beathard, turned up the left sideline, ran through an attempted tackle by Lewis-Harris, then stiff-armed safety Orion Stewart en route to the end zone.

Beathard completed 7 of his 12 pass attempts for 110 yards. His passer rating was 116.7.

FOSTER, BOWMAN START
Linebackers Reuben Foster and NaVorro Bowman, who were limited in the 49ers’ final joint practice with Denver with shoulder ailments, started played 20 snaps apiece.

With Foster and Bowman on the field, the Broncos totaled just 63 yards of total offense. Bowman had two tackles, while Foster added one before the 49ers’ first-team defense was removed in the second quarter.

Foster underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder in February. Some NFL teams reportedly did not believe he would be available to play this season. He was cleared for full-contact drills on the eve of training camp.

The 49ers said Foster’s mild AC joint sprain in his right shoulder was not related to his previous injury. He was held out of contact drills on Thursday. Bowman was pulled out of practice Thursday with a similar condition.

SITTING IT OUT
Players who did not see action due to injuries were: Defensive linemen Aaron Lynch, DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair, linebacker Sean Porter, defensive backs Will Redmond and Prince Charles Iworah, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, and guard Joshua Garnett.

Jimmie Ward remains on physical unable to perform due to a hamstring injury. Ward could be activated when the 49ers return to practice.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Undrafted rookie Victor Bolden supplied one of the lone highlights for the 49ers with a 104-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter.

--Eli Harold started at the strongside linebacker in place of Ahmad Brooks, who entered the game in the second quarter with the second-team defense.

--Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian connected with Jordan Taylor on a 19-yard touchdown pass against the coverage of newly signed 49ers cornerback Asa Jackson in the second quarter.

--Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started at free safety for the second game in a row. Jerome recorded two tackles and broke up a pass.

--Goodwin caught three passes for 44 yards. His first two receptions accounted for the first first downs from the 49ers’ No. 1 offense in the exhibition season.

--Rookie pass-rusher Pita Taumoepenu recorded a sack in the fourth quarter.

--The 49ers did not get much going from their top three running backs. Carlos Hyde gained 26 on eight carries. Kapri Bibbs had 6 yards on four carries. And Hightower had minus-1 yard on three attempts.

--Rookie running back Joe Williams entered the game with less than seven minutes to play. Guard Norman Price got blown back into the backfield on Williams second attempt, allowing Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris to, in essence, intercept the handoff from Barkley to Willliams.

Instant Analysis: Late TD burns Raiders in preseason loss to Rams

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Late TD burns Raiders in preseason loss to Rams

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – The Raiders sat nine offensive starters in last week’s exhibition opener. That front line assembled for the first time in game Saturday against the Rams and quickly found midseason form.

Quarterback Derek Carr was largely on point in a 21-17 victory to Los Angeles at Oakland Coliseum. Amari Cooper showed great hops. Michael Crabtree juked a cornerback out of his shoes and scored a touchdown. Jared Cook proved a difficult cover in the middle of the field. And Marshawn was predictably Marshawn, running like a battering ram on speed skates.

The defense, by contrast, needs some serious work.

Except for Khalil Mack. That’s dude’s all right. He had a sack, three quarterback pressures, four tackles, with two for a loss, in three series.

The rest of his unit was off kilter against L.A. Communication still needs work on the back end. Questions remain at inside linebacker and cornerback.

Coaches have three weeks to iron things out, and get that unit running right. Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s exhibition.

Marshawn meets hometown crowd: Oakland native Marshawn Lynch played in his hometown for the first time in silver and black. He didn’t play much, removing his pads after just one series.

His cameo was quick and productive, with two carries for 10 yards. His trademark burst and balance was on display, as it was throughout camp. Lynch won’t need much work this preseason, but should get the lion’s share of carries when games count.

He looks as agile as ever, without the rust expected following a year away from football.

Smith suits up:Raiders cornerback Sean Smith played in sub packages with the starting unit, playing outside in the nickel. He had a relatively solid game despite mounting legal issues. He was charged with felony assault and battery on Thursday, when he turned himself in to Pasadena police and was released after posting an $80,000 bond.

Smith had two tackles and a nice pass defensed covering Sammy Watkins on a deep route.

Jenkins enters the fray: The Raiders are still searching for someone to pair with Cory James on the inside. Marquel Lee has worked with the first unit since training camp began in the base defense. He struggled some early, and gave way to veteran Jelani Jenkins in the second series.
That job remains open. Lee is a favorite, though Jenkins will challenge and prospect of signing someone off the street remains.

Backup quarterbacks still battling

EJ Manuel entered Saturday’s game with a clear lead on the backup quarterback position battle. The veteran received most every second-unit rep in camp, started last week’s game at Arizona and was first off the bench on Saturday.

He wasn’t great against the Rams, completing 3-of-9 passes for 16 yards.

That may have cracked the door for second-year pro Connor Cook. The Michigan State alum has struggled some in practice, but showed well working with the third unit on Saturday. He was with 7-of-10 passing for 70 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown strike to Johnny Holton.