SHANGHAI -- Adam Scott believes his caddie's racial comment
about former boss Tiger Woods was taken out of context and wasn't a
distraction to him. He showed that much in the final hour of the
HSBC Champions to charge back into contention.
Steve Williams was given a mock award for "Celebration of the
Year" at the caddies' awards dinner.
In an evening full of banter and salty language, Williams was
being interviewed on stage when he was asked why he gave a TV
interview after Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational. "My aim
was to shove it right up that black a------."
Williams issued an apology before the third round of the HSBC
Champions, and Scott said that enough for him.
"Didn't distract me too badly in the end today," Scott said
after a birdie-birdie-eagle finish for a 69, leaving him three
shots behind Fredrik Jacobson going into the final round of the
World Golf Championship.
"Look, anything with Tiger involved is a story," Scott said.
"I value Steve's contribution to my game and to have him on the
bag. While he's caddying, I hope he can caddie for me."
Overlooked in all this was Jacobson, who won his first PGA Tour
event this summer at the Travelers Championship and is on the cusp
of adding an even bigger title at Sheshan International.
Jacobson ran in birdie putts of 30 feet and 40 feet on
consecutive holes on the back nine, then finished with four pars
for a 5-under 67 that gave him a two-shot lead over Louis
Jacobson was at 16-under 200, breaking by two shots the 54-hole
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy finally got on track with
bogey-free round of 65 and was at 12-under 204, along with Lee Westwood, who had a 67. Martin Kaymer (68) and Graeme McDowell (67)
were five shots behind.
Westwood and McIlroy will be in the penultimate group, with
their own small drama. McIlroy two weeks ago left the International
Sports Management group that includes Westwood.
He has exchanged banter with Westwood on Twitter this year that
had a bit of an edge to it, and McIlroy stopped following Westwood
on Twitter after leaving Chubby Chandler and ISM.
Even so, nothing compared with the squabble going on with
Williams and Woods, which features Scott trying to keep neutral
ground. Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter were among those who
walked away when the topic shifted to Williams and Woods.
"I've had an ear infection for two weeks and I couldn't hear a
lot of what was going on," Westwood said sarcastically. "So it
would be wrong for me to comment on anything."
The leaders didn't care, either. At stake Sunday is something
they believe is far more important.
Jacobson took the lead Friday with a 66, and he has not shown
any indications that he will stop firing at flags on a Sheshan
International course that remains vulnerable with occasional light
rain and an overcast sky.
"I think I've been playing aggressive all week," Jacobson
said. "It's one of those weeks I think you've got to keep putting
good numbers on the board. So you can't really play too safe."
Oosthuizen recently returned to form after the FedEx Cup
playoffs on the PGA Tour, and a 63 in the second round put him in
the mix. He had another bogey-free round, with a birdie on the
final hole keeping him in range.
"Tomorrow, everyone is going to be pumped up because it's a
great leaderboard going into the final round," Oosthuizen said.
"I think everyone wants that title, so you're going to see some
Indeed, it was the strongest leaderboard of all the World Golf
Championships this year. Jacobson will playing in the last group
with a former British Open champion and Scott, who has won The
Players Championship and a WGC event.
The next group features Westwood, a former world No. 1, a U.S
Open champion (McIlroy) and former PGA champion (Kaymer). After
that is McDowell, another U.S. Open champ.
Scott had the most exciting day, and it wasn't all about
He was lingering behind Jacobson when his tee shot on the par-5
eighth went left into a creek. Scott saw enough of the ball that he
rolled up his pants and stepped into the water to play the shot.
But it popped up on him, and stayed in the creek. He had no
choice but to go back toward the tee to play his fourth shot. From
there, he hit 5-iron over the trees and into the fairway, then
3-iron to the green. He did well to escape with double bogey.
Right when it appeared he was too far back, Scott hit a wedge to
tap-in range on the 16th for birdie, hit 5-iron to 8 feet on the
17th for birdie, then ended a wild day -- on and off the course -- with a wedge from 105 yards that spun back into the hole for eagle.
Just like that, he was three shots behind and still in there
with a chance to talk about his golf.
In his only other win this year, the WGC at Firestone, the
spotlight shifted from Scott to Williams when the caddie said in a
network TV interview that it was the "best win of my life," even
though he had been on the bag for 13 of Woods' majors.