Always great to see two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle on the golf course, but especially when he aces the 5th at Royal Pines.
From the Australian PGA first round:
Wise is the man who knows how to play each hole as he should play it, and skillful the golfer who can place his shots after he knows where they should go. Such a player is exceedingly hard to defeat on a course with proper strategy. GEORGE THOMAS
Always great to see two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle on the golf course, but especially when he aces the 5th at Royal Pines.
From the Australian PGA first round:
This comeback was definitely different in tone. Just look at Doug Ferguson's list of previous Tiger Woods comebacks and you recall how many were forced, premature or just downright edgy.
This time around anyone with an ounce of soul did not want to see another boondoggle. Mercifully for golf and Tiger, the 14-time major winner put on a strong early show before succumbing to the fatigue of a hot day, enormous pressure and a lack of tournament seasoning after a long layoff.
Of course, in classic Tiger fashion, he refused to admit to fatigue. That might just be the best evidence he's his ownself again.
Jason Sobel noted this classic stubbornness in his account for ESPN.com:
This was a textbook round for someone who hadn't played in a while: Make a few nervy pars just to ease away the tension; ride the wave of adrenaline up the leaderboard; get overtaken by fatigue down the stretch.
If we needed further proof, though, of Woods' return to familiarity, it came after the round, when he wouldn't acquiesce to that last observation.
He was asked a reasonable question about whether he'd run out of gas before making those two doubles.
"I wouldn't say that," he offered. "I just made some mistakes."
Michael Collins, talking to Sportscenter, also pointed out that post-round, Tiger did not come across as someone physically compromised.
Will Gray at GolfChannel.com makes the shrewd point that the strong start to the round makes this a much better feeling 73 than one in which Woods was just so-so all day.
Had Woods more evenly dispersed his scorecard, had one of his closing doubles instead come amid the three-birdie run that highlighted his opening nine, perhaps the tinge of disappointment might have evaporated. But he didn’t, and they didn’t, and a 73 is more difficult to stomach after Woods appeared on his way to something in the mid-60s.
In case you have a real job and missed it, here is Golf Channel's highlight package.
Alan Shipnuck, writing for Golf.com, offers his overall assessment as a long time Tiger observer, some more elaborate comments from former swing coach Hank Haney and this on the first tee mood scene:
He was dressed in a badass all-black ensemble, befitting the high noon tee time. The World Challenge is a mostly meaningless hit-and-giggle event, but the tee was crowded with reporters, cameramen and assorted rubberneckers. The most dominant golfer of all time does not have the luxury of easing back into competition. The mood was tense, even fraught. As Woods settled over the ball, waggling his discordant new TaylorMade driver, it was so funereal quiet you could hear decorative flags flapping in the distance.
Former swing coach Haney also offered this Tweet:
From what I saw today I see Tiger winning more tournaments and at least one more major, lot's of positives today.— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) December 1, 2016
Steve DiMeglio of USA Today saw enough to declare more wins in Tiger's future.
As long as his body — and especially his back — holds up, Woods will lift championship hardware again. Doesn’t matter if he’ll turn 41 on Dec. 31. The game’s needle will trigger appreciative cheers in trophy ceremonies on the 18th green in the future.
Another longtime Tiger watcher who has seen his share of antics, also had a positive assessment.
Jeff Babineau at Golfweek includes a lot of Tiger playing partner Patrick "Pat" Reed, as well as this:
Cool to see, yes. Tiger Woods, back in action, the round moving like a movie reel, giving us glimpses of the familiar. He pounded a drive 20 yards past Reed, a long knocker, at the third, and roped a 5-iron from 235 yards on the same hole that soared through the air on a string. He enjoyed that one. The ball would run out over the green, but it gave Woods some confidence. When he poured in a 16-foot left-to-righter at the short 14th to save par after being in a sandy area AND a bunker, there was a fist pump. The adrenaline was pumping.
And for Tigerphiles, in case you missed it, Mike Johnson filed an interesting GolfDigest.com look at what it's like to work with Tiger when he's club testing.
Tiger tees off at 11:12 am ET Friday, with Morning Drive and Golf Central bringing early play highlights before the 1 pm telecast.
You may recall the wild and crazy antics of A-listers Rickie and Jordan, joined by B-listers Smylie and Justin last spring. The sport declared an inevitable, but untraceable "grow the game" factor stemming from their semi-naked romps at Bakers Bay. The super-exclusive resort loving the free publicity and bridge to the vaunted millennials. I disagreed and certainly understood the hostile "get off my lawn" reaction, but stand by my view that it was all a bit much.
The #SB2K16 group reconvened in New York this fall to little acclaim for reasons unclear, and now the B-listers have been joined by some youthful wannabes for the "winter meetings" that no shortage of folks lauding those wild and crazy antics shared on Snapchat (and then screen-grabbed somewhat creepily wishing they could join in the fun, even though 99.9% of golf courses would eject you for the behavior).
So I ask, in the spirit of discussion: if PGA Tour players running around on a green and leaving a cake behind for others to clean up is kosher, should the sport do a little soul searching? Or at the very least, bring the stymie if all hell breaking loose is so darned cool?
A video posted by GolfBalled.com (@golfballed) on Nov 30, 2016 at 11:49am PST
Euphoria, multiple eagles and high-level anticipation! it's all in the Bahamas air as Tiger is finally back! Shoot, the first birdie back may lower his Masters win odds to 5-1. Even the jargon (ballistics!) has been sharp and the almost-funny one liners are back.
All is right with the world!
Oh sure there is a long way to go. The body looks understandably tight (see Tripp Isenhour's breakdown at the 6 minute mark of today's Golf Central). But the swing rhythm and reports like this one from Jeff Babineau sound promising:
Maybe more impressive were some of the low, laser-like long irons he hit into the teeth of the wind on a few of Albany’s difficult par 3s, such as the eighth, playing about 230 yards, where he knocked a tee shot 12 feet past the flag and missed the putt.
As Tiger prepares to launch what is apparently been dubbed "Phase Two", Will Gray notes at GolfChannel.com that there will be entertaining mood swings that may prove more entertaining than the golf.
Sure, some feedback will be gleaned. His swing will inevitably be dissected from all angles, and the short game that bogged him down so often last year will be on full display, for better or worse.
And given such a small sample size, dangerous levels of extrapolation are sure to follow. Every made birdie will mean a 15th major is a fait accompli; every flubbed chip will lead others to question if his career has officially run its course.
Tiger is feeling the good vibes of his time at Hazeltine, as the U.S.A. Ryder Cup team wore onesies and red t-shirts emblazoned with "Make Tiger Great Again" to honor their assistant captain, writes Jason Sobel at ESPN.com. More fascinating may be how much the players want to see him play well again:
"We want our champion back," Bubba Watson said. "We want our Tiger Woods back. We want him playing again."
"He's still just turning every head when he walks into the dining area," added Spieth. "Or if he's on the driving range, I mean, everybody's looking up to see him hit some shots. I was doing it this morning, interested obviously."
Given how long he's been away and how many surgeries Tiger has been through, expectations probably need to be tempered though, as Paige Mackenzie and I discussed today on Morning Drive with Whit Watson.
Tiger will pass 150 or so players just by finishing the Hero World Challenge, even if he finishes last, Bob Harig notes at ESPN.com. Shouldn't there be some sort of ranking points penalty for tournaments of a certain (miniscule) size?
The subdued energy level from his post-pro-am round interview could be read one of two ways: this is just another Hero World Challenge and I've been doing this too long, or, I'm trying to make it sound like this is another Hero World Challenge and that I've been doing this too long.
"I'll be focused. I'll be ready." https://t.co/gewHmhNdui— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 30, 2016
Tiger tees off at noon ET Thursday. Golf Channel will present Morning Drive starting at 10:30 am. The show will include live shots of Tiger warming up, along with more of our Design Week coverage. At 11:55 Golf Central will take over and provide bonus coverage before the regularly scheduled 12:30 ET start.
The momentum of the LPGA Tour's business side continues under Commissioner Mike Whan's tenure, with purse increases at the majors and 22 events in the United States (but three domestic events disappear, including the Swinging Skirts at Lake Merced).
Randall Mell notes the new events for GolfChannel.com as well as the purse increases.
The new schedule features four new events, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies Open, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open, the Indy Women in Tech event at Brickyard Crossing in Indianapolis and the Thornberry Creek Classic in Green Bay, Wis.
This Golfweek report notes the return of match play in a revamped Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the USGA's $1 million purse increase at the U.S. Women's Open.
On the match play event and the dying events.
The biggest surprise of Wednesday’s announcement is that match play will return to the LPGA schedule for the first time since 2012. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational, a tournament that struggled to get a strong field in recent years, will transition into the Lorena Ochoa Match Play and will feature a field of 64. The event will also move from the fall to the spring and will be held at Club de Golf México in Mexico City, the tournament site since 2014.
Three domestic events, the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic (Prattville, Ala.), Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (Daly City, Calif.), and Coates Golf Championship (Ocala, Fla.) will not return. 2017 will mark the first time the LPGA hasn’t competed on a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail property in 19 years.
Though most of the world can barely stand to hear about Rio and its Olympic golf course woes, the attention from AFP's recent story has at least prompted a response from the Brazilian Golf Confederation.
Writing to GolfChannel.com, Brazilian Golf Confederation president Paulo Pacheco said the course is enjoying a “soft opening” and says “the maintenance of the course will continue at the same quality level.”
Rex Hoggard writing for GolfChannel.com:
Pacheco also said the Confederation has not requested any financial assistance to help maintain the course from the International Golf Federation or any other international agency.
The IGF has offered Pacheco and the Confederation support in the Olympic course’s transition to a public course, according to a statement released this week.
“As has been the case since the very beginning of this project, getting an accurate picture of the current situation on the ground and the best parties responsible for the short- and long-term success of the Olympic Golf Course has been difficult,” the IGF statement read. “The current economic and political situation in Rio has contributed to this difficulty.
“We have been disheartened by the recent reports regarding the status of the Olympic Golf Course and can only hope that the [Confederation], Rio 2016 and the city of Rio can work together to find both a short-term and long-term solution.”
But the crux of the initial AFP story--that the maintenance contractor is about to walk away due to unpaid bills--remains the most pressing issue and was not definitively answered by the latest response. Given the incredible job done by Progolf and Neil Cleverly to grow the course in and present it so ideally for the Games, this is a sad state of affairs.
A little lost in all of the Tiger talk this week: the resounding success of the World Cup of Golf. As we discussed on Morning Drive, the format seemed to work well. But it was Kingston Heath that stole the show.
Mike Clayton filed some thoughts on what made the week such a sucess in spite of silly driving distances and also offered this observation about the course's best moments.
More interesting and entertaining to watch was how the field played the short par 4 4th hole (the club’s normal 3rd) There was a wide variety of clubs played from the tee in Saturday’s foursomes play with Rickie Fowler leaving Jimmy Walker a full nine iron to the flag while Soren Kjelsden, the shortest of the top players last week, left his partner Thorbjorn Olesen with barely anything more than a chip from the perfect angle.
A few matches ahead the New Zealanders Ryan Fox and Danny Lee made a comedic mess of a seemingly simple hole by playing it completely the wrong way despite hitting two perfectly good looking shots.
I listened to Tiger's press conference on satellite radio and have read many of the takes from his big return to the media center stage. He sounds like the old, confident Tiger comfortable in his skin and in his ability. But also also threw out the usual bingo board jargon and a few weird answers that make you wonder.
For me, it was hard to reconcile his answer about WD'ing from the Safeway Open with any image of a more mature, responsible Tiger Woods.
Jay Coffin at GolfChannel.com with the answer.
“One, the Ryder Cup helped a lot in the sense that I got a chance to be out there with the guys and see it and feel it and experience it,” he said. “Two, it hurt me by not being able to practice for a week.”
Which then led to a Friday commitment before?!
Here's where flags really rise...
Woods said that he could’ve played Safeway with limited go-to shots in his arsenal but it wasn’t worth the risk to do that on a golf course he hasn’t played since his college days, 20 years ago.
It's Silverado, not St. Andrews!
“As hard as it was on me to take it off and pull out of the event, it was a smart thing to do even though as a competitive athlete it killed me,” Woods said. “But if I’ve waited at the time, what, 13 months, what’s another couple more months? So let’s be a little patient, a little easier on myself, a little smarter and let’s come back when things are a little more together.”
So he wasn't ready. We all would have understood.
Why not just admit that it was a blunder, apologize for entering on a Friday before withdrawing on Monday after a bad weekend, and beg for the forgiveness of those who planned on attending to see you?
Tom Weiskopf was on hand to christen his remodel of Torrey Pines North and while it sounds positive in its sensitivity toward the everyday golfer's needs, nearly every photo shows very distinct step-tiers in the greens. Which, I realized after seeing them in images, has become such an increasingly rare look.
Anyway, John Strege offered this for GolfDigest.com:
Toward that end, Weiskopf has reduced the number of bunkers from 60 to 42 and made them generally easier from which to play. Average green sizes have increased from about 4,500 square feet to 6,000 square feet. He’s added his signature touch, a drivable par 4, the new seventh hole. The fairways are marginally wider and he’s softened playability in areas fronting the greens.
“My philosophy is to put the penalties on the side of holes,” he said. Penalties are not directly in front, so people can play by missing the ball in front of these greens and still have a good pitch or a chip and even a long putt.”
Kirk Kenney noted Weiskopf's devotion to the project in a San Diego Union-Tribune story that also seems to be accompanied by John Gibbins' photo gallery (I couldn't get more than one image, maybe you'll have better luck).
Weiskopf, 74, and his wife Laurie moved to Del Mar during the 5 1/2 months of the redesign so that he could stay on top of the project.
He observed golfers on the course during the month before construction began to gain insight that improved initial ideas. He listened to concerns of golf members at meetings. And he shared with them his ideas.
One of the major changes was swapping the front nine, featuring the course’s most scenic ocean-side holes, with the back nine. The idea received unanimous support by the time Weiskopf had explained his reasoning.
“I just think this is your brand,” he said. “The ocean, that beach, these ravines, the distant view that we catch down to La Jolla. San Diego, the pier and the surf breaking."
Jack Nicklaus' consistency on golf ball regulation is a thing to admire and he continued to lament the expansion of the golf course footprint at this week's HSBC Golf Business Forum.
Here were his comments from a press release summarizing views expressed during a chat with Giles Morgan at the Marriott Sawgrass Resort and Spa.
Despite the positive signs from the increased media interest in tournament golf, the game faces significant challenges—be it from a cost perspective, difficulty for some golfers, and a commitment of time. For Nicklaus, an award-winning course designer whose firm has 410 courses in 41 countries, that challenge can partly be associated with the golf ball.
“Fact is, more golf courses have closed in the US in each of the last 10 years than have opened. This is thanks in great part to changes in the golf ball and the distance it travels. Courses have had to change along with it. It’s now a slower game and more expensive than before, and that can’t be a good thing. We don’t want to change the game for the core golfer, but we need to make every effort to offer alternatives to bring more people into the game and keep them in the game. I think we need to develop a golf ball to suit the golf course, rather than build courses to suit a golf ball. Whether it’s a ball that goes 50%, 75%, or 100%, you play a ball that fits the course and your game.
“It’s not that big a deal. We used to do it when travelling to play the Open and switching from the large ball to the small. It took us only a day to get used to a different ball. But when land is a dear commodity and water is scarce, you need to do something to respond to today’s situation. It’s the same in life and business."
And yet, even though he's in the golf ball business, Mr. Nicklaus has refused to make the golf balls he describes above. They could easily be branded by naming them after his courses. The 75% Muirfield Village ball would be a staple of pro shops at places like Pine Valley, Merion and National and used by traditionalists who want to play the course as it was designed.
This is not hard. I just don't get it.
The media has been blamed for many things, but I'm fairly certain architect David Kidd took things to another level in suggesting his much-derided, since-renovated Castle Course at St. Andrews was the fault of others.
I was seduced by the 'harder is better' Tiger proofing ethos sold by the media, incremental alterations are improving playability https://t.co/NZSjDaQBRg— David McLay-Kidd (@DMKGolfDesign) November 29, 2016
Kidd was challenged by "the media", starting with former Golfweek publisher Alex Miceli:
I will own it I'm just telling you where the influence came from, many mag rankings use difficulty as a major factor and I tried to please https://t.co/fb8yHlaYK4— David McLay-Kidd (@DMKGolfDesign) November 29, 2016
This would suggest he designed to play to a ranking. While many architects have surely been influenced in some way by ranking criteria, blaming it for an unsuccessful design seems out of line.
And this reply to Golf World's John Huggan:
It is an unfortunate state of affairs when resistance to scoring is a ranking criteria. And the golf ball quickly outdated some pretty stellar courses. But blaming such outside forces appears short-sighted and, at best, should at least spark discussion toward remedying both blights on the game.
Alfred L. Malabre Jr. is a retired WSJ editor playing golf in Charleston and not really caring much for the USGA's anchoring ban or its rules against posting solo rounds for handicap purposes.
Given that the Journal is the paper of record for Executive Committee members, this one no doubt caused internal calls for a rebuttal. The handicapping complaint was compelling.
For those of us who play most of our rounds alone, that means fewer rounds will count toward calculating a handicap, which very likely will mean a less accurate handicap. That’s no small thing on those rare days when I do compete against friends for a few dollars.
Writing of the joys of solo golf in The Wall Street Journal in 2013, I noted enthusiastically that a solitary golfer, using however many handicap strokes may be allowed, may compete quite happily “against the course” and “record an accurate score.” This score, in turn, may be submitted, I wrote, so as to maintain an accurate handicap.
But no more. Now I am instructed that I must bring along at least one “companion” to verify my score before submission. Would my 10-year-old granddaughter do if she knows the rules? If the purpose of this new ban is to keep me honest, why not let me simply post my score and then agree to a polygraph test at the 19th hole? Or better yet, why not just keep counting on the honesty of golfers?
Tiger loathes the golf press, or, what's left of it. Even though the scribblers weren't the ones who scripted the talk show jokes that made him a national joke for a short time, Tiger should ease up the disdain some day and realize he fueled some fantastic writing about the game.
His return has prompted some more stellar coverage, and it's only Tuesday of Hero World Challenge Week.
The GolfChannel.com team has tracked down the one-hit-wonders to Tiger the Rolling Stone. Their stories of playing with and beside the man in key moments of his career is definitely one to save.
Ron Kroichick tracks down Lee Trevino, fellow back sufferer, to discuss what Tiger has to do to protect his back.
“When you injure your back, your body is telling you that you can’t move that way,” Trevino said in a phone interview. “Tiger has to revamp his swing. If he comes back and keeps swinging the way he did, he’ll re-injure it. No question.”
Trevino, like the rest of us, really doesn’t know what to expect when Woods makes his first tournament start in more than 15 months Thursday in the Hero World Challenge. It’s natural to view his comeback with rampant skepticism, given his aborted return at last month’s Safeway Open in Napa — he withdrew on Monday of tournament week, three days after officially entering the field.
That made Woods look terrible.
In this week's SI Roundtable, which must be angling for a Dramamine sponsorship to help readers deal with a wobbly webpage, Mssrs. Shipnuck and Bamberger offered this:
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): I wouldn't say they're completely unimportant. If he posts numbers in the mid- to high-70s, that's just more emotional scar tissue. I'm as interested in his press conference as anything. Last year on this occasion was the most glum and fatalistic Tiger has ever sounded, publicly. I'm as curious about his head as his swing.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I agree, Alan. He has indicated in various ways over the past 18-plus months that this is a new chapter in his life. He's always setting the table for something, and now we learn more. Is his goal here to be Tiger Woods, Dude at Large, or Tiger Woods, golfer?
On the actual course where he returns, Woods played golf with live humans Monday, including former Yankee and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Apparently the talk didn't sound much different than old men at The Villages discussing hemorrhoid remedies.
Brian Wacker reports for GolfDigest.com:
After the long range session on Sunday, Woods recovered in a hot tub and got other treatment on his surgically repaired left knee and battered back. He was also in the gym prior to his round on Monday.
“I was talking to Jetes about it and Tino. How long did it take them to get ready for each game?” Woods said. “And it took them from 3-to-4 hours as they got older. And it’s the same thing for me. I was in the gym with [Rose], and he’s in there doing the same thing. He’s 36 now, and it takes him an hour, hour and a half, just to be able to go and hit balls.
“You have to activate the muscles. . . . We miss the days going to the first tee and hitting a drive 300 yards with a balata ball and a persimmon driver. You can’t do that anymore.”
Bingo players, that's one activate, one uninspired nickname and one gym mention.
USA Today's Steve DiMeglio noted that Woods, if nothing else, is putting in a lot of work.
The quick nine – a day after Woods hit balls for more than two hours and before another long session on the range – was ideal for the winner of 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 majors as he got ready to play his first competitive round since August 2015, when he finished in a tie for 10th in the Wyndham Championship.
“I hit it good today,” said Woods, the former world No. 1 for a record 683 weeks who fell to No. 898 in the official world golf rankings on Monday.
He hit a lot, too. After taking 35-37 strokes to complete the back nine – he made two birdies and his best shot was his 360-yard drive at the downwind par-5 15th – he spent 90 minutes at the back of the range.
I know, you are hoping it's something from Tin Cup, but you'll just have to settle for weekly appearances on Golf Channel until it finds a permanent home on Turner Classic Movies. Or not.
No, it's Al Czervik's yacht from Caddyshack and it needs work. Maybe someone with a pricey yacht named Privacy would like it to have some company?
Nice spot Mark Townsend...
Rodney Dangerfield's Boat 'The Seafood' in Caddyshack is for sale. It's easy to grin... pic.twitter.com/TbxPDyKPlF— Mark Townsend (@MarkTownsendNCG) November 28, 2016
To kick off Morning Drive's Design Week, we had to discuss the sad news out of Rio that not a thing has changed with the ownership, operational obstacles and overall state of affairs.
And I spoke with Gil Hanse to get the architect's side of things. Having seen just about everything imaginable there, he offered that he was bitterly disappointed but also said this for our Monday Golf World.
“We witnessed this type of brinksmanship during the construction of the course, and we are hopeful that this is another example of having to hit a low point before things get better.”
A friend emailed to say he debated the Rio golf course situation and came down on the side of letting it fail, with a quick return to the capybaras and many birds that have taken up residence. Given the poverty issues in Rio, the corruption of its government and the well-documented troubles of the past, I get that point of view.
In fact, I'd support walking away if the golf course and Brazillian Golf Federation had given things a shot and things just didn't pan out. But since we learned the course does not have signage, a website or any sign that an attempt is being made less than four months since golf made a magnificent return to the Olympic Games, it just doesn't feel right for the course to not have been given a chance to excite young players, test burgeoning ones or take the money of folks who want to test a brilliant design amidst a thriving natural environment.
We've seen glimpses but the first slow-mo was captured to kick off a week when we'll see his swing 200 more times. And while it's embarrassing to be this nosy about a simple golf swing, Tiger Woods has been away over a year, has had three surgeries, is a 14-time major winner and is a mystery man.
Brian Wacker's Instagram of the swing has disappeared, with the clip no doubt having been detained for questioning by the PGA Tour Police.
But since we know how social media works and they don't, the clip was grabbed and posted many places. Here is one:
A video posted by GolfBalled.com (@golfballed) on
Hank Haney offered this Twitter analysis:
Ball's teed low which usually means a cut shot is planned yet the club is coming from inside as if to play a draw, just an observation https://t.co/bomFVMOHZI— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) November 28, 2016
Tiger hasn't given many interviews--except for this big exclusive with the vaunted Broward County New Times to discuss his restaurant's update--but Steve DiMeglio talks to the 14-time major winner in advance of this week's Hero World Challenge and Tiger is "ready to go."
Woods, who was hitting balls at Albany Golf Club in advance of the Challenge, told DiMeglio he was "drained" from his duties as a Ryder Cup assistant captain and patted himself on the back for withdrawing from October's Safeway Open just three days after committing to play.
“I have way more shots now, because I’ve played way more golf. I only had a handful of shots back then,” said Woods, who played nine holes at Albany shortly after he arrived on Saturday. “And you just saw a session where I hit everything. And I had control of everything. I can hit all the shots now, on call.
“It was a smart decision in the end to pull out of the tournaments. The competitor inside me wanted to go so badly, I was itching to go, I had been playing at home, and I thought I could get it around. I had played feeling worse and won golf tournaments. But I finally decided why rush … I had waited more than a year, so let’s wait a little more and get it right.”
Bob Harig at ESPN.com also watched Tiger's first Bahama's practice session and offered this assessment:
Woods had no trouble carrying drives over 300 yards, shaping shots in both directions with his various clubs while showing no pangs of discomfort. Of course, it's Sunday, not the opening round on Thursday of an otherwise low-key, 18-player tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. It's a year-ending cash grab for many stars of the game, and how they fare here is of little consequence. There are world ranking points at stake, and a $3.5 million purse with $1 million going to the winner.
Radaronline says Tiger will introduce a new woman by his side. She hopefully will be carrying less of his cash through the airport than she was in April.
Bookmaker.eu provides some of the fun exotic bets that are so sadly lacking at many of the betting houses these days.
A few of the eye-openers (prepare yourself for the cynicism):
Will Tiger Woods announce retirement from professional golf before January 1, 2018?
How many PGA Tour/European Tour events will Tiger Woods compete in during 2017 calendar year?
OVER 6.5 (+105)
UNDER 6.5 (-135)
Will Tiger Woods win a PGA Tour/European Tour event prior to January 1, 2018?
Tiger Woods world golf ranking on January 1, 2018 (current WGR is No. 861)
OVER 861 (+130)
UNDER 861 (-160)
Will Tiger Woods withdraw during the 2016 Hero World Challenge?
Will Tigers Woods hit fairway on first round tee shot on Hole No. 1 of Hero World Challenge?
The facial hair is still here...Feherty inspired?
Martin Kaufmann's look at the Wilson Triton driver's unapproved status is worth a look. The story provides some nice insight into how the reality-show produced product's timing worked but also demonstrates how much the road to conformity shows the value of USGA conforming-club status.
Kaufmann writes for Golfweek.com:
The owner of one East Coast golf retail chain said Nov. 25 that he was “shocked” to learn the Triton was not on the USGA’s conforming list, and said his first thought was to post signage alerting customers to that fact.
“We would not sell a nonconforming driver,” he said.
Wilson launched a busy demo-day schedule on Black Friday to promote the Triton, and that will continue through the spring.
Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach, Fla., is scheduled to hold a Triton demo day Nov. 28, and director of golf Mike McLellan said he plans to stick to that schedule. But McLellan, who was unaware that the Triton was not yet a conforming product prior to being contacted by Golfweek, said he will inform his members that the USGA has not approved the club. After the demo day, McLellan said he probably will return the six Tritons he received this week.
“If it’s not USGA-approved, how can I sell it to my members?” McLellan said. “We play by the rules.”
McLellan’s reaction highlights Wilson’s dilemma: The Triton is an extremely tough sell if retailers and consumers are aware that it is not approved by the USGA.
The club will soon be added to the list and all will be well. But the episode serves as a reminder that as much as everyone complains about the USGA-R&A rules, they are afraid to defy them even when the club is not destined for non-conforming status.
Arguably the best story in Rio was the fine play of India'a Aditi Ashok, the 18-year-old from who discovered golf when she saw a driving range. Ashok's story, which includes her supportive dad on the bag, gave credence to the importance of developing golf outside of its current mainstay countries.
With her win in the Qatar Ladies Open Saturday, Ashock won her second LET title and now heads to LPGA Q-School Finals.
Brentley Romine notes for Golfweek.com that momentum and intrigue are on her side as she heads to Daytona Beach.
“The first win was special, because I won in India, but I felt I played really well here and had to play well every day and shoot sub-par rounds,” Ashok said in an LET release. “I think my game was better this week and obviously to win in the Qatar, the golf course is the same as the men’s (Qatar Masters on the European Tour), so I know it’s challenging and to win here feels good.”
We knew given the shady and bizarre ownership that things could go either way for the course. But downhill this quickly?
An AFP report (unbylined Sebastian Smith) says the Olympic golf course in Rio may be just a month or so from losing the ability to maintain fairways and greens.
The existing maintenance company is not getting paid, the clubhouse is unfurnished and all signs point to trouble.
With so few locals playing and no obvious plan for attracting foreigners, funding is already a problem.
Neil Cleverly, the Briton who built the course and now manages the upkeep, says the company he works for, Progolf, has not been paid for two months.
"What happens when we run out of gas or diesel? We've been close," Cleverly said. "None of us know if there'll be a job for us in December."
A source close to the company who asked not to be identified said Progolf has been given no contract by the confederation and, having been forced to foot the $82000 monthly maintenance operation out of its own pocket, is set to pull out.
Maybe "next month," the source said.
If that happens, the confederation would quickly have to find expert replacements before damage set in.
Without maintenance, "the golf course will die," the source said. "It could take four weeks, three weeks."