Post Quad: Could Tiger Have Dropped From The Island Green's Walkway?

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Just two back at the time, Tiger Woods made quadruple bogey at the par-3 17th and likely killed his chances of winning the 2019 Players.

ESPN’s Bob Harig on the first-ever two-water-ball day for Woods at 17 and the impact it made on Woods’ chances.

"Both shots I'm just trying to hit the ball into the slope [on the green] and just walk away with a 20-, 25-footer and move on about my business," Woods said after shooting 71 to finish at 141, 3 under par. "The second one I hit too flat and too hot. But the first one from the regular tee and was a good shot, it just flew a little bit too far."

But as the Live From crew noted last night, the yellow penalty area marking means there was an opportunity to possibly drop on the manicured walkway. The wording of the new rule also gives the player room to drop where a stance might be possible. Brandel Chamblee has since Tweeted suggesting his take was confirmed by a rules official.

Tiger On Technology, Training, Distance

Before we go deep on the 2019 Players, I just wanted to highlight these comments from Tiger Woods earlier this week.

Nice to see him explaining for those not necessarily able to understand how much the weight of clubs and size of clubheads changes how people swing. Not that we would go back to heavier clubs, but the driver head size?

Q. And everyone was sort of talking about the longevity you can get that now that modern technology, training, etcetera. But do you have concerns for guys like Jason Day and others that have had injuries sort of popping up a bit more because of this force you talked of?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I would think that the younger kids now that are involved in the game that are coming into the game are -- put it this way, that are coming on to the TOUR now, by far hit it harder than what we did when we came on TOUR. And that's due to technology and that's also due to the training and also due to the fact that I -- in my opinion, the drivers have gotten so much bigger and you have so much more surface area to miss it and hit the ball well. When I beat Davis in that playoff in '96, he had a persimmon driver. You laugh, but that was -- they were still around. So you had to hit the ball absolutely dead flush, and the guys didn't really hit it that hard. But now you can.

These kids have been training. They're stronger, they're more physical. You look what the college programs are doing, how many times they're lifting, five, six times a week. They're so much stronger now and they're able to handle the force, but also they're generating a lot of force, so there's going to be a give and take.

It will be interesting to see. These kids are hitting it so much further now and it's cool to see. We thought that Dustin was long and Bubba was long, and then we have Cameron Champ out here. It just keeps propping up. I thought I was pretty long, and then John Daly would hit it by me.

Q. So I guess we'll know when they're 40, right, how that works over time?

TIGER WOODS: It's going to -- we're going to see how it goes over the next 15, 20 years, see how the sport evolves. When you're swinging clubs that are 15 ounces and things, what we used to, to where now it's like as light as a feather. I remember, I mean, geez, my driver shaft was 121, 122 grams. Now they're 60 and 50, 60, 70 grams. So, yeah, they're lighter, and hence you're hitting it further.

But these kids are swinging so much harder, but they're so much stronger, and we'll see how that evolves. There's no reason why you can't play longer with the way the training is. You also have to be lucky, too, not to have injuries. Some bodies just get more dinged up than others.

Tiger At The Players: "Everything is headed on track towards April."

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As The Players prepares for its March return, Tiger Woods confirmed his work with short game instructor Matt Killen and explained the state of his neck issues.

And mostly, he assured his worried fans that he’s got this all under control for that very important tournament in April.

Q. The other one, you've always talked about finding a rhythm for a season. You've had the 72 holes in L.A. and elevation struggles in Mexico and the putting, the WD last week. Any concern that you're behind schedule as far as finding a rhythm before you get to Magnolia Lane?

TIGER WOODS: No. I've played three tournaments this year so far, and that's about right. I was going to play three or four. If I would have gotten my rounds in last week, it would have been four tournaments, so I'm right there where I need to be. My finishes are getting a little bit better each and every time I've gone out so far this year, and I've gotten a little bit more consistent with my play, and I think that everything is headed on track towards April.

Eh em…toward the second week of March we know you meant.

Tiger Is Back With A Putting Coach And Shorts! Really, Really Big Shorts

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Swing looks amazing. He’s feeling good and says he needed last week off.

And then there’s Nike’s tailoring of those cargo-ish shorts. Great if he’s going to a 90s golf party or handing them off to Tim Herron at some point. Otherwise....

Oh, and Tiger Woods is working with a putting coach, Matt Killen, it appears. Brian Wacker reports for GolfDigest.com.

He joins the Players media interview room Tuesday at 10:30 am ET. Tune into Golf Channel Live From for live coverage.

Players Texting With Tiger Say He's Just Being Cautious, Which Is A Nice Way Of Saying He Mostly Just Wants To Be Ready For The Masters

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Steve DiMeglio talked to a few players who have texted with Tiger Woods after his surprise Arnold Palmer Invitational WD.

McIlroy also said Woods was wearing KT Tape on his upper back.

“He’s just being careful,” McIlroy said.

That’s what Woods told two-time major champion Zach Johnson in text messages Tuesday morning.

“I know that guy well enough to know this is something he’s being overly cautious of, and he should be, because of what is on the table and what’s ahead of him,” Johnson said. “Rest will help, with the proper attention to go with that rest.”

As we discussed on Tuesday’s Alternate Shot, I hope and suspect Woods is just taking every precaution to ready maybe for next week’s Players, but most definitely with a goal of being 100% on April 11th and three other Thursday’s in 2019.

 


"Tiger Woods raises old questions with new neck injury"

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Steve DiMeglio sees an unfortunate run-up to Augusta for Tiger Woods after a Tweeted WD from the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Now, instead of dialing in his swing and rhythm, Woods will be receiving treatment and trying to get ready for The Players. Without his tune-up at Bay Hill, Woods has only four events to play before the Masters – The Players, the Valspar Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, and the Valero Texas Open.

Woods has never played the week before the Masters, so Valero is likely out. He also rarely plays three events in succession, so, if he does play The Players, one of the other two would be out.

That’s not the schedule Woods was eying earlier this year in his runup to the Masters. In his mind, there was certain beat he wanted to follow. But a neck strain has sent him off key.

I would say it’s obviously not ideal, but Woods looked physically uncomfortable in Mexico City and in LA, appeared to be someone who is very confident in his ability to turn it on when he needs to. People will hate to hear this, but he’s about four weeks a year at this point in his life and the slightest physical annoyance will sideline him if it’s not one of those four weeks.

Ben Hogan got that way late in his career and no one had a problem with it. Tiger has different responsibilities but ultimately, the thing that draws people to him is his ability to peak at major championships. His time is limited to maximize his chances and he knows it.

It Was A Good Day For Netflix...For Golf: Tiger Grants GolfTV Exclusive After WGC Mexico Final Round

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Sure, the real Netflix didn’t pick up the Best Picture win it so coveted—but plenty of other trophies—the service billed as the Netflix for golf by all finally scored an exclusive with partner Tiger Woods after his WGC Mexico City closing 69 and 10th place finish.

While not the winning way he is accustomed to, Woods showed more signs of positioning himself well for the Masters with a miraculous recovery shot and enough birdies to suggest he’s in solid form.

Yet as Bob Harig notes for ESPN, Woods wasn’t chatty after his final two rounds in Mexico City.

And for the second day in a row Sunday, Woods declined to talk about it.

Golfers across all professional tours decline media requests after poor rounds, but Woods has been the rare type to be accountable for good and bad -- and he's also the only one requested every time.

Woods skipped just one post-round media session last year but now has two in a row at the WGC-Mexico Championship, the post-tournament recap refusal something that hasn't occurred in years.

While Woods is certainly entitled at this point to take a pass given how consistently he’s stopped for post round coverage when he undoubtedly was ashamed of his play, it’s hard not to wonder if the Netflix-for-golf pressure to deliver something…anything, prompted a call to throw a reminder out there that the fledging streaming service exists.

The exclusive from Woods is viewable in the only place American and most international viewers can see the coverage: Twitter.

Tiger's First Day At WGC Mexico City Peaks At The First Tee

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Remember walk up music? That’s right, we do not hear about that lame idea much because of poor execution. Besides, there is still nothing better than a great first tee announcer as we saw again Thursday.

As Steve DiMeglio notes for Golfweek, Tiger Woods’ first round in the WGC Mexico City Championship peaked at this introduction and was followed by a largely cautious round as Woods adjusted to the altitude. Rory McIlroy leads with an opening 63.

Four Ways Tiger Can Make His “Invitational” Special

While most fans will not feel much impact from the Genesis Open’s new “invitational status”, Tiger Woods has an opportunity to leave a special legacy with a few moves.

He can use the example set by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer with their events, put his own twist on the Genesis, and give fans reason to believe last week’s announcement will have a profound impact on this historic PGA Tour stop.

 

Maintain The Open Status 

Last week when the new “invitational format was announced, I was a bit surprised to watch PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan unable to answer a straightforward question about whether the 94-year-old Los Anglees “Open” would retain components of its original status in the form of Monday qualifying, a spot given to the local PGA section and an amateur spot of some kind. After the new invitational format was announced, I heard from many Angelenos wondering if it meant the end of Monday qualifying. The answer we got: TBD.  And the name? Genesis Open is out, to be replaced by something clunky like Genesis Invitational, Genesis Classic or The Genesis.

The narrative for Tiger is a simple one if he agrees to maintain elements of this tournament’s past: “I love Jack and Arnold’s events but this has always been an ‘open’ event, and as long as I can remember I dreamed of qualifying before I got an invitation in 1992 to play that was vital to my career. So even as we go from 144 to 120 players, my foundation will use sponsors invitations to maintain the open nature of this tournament: two Monday qualifying spots, an exemption to the Collegiate Showcase winner, an exemption to the local PGA of America sectional qualifier, and of course, the Charlie Sifford Exemption. Those five spots will maintain ties to this tournament’s past while also not prevent any worthy players from participating. Tiger would be a hero to golf geeks in SoCal and even PGA Tour pros would have to tip their cap at him maintaining the tournament spirit and name.”

 

Hooray For Hollywood 

Tiger has the ability to attract star power like no one else in golf. Since the LA Open’s early days, stars have either been part of the week as spectators or the pro-am. This connection is an essential to distinguishing the Genesis Open going forward for marketing and atmospheric purposes.

The new Celebrity Cup brought out A-listers from screen and sport, while the Wednesday pro-am played in lousy weather brought out fascinating names from sports, business and Hollywood. From a word-of-mouth point of view, the sight of big names early in the week helps attract local television and national media attention. From a fan point of view, seeing major names whapping it around Riviera gives the stop something no other tournament will enjoy.

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Create The Western Hollywood Bowl 

If you’ve ever been at Riviera’s 18th green when a large crowd has assembled, you know there is nothing remotely close in golf. A few thousand people can fit in a very small, shockingly vertical space and the atmosphere is electric. But there is also a tradition at the 18th green dating to the tournament’s early days as a popular place to sit and watch the players come to you. Some of that tradition was built on Scotty Chisholm’s back. For decades, the tournament co-founder would announce every group and their score as they came to the 18th in his trademark kilt. He even performed a modified version in Follow The Sun (1:25 in). I say bring back an 18th green announcer—Chris Harrison and Carson Daly are Tiger/Riviera friends—and get a modern video board situated so that fans can follow the action—there was just a small PGA Tour stock board in the trees 100 yards short of the green.

The focus has clearly been on elaborate corporate structures that do look sensational, but the focus going forward should be on making the 18th green at Riviera one of golf’s most important places to be all week, but especially on Sunday. An announcer, a video board and some promotion as the February edition of the “Bowl” will work wonders for attracting even more fans.  

 Go to the 1:25 mark to see Scotty Chisholm in Follow The Sun:

Win No. 83 At Riviera

With two wins in 2019 and Tiger can return to Riviera next year looking to break Sam Snead’s record at a course where the all-time PGA Tour leader in victories won twice. It would also mean Tiger breaks the record at his event.

The script writes itself!

Hooray for Hollywood!

Genesis Open Moving To Jack And Arnie Status, Field Reduction To 120 Should Liven Up The "Playing Opportunities" Chatter

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ESPN.com’s Bob Harig reports that the Genesis Open hosted by Tiger Woods will move from 144 players to 120 in 2020 and see boosts in both purse and exemption-legngth from winning.

Sources told ESPN that the Genesis Open will receive "elevated status,'' which means it will have a significantly higher purse, offer a three-year PGA Tour exemption to the winner (up from two years) and will have an invitational field that will be reduced to 120 players. This week's tournament at Riviera will have 144 players.

According to sources, an announcement on the new status for the tournament is expected to be made Wednesday, when Woods addresses the media after playing in the tournament pro-am.

I have mixed feelings as anything that elevates such a historic stop is exciting while rewarding the role of Woods and Genesis for making a long term commitment. It’s a wealth of riches for the L.A. stop given Tiger’s involvement, the cachet of Riviera and a prime spot on the calendar for drawing big audiences.

Reducing the field from 144 to 120 is, in part, a statement about the inability of getting a full field around Riviera this time of year. As I noted for Golfweek, a tournament that has gone from 156 to 144 to 120 should open a few eyes to the perils of chasing distance to the point a course cannot defend itself or function. Slow play is often more than just about golfers not making up their mind.

The downside to this news?

The event has been an “Open” competition since 1926 and with that comes a spot for the local PGA section, amateur qualifiers or the successful “Collegiate Showcase” replacement. Throw in four Monday qualifying spots and we know larger fields deliver more storylines, diversity and competitiveness. They also help offset some of the dead weight that turns up too often ( welcome again to LA Vijay, enjoy LAX on a Friday night!).

PGA Tour Orders Takedown Of Funny, Harmless And Viral Video Of Tiger Getting Rejected For Pizza

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As an eyewitness to this adorable little moment in Wednesday’s Farmers Insurance Open pro-am, I can attest that it was 100% comedy and totally innocent.

Here’s what happened: Tiger Woods tees off at the 13th and walks to the forward tee where a local pizza vendor has been commissioned to hand out pies to pro-am participants. The legendary golfer and one of the most famous people on earth is rejected because, it turns out, a health inspection was taking place at that moment and they could not hand out pizza. Tiger doesn’t know this but laughs off the rejection with Joe LaCava and his pro-am partners.

Everyone had a good chuckle at the sight of Woods getting turned away in the same way Roger Federer’s rejection from entering the Australian Open locker room last week went viral.

Brandon Stone of San Diego’s KUSI captured the whole thing and posted it on Twitter. He also wrote about the light moment here and the star-struck lad who loves Tiger but had to say no because of the inspection taking place. Stone’s video of the moment went viral, of course. But Stone also Tweeted the news of the video takedown notice from the PGA Tour.

Copies are floating out there and while I’d like to share one, I don’t want the blood of a takedown notice on my hands here.

But the bigger point: the PGA Tour runs the dreaded “Live Under Par” ad campaign encouraging fans to post photos and videos of fun things happening at PGA Tour events.

As they are getting killed by the European Tour on the social media front when episodes like this happen, you can bet the Euros would have had a blast with Tiger over this. Why common sense did not prevail, we can only imagine.

New Rules: Even Tiger Toying With Leaving The Flagstick In

I would have figured the old man is set in his ways, but Bob Harig of ESPN quotes Tiger discussing the new flagstick rules and the Big Cat is warming to the idea. In some situations.

This in particular caught my eye:

"I've been experimenting trying to hit putts downhill at home and see how that feels, and I didn't find that I hit better putts. It just felt like I could hit it more aggressively, which I did. Then I started running it 8 or 9 feet by. It might be more advantageous when we get on faster greens, a little bit more slope, i.e. Augusta. Where you have that sense of security on a 3-footer, a 4-footer down the hill, you can just take a cut at it."

This is going to be fun!

Farmers Intrigue: Tiger Is Back, Rory Returns For The First Time, The Rough Is Up And Defender Day Is Ready

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The Farmers Insurance Open returns to Torrey Pines with stout rough and even better weather forecast.

While it’s a bit silly to enlist Tiger Woods as a favorite here given the strong recent play of Torrey lovers like Jon Rahm, Marc Leishman, Tony Finau and even defender Jason Day. We debated that notion as Woods kicks off his campaign and having not seen his game when bickering with Matt Adams, I now revise my assessment. He showed no signs of rust and appears to have the same rhythm and swing confidence as he did by the second half of 2018.

As Dan Kilbridge notes in this Golfweek assessment, Wood is mentally refreshed after overloading from a playoff and Ryder Cup run last year. If the putter cooperates, look out.

Woods is also sporting a lot of new clubs in the bag.

Rory McIlroy actually was going to play the Junior World here and even took part in ceremonies before not playing, so he only played Torrey Pines for the first time Wednesday. The course is different than he thought it would be, writes Rex Hoggard.

But as Steve DiMeglio notes, McIlroy’s issues on recent Sundays will be thought about by most. Just not Rory.

I also penned this short item on McIlroy’s views of Hosung Choi and whether he should have received a sponsor’s invite to Pebble Beach.

Jason Day’s relaxed and confident approach makes the defending champion here dangerous, as does a change in irons after a disastrous 2018 campaign approaching the greens.

Here is our Golfweek preview of all things Farmers, including telecast times and more.

And my look at the rough, which is going to play a huge role as it did in 2018:

"Tiger Woods’ biggest moment didn’t last very long"

One highlight of Tiger’s pre-Farmers Insurance Open press conference was the revelation that he’s gone back and savored the final round NBC telecast of the Tour Championship, as well as many of the photographs from his 80th PGA Tour win.

Doug Ferguson of AP pieces together how the iconic moment in a career full of them felt to Woods and those around him.

Was there a more indelible image than Woods walking up to the 18th green, red shirt blazing, as thousands of fans rushed under the ropes and followed him down the fairway to create a stage worthy of the occasion?

“It gives me chills almost every single time I see it,” Woods said. “At the time, it didn’t seem like that because I didn’t really look back. I only looked back a couple times over my right shoulder. … I got on the green, I looked and I’m like, ‘Holy cow, there’s a lot of people out there.’

“But the rush and the commotion that happened … I’ve experienced things of that nature, but not that energy.”


The highlights:

Golf.com Anonymous (European Tour) Player Survey: Dinner With Tiger Or Phil?

There are several interesting questions and several serious ones as executed by Adam Schupak, but these two on the lighter side were fun:

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE DINNER WITH TIGER OR PHIL?

Tiger: 79%
Phil: 9%
Table for one, please!: 12%

HOT TAKES

“Table for one because Tiger would probably stick me with the check.”
“I’ve had dinner with Phil and I didn’t enjoy it.”
“I’d like to pick Tiger’s brain on how he overcame his suffering. That could really help me.”
“Phil. He’s got more to say.”

12% for neither!? They’re legends! Suck it up Euros!

WHICH AMERICAN PLAYER MOST IRRITATES YOU?

Bryson DeChambeau: 16%
Bubba Watson: 11%
Several tied (including Mickelson): 5%
Declined to answer: 68%

HOT TAKES

“Any of them that act like babies.”
“Wait, I can only pick one?”

Hmmm…tension between the tours!

Reminder...ESPN Debuting Tiger Woods: Return Of The Roar

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With a birthday debut and other airtimes (above), ESPN is wrapping up Tiger’s tremendous 2018 comeback season. The preview doesn’t show us much, but I wouldn’t read much into that…**

**I have since watched the show and while there were several fine moments featuring some of Tiger and Joe LaCava’s moments on course we otherwise would not have known about, the show exuded an infomercial vibe below ESPN’s standards. Not coincidentally, it was a PGA Tour Entertainment production.

Steiny: No Deal In Place For Another Match

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Agent Mark Steinberg is refuting a GolfDigest.com story suggesting there is a three-year deal for The Match and spinoffs, telling ESPN.com’s Bob Harig that discussions will soon take place. But nothing more.

“We -- and that's a very big we when I say the Woods camp, the Mickelson camp, the Turner camp -- have a lot to talk about,'' Steinberg said. "We don't have any specifics on what it might look like, whether it's Tiger-Phil, two others, four others.''

Oops!

This could be a negotiating ploy since his client was amazingly generous with the knee-knockers and is without question the primary attraction. But it sounds more like a traditional conservative approach by the Woods camp on high-profile deals and no rush to commit to something.

A couple of months removed from The Match, the question I keep coming back to relates to the paywall issues: who will try to pay for a sequel of some form after getting it for free?

That may be a question Tiger and Steinberg will be raising when discussions take place.

Four-Foot Gimme's Rejoice! Two More Editions Of "The Match" On Tap

As we’ve had time to mull Thanksgiving 2018’s The Match with it’s pay wall gone bad and gimme’s from a stout range, organizers are still planning on going forward with two more editions, reports Golf World’s Dave Shedloski.

The good news? A partners match seems likely with Tiger and Phil either pairing up, or not. While that will prolong the day, hopefully an enticing match will be put together on a different golf course.

If you are prone to believe the numbers put out be unnamed sources, the financials were amazing:

…but knowledgeable sources told Golf World that the $9 million showdown between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on Nov. 23 in Las Vegas drew nearly one million customers who paid the $19.95 fee.

So nearly 1 million paid but because of pay wall issues at match time, the wall was quickly dropped, exposing organizers to returns of nearly $20 million? Charitable.

Forbes: Tiger's Net Worth Up To $800 Million

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Tiger has giggled at the annual Forbes measurements of his wealth and in recent years it was very believable that he was no where near the figures.

But as Kurt Badenhausen writes, Tiger’s comeback along with his win at East Lake and new Discovery deal suggest he’s about to have a lucrative run to the tres-comma club. At least, as Forbes sees it.

Woods' current sponsors include Nike, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Monster Energy, Hero MotoCorp and Kowa.

Kowa, of course. How could I have forgotten?

Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, has been inundated with sponsorship and business opportunities since Woods’ victory at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

The golfer signed a multi-year content deal this fall with Discovery’s new over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, GolfTV, which launches in January. Woods will do weekly golf instructional videos and give fans a look into his “life, mind and performance.” In a press release announcing the news, Woods said: “I want to talk to golf fans and golfers everywhere, directly, and straight from me.”

Translation: I’ve got equity, baby!

More Evidence That Par-5's Aren't What They Used To Be

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Christopher Powers compiles a list of the 14 “most telling” stats from 2018 and while they’re all worth your time, Tiger’s 4.57 scoring average on par-5s stands out.

Powers writes:

The number matches the worst mark in Woods' career; in 2013 he also had a 4.57 average. However that year it was good enough to tie him for fourth on tour. This year, that mark tied him for 24th, by far the worst standing of his career in the category. Prior to this season, Woods had never finished worse than T-6 for a season in par-5 scoring average.

While it may stand out to Tiger as something to consider, the notion that the same number this year was only good for 24th compared to 4th just five years ago is yet another remind kids to do your Wall Planks!