Tiger On Hitting His Numbers, Five Hours As A Grow The Game Killer

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 5.35.05 PM.png

Tiger Woods was in good spirits to kick off his return to Bethpage Black and the 2019 PGA Championship, touching on an array of topics from Olympic golf (nice if it happens) to the state of his game and the Black Course. Steve DiMeglio with the full round-up here for Golfweek.

Two quotes stood out in his comments.

Q. You haven't gone major to major without playing all that often in your career, but as you look ahead now, is it something you might consider doing more often? And just sort of how do you weigh the need for reps versus the need for rest at this point?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's a great question because the only other time where I've taken four weeks off prior to major championships is going from the British Open to the PGA. Usually that was my summer break, and take those four weeks off and then get ready for the PGA, Firestone and the fall. So I'm always looking for breaks. Generally it's after the Masters I used to take four weeks off there. Now, with the condensed schedule, it's trying to find breaks.

You know, I wanted to play at Quail Hollow, but to be honest with you, I wasn't ready yet to start the grind of practicing and preparing and logging all those hours again. I was lifting -- my numbers were good. I was feeling good in the gym, but I wasn't mentally prepared to log in the hours.

Ok first we had players wanting to his certain Trackman numbers. Now gym numbers?

Coming here is a different story. I was able to log in the hours, put in the time and feel rested and ready. That's going to be the interesting part going forward; how much do I play and how much do I rest. I think I've done a lot of the legwork and the hard work already, trying to find my game over the past year and a half. Now I think it's just maintaining it. I know that I feel better when I'm fresh. The body doesn't respond like it used to, doesn't bounce back quite as well, so I've got to be aware of that.

And this seemed to be a nice statement for those leading the game who insist there is nothing wrong with five hour rounds, or slow play in general.

Q. Tiger, more minorities and young women are taking up the sport than before because of all of the initiatives in place, but that isn't reflected in the college participation numbers. Asians are the only minorities that are showing an increase. What do you think is happening? Why aren't the kids who are taking up the game sticking with it?

TIGER WOODS: You know, that's the question for all of us that's been a difficult one to figure out, to put our finger on. The First Tee has done an amazing job of creating facilities and creating atmospheres for kids to be introduced to the game, but also have some type of sustainability within the game.

But it's difficult. There are so many different things that are pulling at kids to go different directions. Golf is just merely one of the vehicles.

Now, with today's -- as I said, there's so many different things that kids can get into and go towards that honestly playing five hours, five and a half hours of a sport just doesn't sound too appealing. That's one of the things that we've tried to increase is the pace of play and try and make sure that's faster, because most of us in this room, if you've gone probably five minutes without checking your phone, you're jonesing. Kids are the same way; five hours on a golf course seems pretty boring.

Tiger Gets Bethpage To Himself In Advance Of The 2019 PGA

Given the dreadful weekend forecast, those wondering if Tiger would get enough scouting in at Bethpage can rest assured after he turned up there Wednesday. Rest assured.

At least it looks that way based on his shorts and fluid swing and lovely solitude, though I’m sure there were plenty of hard working folks setting up infrastructure and trying to get the turf ready. Or maybe shooting some video!

Riggs of Barstool Sports posted this exclusive:


Wacky Times: From A Villa Ribbon Cutting At Doral To A Rose Garden Medal Of Freedom Ceremony

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 9.25.09 PM.png

Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger provides some on-site observations from Tiger Woods’ Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House. He reminds us that it was just five years ago these two were cutting the ribbon on a Woods villa at Doral.

Woods is studiously apolitical. He takes his cues not from Steph Curry but from Michael Jordan. Why he said nothing about his foundation work or learning from his past mistakes is hard to imagine – he had tens of millions watching – but what he did say was heartfelt, that was clear.

Anyway, this country, which takes so many of its cues, social and sporting and otherwise, from Great Britain, does ceremony well, and Monday night at the Rose Garden was pure ceremony. Dozens of cameramen filed out of the grungy White House press briefing room, as crowded and stifling as an inter-island commuter plane, and setup their cameras beyond the white ropes that defined the seating area. The band played “Hail to the Chief.” Tiger was referred to as “Eldrick.”

Also of note, Woods controlled the guest list that was mercifully free of representatives from golf’s major families.

The full ceremony as it aired on Golf Channel:

Medal Of Freedom Ceremony At 6 PM ET: Will Tiger's Foundation Work Be Acknowledged?

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 12.22.32 PM.png

I’m ambivalent on Tiger Woods receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the grand scheme of world issues. It’s an award. A special one at that. And he probably would have gotten it at some point in his life.

The timing seems odd a week before the second major of 2019 given that Woods seems to be back into his win-at-all-costs mode and in a year he has a phenomenal chance to pick off another major or…three.

But he’s only mildly superstitious compared to other athletes, and it’s not exactly an award you can ask to be delayed. Nor is it a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.

The timing could also be viewed as a negative given that Woods should receive this award both for his contributions to sport and culture, but also because of the foundation he has established with already-tangible results in changing lives. So far, it seems like his charitable work has been getting little play in the build-up to today’s 6 pm ET ceremony from the White House (that will be carried live on Golf Channel).

In today’s NY Times front page story by Annie Karni and Kevin Draper, the odd business ties between Woods and Donald Trump are revisited, as are some of the past ties between presidents and medal recipients.

But by honoring him, the president leaves the appearance of using his office to reward a business partner.

“Tiger Woods is obviously a very talented golfer,” said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, a watchdog group. But Mr. Trump awarding him the Medal of Freedom “shows he’s willing to use any tool of government to benefit his business and political allies.”

The White House defended Mr. Woods’s selection. “The president thinks Tiger is not only a tremendous athlete but also has a great comeback story,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. “He is undisputed as one of the great golfers in history and has broken barriers in the game.”

Both the story and the press secretary never once mention the Woods foundation efforts. Again, not a huge shock and maybe not appropriate until the ceremony takes place, but it’s also a disappointing element to what should be a primary reason for receiving this prestigious medal. If it ends up just being a chance for the President to enjoy positive attention off of Woods’ Masters win, that will be a shame.

The Morning Drive gang’s discussion touched on the Medal making Earl Woods’ declaration many years ago look a bit more prophetic:

If It Makes You Feel Better, Tiger Will Still Be Teeing Up Way More Than Hogan Did

Screen Shot 2019-04-26 at 4.11.34 PM.png

Only once in his career has Tiger Woods gone from major to major without a known injury or death in the family. That makes his decision to pass up next week’s Quail Hollow PGA Tour stop a bit jarring since he’s now going straight from his Masters win to the next major. This year, it’s the first-ever May PGA Championship. 

No one expects him to add the PGA’s preceding AT&T Byron Nelson for a litany of obvious reasons, meaning he will turn up at Bethpage having gone 31 days between competitive rounds.  

“The Masters took a lot out of him,” agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com’s Bob Harig. “He’s still digesting and appreciating what happened.”

Since Tiger has generally played better fresh than in the middle of an extensive run, he’s signaling more than ever that majors are all that matters. This should not be a surprise, nor should it be criticized. He is an all-time great looking to become the all-time greatest, and while the 82-win plateau is a fantastic accomplishment getting a heavy push from the PGA Tour’s marketing arm, 18 is the number he’s looking to surpass.

Tiger is enough of a historian to know that Ben Hogan reached a point after his accident to realize the limitations of his body, mind and desire.

In the first year back from the accident, Hogan played nine times with two starts after winning the U.S. Open that meant nothing: the Palm Beach Round Robin and the Motor City Open.

After 1950 when he pushed himself and was a little unlucky—Hogan had to return to Riviera for an 18-hole playoff a week after the event was scheduled—he cut back significantly. Hogan’s starts after 1950 were severely curtailed to protect his mind and body.

He played four times in 1951, three times in 1952 and eight times in 1953, though two of those starts were the Seminole and Palmetto Pro-Am’s.

Hogan returned to four-start seasons in 1954 and again in 1955, then played even more sporatic schedules after that. 

While Woods’s win at the 2018 Tour Championship gave him the confidence to savor most of the off-season and devote his early 2019 to protecting energy levels, he has not forgotten that last year’s grueling playoff run caused him to lose weight and push his body too hard. He signaled with his pass on Quail Hollow that he won’t be making that mistake again.

Tiger will not be cutting back to Hogan levels but if he keeps winning majors, he will keep passing on PGA Tour events.

The PGA Tour’s new condensed schedule requires such an approach for a player at his age, with his track record of playing well off a break. His bank account also allows him to not care about “chasing points” or grinding at Quail Hollow, a course he once liked but but seems to have less affinity for after multiple renovations and tedious walks to new back tees.  

Just as Hogan limited his exposure to stress, Woods is managing his 2019 at the expense of regular PGA Tour events with majors in mind. History says he’s making the right move.

Tiger To Play First-Ever Wraparound Schedule Event This Fall In Japan; Now About Quail Hollow...

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 11.01.53 PM.png

We had a good sense he was headed there when GOLFTV’s CEO revealed a likely exhibition match would be played there this fall and Tiger Woods made the news official of an October appearance in Japan.

As Bob Harig notes for ESPN.com, this will be Tiger’s first-ever appearance in a pre-January official PGA Tour event.

The ZOZO Championship will have a $9.75 million purse, with a field of 78 players and no 36-hole cut. Woods last appeared in an official event in Japan at the 2006 Dunlop Phoenix, in which he lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington.

Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, told ESPN.com during the Masters two weeks ago that a likely destination for exhibition matches as part of the GolfTV deal was Japan, where Woods would possibly take on another player or invite a series of players for a one-day competition, format to be determined. That would not have any impact on future matches that involve Phil Mickelson.

There’s a load off!

More importantly, Tiger is committed to Japan in October. How about Charlotte in the first week of May? No word yet from the Masters champion. He has until Friday evening to commit.

A Refresher On Ben Hogan's Comeback And Where Tiger's Ranks

Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 8.27.11 PM.png

The dust is settling on Tiger’s 2019 Masters win but the proclamations of greatest comeback in sports history are still rolling in. It’s tempting to want to put a stop to some of it but then that would be dulling the necessary excitement and respect for what Tiger has accomplished.

ESPN.com’s Rachel Marcus listed the best individual comebacks in sports, omitting Ben Hogan and overall helping to make the case for both Hogan and Woods since their efforts stand out. This guy nailed it last year speaking about Hogan:

“I think that one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport is the gentleman who won here, Mr Ben Hogan. I mean, he got hit by a bus and came back and won major championships,” he said.

“The pain he had to endure, the things he had to do just to play and just how hard it was for him to walk, and he ended up walking 36 holes (in one day) and winning a US Open.”

That was Tiger Woods speaking at the 2018 Masters.

There are few similarities between the two comebacks and yet they are equally impressive given that Hogan was near death and Tiger had appeared to lose all confidence in his game for longer period than any all-time great. Only maybe Seabiscuit appeared to lose it all before regaining elite form.

Still, Hogan has to get the nod for having played no role in his need to stage a comeback in the first place. Tiger, by his own admission, inflicted some of his pain.

Golf Monthly’s Nick Bonfield filed this excellent look back at Hogan’s plight and what he overcame to win six majors after he was hit by a bus and forever hobbled by the accident.

Again, it does not diminish Tiger’s feat but it’s worth reading up on if you are not familiar with Hogan’s comeback.

The Tiger Stock Market Effect Is Back, At Least For Golf Companies

From an unbylined AP story:

Apex Marketing Group, a branding consulting company, estimated the media exposure for Nike to be worth more than $22 million. Nike Inc.’s stock rose less than 1% Monday.

Shares of energy drink maker Monster Beverage Corp., a sponsor whose green logo appears on Woods’ golf bag, gained about 2%.

Other golf companies that aren’t connected to Woods also saw a boost. Club maker Callaway Golf Co.’s stock rose 1.5%. And Acushnet Holdings Corp., maker of golf balls and other golfing equipment, added 1.7%.

Sam Weinman explained the bizarre correlation between Woods success and the markets six years ago. Are we headed there again?

"Tiger Woods Showed He Was Back Not With a Shot, but With a Stare"

Screen capture from Masters.com’s leaderboard clips.

Screen capture from Masters.com’s leaderboard clips.

There are going to be so many moments from the 2019 Masters worth reviewing since it all seemed to happen in a blur. The birdie at 3, the entire 12th hole, the drive at 13, the tee shot at 16 and the final two tee shots jump out.

But the New York Times Bill Pennington highlighted one moment that has been under-appreciated in the analysis of the stunning 12th hole events: Tiger marching on ahead to the green as Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau dealt with their shots landing in Rae’s Creek.

Thanks to the camera view from behind the tee, we could see how Tiger make sure to do some green gardening, requested blowers to move pine needles, and in general, was prowling around to remind his competitors he was on dry land.

Pennington writes:

Woods walked over the Hogan bridge and stood defiantly on the 12th green glaring back at Finau and Molinari as they dejectedly stood on the other side of the water, rummaging through their bags for another ball and club to once again try to traverse the creek.

Woods was in their line of sight, standing with his arms crossed or one hand on his hip. He continued to stare in their direction with an expression that seemed to say: “Can you hurry up? I’ve got a tournament to win.”

We’ve always wondered if the new, kinder Woods would ever regain the edge that made him different. Sunday’s 12th hole scene confirmed the master intimidator and artful practitioner of selective gamesmanship had his mojo fully restored.

Of course, the shot played was pretty swell too given how poorly other leaders handled the 12th. Here was Tiger’s answer to John Patrick’s press conference question:

Q.  For those of us watching, 12 seemed to be the seminal moment.  When Francesco's ball went in the water, did it change anything you were thinking?  Was it always going to be over the bunker, center of the green? 

TIGER WOODS:  That's all I was concentrating on.  I had 47 over the first tongue in the bunker there, and so my number, I was hitting it 50 and just be committed to hitting it 50.  There's a reason why ‑‑ I saw Brooksy ended up short.  Poults ended up short, as well.  And so I ‑‑ when I was up there on the tee box and it was about my turn to go, I could feel that wind puff up a little bit, and it had been something ‑‑ Brooksy is stronger than I am, and he flights it better than I do, so I'm sure he hit 9‑iron and didn't make it. 

So I knew my 9‑iron couldn't cover the flag, so I had to play left, and I said, just be committed, hit it over that tongue in that bunker.  Let get out of here and let's go handle the par 5s, and I did. 

Yeah, the mistake Francesco made there let a lot of guys back into the tournament, myself included.

First Roundup: Tiger Wins His Fifth Masters And 15th Major

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 7.59.21 PM.png

It was a day unlike any other…oh no, wait. It was…

Tiger.

Fifth Masters.

15 majors.

He’s all the way back.

Remember, this didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen again. And now 2019 may join 1960, 1986 and 1997 on the Rushmore of epic monumental years in Augusta. Let’s save that debate for this week.

I’ve just filed a few pieces for Golfweek and USA Today’s print and digital editions, but who needs sleep. Let’s go.

Doug Ferguson’s AP gamer and lead: “Tiger Woods blazing to victory in his Sunday red at the Masters, a scene once so familiar, was never more stunning.”

Steve DiMeglio’s USA Today game story.

Bill Fields at Masters.com opened with the 16th hole, where Tiger last put a Masters away in 2005.

Here’s my completely not humble explanation for why I picked Woods at the beginning of the week and how he prevailed by going all Hogan on us, not worrying about chasing those FedExCup points and, as he said early this week, peak four times a year.

Will Gray captures the scene behind 18th as Tiger worked his way to victory.

David Dusek also walks among the patrons and tries to capture the sense of excitement at Augusta National.

Dan Kilbridge was out with Tiger all day and has some of caddie Joe LaCava’s reactions to the win.

Brian Wacker addresses the inevitable question now: is 18 majors back in play.

Key interviews were after the round in the Press Building, and this second—SECOND—Butler Cabin interview with Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo thanks to the early start and Tiger’s return before CBS began a final round rebroadcast.

Here is 10 minutes of press conference video, not all but most. Masters.com video of Butler II here.

A Golfweek roundup of Tweets, including Jack Nicklaus’ congratulations and many other luminaries from sport and politics.

The weird Sunday start will be a footnote in the history books, but it still is worth considering how it impacted the event, writes Dave Shedloski.

Here is the lowdown on the gum. Yes, I asked but the rest of the answer about what gave him a sense of calm and confidence is ultimately more interesting.

The images are stunning, as you’d hope for a historic Masters.

The Masters.com gallery is here and focuses on the 18th hole scene and aftermath.

Golf Digest’s team of Furore, Cuban and Iooss captured some beauties here.

The Augusta Chronicle’s image gallery is also worth your time.

They also put up this separate gallery of the impromptu outdoor jacket ceremony originally cancelled.

The Masters Instagram story from Sunday was outstanding with some never-before-seen moments from after the win. Get it while it lasts!

The Woods round in 3 minutes:


GolfTV Getting Into The (Tiger) Match Business; Will This Kill "The Match"?

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 10.58.11 PM.png

Joe Levy of SportsProMedia.com reports on plans to have Tiger star in exhibition matches exclusive to the PGA Tour’s international distributor in select countries, GolfTV. The idea was revealed by Discovery CEO David Zaslav at the CAA World Congress of Sports, who said Woods will is all in and will have control of the format as part of his deal with GolfTV. One match is already scheduled for Tokyo.

Zaslav added that Woods was a key figure in the planning and implementation of these events, adding: "Tiger is going to decide what is the best format. Should it be one-on-one? Two-on-two? Should we have two matches going on at the same time. But he’s all in."

"We could bring in some local players, we could evolve the format so that it really works," continued Zaslav.

He added: “[Woods] can have a direct relationship with people that love golf and figure out what they want to see and what they want from him.”

This would seem to potentially doom another edition of The Match given that as an AT&T/BR Love/TNT play while GolfTV is the PGA Tour’s international, non-US distributor.

The move certainly makes Discovery’s deal with Woods look better given that the only content generated (so far) has been limited to Tweeted sitdown interviews.

Tiger Hits A Stellar Lefty Shot From The Bushes, Loses To Snedeker

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 5.56.32 PM.png

Tiger may have lost to Brandt Snedeker, setting up a likely elimination unless he beats Patrick Cantlay and Aaron Wise takes out Snedeker (or Snedeker ties, Tiger wins).

Anyway, he only briefly stopped to talk to a PGA Tour staff member so we didn’t get to ask him about this spectacular recovery shot:

Tiger: "Look at these heads, 460 cc's, you hit the ball anywhere on the face and have it go 300 yards."

Just my read from his comments yesterday, which were similar to remarks made at The Players. But it sounds like he’s inching closer to thinking a de-skilling has occurred at the top level with 460 cc drivers.

From hjs pre-WGC Dell Match Play press session outside the Austin CC clubhouse:

Q. How would you describe the level of competition now in 2019?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that equipment has made it smaller. The margin is much smaller than it used to be. Now look at these heads, 460 cc's, you hit the ball anywhere on the face and have it go 300 yards. Before it put a premium on good ball-strikers to hit the ball in the middle of the face each and every time. And there was a distinction between the guys who could do that and the guys who couldn't. And that's no longer the case.

It promotes people swinging harder. Teeing the ball higher, swinging harder and hitting the ball further. And the old shot of hitting just a squeezier, low, heelie cut in play, that's no longer the case. Guys are trying to maximize distance off the tee, to try and carry that number 300, 320, 330 in the air. And it's become a game that's played more up in the air than it ever used to be.

Any day now we’re going to have teh 360 cc Driver Open…

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

Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 9.15.47 AM.png

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."

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 8.46.19 AM.png

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

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.43.22 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 8.41.08 PM.png

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"

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 9.21.00 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2019-02-24 at 9.55.22 PM.png

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.