Tiger Woods Joins The Tiger Woods Book Race, But When?

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With the announcement of a new autobiography on the heels of his 1997 Masters retrospective, Tiger Woods is pounding the keys in an apparent effort to close in on two other upcoming books. But without a publication date mentioned, it’s not clear when Back will be on shelves.

What is clear: Tiger seems determined to counteract what he sees as a lot of misinformation either existing or forthcoming. From the press release:

Woods said, “I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time, and because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong. This book is my definitive story. It’s in my words and expresses my thoughts. It describes how I feel and what’s happened in my life. I’ve been working at it steadily, and I’m looking forward to continuing the process and creating a book that people will want to read.”

Besides the recent Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict biography, a pair of books appear to be in the can, or appearing soon.

Noted author Curt Sampson’s Roaring Back is set for an October 29, 2019 release from Diversion Books.

The write-up sounds like a warts-and-all work similar to past Sampson books, so we won’t hold this write up from the publisher against him:

Sampson also places Woods’s defeats and triumphs in the context of historic comebacks by other notable golfers like Ben Hogan, Skip Alexander, Aaron Silton, and Charlie Beljan, finding the forty-three-year-old alone on the green for his trajectory of victory against all odds. As this enthralling book reveals, Tiger never doubted the perseverance of the winner in the mirror.

Skip Alexander? Aaron Silton? Charlie Beljan? I know I have a bad memory, but boy do I have some research to do on those historic comebacks.

Then there is Michael Bamberger’s book, slated for a late March, 2020 release date. From the publisher’s teaser:

Michael Bamberger has covered Tiger Woods since the golfer was a teenager and an amateur, and in The Second Life of Tiger Woods he draws upon his deep network of sources inside locker rooms, caddie yards, clubhouses, fitness trailers, and back offices to tell the true and inspiring story of the legend’s return. Packed with new information and graced by insight, Bamberger reveals how this iconic athlete clawed his way back to the top. The Second Life of Tiger Woods is the saga of an exceptional man, but it’s also a celebration of second chances. Being rich and famous had nothing to do with Woods’s return. Instead, readers will see the application of his intelligence, pride, dedication—and his enormous capacity for work—to the problems at hand. Bamberger’s bracingly honest book is about what Tiger Woods did, and about what any of us can do, when we face our demons head-on.

Heavy! I mean, it’s no Charlie Beljan comeback story, but what is.

Ultimately, it’s fantastic that Woods is working on a book and likely to share his story and views as he did with the 1997 book. It is curious that he has chosen to follow up his ‘97 Masters book already and, in theory, with a lot of great days ahead of him. But we’ll take what we can get.

Follow The Money: Investors Flock To Golf...In Modernized Range And Putt-Putt Settings

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Every time you hear someone wax on about how the game does not have a slow play problem, just look where the money is going.

Every time someone bellows on about how an expanding golf course footprint has not been damaging the sport, point them to Topgolf’s growth.

And every time someone mocks the two greatest ever to play the game saying distance is getting out of hand, look where Tiger Woods is investing his efforts.

The surprise “Popstroke” news last week revealed Woods’ support of a modernized miniature golf concept, serving as another reminder that elements of our sport remainl attractive to potential customers and investors. The communal and easy-to-understand components to golf (hit a driver, wack a putt) seem attractive enough that capital continues to go toward settings offering food, live sports-viewing and a putt-putt concept with Woods’ backing.

Why is something similar not happening with golf courses?

It’s tough to name a major name in golf wanting to get in the golf course operations business because there haven’t been any in recent times.

Why isn’t anyone pondering how to finally convince municipalities to pump some much needed money into upgrading the amazing green spaces in their cities?

The narrative with existing golf courses tends to be about a fight-for-survival, as big money and increasingly larger audiences turn to things like Topgolf and Popstroke. The sport sits back and hopes those concepts will be gateways to becoming serious golfers. Dream on as long as the normal golf experience seems like something stuck in a time warp: five hours with so-so service and little respect for our time.

Golf has an issue when these two entities promise something a regular golf experience can’t overcome: reduced time, effort and cost required while still delivering a communal, fun experience. Because of their physical scale, these concepts have the advantage of installing modern elements like television screens for sports viewing and food operations that bring in some just for a good meal. The golf component is not excessively taxing or time consuming. The maintenance budget is a fraction of what it costs to keep a golf course going.

So follow the money. It’s going to concepts that take less time and require less space, in modernized environments that welcome a big audience. When it’s Tiger Woods signing on, maybe the decision-makers who keep deferring on the distance issue will take notice that he’s bullish on a future version of the sport requiring less time and way fewer resources.

Popstroke: Tiger Announces Partnership With The Topgolf Of Putt-Putt

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Today’s announcement was the first time I’ve ever heard of Popstroke, which already has one Port St. Lucie, Florida location. But by all appearances the concept is pretty simple: a modernized version of putt-putt courses, apparently minus the bad sound systems, windmills and pirate themes.

Essentially, a Topgolf vibe, only with a fun putting course, better food and TV’s to watch sports. Pricing seems reasonable, assuming the technology works and it’s fun.

Given how much Topgolf is thriving, the concept seems pretty smart. Tiger’s backing can’t hurt.

Adam Schupak with some of the details for Golfweek, including the basic structure of the venture and this related to the experience:

The PopStroke experience is enhanced with a technology platform consisting of the soon-to-be released electronic scorekeeping golf ball, the “iPutt” ball. The ball transmits scores electronically to the custom PopStroke app, which can be downloaded in the Apple and Android App stores. Players will be able to compete against each other in a tournament environment while earning “Pop Bucks” through the PopStroke loyalty rewards app program.

Pricing seems reasonable, assuming the technology works and it’s fun.

Schupak also notes that the company board’s initial makeup includes PopStroke founder Greg Bartoli and Pete Bevacqua, former CEO of the PGA of America and president of NBC Sports.

Compared to Topgolf, the footprint needed for one of these appears quite small. From Google Earth:

Tiger Says He Can Resume Full Practice, Lifting

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He shared the good news with Michael Stranahan on Good Morning America following a successful inaugural NEXUS Cup, a TGR Foundation fundraiser.

From a Golfweek report:

“I got the clearance last week to start full practice, so I played nine holes the other day,” Woods said of his recovery in an interview this week with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan. “It’s sore, yeah, but now I can start lifting and getting my muscle back.”

GOLFTV's Tiger-Rory-Jason-Hideki Skins Game Is On, Golf Channel To Air In U.S.

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Originally mentioned as part of Tiger’s exclusive GOLFTV deal was this skins competition, which has finally been announced for October 21, 2019. Finishing under the lights sounds fun, though the absence of a dollar figure in the press release for the skins stands out (“high stakes”).

There was a good reason. Doug Ferguson’s AP story has the dollars and it would seem the appearance fees didn’t leave much left for the “skins”:

Players need to win a hole outright, or it carries over to the next hole. Total prize money is $350,000 -- $10,000 per skin for the opening six holes, $20,000 for the next six holes, $20,000 through the 17th hole and $100,000 for the 18th. There also will be charitable component.

In the original 1983 Skins Game, the dollar figures were:

$10,000 is at stake on each of the first six holes, $20,000 on each of the next six and $30,000 on each of the last six.

Granted, it would take astrologically silly dollar figures to get the attention of these four, so perhaps the $350,000 should just be for charities. The four of them getting to Japan with their “team” will spend more on travel to Japan than they are playing for.

Anyway, For Immediate Release:

TIGER WOODS TO GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH RORY MCILROY, JASON DAY AND HIDEKI MATSUYAMA IN GOLFTV’s “THE CHALLENGE: JAPAN SKINS

  • New skins competition presented by GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR

  • The unique event will be available exclusively live and on demand for free* by registering with GOLFTV around the globe (U.S. fans can watch the live simulcast on Golf Channel)

  • Woods: “After discussing The Challenge with Discovery and GOLFTV, I wanted to be a part of it.”

NEW YORK, LONDON, TOKYO - 19 September: GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR has today announced an upcoming high-profile, live competition featuring global golf icon Tiger Woods. The Challenge: Japan Skins will see Woods go head to head with reigning FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year Rory McIlroy and multiple-time PGA TOUR winners Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in a globally-televised skins game.

The high-stakes exhibition event kicks off the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP week, sponsored by ZOZO, Inc. – the first-ever official PGA TOUR event to be played in Japan. Both events will be played at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan, during the week of October 21, 2019. The Challenge: Japan Skins marks the first in a series of annual Challenge events that are set to become a thrilling addition to the global golf calendar, and tees off at 13:00 p.m.** local time on October 21.

Endorsed by the PGA TOUR and produced in partnership with Excel Sports Management, The Challenge: Japan Skins unites four of the top players in the world from separate continents, who will also participate in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, in an exciting competition format that’s sure to thrill audiences around the globe.

Alongside special in-match challenges and surprises, and finishing under floodlights, each hole will be assigned an increasing monetary value as the competition plays out. Players need to win a hole outright to take a “skin” (tied holes result in a “push” of the skin to the next hole), so golf fans can expect to see aggressive play from start to finish.

Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager of Discovery Golf, commented: “The Challenge: Japan Skins is a unique experience that no golf fan will want to miss and will be an exciting way to begin ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP week. GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR is growing to become the one-stop-shop for all the best in golf, and The Challenge is another significant step in that direction.

“To be able to bring many of golf’s biggest names to GOLFTV screens for our customers is hugely exciting for everyone involved. On October 21, fans will be able to see a totally new competition join the golf calendar, supporting some fantastic charities and showcasing the very best golf has to offer in the most fun, exhilarating and unpredictable way.”

Promising a new global moment for golf, fans around the world can watch the inaugural event live and on demand for free* exclusively on Discovery’s GOLFTV, the new digital home of golf for the global fan community, by registering for the service. The Challenge: Japan Skins will be produced in Japanese and English, and covered by a stellar lineup of leading presenters, commentators and on-course reporters.

In the U.S., The Challenge: Japan Skins can be viewed live on Golf Channel starting at 11 p.m. EDT/8 p.m. PDT on October 20. 

Tiger Will Consult Others On Whether To Pick Tiger For The Presidents Cup

From Tiger Woods’ Monday teleconference after the first eight spots on the 2019 Presidents Cup teams were solidified, as reported by Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio:

And he said he won’t be pressured – not by the PGA Tour or TV executives – to pick himself.

“My job as the captain is to put together the best team possible and try and put together the best 12 guys,” he said. “We’ll be going through the whole process of having open communication with our top eight guys and my vice captains. That is something that we will certainly talk about, whether I should play or not play.

“Ultimately it’s going to be my call whether I do play or not as the captain. But I want to have all of their opinions before that decision is made.”

Oh boss, you’re game looks great, I’d pick you if I were captain!

Here are the eight USA participants who can be fitted for a sports coat they’ll wear once.

And the International’s first eight with three Aussies on the team.

Tiger: "Felt good this morning so I thought I'd give it a go."

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From Steve DiMeglio at Golfweek on Tiger arriving in Chicago to play the BMW:

“I feel good,” Woods said as he got out of the courtesy vehicle. “Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Woods needs a solo 11th or better according to the numbers crunchers to move on to East Lake where he is the defending champion.

Here he was arriving at the course Tuesday:

Early Playoff Exit Looms: Where Did Tiger's Fight Go?

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If you’re a Tiger fan there are a couple pieces worth reading after his opening 75 at the 2019 Northern Trust, all but setting him up for a playoff exit next week, barring a resurgence. **And now a WD Friday morning.

ESPN.com’s Bob Harig considers everything we’ve seen since the Masters and concludes that odd decisions may not be helping his back.

Why fly overnight to The Open last month, arriving in the early hours at Royal Portrush right off the plane, to practice? With his own jet, Woods can fly when he wants, get the proper rest and treatment, and make sure he prepares and warms up properly. From the moment Woods set foot in Northern Ireland, he never looked right.

This week, Woods arrived on Tuesday afternoon, and soon was playing a practice round with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, trying to launch his drives with the longest hitters on tour. He barely warmed up, had just come from the plane, and rushed to get in putting practice before heading to a planned Presidents Cup dinner that lasted well into the evening. Then there was the quick turnaround to Wednesday's 7 a.m. pro-am time, and again he struggled.

Harig also notes that Tiger no longer travels with the physio of years past.

Eamon Lynch of Golfweek seizes on the lack of fight in Woods and concludes that Tiger’s season may have ended when he achieved his goal of winning another major. And Tiger’s just fine with that.

Woods has immense pride — even in the darkest of times that never changed — but that famous passion is gone, for now at least. He admitted this week to aches and pains that make high-level golf next to impossible some days. But there have also been days when he insists his balky back is fine and that he simply played poorly. “It’s a little bit stiff, yeah, but that’s just the way it’s going to be,” he said with a resigned realism.

And this…

No matter how poorly he played Thursday, or how truncated his run in the FedEx Cup playoffs may prove to be, there exists no measure by which Woods’ year can be deemed a failure. He carries himself with the air of a man who knows as much. 

Tiger Takes Cautious Approach To Pro-Am Round; Has Concerns For Possible Playoff Run

From Bob Harig’s ESPN.com report at the Northern Trust, where Woods played nine pro-am holes than chipped and putted for the second nine, a day after he was feeling great:

"Yes, there is concern, hopefully because of the pressures I'm going to be facing, hopefully put myself in contention,'' he said. "That's why it gets difficult. If you're missing cuts, who cares. You're taking weekends off and a couple extra days of rest.

"But I'm trying to get myself where I'm in contention, where it takes a toll on you, and that's what I want to feel. I want to feel that type of tiredness, where I have a chance to win. That's a good feeling.''

The desire is there, but the body is not cooperating.

From Tiger To Shane: Open Championship Overnights Down 42%

Big lead, no Tiger making his first run at a major in years and what do you get? A 2.9 for NBC and ratings decline for the 2019 Open Championship.

From SBD’s Austin Karp:


The Skins Game Is Back! Sort Of

Bob Harig reports news of a Woods-McIlroy-Day-Matsuyama Skins Game this fall the same week—mlitzvah!—of the new $9.75 million Zozo Championship in Japan.

The event appears to be part of Woods’ deal with GolfTV and probably seals the fate of a repeat of The Match, last fall’s day-after-Thanksgiving-AT&T synergy play.

While the dollar figures or format are not known, it’s great to see the once-successful format back. Harig writes:

How much this version of a skins game will resemble that is unclear, but this event is part of an agreement Woods has to provide content to GolfTV, an entity that does interviews and other features with Woods at international locations that at this time do not include the United States -- although there are negotiations to have the skins event televised in the U.S. market.

Trying To Figure Out What Ails Tiger Isn't All That Complicated or Worrisome

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After Tiger’s 78-70 here at Royal Portrush, the inclination is to fret about what may be ailing Tiger Woods.

I really don’t think it’s that hard to see nor is it nearly as dire as so may suggest, as written here for Golfweek.

To put it another way, what ails him now is a far cry from anything we’ve seen in the past. Some rest and rejuvenation are in order.

Woods After 77: "There are too many guys playing well and I'm just not one of them"

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Blunt assessment of Tiger Woods by Tiger Woods. From Dan Kilbridge’s Golfweek story on an opening 76 in The Open:

“I’m just not moving as well as I’d like,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, you’ve got to be able to move and, especially under these conditions, shape the golf ball. And I didn’t do it. I didn’t shape the golf ball at all. Everything was left-to-right. And I wasn’t hitting it very solidly.”

So much for the draw he had on Sunday. And this…

“Playing at this elite level is a completely different deal,” Woods said. “You’ve got to be spot on. These guys are too good, there are too many guys that are playing well and I’m just not one of them.”

Tiger's First Look At Royal Portrush: Angles, Complicated, Decisions

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Words that are music to any golf architect’s ear and likely to mean Tiger Woods will be a happy camper if he’s forced to push so many buttons.

Having walked a few holes with his practice pairing alongside Patrick Reed, Tiger was understandably jet-weary from an overnight flight and easing into the round Sunday, but by day’s end appeared to be striking the ball as well as he has lately, with only a couple of quack push-shots. But Tiger Woods otherwise seemed ready and willing to see what he could learn in three days about Royal Portrush, as Steve DiMeglio reports for Golfweek.

Tiger’s attitude toward the course is a good starting place:

“A lot of movement,” Woods said of his initial reaction of the course hard by the North Atlantic in the northern-most tip of the country. “A lot of decisions off the tees, with all the angles. Now, with the wind switching coming out of the south in the future, a lot of these shots we hit today are useless. So we’re trying to figure out what lines to take on and what lines not to take on. And these green complexes are so complicated, you have to miss in the right spot.”

Will Tiger Woods Be Open Ready?

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It’s the question on many minds as Tiger returns to the major he nearly won last year and where his creativity, shot shaping and wind-management give him an edge over less-seasoned players.

But as he goes from Pebble Beach to The Open without a start, it’s reasonable to wonder if just waking up at 1 am is enough to get ready. David Feherty thinks so, sort of. Pat Ralph at Golf.com with Feherty’s comments.

“He sticks to a plan,” Feherty said. “I think a good deal of it will depend upon the weather, which I suspect being from there may not be great. We may get some real Open Championship weather. Personally, I kind of hope we do. There’s something traditional or special about playing golf in bad weather. And Tiger typically is not renowned as a bad weather player. I don’t know what sort of shape his back is in for that kind of thing, but I know Freddy [Couples] suffered with it over the years. But the only mistake I’ve ever made about Tiger Woods is underestimating him. He’s an unknown quantity at the moment.”

Bob Harig takes a deeper look into the numbers and considers Tiger’s chances at Portrush for ESPN.com, noting that Woods has never played the week before The Open as a professional. There was this headline-grabber last week from Padraig Harrington:

"I personally think if you're serious about winning The Open, you've got to be playing tournament golf at least before it," two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington said before last week's Irish Open. "You'd rather be playing links golf and being in a tournament than just [playing] on your own, so if you're serious about trying to win the Open, you should be playing at least one, if not two, of the events running into it.

"I was always mightily impressed when Tiger Woods would play in a major without playing the week before. I'd be a basket case if I didn't play the week before."

It should be noted that even when Woods went over early and hung out in Ireland, he was usually playing golf at an inland course and not on a links buddies trip.

Tiger Dropped From Woods Restaurant Suit After Lack Of Ownership Stake Confirmed

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The wrongful death lawsuit dropped on Tiger’s plate at the PGA Championship will move forward but without Woods as a defendant, reports ESPN.com’s Bob Harig.

The reason is fairly simple: Tiger is not an owner of Woods Jupiter where the young man who bartended there ultimately lost his life in a car accident.

According to Woods' attorney, Barry Postman, Woods invests in but does not own the restaurant.

"The decision was clearly appropriate and reflected the fact that Mr. Woods should not have been included in the lawsuit in the first place because he had nothing to do with Mr. Immesberger's death,'' Postman said in a statement. "While the situation was tragic, the facts will ultimately show that the cause of Mr. Immesberger's car accident were the many decisions made by Mr. Immesberger on the night of his passing.'“

Tiger Falls Out Of Contention, Praises Setup, Admits To Being Achy In Cooler Conditions

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Tiger’s third round 71 left him at even par and out of contention for the 2019 U.S Open, but he praised the balanced setup Saturday.

“I think they did a great job of setting it up so that we can make birdies,” Woods said. “And if you do miss them in the wrong spot then you still can get up and down here, which is not always the case.”

He did admit after the round that the cool conditions have made it harder to get loose. From Bob Harig’s ESPN.com story:

Woods was predictably coy when asked about any physical issues as he wore KT tape -- a therapeutic strip often worn to treat pain -- on his neck, just as he had during The Open at Carnoustie last year.

"When it's cold like this, everything is achy," Woods said. "It's just part of the deal."

Tiger Says Putting From Below The Hole A Priority (On Poa)

I will side with Tiger Woods since he knows what he’s doing and certainly would never want to putt from above the hole at Pebble Beach, but it’s still interesting to consider the best strategy for playing a U.S. Open course. Yesterday in his 2019 US Open press conference, Woods explained his priority in approaching the Pebble Beach poa annua greens:

The trick to putting on poa is to make sure they're always below the hole. If you're putting downhill, it's like a Plinko effect, you're going to go every which way. The key is to be below the hole where you can take low lines and try and take the bumpiness out of play.

Strokes Gained Guru Mark Broadie has been studying the effort to get a ball under the hole now that ShotLink numbers are tracking putts from different parts of greens and is making the case that it all evens out on the greens. Granted, he wasn’t talking about specific grass types, but it’s still fascinating food for thought given modern green speeds and players wanting to be below the hole, even if it does not necessarily apply to Pebble Beach this week.

Simple: It’s very hard, over the course of a full season, for a player to leave himself a lot more easier putts than difficult ones, and vice-versa. Over the course of dozens and dozens of rounds, everything tends to even out. So planning to give yourself more uphill putts than downhill ones isn’t a strategy worth pursuing. No evidence exists to show that players can systematically leave themselves with easier types of eight-footers.

Mark Broadie's New Scoring Volatility Measure And Tiger's 2000 Season In Perspective

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Strokes Gained founder Mark Broadie has developed another stat called scoring volatility and introduces it at Golf.com.

Now, you may say this one tells us what we already knew: some people make a lot of pars and play steady, boring golf. Like Ryan Moore and Billy Horschel, two recent leaders in non-volatility. Others make plenty of birdies and plenty of bogies.

But as with Strokes Gained, Broadie’s managed to craft a statistic allowing us as fans to put the magnificence of a performance into perspective, while also highlighting what may or may not be holding someone back.

So Broadie went back to Tiger’s epic 2000 season and made some amazing calculations. Certainly read the piece for full context, but this is amazing in terms of putting the greatness of a season-long performance into perspective:

That season, Woods made bogey or worse on a mere eight percent of the holes he played. (The PGA Tour average was 19 percent that season.) Tiger also comes out on top on the birdie side of the ledger—again during the 2000 season—where he won nine events, including three majors.

That year, Woods scored birdie or better at an astounding 32 percent clip, 12 percentage points higher than the Tour average.