Dont like Tiger A few reasons to explain why

By Associated PressApril 8, 2009, 4:00 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' The bookies make him an odds-on favorite like no other, mostly because Tiger Woods is unlike any other. He tees off Thursday on mended knee in pursuit of a fifth Masters title, secure once again with his place in the game and looking as dominant as ever.
 
His will to win is extraordinary. His fellow players defer to his greatness.
 
And theres nothing in golf better than seeing Woods have a putt on Sunday to win.
 
But there are those who enjoy watching Zach Johnson put on a green jacket, or maybe even harbor secret thoughts of Greg Norman finally burying his demons. Still others want nothing more than to see Phil Mickelson smiling on the 18th green once again.
 
Not many, maybe, because it can be lonely pulling against arguably the greatest player ever. Family and friends might not understand.
 
But there are reasons:
 
HES NOT FAN FRIENDLY'Sure, everyone loves Tiger, but why? He doesnt give autographs, stares straight ahead when walking through crowds, and offers little more than an occasional tip of the hat to acknowledge the throngs following him around the course. Not to mention he curses so loudly after hitting a bad shot that parents have to cover their childrens ears.
 
Woods may need all of that to maintain his supreme focus, but Arnold Palmer did all right with his career and was still more than willing to shake hands and say a few words to any fan who sought him out.
 
HIS CADDIE IS A PAIN'Stevie Williams makes more than a million dollars a year to carry Woods bag and hand him his clubs. He also comes in handy driving him to the course, and occasionally will help Woods read a putt. But somewhere along the line his job description broadened to becoming Woods enforcer on and off the course. His antics include snatching cameras from offending fans and calling Phil Mickelson names, both of which probably earned him a bonus check from his boss.
 
HES TOO PERFECT'Swedish model wife, check. Two cute kids, check. Florida mansion and private jet, check. At a time most of America is struggling, couldnt Woods throw us a bone and show us he shares our pain by blowing a four-shot lead on the back nine Sunday to lose the Masters?
 
HE SCARES PEOPLE'Well, not regular people, but his fellow players. Woods is revered, no, make that feared, by the people he plays against, which is the main reason why not even Mickelson has stepped up his game enough to give us him a true rival.
 
HES WON ENOUGH'Woods first won the Masters at the age of 21, and has done it three times since. If he wins this week hell have five green jackets and be within one win of tying Jack Nicklaus for the most Masters titles ever. Nicklaus would love to keep the record, but remember: It was the Golden Bear himself who predicted after seeing Woods in a practice round in 1996 that the young phenom would win more Masters than both he and Palmer combined (10).
 
HE WONT PLAY THE PAR-3'The best player in the world was notable again by his absence Wednesday at the annual Par-3 contest, where players show off their games and families while fans get a chance to interact with them. Asked earlier if he would compete and have daughter, Sam, on the bag, Woods wasted no time turning it down. I am not, and no, he said.
 
HIS CLOTHES CLASH'Actually, Woods is one of the snazzier dressers on tour, thanks to a contract with Nike that guarantees him the latest in golf fashion. Hes also lucky to be dominant in an era where checkered pants and pink tops are a thing of the past'unless youre Ian Poulter. But another win on Sunday means watching Woods parade around in a red shirt and green jacket that would get him tossed from most decent nightclubs.
 
HES TOO SCRIPTED'Everything about Woods seems like it was pulled from some Hollywood movie of old, like the drama of last years U.S. Open, when he hobbled his way down the 18th hole on Sunday and then made a putt to force a playoff he eventually won. His comeback this year from knee surgery was true to form when he made an 18-footer in near darkness to cap a five-stroke comeback and win his last tournament. Nobody can possibly do those kind of things unless theyre drawn up in advance. Unless, of course, the name is Tiger Woods.
 
YOUTH NEEDS TO BE SERVED'Woods is now 33, a fact that drew a rueful smile from him at his Tuesday press conference. His newest would-be rivals are from another generation, and they grew up idolizing Woods the same way he did Nicklaus. Teenagers Rory McIlroy, Danny Lee and Ryo Ishikawa are in this Masters, and there will come a time that golf needs players like them as much as it needs Woods. Nothing wrong with that time beginning this week on Augusta National.
 
So, there, Tiger haters. That should be enough to get you through Sunday.
 
And for the 99 percent of the world that will be rooting for Woods, only one reason is necessary.
 
Because he is Tiger Woods.
 

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.