Much Has Changed for Tiger Since Dads Death

By Associated PressMay 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In a couple of months, it will all change for Tiger Woods.
 
'This time last year was not a fun period in my life,' he said. 'But now a year later, here I am, looking forward to becoming a father. Times have changed.'
 
He prepared for the Wachovia Championship by playing with his buddy Michael Jordan in a pro-am Wednesday. The tournament starts Thursday, a year to the day after Woods' father died.
 
Woods skipped the Wachovia last year as Earl Woods' health deteriorated. On the eve of the tournament the man behind Woods' steely resolve and fierce competitive streak died of cancer.
 
Woods returned to competitive golf six weeks later and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. But Woods recovered to win the British Open and PGA Championship and didn't finish worse than second in any other stroke play event the rest of the year.
 
He's playing this week for the first time since he tied for second at the Masters.
 
'But still, there are times when I thoroughly miss my dad,' Woods said. 'I just wish I could talk to him, hear his voice and ask him for advice on certain things. Basically, he was my best friend. Not only did I lose my father, but my best friend.'
 
Woods is starting to feel good again. His wife Elin is expected to give birth in two months and Woods is beginning an important stretch leading to next month's U.S. Open.
 
'I'm really excited to get back,' Woods said. 'I took probably almost two weeks off and started cranking up pretty hard over the last week and a half or so. I'm really starting to get back into it.'
 
Woods' presence at the Wachovia gives the tournament one of the top nonmajor fields of the year, with 27 of the top 30 golfers in the world rankings. Played on an old-school par-72 course playing at 7,442 yards, the tournament has become a must-play event despite entering only its fifth year.
 
The tournament's date -- a week before THE PLAYERS Championship -- has also given the event a large number of foreign players, with Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia and Darren Clarke in the field.
 
'It's in great shape and this is one of the best tournaments on the TOUR,' Phil Mickelson said. 'We're all excited to be here. This has a special feel, much like a major.'
 
Mickelson will play in his second straight tournament since he hired Butch Harmon as his new coach. Mickelson tied for third at last week's Byron Nelson Championship.
 
'I thought I started to hit the ball how I wanted to, and I'm going to need that to carry over this week because this golf course is very challenging off the tee,' Mickelson said.
 
The past two winners, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh, were able to keep the ball in the fairway and navigate the closing three holes, rated the toughest on the PGA TOUR the past three years.
 
Furyk, who won last year's event by parring the first playoff hole to beat Trevor Immelman, has been tinkering with his iron game since he missed the cut last month at the Verizon Heritage.
 
'The club is going through the ground much better right now,' Furyk said. 'And I think it's helped my rhythm, my tempo and timing.'
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.