Notes New Caddie on the Bag for Tiger

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods has employed only two professional caddies during his nine years on the PGA Tour. He's about to get his third, but only temporarily.
Woods said he will use Billy Foster, the caddie for Darren Clarke, at the Presidents Cup next month. His regular caddie, Steve Williams, is going home to New Zealand because his fiance is expecting their first child.
Tiger Woods and caddie
Tiger Woods' caddie Steve Williams will be off the bag at the Presidents Cup to be at home in New Zealand for the birth of his first child.
Woods knows the English caddie from having played several rounds in practice and in tournaments with Clarke and Thomas Bjorn, for whom Foster also once worked.

``He's good at what he does,'' Woods said. ``I've seen him work with Clarkey over the years, and he's had some success. There were a couple of guys I was considering, but I like his personality. He's very competitive, very feisty, and very similar to Stevie.''
Asked if Foster was allergic to cameras, Clarke smiled and said, ``No.''
Foster plays off a 1 handicap. One example of his personality might be the time he caddied for the temperamental Seve Ballesteros. He had Foster put some fruit in the bag before a round, and eventually asked for an apple.
Ballesteros inspected the apple and told him, ``This is no good.''
To which Foster replied, ``Do you want a caddie or a grocer?''
The Presidents Cup, to be played Sept. 22-25 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, is between the United States and an International team from everywhere but Europe. Clarke has said he will not be playing that week in the Seve Trophy on the European tour.
The only other pro caddie for Woods was Mike ``Fluff'' Cowan from the start of his career until early 1999.
As for Williams?
Woods said he was expected to be on the bag at the Deustche Bank Championship next week outside Boston, then return at the start of October for the American Express Championship in San Francisco.
He said Bryon Bell, his best friend from junior high school, would caddie for him Oct. 20-23 in the Funai Classic at Disney. Bell, who usually works Disney, was Woods' caddie when he won the Buick Invitational in 1999.
If there are horses for courses, it would seen Adam Scott is a thoroughbred on the TPC at Boston, having won and tied for second the first two years at the Deustche Bank Championship.
That's why it was peculiar to learn the 25-year-old Aussie is skipping this year's event.
Scott has been spinning his wheels, with only one top 10 since the U.S. Open. That was a tie for fifth at the Scandinavian Masters in Sweden.
``I'm taking a bit of a sabbatical,'' he said at the NEC Invitational. ``My head hasn't been in the game this week, and there's no point playing when you're not in the right frame of mind. I feel like I need to get away and practice putting for a week, not playing, and then come back out and get my head straight. It's been a long year.''
Scott left Firestone for Australia, his first trip home all year.
He won the Nissan Open, but it didn't count as an official victory because it was a 36-hole event delayed by rain. He played extremely well at the Match Play Championship, but ran into the unbeatable David Toms in the quarterfinals. His only other good opportunity was finishing one shot behind Sergio Garcia at the Booz Allen Classic.
``I'm ready for a bit of a break, where I can crash and come back focused, and hopefully get to the Mercedes,'' Scott said of the winners-only tournament at Kapalua.
Among his plans? Watching his beloved Adelaide Crows in Australian Rules Football.
The World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony in November will not include Vijay Singh, who decided to defer his induction because it conflicts with a tournament.
Singh will be playing in Asia at the end of the year, starting with the inaugural HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
``I tried to get them to change the dates, but there's so many things involved in it,'' Singh said. ``It's unfortunate, but I'm definitely going to be here next year to do that.''
Other inductees are Karrie Webb from the LPGA Tour; Ayako Okamoto from the International ballot; and Willie Park Sr., Alister Mackenzie and Bernard Darwin from lifetime achievement and veterans' categories. The induction ceremony is Nov. 14 in St. Augustine, Fla.
Singh isn't the first player to defer his induction. Seve Ballesteros also had a conflict and delayed his induction one year to 1999.
Tiger Woods won only one tournament and finished fourth on the PGA Tour money list in 2004, leading some to say he was in a slump.
Jerry Kelly would beg to differ with the definition.
After playing in the Tour Championship the last three years, Kelly has only one top 10 this season.
``It's the first prolonged slump I've had in five years,'' he said. ``It's been very difficult, but I've been going through some swing changes earlier in the year -- a lot of swing changes. I got behind the 8-ball early, and I put too much pressure on myself. Now I'm a little more relaxed. I'm going to just go out and play for a change.''
Then he shot 74-72 and missed the cut at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus won't decide pairings until the Presidents Cup, but expect to see Tiger Woods and Fred Couples playing together. ... Oakland Hills, which held the Ryder Cup last year, will be 226 yards longer when it hosts the 2008 PGA Championship. Club members last week approved golf architect Rees Jones' recommendations to update the South course by stretching it to 7,303 yards as a par 70. ... For those wondering why Jesper Parnevik no longer flips up the bill of his cap, the answer is Lasik surgery. ``My eyes became a little light sensitive after that,'' he said. ``I shade my eyes from now on. It can get very bright here.'' ... Ernie Els is recovering from surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left knee, and the Big Easy is reporting good progress. He said on his Web site he can already fully straighten his knee, and is close to being able to bend it, ``which is pretty unusual so soon after this type of injury.''
Craig Bowden was 28-of-28 in fairways hit the first rounds of the Reno-Tahoe Open and still missed the cut.
``I've never made a nickel in my lifetime where I wasn't a little nervous getting it.'' -- Paul Azinger.

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.

Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.