Notes Tiger Talks Retirement Plays with Manning
Asked how long he envisioned himself playing Augusta National, Woods replied, 'Not as long as people think.'
Retirement is harder in golf than any other sport, because players can compete well into their 50s (Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Jay Haas) and the Champions Tour can extend careers even longer.
Palmer, 75, does not plan to play a PGA Tour event this year for the first time since 1953.
'I'll definitely quit the game earlier than people think,' Woods said in a recent interview. 'The only reason I would play is the occasional tournament if my son is good enough to be out there, and he chooses to play. That would be cool. But my foundation means much more than what I do out here.'
That's not to say Woods, who at 29 has been on tour for nine years, is contemplating retirement.
He made it clear there are two records he is chasing -- the 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus, and the 82 career PGA Tour victories by Sam Snead. Woods has eight majors and 42 tour victories.
But how will he know when it's time to quit?
'When my best isn't good enough, I'm walking,' Woods said. 'You'll know when you're not able to produce any more. I don't lie. When I play well, I tell you guys. And I tell you when I haven't played well. I've won tournaments out there when I wasn't playing my best. But if I play my best and don't win, there's no reason to be out here.'
Has he ever played his best and not won?
'No,' Woods said flatly.
He offered the same answer when asked if he ever played his best and came close to not winning. Woods said the best he has played was the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 shots, and the 2000 U.S. Open, which he won by 15.
'And the British Open,' he said of 2000 at St. Andrews, where he won by eight. 'That was a good week.'
TIGER AND PEYTON
Peyton Manning found himself in another big game Tuesday and failed to win, although this time he had a good excuse. He was playing golf against Tiger Woods.
The MVP quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts took part in the Bay Hill Invitational pro-am and got paired with Woods, a four-time winner at Bay Hill and the No. 1 player in the world.
They made an undisclosed bet over the final six holes, and Woods won with an approach into 18 inches on the final hole for a birdie.
'He stopped giving me tips on the last six holes when he was trying to beat me,' Manning said. 'You can see why he's such a great competitor.'
They also threw a football, and Manning thinks Woods has a chance as a receiver.
'Somewhere in the slot,' Manning said. 'He can sneak around those linebackers. He's got good hands down the middle. He's tough.'
Woods begged to differ.
'I'm not going over the middle,' he said. 'I wouldn't have a head by the time I came back to the huddle.'
MONEY AND RANKING
The next two weeks on the PGA Tour loom large for players like Kevin Na, Joe Ogilvie and Colin Montgomerie, all of whom can get into the Masters.
The top 10 on the PGA Tour money list and the top 50 in the world ranking after The Players Championship get into Augusta National.
Ogilvie, who lost in a three-way playoff at the Honda Classic, moved up to No. 8 on the money list and is $149,710 ahead of Justin Leonard at No. 10. Ogilvie is playing Bay Hill, while Leonard is taking the week off.
Also at Bay Hill is Na, who is No. 11 on the money list and trails Leonard by $74,279.
Meanwhile, Monty is playing the TCL Classic in China on the European tour. He is No. 54 in the world ranking, and needs to move into the top 50 to get invited to The Players Championship. That would help his bid to return to the Masters, a major he has not missed since 1992.
Belgian motivator Jos Vanstiphout has been known to speak brutally and bluntly to Ernie Els, although he might have crossed the line in Qatar.
The Big Easy and Vanstiphout had a 'long and frank discussion' on the practice range Thursday, which followed Els' victory in Dubai and preceded his 73 in the first round of the Qatar Masters. Els rallied to win, shooting 65 to make up a five-shot deficit on the final day.
'He is supposed to give me encouragement, not what he gave me,' Els told the Times of London. 'It's supposed to be 10 minutes of good stuff before I play, but that was 12 minutes of the most ridiculous stuff I've ever thought of. I don't know what went through his head.'
But Els said they patched things up and 'he's still employed.'
WANAMAKER ON DISPLAY
The Wanamaker Trophy will be on display this weekend at the Chicago Golf Show in advance of next year's PGA Championship at Medinah.
So what did Vijay Singh take home with him from Whistling Straits?
While the reigning Masters champion can keep his green jacket at home, and the British Open champion gets to keep the claret jug, the PGA champion gets a smaller version of the mammoth Wanamaker Trophy.
That wasn't always the case.
Walter Hagen won his fourth straight PGA Championship in 1927 at Cedar Crest in Dallas, but when it came time to return the big trophy, Hagen reported that it was 'irrevocably lost.'
Turns out he entrusted it to a cab driver to take to his hotel, and the Wanamaker Trophy never made it there. However, it was found two years later by a porter who was cleaning the cellar of L.A. Young & Co., a firm that made clubs bearing Hagen's name.
It will be seen by some 20,000 people at the Chicago Golf Show, but likely won't be left in the care of a cabbie.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans has raised its purse by $400,000 to $5.5 million. Vijay Singh will defend his title the last week in April at the TPC of Louisiana, which only opened last year. ... David Toms has four consecutive finishes in the top 10, the longest streak of his career. ... Woods will pick up the Mark McCormack Award on Wednesday for being No. 1 in the world for the most weeks in 2004. The ceremony will be at Isleworth during a Bay Hill dinner for past champions.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Three of the five PGA Tour events Tiger Woods has played this year were sponsored by three automobile companies other than the one he endorses.
'I'd love to be No. 1. I'm as close as I've been for a year now.' -- Ernie Els, who has a chance to be No. 1 for the first time in seven years.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters
Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.
Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.
In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.
Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.
“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”
Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking.
Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup
In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.
Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.
Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.
“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”
McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.
“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
September can’t get here quick enough.
Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.
There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.
In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.
“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”
The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”
Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.
Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.
The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.
The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.
“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.
Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.
After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.
It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.
Tweet of the week:
Welp I didn’t get hit by a ballistic missile today so that’s a plus! #imalive— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonFW) January 14, 2018
It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”
The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”