Notes Tiger Undergoes Second Round of LASIK
He realized this spring it was time to do it again.
``My vision started slipping,'' Woods said after THE PLAYERS Championship. ``I was getting headaches from squinting all the time.''
He said he had laser surgery for the second time the Monday after the Masters.
``Mine stayed the way it should for ... what is it, eight years now?'' Woods said. ``That's pretty good.''
Just as in 1999, Woods won his first tournament after eye surgery when he captured the Wachovia Championship by two shots. But that's where the similarity ends. His victory at Disney in 1999 was the second of six consecutive PGA TOUR victories. Woods tied for 37th last week, his worst finish since missing the cut at the U.S. Open last summer.
Joey Sindelar walked off the 18th green at THE PLAYERS Championship with a wistful feeling. He is doing that at a lot of tournaments these days, not because of his game, but his birth certificate.
Sindelar, a seven-time winner on the PGA TOUR, turns 50 in March.
``This is a very bizarre time for me,'' he said last week. ``I don't know when I walk off this green or Harbourtown or Wachovia ... is that the last time I did that? I don't know the answer. Very weird.''
He likely will join the Champions Tour instead of trying to play both as Jay Haas once did and Fred Funk does now. But he figures the competition will be strong, in part because guys his age have stayed competitive until they graduated to the Champions Tour. Hal Sutton, Mark O'Meara, John Cook, Bob Tway and Scott Hoch all turned pro from 1979 to 1981.
``The generation prior to us, what was there to stay on TOUR for?'' Sindelar said. ``What was 100th (on the money list) back then. Now 100th is worth staying around for in my world. We're the first generation that it was worth fighting, where you wouldn't say, 'I can stay home and make that much money.'''
The best part of turning 50?
``What thrills me is not living by the word 'cut' anymore,'' Sindelar said. ``My entire life has been consumed by that.''
Jose Coceres didn't even make it through Q-school last year and started the season with only past champion status, having won at Disney and Hilton Head in 2001.
But he sure made the most of his opportunities.
The Argentine lost in a playoff to Fred Funk in Mexico. That got him into the Honda Classic, where he lost in the four-man playoff won by Mark Wilson. That helped him move high enough up the FedExCup list to get a spot at THE PLAYERS Championship, where he finished fifth.
He already has earned nearly $1.2 million and is 32nd in the FedExCup. Not bad for a guy who had not finished higher than 106th on the money list over the last five years.
Geoff Ogilvy hasn't won on the PGA TOUR since his U.S. Open victory at Winged Foot last year, although he was a finalist at the Accenture Match Play Championship and tied for third at Doral.
He was asked if he feels more pressure to succeed, or less pressure because he already has a major.
``More and less,'' Ogilvy said. ``Sometimes I think I probably put too much expectations on myself. At other times, I'm like, 'What do I care? I just won the U.S. Open.' It's a bit of both.''
CARD OF THE WEEK:
For those who say par is a good score at THE PLAYERS Championship, consider Justin Leonard.
He made 33 pars over the first two rounds.
Alas, those were the only two rounds he played, for the par machine also was the only player at Sawgrass who failed to make birdie. Even so, it was a cruel send-off for the '98 PLAYERS champion.
Leonard took double bogey when it took him four shots to hole out from behind the seventh green. His layup on the par-5 ninth was behind a tree, forcing him to pitch out and take bogey. And in the howling wind at the island-green 17th, he put one ball in the water and three-putted for triple bogey.
He finished his week with 19 consecutive pars, missing a 10-foot birdie on his 36th hole to make the cut.
Darren Clarke withdrew from the Irish Open because of a hamstring injury that knocked him out of the Wachovia Championship and THE PLAYERS Championship. He said doctors told him he could aggravate the injury if he tried to play. He hopes to return next week for the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event on the European Tour. ... Charlie Sifford, the first black player to win a PGA TOUR event, received an honorary degree last week from Lincoln University in Missouri. ... The new video scoreboards that debuted last week at THE PLAYERS Championship had only one noticeable glitch. It showed Anthony Kim's picture over Joey Sindelar's name. ... The World Golf Hall of Fame plans an exhibit featuring the life and career of Jack Nicklaus. It will open Nov. 12 in conjunction with the induction ceremony and be on display for one year.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has not finished in the top 10 at THE PLAYERS Championship since winning in 2001.
``I've only played decent on one Pete Dye golf course and that's the one I won at in Quad Cities. And it didn't look anything like this.'' - David Toms, who has never finished better than 12th at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.
There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.
It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.
“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.
In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.
Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”
Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.
“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”
Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.
Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.
If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.
For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.
Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.
Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.
While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.
When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?
Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.
After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.
The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.
That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.
The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.
While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.
Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.
Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain
The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.
"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."
Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.
Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.
Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.