Statue of Earl and Tiger Unveiled at Learning Center

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2008, 5:00 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The unveiling of a statue at the Tiger Woods Learning Center turned into a family photo Monday, and a reminder for Woods about the powerful bond between a father and a child.
 
Behind him was a bronze of Woods wrapping his arm around the shoulder of his late father, Earl Woods, the backbone of a foundation that led to a 35,000-square-foot educational center next to the golf course where they grew up. The center has been open just under two years and already has reached more than 16,000 kids.
 
Woods and his mother, Kultida, posed with 7-month-old daughter Sam. As photographers moved into position, Sam leaned back in her grandmother's arms and stared up at her father, bringing a wide smile from the world's No. 1 golfer.
 
'Ever since the day he passed, I have yet to go a day without thinking of my dad,' said Woods, whose father died in May 2006. 'Now that I've had Sam, it's amazing how I keep reflecting on things he taught me. I can't wait to pass that on. That's one reason I worked so hard on my foundation to expand this. He was all about helping others.'
 
The 8-foot bronze was designed by Elliot and Ivan Schwartz of Studio EIS, and it will remain in the lobby of the learning center.
 
Earl Woods was dying of cancer and could not be there when former President Clinton joined Woods at the grand opening of the learning center in February 2006. Woods said his father only saw the $25 million center once, a few months earlier during the holidays.
 
That night at their home in nearby Cypress, he said his father thanked him for allowing him to see the center.
 
'I told him, 'Thank me? You were the inspiration for it. Without you and your guidance, I would have never gone down this path,'' Woods said. 'I feel, and my mother feels, there's no better way to honor what he's done than to create a statue like this.'
 
Woods said the statue symbolizes the support that led to so much success -- 61 victories on the PGA TOUR going into the 2008 season, along with 13 majors and the career Grand Slam twice over.
 
'It brings back my childhood, what he's meant to me in my life, not only from a golf standpoint,' Woods said. 'He was always there. That's basically what it symbolizes. He always had my back. If I failed, I could always come home to love.'
 
Woods also announced an online contest through the Tiger Woods Foundation for children around the world to share what he called their 'Fist Pump Moment' on video and e-mail.
 
The entries submitted to www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org will be voted on by web site visitors, with prizes going to the highest-ranked submissions. Prizes will include iPods, Tiger Woods '08 EA Video Games and gift cards.
 
Woods made the fist pump popular, starting with his three straight U.S. Amateur titles, the final putt at Augusta National in 1997 for a record-setting victory that made him the youngest Masters champion, and countless occasions throughout his career.
 
Asked about his first 'fist pump moment,' Woods recalled vividly details of a round from 21 years ago, the first time he beat his father.
 
He was an 11-year-old playing with his father at Navy Golf Course, when Earl Woods was playing off a 1 handicap. Woods said he birdied the 16th hole to get back to even par for the round, tied with his father. Both parred the 17th.
 
'Eighteen is a par 5, and we both got on in regulation,' Woods said. 'He missed a 20-footer, and I made a 15-footer, uphill, left-to-right. It came out of me. That was my first fist pump. I started upper-cutting the air. It was the greatest thing I ever did in my life, beating my dad. I remember going to the 19th hole to celebrate and to rub it in.'
 
Woods said he would tie the 'Fist Pump Challenge' into the Earls Woods Scholarship program, offering children around Washington, D.C., and Orange County, Calif., an opportunity to compete for scholarship money through the online contest.
 
Three children spoke at a news conference to share their moments -- Navdeep Kaur winning a science contest, Cecilia Cardenas getting accepted to a summer program at the University of Wisconsin, Jon Waters reaching a state championship game in basketball.
 
'There are kids around the country and around the world having these little moments they can celebrate,' Woods said. 'I would like to have them share that with all of us, so they can communicate their experiences with each other. That's what my father would instill in them -- keep pushing forward, keep trying to make a difference.
 
'I know he's not here to experience this, but he embodies everything about this foundation. That's why we're celebrating this moment, for all he's done to help others and inspire kids to chase and accomplish their goals.'
 
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.