Tiger gets lot of cheers just not for his golf

By Associated PressApril 30, 2010, 12:05 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – The cheering was loud and enthusiastic when Tiger Woods stepped to the tee on a chilly morning, another sign that perhaps people are more interested in his golf than what kept him away for so long.

About the only thing that bothered Woods on Thursday was the few applause after his introduction.

He went seven tee shots without hitting a fairway. He hit into the water on consecutive holes, the first one leading to double bogey. And right when it looked as if he might limit the damage, Woods flew the green at No. 9 on his final hole for one last bogey.

Woods wound up with a 2-over 74, ending his streak of 21 consecutive rounds at par or better dating to last September. It was his worst opening round at a regular PGA Tour event since he shot 75 at The Players Championship three years ago.

What did he plan to fix?

“Not a damn thing,” Woods said. “I’m just going to go hang it up today and come out tomorrow.”

Suddenly, the goal is to stick around longer than two days at Quail Hollow, where he won two years ago and has never finished worse than 11th in his four previous starts.

The rust everyone expected at the Masters, where Woods tied for fourth in his first competition in five months, showed up at Quail Hollow. After a risky flop shot that Woods pulled off to near perfection at the par-5 10th for a birdie to start his round, it was a mad scramble to save par for so much of his day.

He pulled some tee shots to the left, one of them banging off a rake next to the bunker, another one bounding into the stream that winds along the 18th fairway. He hit to the right on the par-5 15th, under a large holly bush, forcing him to battle for par.

And when he did find his swing late in the round, he left himself 10-foot birdie putts on the wrong side of the hole, making it tough to pick up birdies that he desperately needed.

“I had a lot of issues out there trying to figure out where my balls were going to go,” Wood said. “I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right, hit a few down the middle. And that was about it.”

If he wants to make more eye contact with the fans, this was the day. Woods was among them for so much of his round. And if he wanted to keep toning down his emotions, this was ideal practice, too. Woods kept his language clean, the only four-letter word coming at the 16th hole when he screamed, “Fore!”

Beyond the golf, Quail Hollow figured to be another hurdle in his return to golf after tawdry affairs that make him an easy target for tabloids and talk-show hosts.

The Queen City was on her best behavior.

This is the first tournament for Woods with open ticket sales, and while the gallery is always strong enough to make this tournament feel close to a major, it sold out quickly after Woods announced he would play.

There were no hecklers. A couple of single-engine planes flew overhead, none carrying banners. Uniform police officers were scattered among the gallery, yet there were no incidents.

Woods didn’t notice one way or the other. He kept his head down, even after a few of his good shots. He was asked after the round if it was therapeutic to at least be out among so much positive energy.

“I’ll tell you what, I would like to say ‘Yes,”’ Woods said. “I was struggling so bad today, I didn’t know which way I was going to go, whether I was going left or right. I didn’t really hear much, to be honest with you. I was struggling so bad out there. I was just trying to piece together a round to keep myself in the tournament. As of right now, I’m only six back of second, and one good round tomorrow can get me right back in it.”

The last time Woods failed to shoot par or better was a 1-over 72 in the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in September, the only FedEx Cup playoff event where he failed to contend.

He had his chances on his back nine when he started hitting fairways, with a slight draw on No. 3, a slight fade on No. 4. He appeared to have full command on his shots, picking up three birdies until a finish that left him with a sour taste.

“I chose the wrong club on the last hole,” he said. “The wind came up, and I thought I could take something off a 4 (iron) and hit it over the green. It should have been 5, put it in the center of the green, two-putt and move on. But I didn’t do it.”

He was surrounded by three dozen media outside the scoring area, then ducked into the locker room. His caddie waited in the parking lot, loaded up the car and off Woods went.

Woods now has played five rounds of competition in nearly six months. The expectations haven’t changed.

“I try and be easy on myself,” he said. “But I know what I can do and I’m not doing it. And that’s certainly frustrating.”

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

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?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

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

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

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.