Tiger Plays Coy About Knee

By Associated PressJune 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Open, San Diego style, brought morning fog that clung to the cliffs and spilled over to Torrey Pines Golf Course when Tiger Woods showed up for another nine-hole session Tuesday.
 
The setting could not have been more appropriate.
 
What once had been such a clear picture of this U.S. Open is now shrouded with uncertainty, starting with the left knee of the No. 1 player in the world. Woods has not played a competitive round since his runner-up finish at the Masters on April 13, having surgery two days later to clean out cartilage.
 
Perhaps even more startling was that Woods has not walked 18 holes since that Sunday at Augusta National'and most likely wont until he steps to the first tee Thursday morning.
 
Is it fully recovered? he said. Probably not.
 
Woods played 17 1/2 holes last Wednesday in a cart, then retreated to his club in southern California for more cart golf over the weekend. Then came nine holes at Torrey on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and he typically doesnt play at all the day before a major begins.
 
It is not the ideal way to prepare for a major, and Woods has that down to a science. What helps is that he has owned Torrey Pines as much as any other golf course in the world, winning the Buick Invitational for the sixth time in January, by a tournament-record eight shots.
 
That made him an overwhelming favorite for the U.S. Open'but that was before knee surgery.
 
Its difficult to take the amount of time he took off and come to a U.S. Open and dominate the way he has, Jim Furyk said. That being said, nothing he does surprises me.
 
Sergio Garcia, among those expected to contend this week, said that didnt make him any less of a favorite.
 
Its like Big Brown, with a crack (in the hoof), Garcia said. He was still the favorite.
 
Someone reminded Garcia that Big Brown failed to win the Triple Crown, finishing last among nine horses at the Belmont Stakes.
 
Still a top 10, Garcia quipped.
 
Cameras flashed in the fog when Woods teed off, and thousands of spectators followed him along the back nine of the South Course, looking for a limp or the slightest sign of a game that would not be able to stand the rigors of 72 holes of golfs toughest test. Thats assuming, of course, that Woods makes it all 72 holes.
 
The last time he played the U.S. Open after such a long layoff was two years ago at Winged Foot, when he returned from nine weeks off to deal with his fathers death. He shots rounds of 76-76 and missed the cut for the only time in a major.
 
That was mental. This was physical.
 
In both cases, only the patient knows whats going on. And typical of Woods, he hasnt been forthcoming with information.
 
Has there been a shot that caused a twinge during practice, anything that caused him concern?
 
Its a little sore, Woods said, but not anything I havent dealt with before.
 
Nothing looked out of the ordinary in the two hours it took him to play nine holes with Bubba Watson and Jordan Cox, an amateur from Stanford. If there was one moment to watch, it came on the par-5 13th that has stretched to 614 yards, a tee so far back from the course that Woods said, Were almost in the ocean.
 
It can no longer be reached in two, so Woods split the middle of the fairway with his driver and hit an iron to lay up. But his second shot stopped on the down slope of the first cut of rough, leaving him about 130 yards from an awkward stance. All the weight is on the left side at address, and he took a hard swing to get the shot up in the air and over the bunkers to the elevated green.
 
That didnt look like much effort, certainly not much pain.
 
He would have liked to play Memorial to know for certain how he was hitting the ball and where it was going, that apparently was not an option. Woods said he wasnt even sure he could play the U.S. Open until two weeks ago.
 
The week prior to Memorial, I was not feeling good enough where I was 100 percent sure I could play all four days, he said. But then, my leg started getting a lot better quickly, which was great. My lifting went way up. My endurance came back. All the different things started coming up.
 
Someone asked him to put a percentage on how his knee felt.
 
Its feeling better, was all he said, tiring of the questions.
 
If he learned anything from Winged Foot, it was that he could not ease his way into the round. Woods was battling for par from the opening hole and never quite recovered, slowly falling so far back that he was eliminated from the weekend.
 
What surely will get his attention Thursday is having Phil Mickelson next to him on the tee, joined by Adam Scott, the first time the USGA has grouped the top three players from the world ranking.
 
The guy loves a challenge, swing coach Hank Haney said as he followed along. And he loves this pairing with Mickelson. This will get him into the game quickly.
 
That is Woods biggest concern'finding a rhythm that comes only from tournament golf, and finding it quickly.
 
Uncertainly also comes in the setup of the South Course, beyond the different conditions Woods, Mickelson and everyone else sees in the winter at the Buick Invitational. There could be four holes with vastly different tees, none more intriguing than the 14th hole. It plays 435 yards, but the USGA likely will play a forward tee from 277 yards for the final round.
 
The par-3 third will either be 195 yards or 142 yards, the difference between a middle iron and a wedge.
 
The scores? They could be anything.
 
Its going to be a great test, Woods said. The way they have set it up with different tees, different lengths, it can play so many different ways that its going to be very interesting to see how the scores turn out.
 
One score in particular usually gets a lot of interest, especially this week.
 
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    Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

    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.

    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.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."