Tiger Returns in a Different Frame of Mind

By Associated PressMay 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tiger Woods stood on the 16th tee Wednesday, where flaws in his swing were exposed last year during the Wachovia Championship, and ripped a driver that showed how much his game has turned around.
For starters, it was relatively straight and landed in the fairway.
I dont know how far I hit it, Woods said after his pro-am round at Quail Hollow. I dont know long the hole is, but I had 118 yards to the hole.
Told the par 4 measured 486 yards, Woods didnt bother doing the math.
There you go, he said. I hit it good.
Life is better than good these days. Some might say its just grand.
Fresh from a three-week break after his dramatic playoff victory in the Masters, Woods returns to the PGA Tour at the Wachovia Championship and already is facing questions about the Grand Slam.
Rumors were swirling at Quail Hollow that Woods was a late arrival because he stopped over at Pinehurst No. 2, about two hours away, where the U.S. Open will be played next month.
Not true.
The last time I was there it was raining and I missed a putt on the 18th, Woods said, referring to his tie for third in the 1999 U.S. Open, two shots behind Payne Stewart.
He was asked Wednesday if he was thinking about the Grand Slam.
Im in the Grand Slam, yes, Woods said, referring to the Hawaii exhibition for all the major winners. No, Im not thinking about that. You cant think about that unless youve won the first three and get to the last one. Youve got to take it one step at a time.
Still, it beats the conversation from a year ago.
Woods was coming off his worst finish ever in the Masters'a tie for 22nd'and then blew a 36-hole lead at the Wachovia Championship for the first time in five years. The most glaring example of his game was on the 16th hole in the third round, when his driving was so erratic that he aimed 30 yards left and played a big fade just to keep it in play.
Scrutiny of his swing now has given way to speculation whether he can dominate the tour again.
His fourth Masters victory wasnt a masterpiece.
He had a two-shot lead with two holes to play when he made back-to-back bogeys to fall into a playoff with Chris DiMarco. But as Woods reflected during his three weeks away from the tour, he found validation from the two shots he hit in the playoff'a 3-wood off the tee, an 8-iron to 15 feet for birdie.
If I would have lost the tournament, I probably would have gotten ridiculed pretty good, Woods said. And rightfully so. A two-shot lead and two holes to go, and the other guy makes two pars and hes in a playoff? Thats not very good. But the thing that made me so proud was the way I played in the playoff.
To come back and hit my two best golf shots ... under the most extreme pressure, thats when you know youre working on the right things.
Woods took longer to recover from this Masters victory than the other three.
He celebrated at his house in Augusta with his ailing father, flew home to Florida at night and couldnt sleep, still wired about ending his 0-for-10 drought in the majors and surviving a battle he never expected.
Even after I went on my vacation, spear fishing, and had a great time doing that, I was still not quite back to normal yet, he said. I dont know why it took so much out of me, more mentally than physically. All of a sudden, one morning I felt like I was ready to start practicing again.
Where it leads is anyones guess.
Fred Funk and Jose Maria Olazabal were among those in the days after the Masters that did not think Woods could ever dominate the way he did from 1999 to 2001, when he won 19 of 38 tour events.
Adam Scott is not so sure.
I think it was a pretty special win, Scott said. I do believe he can be as dominant as he was. Theres no reason why he should not be. It just depends whether he gets his game and frame of mind back what it was a few years ago. A win like that can certainly spur him on to really get into it.
The road resumes at Quail Hollow, one of the best courses all year on the PGA Tour, in a tournament that has nine of the top 11 players in the world, including Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Sergio Garcia and Scott.
The defending champion is Joey Sindelar, who won last year for the first time in 14 years.
The rough is not nearly as high as it was last year, and firm conditions are expected to change with rain in the forecast until the weekend.
The forecast for Woods? Despite winning three times this year and winning his ninth career major, he says his game is not where it should be.
I just know Ive got a long way to go'a lot of things I need to work on to get better, he said.
But he will hear sweet music on the first tee Thursday afternoon, where he is introduced as the Masters champion.
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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.

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    Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:04 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.

    “Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.

    In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.