Tiger says hes headed in the right direction

By Associated PressNovember 10, 2010, 8:08 am

JBWare MastersMELBOURNE, Australia – A news helicopter showed up over Victoria Golf Club early Wednesday morning, about the time Tiger Woods set foot on the course for the first time on the eve of his title defense in the Australian Masters.

The chopper left a short time later and never returned.

There was not much buzz – in the sky or on the ground – compared with his appearance a year ago at Kingston Heath, when some 7,000 fans complained that helicopter rotors kept them from hearing the sound of Woods’ iron shots.

The crowd was not even half that size for his pro-am round Wednesday, a reflection of Woods being a regular in these parts. It’s his second straight year Down Under after an 11-year absence, and he’ll likely be back next year for at least the Presidents Cup.

Some look at this Australian Masters as Woods coming full circle.

It was in Melbourne a year ago that the National Enquirer first linked him to a New York nightclub hostess. And it was here that he last looked like a daunting figure in golf. He won for the 82nd time in his career. He was No. 1 in the world by miles.

Woods doesn’t see it that way.

“I think I’m just here to defend the title,” he said. “I’m here to play a great golf course and play against a great field. And that’s how I’m looking at it.”

Does he at least return with mixed emotions?

Woods shook his head.

“I wanted to come back,” he said. “I love it down here. I always have.”

He returns with his game in such bad shape that he faces the prospect of going an entire year without winning for the first time in his professional career. His impeccable image is not much better, shredded by revelations of infidelity that led to his divorce.

Woods at least can roll with the punches. At a gala dinner Tuesday night at the Crown Casino, he was on stage with Shane Warne, legendary in Australian cricket as a leg spinner and for his many dalliances.

“I think we’ve got a little bit in common,” Warne said with a smile, pausing for effect. “I love golf, too.”

Woods broke into a smile and the audience roared with laughter. Such a self-deprecating moment is another step for Woods as he tries to move forward, and he hopes his game is not far behind.

The field at Victoria features fewer players in the top 50 than any other tournament Woods has played all year, which doesn’t make it any easier. It includes Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Camilo Villegas, Sergio Garcia and Geoff Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria and knows this course better than any in the world.

“I don’t think you can be missing in any part of your game,” Ogilvy said. “You can probably not be at your best in every aspect, but you have to do everything pretty well to do well around here, which is why I think it’s a really good test.”

Woods wasn’t particularly sharp Wednesday, missing several tee shots to the left. He was hitting driver more than he will when the tournament gets under way Thursday, and while he thrilled the gallery with a 20-foot eagle putt on his final hole, they didn’t see the tee shot that landed in a bush. Woods had a spectator toss it back toward the fairway.

It’s that kind of golf that produced only three top 10s this year, including a tie for sixth last week in the HSBC Champions, where he finished 12 shots out of the lead.

“I’m going to go out there and give it my best, and I’ll try and make sure I give myself every opportunity to win this event,” Woods said. “If it happens, it happens. It if doesn’t, it doesn’t. That doesn’t change my commitment to getting better.”

That commitment revved up again in August.

Three tournaments into his return, Woods parted ways with swing coach Hank Haney and tried to figure it out himself. The results were even worse, and it didn’t help that his time was divided between golf and working out a divorce settlement.

Woods eventually wound up with Sean Foley, intrigued by his ideas through two other Foley pupils, Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan. But even after they met up at the PGA Championship, Woods said he wasn’t sure he was prepared for another swing change.

He revamped his swing twice under Butch Harmon, again under Haney. He knew how long it could take, and he wasn’t sure he was ready to go that direction. It was only after the PGA Championship, where Woods tied for 28th, that he decided to take it on.

“I was definitely waffling,” he said. “At the PGA, every night I was trying to figure out, ‘Should I actually do this or not?’ Because I know the undertaking it is. I know how much effort it takes, how many swings you have to make in the mirror, how many things you have to think about, the adjustments that it takes. Do I really want to do that again?”

He saw enough positive signs at Whistling Straits that he got together with Foley during the week between the PGA Championship and the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Walking off the course Wednesday, Woods had a text from Foley, who was giving him a list of swing keys to remember.

“When that laundry list becomes short and he says, ‘Go play well tomorrow,’ then it will be a little bit better,” Woods said.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.