Woods changed goal remains the same

By Associated PressApril 5, 2010, 11:46 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – While acknowledging he made some 'incredibly poor decisions' in his personal life, Tiger Woods still thinks he can win the Masters – even coming back from a five-month layoff.

'Nothing's changed,' Woods said Monday during an extraordinary 35-minute news conference at Augusta National. 'I'm going to go out there and try to win this thing.'

In his first full-fledged session with the media since his life fell apart, Woods entered the interview room with a smile on his face and stopped to hug one of the green-jacketed club members, Ron Townsend.

Woods again took full blame for his personal failings, but stopped short of providing many new details. He wouldn't say why he entered rehab for 45 days nor would he go into specifics about his infamous Thanksgiving night car crash, other than to say it took five stitches to close a lip wound.

'All I know is I acted just terribly,' said Woods, sporting the makings of a goatee. 'I just made some incredibly bad decisions, decisions that hurt so many people close to me.'

He said his wife, Elin, would not be at Augusta. The couple's marriage has been in limbo since revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs during their 5 1/2-year marriage.

Woods thanked his fellow golfers for the support he's received since announcing his return to the PGA Tour and said he was pleasantly surprised how well the fans treated him during a practice round Monday. The outing was his first before a gallery since the sex scandal made him a tawdry tabloid fixture. He even flashed a bit of uncharacteristic charm, stopping to sign autographs – something he rarely does – while heading to the practice range to get in a few extra swings.

'The encouragement I got, it blew me away,' he said. 'It really did. The people here over the years, I know they've been extremely respectful. But today is just something that touched my heart pretty good.'

During the news conference, Woods said:

  • He never used human growth hormone to recover from knee surgery, never took any illegal drug and hasn't undergone treatment for addiction to prescription drugs.
  • He plans to tone down his reactions – good and bad – on the course, and hopes to interact more with his fans during practice rounds.
  • He 'followed the letter of the law' after slamming his car into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his home, including not talking to police investigators.

In New York, adult film star Joslyn James, one of more than a dozen women who claims to have had an affair with Woods, watched the golfer's news conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred, and a room full of reporters and television cameras at the Friar's Club.

James has asked for an apology from Woods, saying he had not been truthful to her during their three-year relationship.

'I think he's still a big, fat liar,' she said.

As for Woods' assertion that he gained perspective after the birth of his two children, James claimed the golfer was with her 10 days after his daughter was born. To his insistence that the last few years of deception were no fun, she said, 'He was having a good time from what he told me.'

Woods has won 82 times around the world, including 14 major titles, but he speculated that he might have been even more successful if he had shown more control in his personal life.

'I would like to say yes,' Woods said. 'I would be more centered, more balanced, and that's where I'm headed towards. That's what I'm working towards each and every day.'

Woods acknowledged reports that he was prescribed two drugs: the sleep aid Ambien and the painkiller Vicodin, the latter to deal with four knee operations and an Achilles' injury.

'Most of the time I was on the Ambien was when my dad was sick and when my dad died. That was a tough time in my life,' he said. 'I was still taking some of those things to help me sleep.'

Woods said he's never received treatment for either drug, but wasn't forthcoming when asked if Ambien played a role in his car crash.

'The police investigated the accident and they cited me 166 bucks and it's a closed case,' he said.

Woods also addressed his dealings with Dr. Anthony Galea, a Canadian sports medicine physician who's been linked to performance-enhancing drugs and a disputed recovery treatment known as 'blood spinning.'

'He's worked with so many athletes,' Woods said. 'There's a certain comfort level to that when a person has worked with athletes.'

During his practice round, Woods heard shouts such as 'Welcome back, Tiger!' and 'Go get 'em, Tiger!' There were no boos, though the applause when he approached each green was a bit more tepid than he received in previous appearances at Augusta National.

Still, it was a solid start in the process of restoring his image with fans and sponsors. Woods clearly was intent on mingling more with the fans than he did before the scandal. First, he putted a couple of balls to some kids watching alongside the 18th green. Then, a real surprise: Woods stopped to sign autographs while heading to the practice range.

Ashley Hawkins was beaming as she showed off an Augusta National flag that Woods signed. The golfer can only hope that most fans feel the way she does.

'I'm excited that he's here,' Hawkins said. 'I'm really rooting for him to win. His personal life is his personal life. I still think he's a great golfer. That's all that matters.'

Several big-name sponsors dropped Woods, while Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette unit distanced itself from the golfer by no longer including him in its ads. But the company said in a statement Monday that it looks forward to seeing Woods return to the course - and took note of his new facial hair.

'The goatee is part of a well-groomed look,' the razor and shaving cream company said.

John Sweeney, director of sports communication at the University of North Carolina's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the news conference did little to help or hurt Woods' marketability and is unlikely to change the minds of the companies that dropped him, including Accenture and Gatorade.

'He's doing some proper things to repair an incredibly damaged legacy, but it's going to take a couple of years here,' Sweeney said.

Woods, who practiced with Fred Couples and was joined for the final five holes by Jim Furyk, said he felt at peace when he stepped on the course.

'I've had some great years,' Woods said. 'Unfortunately, what I've done over the past years to my family was just terrible. The fact that I won golf tournaments is irrelevant.'

Couples said it might be too soon to expect Woods to be a contender in the first major of the year.

'His intimidation factor is always there, but you have to play good golf and he hasn't played much,' Couples said. 'It would be crazy for me to say he's not going to do well. But it would be crazy to say he's the guy to beat because he hasn't played a competitive round of golf in five or six months.

'If he's in the lead on Sunday, he'll have no problem. If he's not, he'll say, 'Here's what I need to work on. I came out, I played, I saw everybody and now I'm ready to start golfing.''

Win or lose, Woods is clearly thrilled to be back on the course.

'It feels fun again,' he said. 'That's been missing.'

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

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.