Woods Getting More Distance in 2004

By Associated PressJanuary 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
Tiger Woods starts out the season at No. 1 in driving distance, averaging 311.1 yards last week on the Plantation course at Kapalua.
A year ago, Woods finished 11th in driving distance, the first he had fallen out of the top 10.
What might make a difference is a new Nike One ball and slightly different driver.
'I went from a three-piece ball to a four-piece ball,' Woods said. 'I just added more speed to the ball.'
He also said his Nike Ignite driver was 'just a touch faster.'
Woods said he was not alarmed at his drop in driving distance, although he said that was the weakest part of his game last year. He continues to use steel shafts and a shorter club for control.
He said he could switch to graphite shafts, an inch longer driver and harder ball and pick up another 20 yards.
'I have the ability to not have to go that route yet,' he said.
A MAJOR FEAT: Tom Watson last year became the first player to play in all nine major championships - four on the regular tour, five on the Champions Tour.
Jay Haas might do something even more remarkable.
He has a chance to become the first player to qualify for nine majors in one year.
Haas, who turned 50 in December, is coming off one of his best years on the PGA Tour. He finished 15th on the money list, which makes him eligible for the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship.
Having played on the 1995 Ryder Cup team, Haas is eligible for the U.S. Senior Open, the Senior British Open and the Senior PGA Championship. He is 29th on the PGA Tour career money list, which makes him eligible for the Tradition.
The other major is the Senior Players Championship. Eligibility is determined by a 12-month money list on the Champions Tour leading up to the tournament.
Watson had to get special exemptions for two majors last year, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
MAN OF THE WORLD: Vijay Singh was not only the biggest money-maker on the PGA Tour, he ended Tiger Woods five-year domination atop the World Money List.
Singh earned $8.5 million from tournaments worldwide, according to figures released Tuesday by IMG.
Ernie Els of South Africa, golf's most global player, had seven victories worldwide and was second with $7.6 million. Woods was third with $7.4 million.
Woods set the record in 2000 with just over $11 million.
In the 38 years that IMG has compiled the World Money List, no one had ever won the title five years in a row. Tom Watson was tops from 1977 to 1980, while Jack Nicklaus earned the most money worldwide seven times, but never more than three straight years.
IMG said 99 regular tour players earned more than $1 million last year.
MAJOR EXEMPTIONS: Michelle Wie was among six amateurs invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Tour's first major of the year.
A year ago, Wie played in the final group with winner Patricia Meunier-Lebouc and Annika Sorenstam. She closed with a 76 and tied for ninth.
The others were U.S. Women's Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn and runner-up Jane Park; Arizona sophomore Erica Blasberg; Duke sophomore Elizabeth Janangelo; and Paula Creamer, the top-rated junior golfer.
DIVOTS: Greg Norman has donated $2,000 to the re-election campaign of President Bush, Golf World magazine reported this week. According to Federal Election Commissioner records, Norman gave $2,000 to Bush's 2000 campaign. Norman lives in Jupiter, Fla., but is not a U.S. citizen and is ineligible to vote. ... Colin Montgomerie is changing clubs for the third time in two years, switching to Yonex. Montgomerie had a longtime endorsement with Callaway, then switched to Hogan last year. When Callaway acquired the Hogan Co., it did not keep Monty on its tour staff. The Scot is playing in the South African Airways Open this week. ... No more than five of the 30 players at the Mercedes Championships had their drivers tested by the new 'pendulum tester' made available by the PGA Tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods was the only player to average more than 300 yards off the tee (311.1) at the Mercedes Championships.
FINAL WORD: 'Distance is not her problem. Age is probably her problem.' - Davis Love III, on 14-year-old Michelle Wie playing in the Sony Open.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. And the crowd was loving it.

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Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

“I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

“It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

Made Cut

Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

“What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

#MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

“I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

Stay tuned.

Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

Missed Cut

West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.