Woods' schedule limited by time with kids

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2011, 8:37 pm

DORAL, Fla. — Tiger Woods is hitting some of his best shots when no oneis watching.

That’s typically the case when Woods tries to build a new golf swing, andhis third major swing change is no exception. Put him on the practice range athome in Isleworth and he says he goes through long stretches of hitting the ballhow he wants. Put him inside the ropes, with a scorecard in hand and TV camerasin the towers, and he has stretches of looking ordinary.

But there is one big difference this time around.

Woods isn’t playing very much.

When he tees it up Thursday in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, it willbe only his 10th competitive round of the year, an unusually low number with theMasters around the corner. Woods talks about needing more competition, and mostwould agree that would speed along the process of revamping his swing. It alsoleads to a natural question.

Why not play more tournaments?

“Because I have a family. I’m divorced,” Woods replied solemnly. “Ifyou’ve been divorced with kids, then you would understand.”

It spoke to a personal life that remains as much a work in progress as hisgolf swing.

There was speculation after Woods lost in the first round of the Match PlayChampionship that he would play the Honda Classic, especially since he is closeto moving to south Florida. But that was his time with his 3 1/2 -year-old daughterand 1-year-old son as part of the “shared parenting” with ex-wife Elin. Thereare no plans to play next week at Innisbrook, either.

Woods can’t expect any sympathy for a situation he created through serialadultery. Even so, his playing schedule reflects that he’s having to change morethan his swing.

When he went through his first big overhaul under Butch Harmon after the1997 season, Woods played 17 rounds before the Florida swing. At the start of2004 under Hank Haney, he played 22 rounds leading to Florida, the traditionalstart of the road to the Masters.

This year, he has played nine rounds in competition.

Woods started his season at Torrey Pines with four rounds, only two of themunder par. Two weeks later he was off to Dubai, where he was in contention untila 75 on the wind-blown final day. After another two-week break came the MatchPlay Championship, where he lost in the opening round to Thomas Bjorn .

There is no cut at this World Golf Championship, so he is guaranteed fourrounds this week.

It starts Thursday on the Blue Monster, a course where he has won threetimes and never finished out of the top 10 in four other appearances. That meansnothing anymore, for Woods had never finished out of the top 10 at either TorreyPines and Dubai until this year.

Woods will be in familiar company, which will bring him even more attention.

Because tournament officials relied on the world ranking to determine thegroups, Woods will spend the first two days with Phil Mickelson , his fiercestrival, and Graeme McDowell , who in December rallied from four shots behind inthe final round to beat Woods in a playoff at the Chevron World Challenge.

Not since the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship have Woods and Mickelsonplayed in the same group for the early rounds. What’s strange about thisoccasion is their form. Woods has gone nearly 16 months without winning, thelongest stretch of his career. Mickelson has not won since the Masters lastyear.

Who could have guessed golf’s two best players of their generation wouldhave one win between them in the last year?

And it doesn’t sound as though Woods is expecting much this week.

“I’ve been through periods in my career where I have not won and I’vestruggled before,” he said. “When you’re making a change with the game andchange instructors, it takes a little time. Trust me, we have been working onit. As I said, I’ve shown signs. Unfortunately, it’s in spurts and is notconsistent. It has not been for 72 holes yet, so, we need to get to thatpoint.”

After playing nine holes on Tuesday — including three balls in the water onthe 18th hole—he talked about changing everything about his game, all the waydown to how he releases the putter.

“You just can’t have one swing and not have another,” he said. “They’reall interrelated. It’s just something I’ve had to change, and you know, it takestime.”

And most of that time is spent on the range, not at tournaments.

Lee Westwood , who lost his No. 1 ranking to Martin Kaymer two weeks ago, canunderstand the feeling. Westwood once was No. 4 in the world until he went intoa deep slump that dropped him as low as No. 253.

He wasn’t surprised when Woods did not play the Honda Classic last week,even for reasons other than his children.

“When I went through a bad patch, it was a juggling act whether to stay athome and practice and work on your game — because you get more done — or to goout and play and risk maybe not playing well and taking another confidenceknock,” Westwood said. “So it’s very much in situations like that up to theindividual.

“Tiger has got to do what he feels is right, not what everybody else feelsis right.”

Meanwhile, another World Golf Championship in on the line. Woods used to ownthese events, winning 16 out of the first 30. Ernie Els is the defendingchampion, having held off fellow South African Charl Schwartzel a year ago.

Els spoke about the young players who are thriving now, and don’t have theemotional baggage of facing a decade of Woods at his best.

“I don’t think they will ever appreciate how good Tiger was back then,”Els said. “He could do it again. He’s just got to sort out the new swing again.He’s so mentally strong that he could well dominate again. But at that level,who knows?”

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.