Fair and Balanced on Tiger

By Brandel ChambleeFebruary 28, 2011, 10:25 pm
I’m often accused of being negative toward Tiger Woods.

As a golfer and as a fan I am appreciative of the entertainment that Tiger has provided and hold in awe his many accomplishments. Countless times and in countless ways I have stated and written this in the course of my duties as an analyst and a writer.

It is my intention and indeed my responsibility to speak to an issue with complete accuracy where statistics or numbers are the determining factors for clarity. When opinion is called for, I base mine on those stats or records and compare them with other eras for perspective. Whether Tiger is the greatest player of all time or will go down as the greatest player of all time is an interminable debate and I always enjoy listening to those well-informed ideas that run, either counter to mine, or are in step with mine.

As for the negativity, in some cases I’m guilty as charged. I cannot as an analyst find reason to compliment a player who abandons proven methods for more pedestrian ones. What if he is ultimately successful in his endeavors to change his swing and win majors? He would end up right where he started, at the cost of time, which is every athlete’s most valuable commodity. Furthermore, it would have cost him considerable wear on a body that has not aged well. All of this makes me question whether it is one of the most confusing things we have seen in golf.

Do not mistake this opinion for ill will, I wish Tiger well. He has made my job very easy as he has given us so many salivating moments to talk about on the air. He has been very good for golf, especially globally. Golf has not grown in this country since he arrived but in the world it is a different story.

Golf is positioned for seismic growth, in China, India, Russia and South America because of its inclusion in the Olympics in 2016. While Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour and golf's other governing bodies around the globe deserve a standing ovation for this, I can't help but think that Tiger played the biggest part. He made golf cool and the idea of having him on an Olympic stage had to be a determining factor in overcoming the inertia that had kept golf out of the biggest sporting event in the world. For that, golf owes Tiger a debt of gratitude.

If you read this Tiger, thank you and I hope 2011 turns out to be a great year for you.
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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.