Answers to All Your Tiger Queries

By Brian HewittMay 12, 2004, 4:00 pm
Ten questions and 10 answers surrounding the enigma wrapped inside a mystery that Tiger Woods and his golf have become to an insatiably curious public:
1.) What is wrong with Tiger Woods game?
There is a ghost in his machine. The golf swing is a highly-sensitive and finely-tuned piece of machinery. But it is also a living organism. It changes from day to day just like we all change from day to day. Tom Watson used to talk about playing whatever game he found at the practice range that day. Some days its easier to hit a draw, other days a fade. Simple as that.
2.) What should Tiger do about it?
Its almost impossibly difficult here not to suggest that Woods go back to see teacher Butch Harmon. Lord knows, many leading experts in the field think this would be the best thing. But first Woods must gain a predisposition for being helped. He needs to want somebody else to provide the answers before he can seek them. Theres an old adage in eastern philosophy that goes something like this: When the student is ready, a teacher will appear.
3. Will Tiger win the U.S. Open next month at Shinnecock Hills?
Not unless he figures out where his ball is going. It was interesting to note at last weeks Wachovia Championship that, for the most part, Woods stopped trying to convince us that he was close. He hit less than 45 percent of the fairways. That is not close. If that continues at Shinnecock, it will put an almost unbearable strain on his short game. The U.S. Open is 72 holes. The rough is hellish. The Long Island winds are capricious. Tiger has the best short game in the world. But it may not be enough.
4.) When will Tiger get married?
Sometime after he and his fianc, Elin Nordegren, announce the date.
5.) Who will be the best man?
The early morning betting favorite is college friend and former Stanford teammate Jerry Chang.
6.) Is the new Big Four of Tiger, Ernie, Vijay and Phil more a result of Tiger coming back to the field or those players raising their games?
Singh, Mickelson and Els all have worked harder than ever before. But the answer here has more to do with Woods current downturn in form.
7. ) Will Tiger break Jack Nicklaus record of 18 professional majors?
Yes, unless he decides to take up another sport. Thankfully, that is unlikely, in part because Tigers got MJs cell number on his speed dial. (Although it would be fun to see if Tiger can hit Phils fastball.)
8.) Will Tiger ever play back to the form he achieved in 2000?
Woods won three majors and six other events that year en route to setting or tying 27 PGA Tour records. We have learned never to say never with Tiger. But it will be more difficult for Woods to surpass the level he reached in 2000 than it will be for him to break Nicklaus record.
9.) Whats the highlight so far of Woods 2004 season?
Thats easy. It was the long birdie putt he made on the 17th hole last Sunday at Quail Hollow. The kilowatt smile. The fist pump. The spring in his step. It was all there. And it was terrific to see Woods release all the emotions that have been pent up inside for too long.
10.) What will Tiger do next?
Whatever he pleases as long as he isnt breaking any laws. The mans income approaches approximately 80 million dollars a year. Maybe he will buy a great big boat and move to West Palm Beach. Maybe he will announce his wedding date. Maybe some of this is none of our business.
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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."