Bits and Tiger Pieces

By Brian HewittNovember 15, 2004, 5:00 pm
Nick Faldo likes to talk about tinkering with his game as working on all the bits and pieces. A little bunker practice here; a little chipping there; a few drills mixed in with a putting gadget and a visit to the equipment truck; and before you know it Thursday has arrived.
And it occurred to me that November in professional golf is a kind of mixed bag of bits and pieces. Youve got shootouts and Cups and 54-hole events and tournaments with smaller fields.
Youve got players chasing contractual rainbows to all corners of the globe. And youve got local people in those outposts sometimes describing this for the first time.
Bits of a piece caught my eye recently that appeared in The Chosun Ilbo, a publication out of South Korea. It described Woods visit there last week for a one-day skins game with Colin Montgomerie, Se Ri Pak and K.J. Choi.
A few snippets:
Woods was in his jeans and shirt when he got out of his Gulf Stream IV personal plane Friday night. The official offered to carry his bags but he declined with great civility..He separated his things like clothes on his own, placing them into plastic bags. One bag was for tournament use, and the other for everyday use. Of course, he took care of his laundry himself, too, sorting it out himself and leaving it with the hotel.
.An official from IMG, the sports marketing company in charge of Woods visit, tried to explain to him about the time lag so that he could call his wife. He answered, Ive already calculated it. I will call her at the right time. Woods was more than impressed when he saw the hotel had inscribed his and his wifes name on the bed sheets.
..After the (press) conference he went back to his room and had a T-bone steak and broccoli. Eat well to play well is his motto. Woods said he loved broccoli.
.After finishing the ninth hole, he saw two rocks in front of the Raon GC clubhouse; one shaped like a penis entering the other, a circular-shaped one. When one of his companions joked that touching the rock would allow newlywed husbands to produce many children, he smiled bashfully.
.Woods showed great interest in the Korean golf situation, asking officials questions every chance he got.
.Woods departed windy Jeju Island, leaving behind warm feelings.
The headline on the story in The Chosun Ilbo was Three Days in Jeju with a Modest Golf King. And by the time I finished reading the article, I felt like I had learned more new about Woods in approximately 500 words than I had in the last five years.
This is a man who spent a lot of money for a yacht and then named it Privacy. This is a man whose current swing coach, Hank Haney, wont talk publicly about the changes made to Woods game. And Woods is perfectly, understandably and well within his rights on all of this.
Woods is a kind of king even though he is, at the moment, exiled from the top spot in the world golf rankings. People are always interested in bits and pieces about kings.
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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).

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 phoned 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. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.