Golf Without Tiger

By Brian HewittJune 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker this will week will be the exclusive province of You-Know-Who. Tiger Woods has shut it down for the year. And our viewers and readers, bless them, will not shut up about the decision and the implications of a golf world without The Striped One.
Without further ado:
Richard writes: With regard to Mr. Goosen, a friend of mine in London sent me the article quoting Retief saying he (Tiger) was hamming it and not really injured. I have four words for Mr. Goosen: Rory Sabbatini ' Stephen Ames!!! The next time they are paired at the Presidents Cup or even the Tavistock Cup you can look for Tiger to take his surgically repaired left leg and kick the you-know-what out of Retief. Here is hoping Tiger has a successful surgery and speedy recovery and can return to follow his dreams.
The Comebacker
If this ever gets on Tigers bulletin board, Retiefs goose is cooked.

Jim writes: Couple of thoughts; I read Goosen's comments to a German reporter that TW was faking it. I really like Goosen, but it appears those are pretty cheap shots. I hope he mans up to his faux pas. Second, I don't know TW and don't know what it would be like to have dinner with him, but I've never seen anyone who was so good at just letting his game do the talking. He NEVER makes excuses. When he gets lucky (17 on Saturday-flagstick) he acknowledges it was luck. As sports figures go, (other than his cursing) he is someone you would like your kids to emulate.
The Comebacker
Dinner with Tiger Hmmmm Im guessing hed pass on the dessert And am hoping hed pick up the check.

George writes: Tiger's an idiot. He's so obsessed with Jack's records that he has risked his long term health for another U.S. Open victory. What if he has just traded 10 more majors in the future for this one? At the very least he will have to change his swing to keep playing. Can he do that? Sure, he's done it before. But the left knee is so important to his violent golf swing that he may not be the golfer he was before. Four surgeries on the same joint? I can't believe he took risk. Time will tell.
The Comebacker
And here I thought all this time Phil, because he told us so two years ago at Winged Foot, was the one that was such an idiot.

John writes: What is different about Tigers putter from all of ours? I spent two days last weekend on the best greens in the Carolinas trying to be Tiger but using three balls... Not even close and I am a 67-year-old 7-handicapper. What I witnessed this past weekend was really not real when it came to putting let alone what he was going through.
The Comebacker
This is why the caddies and players on TOUR sometimes refer to Tiger as The Brother From Another Planet. And it is meant as a compliment. To be sure, Tiger is, very often, not of this world.

Sherry writes: Tiger got a piece of the Rock...the world got a giant boulder dropped upon it. The aftershock has not worn off yet, and I am still not of my right mind. My summer, my autumn, my winter plans...all annihilated. I am one person. What must the rest of the world be feeling? I don't know whether to be angry at Tiger for crushing the life out of me, or if I should be thanking him for quelling some of my addictions. Not only will my long weekends spent glued to a television come to an end, but so, too, will my weekday evenings, always spent watching the fabulous Golf Channel programs and personalities. Will my once multiple times a day visits to the Golf Channel website decline?...Can I bear not reading what you have to write anymore? It all seems so wrong. Can I bear spending more time with family and friends? Spending more time outdoors? Spending time on more productive things in life? The withdrawal symptoms are just beginning. It's only been 24 hours, and so far, I'm not doing so well. I'm not sure how, or if, I can handle the misery that I know is ahead of me. Hopefully, I can proclaim that I've overcome my anger, and that I've beaten these addictions by the end of the year...just in time for Tiger's return.
The Comebacker
Is therapy deductible?

Cheryl writes: Yes, Brian, the hints certainly were there. Although Tiger and his team are usually very private, there was a different aura around this issue. There was more of a concerned look than a mind your own business look at press conferences. I wondered when he said to Annika after her announcement you beat me to it. I thought surely he could not be contemplating retirement; now on hearing this news, it seems clear that for the first time in his stellar yet short career, he was forced to contemplate the prospect of it ending sooner than he anticipated. That cannot be easy. Coming face to face with our mortality is daunting to us all. This shows us hes emotionally about as strong as he is mentally and physically. He kept his promise to himself and I believe to little Sam that her dada would win one for her birthday. True to his word, he won it exactly one year to day i.e. the day after Fathers Day, that she was born. Wow! There is so much we can learn from this young man.
The Comebacker
And now'because we all root for his return--is the time for Tiger to learn from his doctors.

John writes: I had the pleasure of working the Open for the entire week. Having been playing the game since the age of seven, I am a student of the game and follow the Tour very closely through the Golf Channel and other periodicals. My opinion all along was that Tiger would not make the cut, as his coming back was too fast. I watched him the week before when he rode around in a cart and only played nine holes each day before the start of the tournament. We now know that the injury was much worse than he had let on. I have never really been a Tiger fan; he has come on as aloof at times when I have seen him at other tournaments. I will never question the will that was instilled in him by his father, as is evident in the new Nike commercial. This was the greatest Open of the modern era. Injury or not Tiger willed himself to the win. Rocco in no way should feel that, because of the extent of Tiger's injury, this Open should have an asterisk after it. It was a Cinderella story, as the story goes. I still have my opinion of Tiger personally, but I will always say that I have seen the greatest player to ever play this Great Game. I salute Rocco and what he did for himself and for us older guys that still have some fight left in us.
The Comebacker
My sense is that Rocco, 45, will not be the forgotten man in all of this and that the Champions Tour cant wait for his arrival.

Rick writes: Did you ever hear of the Inoculation Theory in your studies? Get too much of something and you become immune to it. I'm like that with Tiger. Sure, he's great, but let me come to that conclusion; I don't need every sportscaster reminding me. I know you've heard the term Less is More. I play a lot of golf and watch a lot of golf, therefore, I'm probably not the demographic that the networks are going after when they give us All Tiger All The Time. I would rather watch other golfers hit shots instead of watching Tiger stalk a putt on the green for five minutes. That brings me to my next point. I like watching the European Tour on The Golf Channel because the coverage goes quickly from shot to shot and shows more full shots. It seems the U.S. networks show too much greens-reading and putting. I think that could be why the non-golfing public doesn't watch golf: there's not enough action. But that's just me and I know I'm in a minority.
The Comebacker
You are, indeed sir, in the minority. But your voice is heard.

George G. writes: Now is the time for all the Tiger wannabees to step up. Tiger only plays 15-18 tournaments a year as it is. The Open, PGA and Ryder Cup are wide open and are there for someone to step up and challenge Tiger. Everyone I see has the skills but is the mental toughness there. My wife only watches golf on a Sunday and if Tiger is there. She said he is a machine. Hogan and Nicklaus looked that way too. They were focused. Some great golfers never won an Open and Mr. Palmer has only one. The list of multiple U.S. Open winners is short. We talk about the players today looking all the same. When they are playing they should..Much was made of Rocco being the everyman and he is, but he was focused on what he had to do. If his back holds up I think Rocco can win a major now that he knows what it takes if he wants it.
The Comebacker
Are you listening, Sergio? Adam? Everybody else? Theres an opportunity now that might not present itself for long.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Tiger Woods - Complete Breakdown
  • Full Coverage -- U.S. Open
  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.