An Opinion on Tiger and Barclays

By Brian HewittAugust 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
FACT: It was reported first on GOLF CHANNEL Thursday night that Tiger Woods will not play in The Barclays, the first event of the FedExCup playoffs later this month. Woods confirmed the report on his website Friday.
 
OPINION: For starters, the people at Barclays cant be happy about this especially since, as recently as last week, Woods said it was his intent to play all four playoff events.
 
Moreover, if you view Woods decision as a defection, it is going to be more difficult, going forward, for PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem to sell title sponsorships for playoff events if he cant guarantee Woods participation to the big money boys.
 
My opinion on this is Woods is still an independent contractor. When the TOUR makes a deal with Barclays, it cant promise to deliver Woods. Certainly the TOUR had to have made this clear to Barclays.
 
It is also my opinion that Woods, for a long list of reasons, has earned the right to play wherever and whenever he feels.
 
Meanwhile, in a back-loaded kind of way, Woods absence at Barclays could turn out to make the final week of the FedExCup that much closer and more exciting.
 
Given a choice, you can bet the people at FedEx (who put up more money on this venture than anybody else) will be happier with a TOUR Championship at which the FedExCup outcome is still hanging in the balance than a FedExCup finale in which the winner is little more than a Woods victory lap.
 
The only bone I have to pick with Woods on all of this was his repeated use of the word my intent when asked if he would play in all four playoff events. Sounds to me like some pretty serious parsing of the language.
 
On the other hand, the heat was brutal at Southern Hills last week at the PGA Championship where Woods won his 13th major and Woods has always said that winning is draining. He has now won the last two weeks in a row.
 
My body is spent, Woods said on his website. And I need a short break.
 
Giving Tiger the benefit of the doubt here, perhaps it was his intent all along to play Barclays, but he knew, from experience, how wiped out he can feel after winning a major.
 

FACT: Woody Austin said he outplayed Woods on Friday of the PGA Championship even though the numbers begged to differ. Austin shot 70, Woods 63.
 
OPINION: The story of Austins all-over-the-map comments in his Sunday press conference at Southern Hills still has long legs.
 
A lot of people are still wondering what Austin was drinking. Or thinking. Or smoking.
 
You have to admire Austins bravado, compared to, say, Rory Sabbatinis trash talk. And you cant help but be happy for Austins gutsy second-place finish that earned him three quarters of a million bucks and a spot on the Presidents Cup team.
 
But Austin spent a good part of his time in the press room last week trying to convince us he wasnt a loose cannon. Then he strained our credulity like a bad hamstring insisting that a 70 was better than a 63.
 
That having been said, Austin is a better player than most people know. And he will be a welcome and determined breath of fresh air on captain Jack Nicklaus U.S. team next month at the Presidents Cup matches in Montreal.
 

FACT: Sabbatini has fan escorted from course at Firestone Country Club.
 
OPINION: Still think Tigers unbeatable? Those were the words a fan directed at Sabbatini while Woods was dissecting Sabbatini Sunday en route to an 8-shot victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Something smells here. Its all right for Sabbatini to talk smack in his press conferences when it comes to Woods. But its not all right for the paying customers to point out Sabbatinis folly to his face during a round.
 
By all accounts the fan was not inebriated or overly obnoxious. Maybe he didnt read the fine print on the back of his ticket.
 
But if Sabbatinis going to dish it out in the protected arena of the press tent, he needs to know he should be prepared to take it on the golf course.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Barclay's
  • Tiger to Build First U.S. Course in North Carolina
     
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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.