The Roar Is Back

By Brian HewittFebruary 19, 2009, 5:00 pm
By an unofficial count, it will have been 253 days.
But whos counting?
OK, an entire sport has been counting.
Counting on the return of Tiger Woods from a broken leg.
Late Thursday afternoon the news arrived that the wait had ended. 'I am now ready to play again,' Woods said.
We had been counting with fingers and toes crossed.
Counting with endorsement dollars. Counting with circulation figures. Counting with ratings numbers. Counting with advertising revenues.
Counting, by his legion of worldwide followers, on the return on their emotional investment of the competitive fortunes of greatest golfer who ever lived.
Thats 253 days between the time Tiger Woods historic and heroic Monday playoff histrionics at last Junes U.S. Open and the day he now says he will return to competitive golf at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona next week.
The count is unofficial because everything was sort of foggy in golf while Tiger took time off to mend a left knee that underwent ACL reconstruction.
To be sure, Padraig Harringtons two major championship victories in Tigers absence were official. All credit to the Irishman whos still the only European to win a major championship in this century.
And all credit to captain Paul Azingers U.S. Ryder Cup team which stormed the fairways and greens at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky in September and strong-armed the Ryder Cup away from the Old World and back to America.
But lets be honest here: Golf without Tiger these last eight-plus months has been, at times, a little bit like potatoes without meat; icing without cake; Biden without Obama.
The recent reports of Woods recuperation coming out of his home course, Isleworth Country Club in Central Florida, have been highly-ephemeral and overly-scrutinized; much like puffs of Vatican smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.
There had been rumors that Woods had recently visited the new venue of the WGC-Accenture Match Play. The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, north of Tucson, has been open barely a month. But Golfweek magazine recently described the track as feeling like a stroll through rugged ground that has been tamed for the purpose.
In other words: A relatively good walk unspoiled by too many hills. That was a tip-off. The less arduous the treks, the easier that would be on a potentially tender knee.
Thursdays news had been eagerly-anticipated by the golf world, even by the players he has beaten like a bass drum since he turned professional in late 1996. I miss the opportunity to compete against him, Phil Mickelson said two Tuesdays ago. We all do. And we hope he gets back soon. And it looks like he will be out soon.
Soon will be Wednesday Feb. 25 when Woods, still ranked No. 1 in the world and seeded first, will face off against Australias Brendan Jones, the 64th-ranked player in the world, in the first round.
Accenture, also one of Tigers sponsors, is immensely-pleased and its relationship with Woods had to factor into his decision. Other dominoes that fell into place along the way included the healthy delivery of Woods second child, Charlie Axel, earlier this month; the absence of a pro-am at the Match Play; and the opportunity to get Woods return interviews out of the way before the PGA Tour heads back to Florida where the run-up to Aprils Masters begins in earnest.
Woods thrashed Stewart Cink, 8 and 7, in the finals of last years Match Play. He also won in 2003 and 2004. Three of his last four losses in this event have come at the hands of Australians. The low point was 2002 when Aussie Peter OMalley, the last seed, knocked him out, 2 and 1, in the first round.
Tiger has always professed to love match play and he has three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateurs and three consecutive U.S. Amateurs to prove it. The skins are on the wall. But he has also spoken many times about the caprices of match play and how one player can shoot the equivalent of a 65 or a 64 only to be boat-raced by an opponent playing better that day.
But if he loses in an early round, only the harshest critic will think the less of him for it. Because on the 254th day, in the throes of a spiraling world economy, Tiger Woods will return to golf.
He is not John Maynard Keynes, the late, great interventionist economist. But in the corner of the world reserved for golf, there will be new hope that Tigers personal recovery will stimulate and precipitate the beginning of a larger recovery.

Related Links:
  • The roar is back
  • WGC-Accenture Match Play field closed
  • Woods' wife gives birth to son Charlie Axel
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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.06 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.