Tiger's tale full of questions and confusion

By Damon HackFebruary 12, 2015, 5:16 pm

It’s been all backwards for a while now, hasn’t it?

The chunked chips, the bladed pitches, the golf cart whisking Tiger Woods to another parking lot.

Not everyone gets to be John Elway, winning two Super Bowls and exiting stage left, or Jack Nicklaus, winning the Masters at 46, but who had Tiger spending his last year in his 30s missing greens from next to the green?

The vision of Willie Mays falling down in center field and Mike Tyson stumbling around the canvas after a Buster Douglas right hand are sports’ most vivid examples of icons seeing their mythicized skill become mortal.

But this? This one has been a strange, slow bleed.

On Wednesday, Tiger released a statement on his website that he would be practicing at Medalist Golf Club and at home, where he plans to get ready for the rest of the year. He said he was committed to getting back to the pinnacle of his game.

In days gone by, these would have all been givens. There would have been no need for a 200-word mission statement with an uncertain mission. But this is the universe the 14-time major champion is occupying these days, one of injury and confusion, cloak and dagger, starts and stops.

Video: How did Tiger fall so far so fast?

The golf world is confused, too, and throwing out theories. He’s in love. He’s injured. He doesn’t practice enough. He’s practicing the wrong things. He doesn’t care about breaking Nicklaus’s record anymore. He’s suffering from swing-change overload. He’s suffering from the yips. He’s suffering, once more, from his scandal in 2009.

That Tiger emerged from that dark episode at all speaks to his once-in-a-lifetime talent and mental strength. But for time immemorial in sports, the highest skill and strongest will eventually give out.

What’s next for Tiger on the doorstep of 40? On some level, he must know this is going to be Sisyphean, patching himself together one more time, digging out of another hole only to see Rory McIlroy and a bunch of 20somethings standing in the fairway.

At the height of his power, you’d never bet against Tiger. He ruled the golf world and everything in it. He drove the conversation, willed in putts, hit shots that made you huddle by the water cooler.

Now he seems victimized by that endless glare, caught between swing philosophies while playing in the featured group, another PGA Tour season poised to march on without him. 

Two weeks ago in Phoenix, his legion of fans did what they could to lift him up. When one saw the No. 5 next to his last name on the standard bearer’s scoreboard, she said, “Tiger’s 5 under,” before someone explained that a black five meant he was 10 shots higher.

Maybe the love from his fans will be an asset – as Nicklaus’ and Palmer’s were during their fallow periods – but the heavy lifting is up to him and he must be tired.

After his career-worst 82 and missed cut in Phoenix, I followed Tiger to one more parking lot, shocked that he had stopped to speak to the media at all. He took off his hardly used silver and black golf shoes. He handed them to a clothing rep.

I waited for a grimace, a shake of the head, a curse word, the slam of a trunk, the peeling of rubber.

Instead, Tiger Woods did the darndest thing, just one more oddity to throw into this strange brew.

He smiled.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.