Since Weve Been Gone
Prozac-tly What I Needed
I suffered from T.W.W. (Tiger Woods Withdrawal) much sooner than I had expected -- like, on April 17th at approximately 8:59 a.m. ET, upon arriving to work on that initial post-Masters Thursday. I had no idea my universe would spiral into a such a deep, dark abyss in the absence of Eldrick ' which might also have been why this blog broke down faster than Mark Prior in the springtime. Without the meaning in my life, without my inspiration (cue Peter Cetera), the past eight Tiger-less weeks have been miserable. And by miserable I mean, I was a walking Zoloft commercial: Down-in-the-dumps? Irritable? Shaped like an egg with tiny legs and arms? Yep, this girl *two-thumbs pointing-inward gesture*. I listlessly skulked about my house with the curtains drawn in a Doritos-dusted, chocolate milk-stained bathrobe. On days I actually pried myself out of bed, I spent google-ing random words like Woods and knee and Dena + Tiger on my laptop whilst curled up in a fetal position sunk into the couch, my face nestled safely against my Woodrow headcover, forming stripe-like creases into my tear-tinged cheeks. With my calendars and clocks stuck on the day the music died, I was merely one decrepit old wedding dress away from becoming Miss Havisham. Seemingly, I needed to seek professional help -- or join a traveling Charles Dickens theatre troupe. But really, all I needed was THIS week. I needed the No. 1 golfer in all the land to be written back into the script on a Major stage. With Tiger back in the scene, on the scene and being seen, the music would once again play on, play on, play on (now cue Lionel Richie!) The legendary rock band Cinderella sang it best, You dont know what youve got til its gone. Lord help me the day Tiger hangs up the spikes. Or, gasp, has knee surgery again*.
*Umm. I just found out Tigers having surgery again. Anyone know a good therapist?
Saturday night, and I aint got nobody? Nah, Sam Cooke, I had a few friends ' and gorgeous HD flat-screen television, aaaand a man-not-named-MJ eliciting thrills and chills with one-hop trajectories towards flag-sticks, banking spheres into cups with tongue-wagging gravity-defying shots and those lovable grinning shrugs. It was another magical night of goose-bumps and butterflies and he hadnt even bought me dinner and flowers. From Friday to Monday, the extended weekend of clutch shots and wincing wonders was an intense roller-coaster of emotions not felt since perhaps the fall of 2006 when my beloved Cardinals outlasted the Mets in a tee-biting (right, Rocco?) 7-game 2006 NL Series. I didnt eat for days during that stretch and rode Space Mountain just help take the edge off. So, this past Sunday, even though I knew Tiger would make that birdie putt on the 72nd hole, my stomach still felt like it was auditioning So You Think You Can Dance contestants ' and I loved it. Then there was jubilation and inspiration culminating in a rewarding Monday of Free! Golf! ' and change. And I was left channeling Billy Corgan, singing my most fervent rendition of Today is the Greatest, gleeful over one of the most compelling workdays in sports in which Id not been at all productive (Dont take it personally, March Madness). So, I suppose if we dont get any more Real World: Tiger for the rest of the year, I can handle it. Ill have this memorable week in my mind to keep me going. Also, I DVR-ed it.
Thats the ticket!
Between his various adorning pieces of patriotic flair, his shiny peace-sign belt buckle (Rory Sabbatini was not impressed), and his temerity to wear red in the final bout 'boldly ignoring the color his enemy had trademarked for his very own championships, not only might Rocco have a side-career in mens golf fashion, but why not politics? Shouldnt a certain junior Senator from Illinois be on the horn with this recently-beloved, gritty, determined, son of a barber from the Steel City, already? Dont tell me BaRoccObama 08 doesnt just rock n roll off the tongue and right onto a campaign ticket?
Turning the (Beth)page
God bless Phil Mickelson. On Sunday, our San Diego native son was doing his best to forget his national nightmare on Pines street, by attempting to shift his attention to next years U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in NY, exclaiming that hes chomping at the bit to compete there in, oh, about 361 days or so. Trouble is, he must have gotten knocked in the noggin with his 3-wood, because he might remember that the reigning Bethpage Black Open title-holder will likely be in the field. And all three of Eldricks U.S. Open wins have come at public courses. You might say, its right in his wheelhouse. And for this one, Tiger wont have a bum wheel. *crosses fingers*
Like Rajon Rondo always wearing his headband upside-down or Skip Bayless continued gainful employment, our sports world if full of conundrums which, sadly, may never be deciphered. But will someone please explain to me the Tours terminology for tee-time groupings of three, called pairings. If Im not mistaken, a pair is two. Oh, thats right it was just Tiger and Phil on Thursday and Friday. There was no Adam Scott. At least, according to the hype ' and to how the No. 3 golfer in the world played. While the wide gap from Tiger to Phil is continents apart in rankings, the impossibly dreamy Aussie's position feels more like planets away -- and nowhere in the stratosphere of Major-land. Perhaps, though, with a pair of Tiger-less majors now hovering on the horizon, Scott can finally take his career to the next level and shed the bridesmaid label. But will it be considered legitimate, minus The One to contend with? Sergio, what do you think? (Hey, since Kevin Garnett insists we cant use the phrase Big Three for his band of musketeers, do we call them the Big Pairing?)
Sudden Death Holes:
Reason #253 I love Kevin Garnett
Because even in the utter chaos of the Celtics Championship celebration, thru his unprecedented deliriously incoherent and completely mesmerizing rant, KG was still able to drop some knowledge, as the kids say. Turns out Minnesota has now been shortened to Sota. Thanks to the Big Ticket, I stay fresh and hip with my abbreviation lingo.
Any truth to the rumor that Colin Montgomeries poor play at the U.S. Open was mainly due to his looking ahead to the monumental TELUS Skins tournament on Mon and Tues in British Columbia? Skins = Ryder Cup pts?
We Got To Get Down to Beantown
Gosh, whatever will those poor, long-suffering Boston fans do now that the Pats, Sawks, and Cs have all won titles recently? Looks like the Bruins Got Next! Anythiiiiings possiiiiiiible? Maybe. But Ray Borque is NOT walking thru that door. (And Tiger is not watching hockey?)
Reason #141 Kobe Bryant will never be Michael Jordan
The league's MVP was shut down by James Posey in do-or-die elimination Finals Game 6. Read that again. James Posey. Even Tiger Woods wouldnt let that happen On a gimp knee.
Knowing is Half the Battle
Okay, so heres what we know from this week: Rocco Mediate is the new Paul Goydos. Allisen Corpuz is the next Michelle Wie. Tiger Woods is the Michael Jordan of golf. Paul Pierce (and his knee) was the Tiger Woods of the Finals. Now, whos going to be Tiger Woods of golf for the rest of the year? Paging Anthony Kim, paging Lorena Ochoa?
Is it almost time to commence the Senorita Slam talk again as we get closer to the Womens U.S. Open in Sota next week! Well, no. Or is it? Just a couple of months ago, you couldnt mention Lorena or Tiger without using the words ridiculous dominance and/or grand slams. Now, its just our fair maiden left on the golf landscape to take up the task and shes defending her title at the Wegmans this week. Itll be a nice warm-up to the next major at Interlachen. And for someone whos been on her bandwagon all year, I dont mind admitting I would love to get a chance to ride it to Berkshire, England with the U.S. Open trophy in tow. The great state of Sota boasts thousands of lakes for her to splash victoriously into, Kraft Nabisco-style, you know.
I Can Cry For Miles and Miles
So, Willie Randolph has to travel 3,000 miles to the west coast to get his head handed to him... while the Los Angeles Lakers have to fly clear across country to Boston for their series-ending bloodbath. Moral of the story? PGA Tour players should consider saving their extra baggage fees in crossing the pond to make their tee time at Royal Birkdale when Tiger's posted as a 2:1 favorite there on Tuesday. Wait, what? Tigers really not coming back this year?
Reality starting to set inin 3, 2, 1 I shall now go cry in the shower. Sob, Rinse, Repeat.
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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.
McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.
''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''
Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.
''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''
McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.
''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.
''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''
The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.
Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel
If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.
Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:
When in the Middle East... pic.twitter.com/lNv1Lh79E0— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 16, 2018
If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:
Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."
Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."
I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H
And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.