Finding two players for Tigers group

By Doug FergusonMarch 31, 2010, 3:25 am

ORLANDO, Fla.– Dean Wilson was in his hotel room getting ready to practice one Tuesday afternoon seven years ago when a PGA Tour official called to let him know the pairings were about to be released.

Wilson didn’t understand why he was being contacted until he heard the names.

One was a fellow rookie, Aaron Barber. The other was a sponsor’s exemption, Annika Sorenstam.

“Someone from the Tour contacted me and said, ‘The draw is coming out and you’re paired with Annika. We want you to talk to the media when the tee times come out, rather than it coming out when you’re on the course,”’ Wilson said last week. “I knew it was going to be a big deal. I didn’t know it was going to be a giant deal.”

Imagine how massive the Masters will be.

The two situations are nothing alike. Colonial was a celebration of Sorenstam becoming the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour. The Masters could be a circus when Woods returns to golf for the first time since being exposed as a serial wife cheater.

Even so, not since Colonial in 2003 has there been so much interest in tee times.

Wilson’s name essentially came out of a hat, thrown in with other rookies and players with the lowest level of status. Augusta National has no policy with its pairings, other than the defending champion traditionally plays with the U.S. Amateur champion.

How will they decide who plays with Woods?

“With great care,” said Colin Montgomerie, who is not eligible for the Masters this year. “You’d almost have to ask for volunteers. There’s a number of players that will be looking at the draw sheet – I believe it comes out on Tuesday afternoon – and will be delighted if they are not playing with Tiger on this occasion.”

So who gets him? Perhaps the better question is who wants him?

“I would say it would be a tough pairing, to tell you the truth,” said 49-year-old Kenny Perry, who lost in a playoff last year. “I’m old enough to maybe handle that. Maybe you need some hillbilly like me to do that. But it will be different, because I’m sure the players will be focused on Augusta, yet focused on what’s going on with him and paying attention to what he’s doing out there.”

Since his first Masters as a pro in 1997, Woods has played with only two American pros – Stewart Cink in 2000 and 2009, and Tim Herron in 1999. In eight of his 13 trips to Augusta, Woods has played with an amateur the first two rounds.

“I’d be OK with it,” Cink said. “I’ve known him for a long time. You have to remember this: At the Masters, playing with Tiger Woods is always a little different than it is anywhere else because there’s always more of the people that want to see him play there than anywhere else.

“This year, I don’t expect it to be a whole lot different than other years just because it’s always a little different. There would be more scrutiny, but I’d be fine with it.”

It’s unclear whether the men in green jackets have asked for a show of hands.

The prevailing thought is they will put Woods with two players not expected to contend, such as a former Masters champion. Where’s Doug Ford when you really need him?

Mark O’Meara comes to mind. Few players have been closer to Woods since he first turned pro, although the relationship is not as strong as it once was. Tom Watson is another possibility. If nothing else, he can supervise Woods for any salty language.

Another thought is for the Masters to put an Asian player with Woods as a payoff for its Far East television deals. Then again, that opportunity was around before Woods got into trouble. The only two Asian players to be in his group the first two rounds were Jeev Milkha Singh of India last year and Toshi Izawa of Japan in 2002.

Phil Mickelson volunteered, perhaps because he thrived playing with Woods in the final round a year ago. And when Mickelson won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last year, it was the first time he had won a tournament while playing in the last group with Woods.

To be sure, some players might want to be in that group just out of curiosity.

They also want to win.

“There’s a part of me that would be like, ‘That would be a good show to be a part of to just watch.’ The best seat in the house,” Geoff Ogilvy said. “Then there’s a part of me that if you truly, truly, truly want to win the golf tournament, surely you want to stay as far away from it as you can.”

Despite all the interest in the pairing, it might prove to be of little consequence to the players along for the ride.

Augusta National is different. The fairways are wider than other majors, meaning the gallery is farther away. No one is allowed inside the ropes except for caddies and a television camera.

Paul Casey likes playing with Woods. Most players do. And while players may grumble about the movement of the media and the gallery, any athlete prefers playing before a full house.

“The sort of scrutiny will be on a level we’ve never witnessed before,” Casey said.

Then he spoke for whoever gets thrown into the group with Woods by adding, “But they won’t be watching me.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm