Next up for Woods Working his way back to tour

By Doug FergusonFebruary 20, 2010, 11:38 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – Tiger Woods suddenly appeared through a door-sized gap in the blue curtains as the room fell silent. He had been out of the public’s eye for three months. Fifteen minutes later, he was gone again.

Essentially, what happened Friday was that Woods was seen and heard—in tightly controlled circumstances.

The next big step comes when Woods gets back to golf, a landscape he once dominated but may no longer control.

Golf’s biggest star spoke before a friendly crowd of 40 people in Florida, most of whom he had not seen since the Nov. 27 car accident that exposed the dirty side of a squeaky-clean image with sordid tales of sex.

Supporters thought his televised apology for cheating on his wife and letting his fans down was sincere. Critics found it to be scripted.

Either way, it was clear just how differently Woods is viewed now.

Another example: Two employees from a local strip club were chased off the property Friday morning at the Sawgrass Marriott, where dozens of satellite trucks and some 300 media gathered to watch Woods’ appearance on short-circuit TV. And about an hour before Woods was to speak, a pair of women not dressed for the chilly weather stood along the side of the road holding signs with suggestive comments.

“Hopefully, as he makes progress with these issues – today would have to be characterized as progress – people will react to that in a positive way,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “He’s the biggest name in sports in the world, and people like that bring people out of the woodwork who have different opinions. It’s hard to predict how that’s going to play out.”

Three wire services – The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg – were allowed in the room at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse to observe Woods’ talk, with no opportunity for questions.

That time comes when he steps fully back into public life, which in his case is the golf course.

“I don’t rule out that it will be this year,” said Woods, who confirmed he received therapy and was headed back for more on Saturday. “When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.”

It was an indication that along with trying to make good at home, Woods is taking responsibility for how he acts at work.

His temper has been a topic throughout his 13-plus years on the PGA Tour, particularly his language. Tom Watson sent Woods a letter last summer about his cursing, urging him to knock it off. Watson shared those thoughts earlier this month in Dubai when he said Woods has not carried the same stature as the greats who came before him, such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson.

“I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown,” Watson said.

What’s unclear is whether being “more respectful of the game” means Woods will consider changing his schedule to compete in some of the 11 tournaments on the main PGA Tour schedule that he has never played as a pro.

Also noteworthy was the location Woods chose for golf’s biggest media showcase ever.

It would have been just as easy for Woods to set up shop in the clubhouse at Isleworth, tucked away behind secured gates not far from his house. In a letter to the PGA’s policy board, Finchem said the tour made Sawgrass available as it would for any player, even though no other player could command this much worldwide attention.

It appeared to be a statement by Woods that he knows he has damaged his sport and his tour, and staging such an important event at PGA Tour headquarters was an indication of his support when he returns.

What kind of support will Woods himself get?

Ernie Els was among those furious that Woods chose the Friday of the Accenture Match Play Championship here in Marana to speak – Accenture was the first sponsor to drop him – although that was before he knew Woods had a one-week break from therapy and was going back.

Players are no different from the public. They either like Woods and hope for the best, or don’t think much of him and will delight in his failures. The former outnumber the latter by a large margin.

“For me, it’s water under the bridge,” Sergio Garcia said. “I’m just looking forward to having him back on tour. I’m actually excited to see him back. So it’s good to see that he’s doing well and hopefully he gets everything sorted out.”

Woods has many friends on the PGA Tour, but he is close to hardly any of them. One exception is Notah Begay, who withdrew from the PGA Tour event in Mexico to be at the TPC Sawgrass.

Begay compared Woods’ delivery – measured, uncomfortable – to when Woods spoke before a private gathering at his father’s memorial service in May 2006. “This is as emotional as I’ve ever seen him in public,” said Begay, Woods’ teammate at Stanford.

Looking forward, he believes Woods will find a reception like never before on the PGA Tour.

“There will be a mixture of cheers and boos,” Begay said. “Not everybody is going to say, ‘Go Tiger.’ There’s going to be some criticism, things he’s not used to hearing. And he understands that it’s his fault.”

The tour has rarely dealt with so much anger directed at one of its players – there was some heckling of Vijay Singh for saying he hoped Annika Sorenstam missed the cut at the Colonial, and at Bethpage in the 2002 U.S. Open when Garcia saluted the fans with his middle finger after they made fun of his pre-shot routine.

Woods’ star power dwarfs the rest of golf, however, and the nature of his sins make him an easy target.

“It’s going to be a big deal when he comes back out and resumes his career,” Finchem said. “But we can be reasonably prepared for that on short notice.”

Finchem is hopeful that notice comes soon, although no one knows when Woods will play golf again. There were apologies and confessions in his 13 1/2 minute speech, just not much information.

The commissioner was far more optimistic about whether Woods can succeed.

“If there’s anything about Tiger Woods that’s been evident over the last 14 years, it’s that when he sets his mind to do something and he brings the attention and focus that he can to do something, he’s been successful,” Finchem said. “And certainly, that includes improvement in almost every area, whether it’s his game, his business acumen, his presentation, his ability to talk on his feet.”

Woods actually has proven to be somewhat clumsy in spontaneous speech. That time is coming, and it will be another big step. Only then will it be known if it’s a step forward or back.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.