Nicklaus calls Tiger-Sergio dispute 'stupid'

By Doug FergusonMay 29, 2013, 11:34 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Jack Nicklaus only has to look at some of the clashes on the PGA Tour in recent months to see how far golf has come since he was in his prime.

That's not necessarily a good thing.

''We were trying to figure out how to get somebody to write about anything when we played,'' Nicklaus said Wednesday on the eve of the Memorial. ''I think today you have to figure out how you keep somebody from writing about anything. It's a big difference.''

Vijay Singh is suing the PGA Tour over its anti-doping policy. A small group of players has retained a lawyer over the new rule involving long putters. And the dispute getting all the attention is Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, who didn't hide their dislike for each other until it reached a point last week that Garcia made a comment with racial overtures about Woods.

''The Sergio-Tiger thing, I mean, it's stupid,'' Nicklaus said. ''Do guys have an issue one with another? They usually resolve it themselves. You guys want to resolve it in the newspapers today. Nobody needs that. And I think they both finally said, 'It's enough. Forget it, guys. Let's move on.' In our days, I suppose there were times when you had an issue with somebody and it came about. You never read about it.''

The Woods-Garcia spat turned ugly last week when Garcia was jokingly asked at a European Tour dinner outside London if he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open. Trying to go along with the sarcasm, the Spaniard said he would serve fried chicken.

Garcia apologized that night in a statement and the next day in a news conference, though he said he had been unable to reach Woods over the phone. Woods was asked Wednesday if he considered getting in touch with Garcia to hear the apology so he wouldn't have to deal with it during a busy, important week at the U.S. Open.

What followed were his first public comments, though they were sparse.

''Was I supposed to go to Wentworth?'' Woods said jokingly.

Asked if he would allow Garcia to reach him on the phone to be done with the matter before getting to Merion, Woods said, ''That's already done with.''

Did that mean Garcia apologized to him?

''Not in person, no,'' he said. When asked if Woods considered Garcia's news conference an apology, Woods said, ''Move on.''

On one matter there is no dispute – Woods is playing some pretty good golf. When all the discord was mentioned, followed by the question of whether it was healthy for golf, Woods replied, ''Well, I've won four times.''

No one else has more than one win this year, which explains why Woods has opened another large lead at No. 1 in the world ranking, and why he is the favorite going into the next major championship. The first stop is Muirfield Village, were Woods is a five-time winner.

Memorial Tournament: Articles, videos and photos

A year ago, Woods completed a Sunday rally with a chip from behind the 16th green that even Nicklaus, the tournament host, called one of the best shots he ever saw under the circumstances. The flop shot behind the green had to be executed to perfection – anything too soft would turn away to the left down a ridge and leave some 30 feet for par, while anything too firm might run beyond the hole and off the green into the water.

Woods holed it for a birdie.

The Memorial has the top six players in the world ranking and the strongest field in golf among regular Tour events. Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Brandt Snedeker are all playing. Given his history – and this golf course – it only seems as though it's Woods against everyone else.

What is it about the course Jack built and the guy who seems to own it?

''Most golf courses set up well for Tiger Woods,'' McIlroy said. ''He's won The Players this year, and that was a golf course that everyone said didn't quite suit him. ... The guy is good wherever he goes and plays. It's not like he goes to the same course and wins. He can win anywhere.''

Still to be determined is whether he can win at Merion.

Woods made a detour to the course outside Philadelphia for his first look at Merion, which last hosted the U.S. Open in 1981. Scott spent two days at Merion early last week, while McIlroy is on his way to the U.S. Open venue after Merion.

Nicklaus, who played Merion twice for a U.S. Open and lost in a playoff in 1971 to Lee Trevino, said he would be surprised if a player only hit driver once or twice and won. While the middle portion of the course is short even by yesteryear's standards, the opening and closing stretches are long and tough.

Woods played in cool temperatures, rain and a strong wind. It was plenty long when he played, though he doesn't think it will be that way in two weeks. What got his attention were some of the winners, notably Trevino and Ben Hogan.

''If you look at the list of champions, they have all been really good shot-makers,'' Woods said. ''They have all been able to shape the golf ball. ... They are very disciplined players. You play to certain spots. You play to certain spots on the greens. You leave yourself certain putts and you deal with it and you move on.''

This is the first time Woods has won four PGA Tour events before the Memorial, though he won four times (in consecutive tournaments) worldwide in 2008 as his left knee was caving in. All that's missing is a major – Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since winning the 2008 U.S. Open – but it doesn't hurt to keep piling up wins.

''I've been saying it a lot the last two or three years. What's the matter with Tiger? Nothing is the matter,'' Davis Love III said.

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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 6:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.