Notes Tiger tested twice for drugs Sergios swoon

By Doug FergusonMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Tiger Woods said Thursday he has been tested twice for drugs under the PGA Tours anti-doping policy, including one time when he wasnt even playing.
 
The drug testing program began July 1, a week after Woods had knee surgery that kept him out of golf until late February.
 
Asked the first time he was tested, Woods said it was in December at the Chevron World Challenge in California, the charity event he hosts at the end of the year. It was his first public appearance at any golf tournament since knee surgery.
 
Woods laughed at the coincidence of his first test.
 
The PGA Tour reserves the right to test any member out of competition, and Woods was asked at his press conference that day in December whether the Tour had ever come to his house for a drug test.
 
No, he said.
 
Asked if he was expecting a visit during his time off, Woods replied, Yeah, actually.
 
Right after I got done telling you guys that, they were waiting for me, he said.
 
Woods said he also was chosen for a drug test during the CA Championship at Doral in early March. He was not tested on his return to competition two weeks earlier at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Then again, he was only there for two rounds.
 

 
SERGIOS SWOON: No one has ever won back-to-back at The Players Championship, and Sergio Garcia made it sound Thursday as though that streak was going to continue. Ignore the 71 on his scorecard and listen to his comments.
 
Im playing so badly it makes me want to puke, Garcia said.
 
Now, the 29-year-old Spaniard did take a double bogey on par-3 eighth and failed to birdie the par-5 ninth from a greenside bunker. He said he didnt deserve to be 3 under, anyway.
 
I was hitting the ball very poorly, he said.
 
But what about the three birdies on his opening four holes?
 
Didnt matter, he said, adding that he was not swinging well and that he was steering the ball.
 
Was he at least happy with his score?
 
No, no, he said. I cant be happy with anything. Obviously, 71 is not that bad a score. The course is playing the easiest that its going to play all week. If you play halfway decent, youre going to shoot 68, 67, 69.
 
Someone tried to cheer him up by saying that theres always tomorrow.
 
Theres always next week, Garcia said, back at home.
 

 
A COUPLE OF LEFTIES: Phil Mickelson played golf with another Lefty on Wednesday ' Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow.
 
Mickelson said he didnt keep score, but he figured Tebow shot somewhere around 80 at Pablo Creek.
 
Hes got a lot of clubhead speed, hits the ball pretty good, Mickelson said. Not a bad player at all.
 
Mickelson is right-handed in everything but golf. Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner two years ago, does everything as a southpaw, which allowed him a few swings with Mickelsons driver.
 
Every time I use it now, I remember that he used my driver because theres a big mark on the top of it, Mickelson said.
 
It wasnt just a day of golf. They also had a contest to see who could throw a football farther.
 
He beat by 2 yards, Mickelson said. He was on his knees, though.
 

 
MISTAKEN IDENTITY: The video boards across the TPC Sawgrass sometimes delve in the background of various players, but the fans behind the 17th green must have been surprised to learn this tidbit about Tiger Woods.
 
Played handball at a high level in Sweden and was a tennis player since age 6.
 
Blame that on a technical glitch when the electronic pages were out of sync. The name and face were of Woods, but the biographical material belonged to Richard S. Johnson.
 
And even the 5-foot-6 Swede wanted to make a few clarifications: Its a team sport in Europe, and he wasnt really that good.
 
But if he didnt know any better, he could buy the fact Woods was a high-level handball player.
 
He can probably jump as high as anybody, Johnson said. Hes probably the most athletic guy we have out here. I bet hed be good at anything he did.
 
Theres jumping in handball?
 
Yeah, youve got to jump, he said. Thats why I quit.
 

 
OUT OF THERE: Oliver Wilson of England felt a twinge in his neck after one hole of practice on Wednesday, and it wound up keeping him from his debut in The Players Championship. That was good news for PGA Tour rookie Webb Simpson, the first alternate who spent the morning on the range until his name was called. But it went from downhill from there, as Simpson shot a 76.
 
D.A. Weibring, who got in as the Senior Players Champion, was 8 over after six holes when he withdrew. Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who had not broken par in his previous nine rounds at Sawgrass, withdrew after a 45 on his opening nine.
 

 
WATER BALLS: As expected, the island-green 17th hole had its share of victims Thursday with 14 balls in the water.
 
The surprise was that it wasnt the most treacherous of the par 3s.
 
With the hole location at the back left corner of the green, the 13th hole had 18 balls in the water and ranked sixth in the degree of difficult for the opening round.
 
There is water in play on all but two holes at Sawgrass, and 89 balls were in the water overall.
 

 
DIVOTS: The pairings are generated by a computer, and this computer clearly had no heart. Masters champion Angel Cabrera was in the same group as Kenny Perry, who lost to the Argentine on the second playoff hole at Augusta National. Cabrera had a 72, but it was anything but conventional. He didnt make a par until his eighth hole ' No. 17 ' while making a triple bogey, three straight birdies, two straight bogeys and an eagle. Perry shot a 73. Jason Dufner, an alternate who got in when Brandt Snedeker withdrew because of a rib injury earlier in the week, was among those at 67. Rory Sabbatini didnt make a birdie and shot 81.
 

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    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.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    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. 

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    Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

    Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

    Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

    Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

    New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



    FALLING

    Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

    Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

    Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

    Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

    Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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    Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

    By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

    “I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

    Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

    “If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


    Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


    Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

    Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

    “He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

    As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

    "I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

    Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”