Woods remains upbeat despite no majors in 2013

By Doug FergusonAugust 22, 2013, 1:29 am

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – This might be the best way to measure Tiger Woods' season. Sam Snead is getting more attention than Jack Nicklaus.

Woods said again Wednesday at The Barclays this already has been a great season, and it's difficult to argue. His five wins – including two World Golf Championships and The Players Championship –are three more than anyone else on the PGA Tour. He is leading all the right indicators, such as the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average, the money list ($2.6 million more than anyone else) and the No. 1 seed going into the FedEx Cup playoffs that start Thursday.

The standard for Woods, however, always has been the majors, and he was shut out for the fifth straight year.

''His lack of winning a major is the only thing talked about, which I think is sad,'' Bill Haas said. ''I think it's ignorant. But that's what we are basing his year on. He may even say, 'Oh, I'm disappointed because I didn't win a major. But he's not winning the smaller events. He's winning the WGCs and Bay Hill. And yes, it makes what he's doing that much more impressive, absolutely.''


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Woods is stuck on 14 majors, leaving him four short of the Nicklaus standard. The five wins this year, after three wins in 2012, has put him at 79 career wins, moving him closer to Snead's record 82 wins on the PGA Tour.

''I tell you what, I never thought I would ever get there this quick,'' Woods said. ''It's been an amazing run to get here. One of the things I'm most proud of is winning five or more tournaments 10 years in there. That's one of the stats that I look at as one of the ones I'm really proud of. This is one of those years.''

The next chance to add to his wins starts Thursday at The Barclays, the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events against some of the strongest fields of the year.

Yes, the majors are over.

There is still plenty up for grabs – for Woods, British Open champion Phil Mickelson and even someone like Rory McIlroy.

Even though Woods has twice as many wins as anyone else, Mickelson could make a case for PGA Tour player of the year if he were to win a playoff or event (or two), particularly the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize. Despite two decades of greatness and a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mickelson has never won player of the year, a money title or the Vardon Trophy.

Haas didn't hesitate when asked who had the best year – Woods.

Neither did Masters champion Adam Scott.

''It's hard to pass up looking at five wins,'' Scott said. ''I think the next best guy might have two, is that right? That's a great year to win that many times. It's all personal opinion. If you think winning a major is what you base success on, then if you haven't (won), you haven't had a great year. But winning ... I've always based it around winning events, and I don't think one major makes up for five tournaments.''

That led to another question posed to Scott: Would he trade seasons with Woods?

''I'd rather have mine, that's for sure,'' said Scott, who collected his first major at Augusta National. ''He may want mine. I mean, No. 15 is proving to be difficult for him, so that would have given him that. But they've all got to get tougher the more you get.''

Woods only played nine holes of his pro-am Wednesday at Liberty National, the course along the Hudson River across from the Statue of Liberty. He experienced stiffness in his neck and back from what he attributed to a soft bed in his hotel, and Woods decided only to chip and putt on the back nine as a precaution.

It was the latest nagging injury this year – a tweaked back during the final round of the PGA Championship, an elbow injury in the summer that caused him to miss two tournaments – though Woods was not concerned and said he was fine during his week off at home in Florida.

He is facing one of the toughest fields in the year featuring the top 125 players on the PGA Tour, all of whom are in form, some of whom are desperate to go as far as they can in these lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs. Only the top 100 advance next week to the Deutsche Bank Championship.

McIlroy has an easier time defining his season to date. It hasn't been very good. He jokes with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald that he effectively has taken six months off, and now it's time to get to work.

The good news for the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland is that golf is starting to feel more like play than work again.

He was swinging free during his pro-am, finally comfortable with his driver and launching them high and relatively straight. McIlroy feels like he turned the corner at Firestone a few weeks ago, and he rallied at Oak Hill to at least flirt with contention for the first time in a major.

A year ago, McIlroy won consecutive playoff events, tied for 10th at the Tour Championship and Brandt Snedeker walked off with the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize.

''Maybe it will be the other way around,'' McIlroy said. ''That's the beauty of it. You look at basketball, baseball, football. Teams squeeze in and make a great playoff run and win. I'm in that position where I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.''

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

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.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging 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:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-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

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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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.