Woods taking indefinite leave from golf

By Doug FergusonDecember 13, 2009, 5:02 am

Tiger Woods is shifting his focus from winning majors to saving his marriage.

Two weeks after Woods crashed his car into a tree outside his house, setting in motion a swift fall that featured reports of extramarital infidelities, golf’s biggest star made a stunning announcement.

He announced he is temporarily walking away from the game that made him the first $1 billion athlete.

“After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf,” Woods said Friday evening on his Web site. “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.”

As a result, Gillette, one of Woods’ major sponsors, will phase him out of its advertisements while he repairs his personal life.

“As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs,” Gillette said Saturday.

It will be the second straight year that the No. 1 player will spends a long period sidelined.

A year ago, he missed eight months while recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. This time, Woods is trying to repair a broken family, knowing this will be a far more difficult comeback.

“I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children,” Woods said. “I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.”

Woods and his wife, Elin, have been married five years. They have a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son. The No. 1 player in golf has not been seen in public since the accident.

Woods gave no indication when he might return in what could be a pivotal year as he pursues the record 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods, who did not win a major this year, has 14.

The Masters, where Woods has won four times, is April 8-11. The U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where Woods won by a record 15 strokes in 2000, and the British Open returns to St. Andrews, where he has won twice by a combined 13 shots.

“We knew before he was coming back,” said Steve Stricker, one of Woods’ favorite players on Tour. “Now, we’re not sure when he’s coming back. But this sounds good. I hope everything works out for him.”

The PGA Tour supported the decision.

“His priorities are where they need to be, and we will continue to respect and honor his family’s request for privacy,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement, the tour’s first public comment on the matter. “We look forward to Tiger’s return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him.”

Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told The Associated Press that it was the right decision for Woods and his family.

“The entirety of someone’s life is more important than just a professional career,” Steinberg said in an e-mail to the AP. “What matters most is a young family that is trying to cope with difficult life issues in a secluded and caring way. Whenever Tiger may return to the game should be on the family’s terms alone.”

Craig Parry, a near neighbor and friend who played a practice round and two competition rounds with Woods in Australia last month, said Tiger brought the problems on himself.

“What he did was totally wrong,” Parry said at the Australian PGA Championship. “And he’s got no one to blame except himself. You can look at other people, but he’s the one who’s got to look in the mirror.”

John Daly, who has been married four times and knows a thing or two about bad publicity, said he had tries to reach Woods but “he just didn’t want to talk to anybody.”

“I feel if there is anybody in this world who could give him some advice …” Daly said in Australia. “I hope we get him back soon. They always say there is no one bigger in golf than the game itself. But Tiger is.”

Woods was out of action from July 2008 until the end of February this year, and television ratings dropped 50 percent. The tour is trying to renew a half-dozen title sponsors, and it is to begin negotiations on the next television contract later next year.

As for Woods’ corporate sponsors, most have stood by him for now.

“Tiger has been part of Nike for more than a decade,” Nike said in a statement Friday. “He is the best golfer in the world and one of the greatest athletes of his era. We look forward to his return to golf. He and his family have Nike’s full support.”

Meanwhile, Accenture no longer has an image of Woods on the home page of its Web site. Earlier this week, Woods was among three rotating pictures on the home page.

AT&T said it supported Woods’ decision.

“We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him,” the company said in a statement. Not only does Woods carry the AT&T logo on his golf bag, the company is the title sponsor of his PGA Tour event over the July 4th weekend.

Steinberg said it would be “premature and inappropriate” to talk about whether the sponsors will end their relationships.

“Suffice it to say, we have had thoughtful conversations and his sponsors have been open to a solution-oriented dialogue,” Steinberg said. “Of course, each sponsor has unique considerations and ultimately the decisions they make we would fully understand and accept.”

Earlier this year, Woods became the world’s first athlete to surpass $1 billion in career earnings, according to Forbes magazine. His sponsors also include Gillette, Gatorade and TAG Heuer.

Woods last played a tournament Nov. 15 when he won the Australian Masters for his 82nd victory around the world.

Stricker, who went undefeated as Woods’ partner at the Presidents Cup, said his leave was the right decision.

“It’s great that he’s going to put his family first and work things out,” Stricker said. “Golf will always be there. He wants to make sure his marriage is right and everything is good on the homefront. We’ll sure miss him on tour until he gets things taken care of.”

Woods also indicated he would step away from the work of the Tiger Woods Foundation, which has served some 10 million children.

“There are millions of young people who have truly changed their lives through the foundation’s programs, and millions more still counting on us for help,” Woods said in a separate statement through his foundation. “I am committed to them and to the foundation’s excellent work, and I know my staff will continue these efforts during my absence.”

Associated Press Writer Dennis Passa in Coolum, Australia, contributed to this report.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.