Jack Peers Into Tigers Future

By George WhiteJuly 16, 2002, 4:00 pm
Along with the rest of the sporting public, Jack Nicklaus is watching Tiger Woods closely this week. Tiger tries to add the British Open to his list of majors en route to Jacks record 18. Along the way, Tiger tries to win all four in the same calendar year, something not even Nicklaus was able to accomplish.
There is no way of telling for certain if Nicklaus main competition ' Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller ' were better than Tigers competition. Nicklaus, and several of those names themselves, think they were. Tigers contemporaries say they werent. Its just like most of golfs arguments ' you can never discern a substantive answer because, of course, those men were not in their prime when Tiger was (is) in his.
Was Bobby Jones as good as Tiger? Was Old Tom Morris as good as Nicklaus? We will never know for sure.
Nicklaus is certain that Tiger is the best player today ' as every person who isnt a Himalayan sherpa knows. Nicklaus wont quibble with you even if you believe Woods is the best golfer ever. Jack knows how brilliant a golfer Tiger is. And Jack knows that as good as Tiger is now at age 26, it isnt as good as Woods will be in his 30s.
Yes, he will get better. Absolutely, said Nicklaus. As long as he wants to get better, hell get better.
He will get better, Nicklaus says of the man who has seven of the last 11 major championships. Hmmmm. Specifics escape Jack since he doesnt regularly see Tiger play, he wont say where the improvement will be - will he become a better iron player, driver, or putter? He just knows Woods will improve, and Nicklaus certainly should know. He ' Nicklaus ' certainly should have improved, says the man who knew Jack Nicklaus better than anyone.
I dont think I ever worked as hard as he worked, said Nicklaus. I think he probably has as good a work ethic as anybody I know.
I had a good one, but not as good his. I never really tried as hard as he did to eliminate any of the shortcomings. I never eliminated my shortcomings with my short game. I never really worked hard enough to do it. When I was playing well and when I was putting well, I never missed anything inside 10 feet anyway, so why in the world worry about having to chip it close? That was a stupid approach, but it was sort of my approach. It kept me from not having to get too precise with everything. It allowed me a little give in the game.
And Tigers mentality doesnt give himself a lot of give in the game. I think hes very strict with himself about what he does.
Of course, golf being the way it is, someone may surprise this week and beat Woods. There always exists the chance that he wont be particularly sharp and someone will come to Muirfield at the peak of his game. Woods, after all, doesnt win every tournament he enters. Woods knows that, and several of his contemporaries know that ' just as they knew Nicklaus didnt win every time he put a peg in the ground.
I dont know whether Palmer or Player or Trevino or Watson thought they were as good a player as I was, said Jack, but certainly any given week they knew they were as good a player as I was. They believed that because they beat me.
And you know, thats what you are going to find here. They (Woods contemporaries) may never be as good a player as Tiger, but they will be on occasion. They will believe that they can beat him.
In other words, its unlikely Tiger will lose, but it certainly isnt impossible. He will lose from time to time, and it could be this week.
There are probably 40 guys who could win, said Nicklaus. But I think theres one that is the most likely, and its obviously Tiger. I dont think theres any question about that.
Who will beat him?
Himself, said Nicklaus with a disarming simplicity. Hes the only one who has that ability.
Related Link: Can Anyone Tame Tiger?
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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."