No Use Guessing Over Phil Tiger

By George WhiteAugust 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipAt the outset of this blurb, I want to state the obvious: I dont know what Tiger Woods thinks of Phil Mickelson on a private basis, and I dont know what Phil Mickelson thinks of Tiger Woods. I know what they SAY publicly about each other. If anyone knows differently, it would have to be a very close friend. And if he/she spoke about such a thing, they wouldnt be a close friend very long.
Phil made a negative comment about Tigers Nike equipment a couple of years back, and Tiger was undoubtedly miffed. The remark was probably unnecessary, and Tiger duly noted the slur. Mickelson issued the highest compliment at the same time however, saying that Woods is the greatest of players to be able to win while using inferior equipment. So which remark remained in Tigers memory the longest ' the part about being a great player or the part about the poor equipment ' is probably the part which shapes Tigers assessment of Phil today.
Or ' maybe it doesnt. Maybe the two have had other private conversations which have had an impact, either positively or negatively. Maybe they have observed something from afar in each other which influenced their opinion. The point is, I dont know, and neither does any other golf writer. All we know is what they tell us. And what they tell us is that, while neither one says the other is his best friend, there is no animosity between them.
Woods and Mickelson play the first two rounds of the PGA Championship in the company of one another, along with Geoff Ogilvy. Undoubtedly there will be millions of amateur psychologists who will be trying to interpret every move, read every bit of body language, to get a read on the real story. And they are probably going to a read a story which simply isnt there.
Ogilvy was asked about their relationship in a news conference Tuesday. And he admitted that he is in the same boat as millions of viewers ' very curious.
It'll be interesting to see how they get along with each other, he said. I don't know, that's for you guys. I don't know, either. I've never played together with them both at the same time. I know them both well enough and I've played with them a few times, so it'll be interesting.
Tiger has just one request ' dont try to read anything into what you might see, or not see, on the golf course.
Sometimes I talk, sometimes I don't, Tiger said. Sometimes I'm in the mood to talk, sometimes I'm not going to say a word even if my best friend is out there. You're there to win a tournament. We can always go out for a beer later, but I'm trying to handle my business out there.
Woods went on to explain that he rarely gets chummy with ANYBODY on the golf course during a major, including his caddie. And that includes his best buddy on the tour, Mark OMeara. When they are paired, Tiger says their conversation is limited to, Heres your (score)card.
And, for those busybodies who just have to know, Woods says there is no Tiger-Phil grudge.
Phil and I are competitors, he explained. We've gotten to know each other over the years by being on the teams, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, and we're fine.
Much has been made over a Ping-Pong match the two played against each other at The Presidents Cup last year.
Yeah, it was fun, said Tiger. We go at it every year when we're on these teams, whether it's Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. It's usually a few guys that are vying for who's going to be the champion of the week: Kenny Perry, DiMarco and myself and Phil. But Phil and I went at it quite a few times, too. We had fun.
For his part, Mickelson feels like this is a special time in golf history, and he is not at all sorry that hes spent most of his career playing in the Tiger Woods era.
I love the chance to compete against such a great competitor, he said. He's one of the best players of all time - if not the best. It's been a fun challenge for me and the other guys to play against him, and he's also pushed me to work harder and get better and achieve levels of success I may not have achieved, had he not been there pushing me.
And, Phil says every golfer owes Woods a debt of gratitude with every paycheck they receive, with every autograph they sign. Golf is a much more popular sport than it would be if there were no Tiger.
No question, Mickelson says. I thank him all the time for it because he deserves it, not just for the purses but the interest in the game of golf because that leads to increased revenue opportunities off the course, companies that wouldn't be interested in golf he's helped bring to the game. So it's been beneficial for every player out here, and myself included. I thank him every chance I get.
The discussion over whether there is a real animosity between the two, though, is just a continuation of what we were told were the great grudges down through golf history. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus supposedly were cool to each other for 20 years. The same was attributed to Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. Lee Trevino supposedly irked several opponents with his non-stop chatter,
Was it real, or was it someones vivid imagination? Do Tiger and Phil genuinely dislike each other, or is it merely the presumption of the golf pundits that they dislike each other?
If you are in the inner-inner circle of Woods or Mickelson, you might know. For the rest of us, lets quit trying to guess.
Email your thoughts to George White
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

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    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''