Tiger Makes Return a Scary Proposition

By George WhiteFebruary 17, 2003, 5:00 pm
It was the worst news you could deliver to the PGA Tour rank-and-file. Tiger Woods is back, and it looks like he is better than ever. If you are going to win this year, its best to do it the 25 or so tournaments where you wont see him ' Tigers still playing in only 20, right?
 
A lot of people ' myself included ' figured it might take two or three tournaments for Tiger to get the motor started and completely warmed up. It may, but Lord help us if it does. What he did in Southern California, to a pretty good field at the Buick Invitational, should have been witnessed by adults only. You dont want a child to see carnage like that.
 
We havent seen him alongside Ernie Els yet this season. Ernie won the first two on the U.S. tour, then high-tailed it the Pacific Rim. He has wreaked devastation every place hes been in 2003, winning four times and losing a fifth on the 72nd hole. That was supposed to be pretty good.
 
Tiger noticed ' you bet he did. But then he came out after nine weeks of surgical rehabilitation and blew away the field in San Diego. We didnt see Ernie there, but in a month or so, they will cross swords. It appears that Mr. Woods is not going to give up his wrist-lock on golfs top rung easily.
 
The knee appears to be fine. Does that mean that last years five-win season is only an aberration, a figure so puny that it would have been twice that amount if he were walking on two good pins? The knee appears sound and that can only mean more trouble to the tour clan, who were getting downright boisterous in Tigers absence.
 
I mean, hes in another league, said Arron Oberholser, who used to know Eldrick when Woods was still mortal. Hes in another league from Ernie, in my opinion.
 
Oberholser played junior golf with a young Tiger Woods. He can remember two times when he beat Woods. Well, he can only remember once, but he thinks there was another time. But those days are from another era, apparently, an era when a young Tiger was still beatable.
 
Oberholser addressed the media on Saturday, and he had just about already conceded the w. So he hit nine fairways (out of 24) and hes 8-under par ' OK? Thats good, he said, over-emphasizing something here.
 
News flash. I mean ' the rough is five inches, six inches in spots. I mean, the guy is a beast. Hes strong. I mean, he can maneuver his golf ball out of the rough, out of six-inch rough. Thats impressive.
 
Phil Inferior Equipment Mickelson isnt conceding ' God bless him. Phil is still thinking there has got to be a way to beat Woods, though at age 32, there has to be periods of doubt every now and then. But Mickelson bravely, staunchly, juts his chin out and trudges along, knowing that the day he lets his guard down and concedes that Tiger is better ' well, you know what happens next.
 
Tigers level of play - we all know that hes not a hundred percent this week. And yet, hes still atop the leaderboard, he said.
 
So that kind of tells us that we have a lot of or an area where we need to get better to keep pace.
 
Tiger WoodsUnfortunately, that is not always possible. There are a lot of areas in my game that I would have to improve to be on a par with Tiger ' areas that I could practice from now until I go to glory but will never reach. And neither will Mickelson ' though, to his credit, he refuses to concede. If he ever does, that is the day he will be playing only for second place.
 
I wanted that challenge, Mickelson of the final-group pairing with Woods. I wanted to have the opportunity to play with Tiger, and if you ever watch him or compete against him when hes in the final group and playing pretty good, hes very impressive. And I enjoy that challenge ' to try and catch him.
 
Theres no telling how many more tournaments Mickelson might have won were it not for Tiger ' no telling how history would have regarded him differently. But that is the story of the PGA Tour today. That has been the story the last five years, and it will be the story at least another 10 years. Tiger is simply Tiger, and there has never been another one like him.
 
Realted Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Buick Invitational
  • Tiger Woods Bio
  • More on Tiger Woods
  • 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.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    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.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    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 Web.com 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.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''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 Web.com 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.''