You Think Tiger 2000 Was Special Just Wait
Tiger says he is going to be a better golfer than he's ever been - including, by the way, 1999 and 2000. Of course, those were the years he combined for 17 victories ' eight in 99, nine the next year, winning all four majors in a row over a two-season period which ended in 2001. He was nothing short of unstoppable, and I dont have to tell you that.
He also had a different swing coach ' Butch Harmon. He learned Butchs swing very well, obviously. But this year he has a new coach, Hank Haney, and he believes he can become a better golfer. Jumpin Jehosephat - does he really think thats possible?
Woods just finished a season in which he won one only tournament, a match play event. He just completed the Tour Championship, in which he was brilliant in the middle two rounds, rather mediocre in the first and last.
Now, I dont want to say its impossible for Woods to get any better than he was in 99 and 2000. To be honest, I dont want to look stupid again - which I and just about everyone else would have done if Tiger had told us before those two unbelievable years when he was about to win the four majors in succession.
But surely he will pardon us if we seem a little skeptical. He was the best golfer the planet has ever seen when he was playing in 2000. And try as I might, I cant conceive of him being better next year. It's just human nature to be a doubter.
Trust me, he says, I've been down this road before, so it's nothing new. I'm starting to see some of the fruits now.'
Yes, hes done this before.. He won the Masters by 12 shots the first year he played it as a pro, in 97. Then he chucked it all, completely re-did the way he swung the club. And he went through a one-win season in 98 when he and Harmon were changing his swing.
If I had 153, he said he of the Tiger pre-98, I couldn't hit it 153 time and time again. I may hit it short or long of that. The whole idea is to hit the number you've got to hit.
Then Harmons instructions finally sunk in, and Woods went on the run where he undoubtedly, undeniably, was the best a lot of people joined me in believing he was the greatest player in history, despite the fact he was just 24 years old.
But that wasnt good enough for Tiger Woods. Who knows what he spotted that didnt please him? But apparently there was that one shot that he hit in August or some such that wasnt flush by Tiger standards. Golf by its very nature is a game of imperfection. But that is contrary to the Woods philosophy. That is the reason we find him today tinkering with a swing that we all thought was perfect.
I thought that I could become more consistent and play at a higher level more often, he says simply. Hes like a man who bowls a 300 game, but he has one toss that doesnt quite suit him. It may have looked perfect, but somehow it just didnt feel right.
Hmmmm OK. He must know that, not just the commoner such as myself, but a whole lot of tour pros are completely befuddled.
Now, Im through doubting Tiger Woods. But from here on in, it will have to be done completely blind to the world of golf. Hes onto something which has everyone else completely in the dark.
You have to be honest with yourself and you have to understand that there are risks to getting better, Woods says in explaining this one-win season. I've always taken risks to try and become a better golfer, and that's one of the things that's got me as far as I have.
Actually, hes been searching for answers for awhile now. It didnt become clear to him what he could do to improve until he started working with Haney in earnest. He said that he has been a Haney student for about a year and a half. But its only been the last half of the year, says Woods, that Haneys methods have really sunk in.
Tiger still cant understand why there are so many non-believers out here. But then, maybe he really doesnt understand how good he was. The year he won nine times, he finished second four other times. And he only played in 20. Three of his wins were majors to go with the Masters he won in 2001. His 68.17 scoring average was the greatest in history. He won six tournaments in a row.
Any one of these would be lifetime accomplishment. But Tiger Woods did it all in one year.
But - Im a believer. Next year may be the year when he is going to win 10. He is going to win all four majors in one year. He is going to average 68-flat. He is going to have a better year than 2000. If it isnt next year, then look out in 2006.
Maybe its realistic ' Woods certainly believes it. They say he doesnt even reach his physical peak until he is in his 30s, and he hasnt even reached 29 yet. But, oh my goodness, he is going to have those two exceptional years to live down. And he has a bunch of good ones after that.
But he says he is going to be better, and though I dont know how that is possible, I ceased the doubting routine long ago. He obviously doesnt want to take a step back when he is on the verge of hitting his peak physical years. All I can say is, I wonder what can possibly be better?
But better he says it will be, and for that, there is nothing we can do but buckle our seat belts. Be ready to be awed.
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Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.
“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.
Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.
“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.
The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.
Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.
Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:
1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.
2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.
While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:
The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.
We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.
Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.
''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18