Tiger Phil Ready to Play

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson finally sat down and talked Wednesday ' at least to the media.
Both players addressed the press at the Buick Invitational and tried to settle the public rumble that was created when Mickelson was quoted as saying in the recent Golf Magazine that Woods was playing inferior equipment.
We talked (over the phone) and we cleared the air. Everything is fine and no worries, said Woods.
'I did not mean anything mean or malicious by it, nor was I trying to make a derogatory statement towards anybody, but I still should not have gone in that area, said Mickelson.
It certainly was not meant to be a slap by any means. It was just not a well-thought-out statement.'
Woods said he took the context of the statement in stride and said it was Phil being Phil.
Phil can try and be a smart aleck at times, we all know that. I think that was one of those instances where it just backfired on him, Woods said.
We're here to play and compete and not worry about things like that.
But while The Great Equipment Debate might be settled ' for now ' theres still the question of one surgically repaired left knee.
Woods is making his 2003 PGA Tour debut after arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 12. Its his first competitive action in nine weeks.
I'm excited, excited to be back. I'm excited to get back out there and play again and compete, Woods said.
Woods has played only three full rounds over the past two months. He said he started hitting golf balls about four weeks after the surgery, but has basically been fine-tuning his video-game abilities.
Mother Nature hasnt helped Woods this week. He played the North Course ' which players will play in either the first or second round ' under soggy conditions Tuesday. Further rain prevented him from playing his morning Pro-Am on the host South Course Wednesday.
Woods added that he could have competed in the Mercedes Championships ' the only tournament he would have played prior to the Buick if not for the surgery ' but wanted to make sure he wouldnt re-injure himself.
We took the most conservative route, put it that way. The procedure that we did on the knee was conservative and so was the rehab, he said. We weren't aggressive with any part of the process at all, and I think that's one of the reasons why I feel as good as I do now heading into this week.
As for his upcoming schedule, thats up to his knee.
It's going to be a week-to-week trial and error and see if I can keep playing, he said. I know I'm not 100 percent yet, but it's pretty darned close. It's a heck of a lot better than it was last year, let me tell you that.
While Woods has been away, many of the upper-echelon players have experienced great success. Ernie Els won twice, while Vijay Singh and Davis Love III also prospered in victory.
Woods, who has topped the money list each of the last four years, is $1.8 million behind Els in earnings this season, but doesn't seem too concerned.
'His start is obviously pretty impressive, but also, I understand that he plays a limited schedule, just I do, so in essence, we are going to get probably about the same number of events, between 16 and 20 events,' Woods said. 'So it's not like he's going to come out here and play 30 events on our tour and probably no chance of catching him.'
One big-name player who has not made strides in Tigers absence is Mickelson.
Despite a pair of top-10 finishes at Phoenix and the Bob Hope, he has yet to contend on Sunday. He finished 64th at last weeks AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am thanks to a final-round 80.
In addition to his remarks regarding Nike, Mickelson was also criticized for opting out of the celebrity pro-am rotation at the Bob Hope, where he was the defending champion.

I don't want to put too much pressure on myself to say I have gotten off to a poor start. It's been a poor start off the course, no question, he admitted.
I'm not satisfied with the start, that's why I've got Rick (Smith, his instructor) here and that's why I'm working on it.
The 32-year-old said his early-season frustrations are due in part to his off-season training. Mickelson has been working with a personal trainer to improve flexibility and strength, and it has affected his swing.
I think the biggest change was the physical change, becoming a little bit stronger, a little bit faster. Once I implement that in with better timing, I think I'll be able to take advantage of it and play better than I have in the past few years, he explained.
Mickelson, along with Woods, has a prime past at Torrey Pines. Both are familiar with the venue from their junior days, and both have exceptional records here.
Mickelson, who was born in San Diego, won here in 2000 and 2001, while Woods, a near-by Los Angeles area product, was champion in 1999 and has never finished worse than fifth in five career starts.
Woods is also trying to keep alive his consecutive cuts made streak, which currently stands at 96.
It means a lot. I would like to get to 100, that would be nice, he said.
Related Links
  • Full coverage of the Buick Invitational
  • Woods and Mickelson on Sorenstam Playing the Colonial
  • Getty Images

    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."