Tiger Says Hes Very Close to Past Heroics

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 14, 2001, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods doesnt feel he has had a bad year, even for Tiger Woods. He hasnt had the wins he had last year, but he isnt that far off his numbers of last year, he said at the PGA Championship Tuesday.
Some of the people who thought I was playing badly early in the year didnt really understand I really wasnt that far off, Woods said.
Granted I didnt really play great in the U.S. Open. But I thought in MY mind, if I had made that putt on 12 (Sunday), I would have been only three or four back of the lead. If I could have posted another three or four birdies coming in, I might have had a chance ' I thought. Even though I wasnt playing that well, I was kind of there.
And at the British Open, I didnt make birdie on 7 (Sunday), and if Id made birdie, Id only been two back of the lead. So, yeah, I was right there. I probably wouldnt have beaten David (Duval) that week, but at least I would have had somewhat of a chance.
He won the Masters, the first major of the year. He finished tied for 12th at the U.S. Open and tied for 25th in the British Open.
Even though I wasnt playing great in the last two majors, I kind of had a chance to put just a little bit of a run together where I really could have been in it, said Woods.
Retief Goosen won the U.S. Open and Duval the British Open. Still, however, Tiger is again the overwhelming favorite for the PGA. While Woods is not about to say he wont win this title for the third time in a row, he isnt nearly as confident as the bookmakers seem to be. Does he think he should be the favorite?
One of them, he said, smiling.
By any means that he slices it, though, Tiger realizes that this year hasnt been as great as his all-world year was last year. In stretches and spurts, he has played as well. But he hasnt played as well over a period of time.
I havent quite played as well over an entire tournament, he said. Ive played as well in spurts, I hit the ball better in the middle part of this year than I did last year. But I havent played as well in the summer this year as I did last year.
Woods would seem to have an advantage this week since the course is long and reasonably wide. It is an advantage that he relishes, the chance to use his driver.
Thats the key, said Tiger. If youre swinging well, any golf course is easier. At Southern Hills (in the U.S. Open) I wasnt playing that great. The only time I drove it good was at Lytham (in the British Open) Sunday. I drove it like I did last year. Unfortunately I didnt do that the first three days, so I didnt give myself much of a chance. I wouldnt say it was because it took driver out of my hand. Thank goodness it did. It was nice to hit 2-irons up there and at least have a chance.
The great thing about this (course) is, the fairways are a little soft, which the ball is not going to run if you hit it off-line. So if you hit a poor line drive, its going to stay. If you land the ball in the primary rough, its going to be very difficult to get it on the green in regulation.
Check out the Atlanta Athletic Club layout
He has done nothing in preparation for this championship. I just kind of took it easy, played a little golf here and there, but basically I just took it easy, he said. That was nice because I am playing six of the next seven weeks, three of which are in different countries.
Meanwhile, Tiger is chasing the rest, primarily Duval, the British Open champ. He hasnt changed any from the Duval that has become a very good friend of Woods.
David is still the same old David, said Tiger. Hes a good guy. I think hes going to be a little more confident now, especially in major championships, because I think he knows what it takes to win them now.
David and I are a little bit different from each other, but then we are very similar, too. We have very similar interests, we have very similar perspectives on life, and I think that is one of the reasons why weve become friends, weve become buds.
Put it this way: Ive enjoyed getting to know David. I know he doesnt always open up to everybody, and thats fine. But if he does know you, and he does trust you, he really opens up quite a bit. Its been really neat to get to know David.
  • Woods and Duval will play the first two rounds with U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. Check out Thursday's tee times
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.