After Further Review: Injuries could plague Woods

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Tiger Woods' back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Honda Classic, the finish that tripped up Rory McIlroy and several others at PGA National and favorites for the Masters.

Here’s what we know about Tiger Woods’ withdrawal because of a back injury on Sunday: He can’t blame it on the hotel bed this time. Other than that, everything else is open to interpretation.

Leaving his hometown Honda Classic with five holes to play, I instantly recalled an interview room back-and-forth that I had with Woods prior to last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship. At the time, I asked him if he was worried about the long-term effects of a lingering back injury. After all, he was still receiving daily treatments and was just days removed from gutting out a runner-up result at The Barclays after suffering a similar injury.

He stared me down and offered a one-word answer: “No.”

He then elaborated, but I still didn’t believe him. Anyone who’s ever felt a back tweak has worried about its aftereffects. When that anyone is a man chasing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time major record, there isn’t a chance his real answer could have been no.

After he walked off the course Sunday, he gave a few quick comments to his personal media liaison, but didn’t stick around for questions from the press. When he finally does, I’d like to ask him again – six months after the last time I asked him – whether he’s worried about the long-term effects of a lingering back injury.  Jason Sobel

In case we had forgotten, Sunday’s final round at PGA National served to reiterate that golf is, at times, a rather humbling game. Over the last two hours of the Honda Classic, no shortage of players appeared in position to potentially win, only to backpedal one after the other. Chips were flubbed, par putts missed and balls appeared to have a magnetic draw to the various water hazards on the Champion Course. All four of the playoff participants made it to extra holes despite shooting 2-over 37 or worse on the back nine.

More often than not, these guys make it look easy. Two-shot leads through 54 holes tend to become two- (or three-) shot victories. Every now and then, though, the game with which most amateurs are familiar plays out live on television among even the best players in the world.  Will Gray

With the Masters a little more than a month away, Bubba Watson and Jason Day look like they ought to be the favorites.

With all the tight-throated failure that transpired at the end of the Honda Classic Sunday, Watson's 64-64 weekend finish at the Northern Trust Open two weeks ago looks even more impressive. It wasn't just the winning there. It was seeing Watson driving the ball so well and hitting the draws and fades and towering iron shots required at Augusta National.

Day looked equally sharp mowing down everyone who lined up against him at the Match Play Championship last week.

Two months into the new year, Tiger Woods looks lost or maybe just hurt. Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson are still searching for form. Rory McIlroy is searching for better Sundays. The clock is ticking for all of them with the year's first major swiftly approaching.  Randall Mell

Despite a wraparound schedule that has made the PGA Tour’s once anemic offseason non-existent and a West Coast swing that, at least in theory, should be stronger than ever, the circuit’s unofficial opening day has set up shop in South Florida. Last week, before he blazed a trail to the weekend at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Graeme McDowell acknowledged as much. “I was really looking at next Thursday (at the Honda Classic) as the beginning of my season,” he said. This week’s Honda Classic had seven of the top 10 players in the world and a leaderboard to match. Officially we may be 15 events into the 2014-15 schedule, but Sunday felt like the real beginning.  Rex Hoggard

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.