Handle With Care

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 21, 2010, 11:41 pm
Tiger Woods

MEA CULPA: Tiger Woods spoke publicly Friday for the first time since his Thanksgiving Day accident, delivering a 13-minute statement at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Woods did not accept questions and was surrounded by some 40 supporters in attendance, including his mother but not his wife, Elin.

BackspinWoods admitted to affairs. He apologized. He took full blame for his actions. He vowed to be a better person. He said all the right things. Some found him sincere, others thought him arrogant. Some believed his words heartfelt, others believed them too scripted. The only two things that no one could argue were: Woods was headed back to rehab and we have no idea when he's returning to golf. Other than that, draw a line, choose a side and come out swinging because it seems there's no middle ground and no shortage of opinions when it comes to Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods
ALL OR NOTHING:  The Golf Writers' Association of America elected to boycott the Woods statement reading despite being allowed three pool spots. The 27-member board voted not to attend after being informed that no questions would be allowed. [Full disclosure: I am a member but not a member of the voting board.]

BackspinIt seemed like the right move at the time, but after learning that Woods was headed straight back to rehab it felt more like just listening was the proper take. For all I know, the GWAA board still would have boycotted the event, but the Woods camp should have been more forthcoming with all the facts. The time for questioning will come when Woods is done with therapy and is ready to return to competition – whenever that may be. But even then will he answer personal questions when they are asked? Judging by his tone and comments Friday it doesn't seem likely, which only adds to the intrigue, because those questions are locked, loaded and ready to be fired.

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter earned his first career PGA Tour victory by defeating fellow Englishman Paul Casey, 4 and 2, in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Poulter, a three seed, needed 19 holes to escape his opening-round match against Justin Leonard, but found the sledding much smoother further down the road. He smoked Sergio Garcia, 7 and 6, in the semifinals and never trailed after the third hole of the 36-hole final, handing Casey, a two seed, his second consecutive runner-up finish in this event.
Poulter's victory moved him to fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking, giving England three players [Lee Wetwood and Casey] inside the top 6. The format was apropos for his maiden Tour triumph, as he owns a 5-2-0 career Ryder Cup record with a 2-0-0 mark in singles. Colin Montgomerie's European team is looking better and better each week. Instead of a watch, Monty probably wears a clock like this on his wrist. 

PRICKLY SITUATION: Tiger Woods may not have been in the field at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, but players still spent plenty of time being asked about him this past week. Most had little to say, other than offering a little support [Ben Crane] or taking the I'm-not-worried-about-him-I'm-worried-about-me approach [Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia]. Though, some were more critical, like Ernie Els, who called Woods 'selfish' for making his statement during the middle of the event. Though, in Els' defense, he did not know at the time that Woods was headed back to rehab the next day.

BackspinOf course, everyone – from players to communication specialists to celebrities – was asked to weigh in on Woods' statement. As previously mentioned, reactions ranged from overwhelmingly positive to overtly negative. But nothing was more entertaining than listening to two of Woods' alleged mistresses cry over him not apologizing directly to them. These 'ladies' actually believe they deserve sympathy and some form of retribution. There's a better chance of cutting open Rush Limbaugh and actually finding a heart than Woods apologizing to a mistress on camera.
WGC-Accenture Match Play

Per usual, the WGC-Accenture Match Play saw a number of 'upsets' early and often. The top four seeds were bounced after the first two rounds, with the overall No. 1, Steve Stricker, exiting on Day 1 in an overtime loss to Ross McGowan. It was also the first time in the event's 12-year history that no American made it to the semifinals.
Given the volatility of this event and the events that transpired 1,981 miles away in Florida on Friday, the Accenture people have to be satisfied with the outcome of this year's tournament. Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen reached the Elite Eight, while Camilo Villegas, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter all advanced to the Final Four. This was arguably the most collective star power these matches have ever had over the weekend, with the highlight coming in a 24-hole, two-day marathon between Casey and Villegas in the semis.  
Ai Miyazato

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Ai Miyazato won the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand by one shot over Suzann Pettersen. ... Cameron Beckman won the PGA Tour's opposite-field Mayakoba Golf Classic. ... John Daly made the cut in Mexico and was tied for 17th after three rounds. He finished with a 10-over 81. ... Bernhard Langer birdied the final hole of regulation and then eagled the first hole of sudden death to defeat John Cook at the Champions Tour's Allianz Championship. ... Camilo Villegas defeated Sergio Garcia, 5 and 4, to win the consolation match in the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Miyazato chipped in on the final hole to complete a closing 9-under 63 and overcome a six-shot Sunday deficit. ... Beckman has three career PGA Tour victories and none have qualified him for the Masters. ... Daly is officially on the board now with $7,308, tied for 211th place on the Tour money list. ... Langer said he was inspired by a Bible verse his daughter gave to him Sunday morning, Psalm 29:11. ... They should do away with the consolation match. It's just two sad saps who don't even care about the $110,000 difference in prize money for which they are lacklusterly playing.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm