Players react to Woods announcement

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2009, 11:29 pm
Golf Channel’s Inga Hammond roamed the driving range at the Merrill Lynch Shootout before the second round on Saturday morning getting reaction to the news that Tiger Woods is taking an “indefinite break” from golf to address personal issues in his life.

Golf Channel will be airing Hammond ’s interviews on Golf Central throughout the day. Here are some of the things players had to say:

Steve Stricker

“Who am I to say, but I think it’s a good move on his part to try to get his family organized and get that going. That should be his first priority. Golf is always going to be there. He’ll always be welcome out here on Tour, and we will miss him while he’s gone, but hopefully he gets everything taken care of at home ...

“We will feel the impact, no doubt. There is definitely a difference when he’s at an event and when he’s not at an event. We’ll manage, though. There are a lot of other great players in this game and a lot of other great storylines, but we will definitely miss him ...

“I’m hoping for the best for him. It’s sad to see what they’ve been going through the last couple weeks ... The bottom line is we need him out here, but we need him out here mentally right and happy for everybody to make it work. Hopefully, it all works out.”

Mark Calcavecchia

“I was thinking about his schedule, and I really didn’t think he was gong to show up at Torrey Pines, or anything soon. Indefinitely? How long does that mean? I don’t know. I’m a fan of his just like everyone else. He definitely needs to take time, and I think he’s doing the right thing, take time and get things straight with Elin and his family and just come back whenever he’s ready ...

“Obviously, it was a tough situation to try to handle, and he didn’t know how to do it and his people who work for him didn’t really know how to do it. I think they are on the right track ...

“I think enough is enough. It’s been a couple weeks, and now let him be, and let him work on the things he needs to work on ...

“I’m a big fan of his, a friend of his, and I miss him. I love watching him play like everyone else. The good news for the rest of us is it’s going to be a lot easier to win tournaments without Tiger playing. But we need him out here. What he’s done for our Tour and golf over the last 13 year is unparalleled, really. Whenever he comes back, hopefully it’s smooth sailing and he’ll be better than ever.”

Brad Faxon

“There is so much speculation about what’s going on in his world and obviously there’s such a huge trickle-down effect to what he does and how everything goes forward. Hopefully, he takes care of what he needs to take care of ...

“It would be hard for me to believe he could stay away for a year, but he has some work to do, I guess, to fix some stuff. We are all speculating where it’s going ...

“I think the statement was a good statement. You don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. If the rumors are true, it’s going to be a hard to come back and make everything work, but it’s been done before and things are quickly forgotten in this world, that’s for sure . . .

“It’s unfortunate, because we pretty much have had no blemishes, really. Every once in a while, there is a little thing that’s no big deal. This has affected a lot of people in the world. It’s on the front page of the New York Post and US [Weekly] Magazine. We’ve never really had anyone transcend to Hollywood like Tiger.”

Nick Price

“He’s got a lot of wounds to heal. I think it will be a good thing for him to consolidate his time with his family and just try to start anew from here ...

“Golf will miss him, there’s no doubt about it, over the last 10, 12 years. He’s been the focus of the game. The fact he did not win a major championship was a surprise to most of us. Hopefully, he will come back, get his house in order and start playing golf the way we know Tiger can play golf ...

“I think once he gets his mind focused again, and he gets back totally into this, it may be something that fires him up even more. We all want to see him beat Jack’s record. Probably the only one who doesn’t want to see him break Jack’s record is Jack. This may make him even more focused and a better person.”

J.B. Holmes

“I think it’s a good decision for him to get his family back in order. It’s going to be a big loss for golf, but it’s his decision and I wish the best for him and hope everything works out . . .

“It’s different from last time [when he was out with a knee injury]. We don’t know when he’s coming back. With the knee we had an idea, but you just never know. I wish him the best and hope everything works out for him.”

Dustin Johnson

“The first thought is what’s it going to do to our Tour. He’s the best player in the world. He’s been golf’s idol. It’s sad not being able to see him play. Obviously, it’s best for him and his family. My prayers go out to him and his family and hopefully he comes out as soon as possible . . .

“We don’t know how long he’s going to be out. We don’t quite know what it means. But obviously he’s not going to be there at the start of the season. Hopefully, things work out well enough that maybe he can be back halfway through the season or maybe even before then.”

Jeff Sluman

“It’s obviously his decision. Whatever he decides, I’m all for him. We just want him to be ready when he comes out. More importantly, golf is not even important right now in his life. I just wish him the best with his family situation, with Elin and the kids, and I hope it works out the best way it can possibly work out ...

“If it’s the right move for him, it’s really none of our business. It’s the way I look at it. Only he knows what’s going on within his family circle. If he needs to take time off, I’m 100 percent for it.”

Boo Weekley

“I’m proud of him. I think it’s a good thing he is going to take the time and spend it with his family and try to get his life together. That’s what you need to take care of first . . .

“Tiger is a big asset to the Tour. He brings a lot of different characters and a lot of different sponsors to help us make the money we’ve made, and we are happy to have him out here with us ...

“The Tour isn’t all about Tiger. There are 200, 300 guys out here playing to make a living like he did. It ain’t just about one player. He ain’t bigger than the game. Unfortunately, he won’t be with us to make things run a little smoother, but I think we can survive without him. We have in the past, and we look forward to his return when he does come back out.”

Graeme McDowell

“There was all the speculation without Tiger saying much, so it was good to hear him come out and give a bit of closure. Unfortunately, it will be a bit of a blow to have him out. How long is it going to be? Is it going to be three months? Is it going to be six months? Or is it going to be more? So everyone of the players will be looking forward to him coming back. Tournaments are going to be easier without him in the field, obviously, but we certainly need him in the field. He gives events such a big boost. We hope he gets things sorted out and comes around quick. Golf needs him ...

“At a time when the world is having a tough time economically, we don’t need any more blows to our sport. With Tiger out, it’s definitely going to have an impact. I hope he can come back quick and give the game a big boost again. There are plenty of young players, not taking over for him, but certainly, coming in to give the game a huge boost. I think the game’s never been healthier, but we certainly need him back.

Chris DiMarco

“Sad for the tour a little bit, whenever you take the biggest name out, the biggest draw out ... Tiger’s got to take care of Tiger and Elin and his family and that’s always No. 1. We’ll support him, and we are all behind him. We just wish him the best. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x