Thanks for the Memories

By Mercer BaggsNovember 29, 2009, 10:13 pm
This week in Backspin, we focus solely on the Tiger Woods saga, breaking it down report by report.

News reports around 2:30 p.m. ET Friday say Tiger Woods was involved in a one-car crash outside his Isleworth home. They say it happened about 12 hours earlier as he was leaving his house. It is reported Woods’ Cadillac Escalade struck a fire hydrant and then a tree, and he was listed in serious condition.

BackspinUpon changing the channel while leisurely watching the Alabama-Auburn football game, “Tiger in car crash!” was fonted across the TV screen on one of the local Orlando affiliates. My first thought was, “I really, really hope this was a real tiger driving a car.”

Conflicting reports come in saying that Woods was in a “minor” automobile accident, was treated at a local hospital and released, and aside from facial lacerations he was in good health. Police officials say that the officer who listed Woods in serious condition was required to do so since he was transported by ambulance to the hospital. They also say the accident was not alcohol related.

Backspin It was good to hear that Woods was OK, but there were still plenty of questions, namely: What was he doing leaving the house at 2:30 in the morning? Rumors covered cyberspace like a plague of beetles. ‘Ooh, he had a fight with his wife.’ 'Ooh, he's having an affair.' ‘Ooh, he was drunk and there’s a big cover-up.’ ‘Maybe he was just getting formula.’ ‘Maybe he was going to work out.’ My thought: How the hell is Auburn beating Alabama? issues a brief statement saying Woods is OK and there will be no further comment. Reports then surface that Woods’ wife, Elin, used a golf club to break out the back window of his SUV and drag him out of the vehicle. He was in and out of consciousness and there was blood in his mouth. He was transported to a nearby hospital and 12 hours after the accident occurred an official report was released.

Backspin Umm, I’ve seen Elin in person. She's awful pretty and fit as can be, but unless she has the ability to transform into She-Hulk when she’s angry, she’s not dragging a limp, 190-pound body over two rows of seats. Also, when you look at the photos from the crash, the rear window appears intact. The middle windows are down, so maybe she broke the 'back seat' windows. Still, it's hard to get a clear understanding of what happened without hearing from Tiger and/or Elin.

Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor tells media that the couple requested not to be interviewed Friday night, but instead Saturday morning so Tiger could get some rest. Authorities oblige, but when they return the next day they are told by Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, that the couple would not be speaking to them until Sunday.

BackspinGiving the police the Heisman. Intriguing move. By law, Woods isn’t required to give a statement, only his driver’s license, insurance and registration of the SUV. Still, silence always translates to: You have something to hide [even if you don’t]. Don't know where we're headed with all this but it looks like the road to Tabloid Town.

By now, Woods’ story has well exceeded the golf world. National news outlets and tabloid papers have descended upon Windermere, Fla. The notorious publishes photos from the accident. They also “report” a few other items.

BackspinWe’re not about to jump into their muck, but even The Associated Press addressed a story published two days prior to the accident by the National Enquirer, which said Woods had an affair with New York night club hostess Rachel Uchitel. Uchitel, who was said to have been in Melbourne with Woods during the Australian Masters, denied the claim. Unfortunately, rumor and innuendo are helping to form a clearer picture of the crash scene than fact. Woods really needs to speak. And have a really good story. reports Uchitel is meeting with publicity hound/lawyer Gloria Allred.

BackspinFive words never before written: It sucks to be Tiger.

Around 2 p.m. ET Sunday, it is reported that Tiger Woods' lawyer told the Florida Highway Patrol that his client will again not be speaking with them as planned, regarding the accident. No reason for the cancellation was given.

BackspinThis is Lucy and Charlie Brown. They keep running the same trick play and I – and the FHP – keep falling for it. Either Tiger's brain trust really knows what they are doing or they're allowing him to make the worst PR move of his life. You gotta believe it's the former since this guy is worth a bazillion dollars to them, but like 'Casablanca II,' it just doesn't seem right.

Police release audio of the 911 call, which was made by the neighbor whose tree Woods hit.

BackspinThe neighbor was a bit frantic, but the audio was too scratchy to be dramatic. It would have been much better if Woods lived next to the Don LaFontaine. And if Don LaFontaine wasn't dead.

Woods releases a statement on his Web site taking full responsibility for the accident. He says he is embarrassed and sore. He says his wife acted 'courageously' and says all the 'malicious rumors' are 'irresponsible.' He also asks people to respect his privacy on the matter.

BackspinWoods is usually in total control of a situation, especially when it comes to his personal life. But this time is very different. When something this public happens to someone so public, privacy isn't granted by simple request.
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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.