Only thing holding Tiger back is chasing Jack

By Jason SobelMay 14, 2013, 12:46 pm

The following sounds like something whipped up by Aesop, who was sort of like the Johnny Miller of ancient Greek storytellers.

There exists a tiger who wins everything. When he is supposed to win, he wins. When he isn’t supposed to win, he still wins. He wins everything, it seems, except for those things he most wants to win. It is these crowns which leave him stymied, his pursuit of personal greatness stifled by the weight of his own expectations.

Like all fables, there is a lesson in this tale. Perhaps the tiger represents unrealistic possibilities. Or maybe it preaches how life should be about the journey instead of the destination.

Or hell, maybe it’s just a thinly veiled story about how Tiger Woods doesn’t win major championships anymore.

The winner of 14 career major titles, Woods’ odometer has been stuck on 14 ever since claiming the 2008 U.S. Open in a Monday playoff on June 16 of that year. Those into symbolism and numerology should note that the final round of this year’s U.S. Open will conclude on June 16, exactly five years to the day of his last major triumph.

Since then, he has endured the lows of the game – going winless during the 2010 and ’11 seasons – and enjoyed certain highs – seven victories in his last 22 PGA Tour starts – without once again reaching what he considers to be the pinnacle of golf.

And so the aftermath of Woods’ most recent accomplishment, a second career Players Championship win, is tinged not with reflection but with foreshadowing toward his next opportunity to claim a major title.

The tiger whose pursuit of personal greatness has been stifled by the weight of his own expectations can easily be interpreted as Tiger, whose pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time major championship record began when his expectations were born as a child, long days at the golf course followed by long nights staring at the poster of his target adorning those bedroom walls.

Just ask Miller himself, the modern day Aesop.

“The only thing that’s going to hold him back is trying to get Jack’s record,” the ever-opinionated commentator explained. “I think he’s trying a little too hard at the majors. He’s got to somehow say, ‘OK, it’s going to happen,’ and just sit back and play smart.”

If you’re wondering how Merion Golf Club will suit Woods’ game, congratulations: The two of you have something in common. Professional golf’s ultimate been-there, done-that case study hasn’t been there and hasn’t done that. His next trip to the upcoming U.S. Open venue will be his first one.

If you’d like to understand how the course will play next month, try this simple experiment: Tee up a ball in the street in front of your home; hit it so straight that it doesn’t land in a neighbor’s yard; then try to stop an iron shot on the pavement; and lastly, roll a putt across that slick surface, attempting to make it drop into a hole exactly 4.25 inches in diameter.

Oh, and throw in thousands of expectant fans and some intense pressure for good measure.

Of course, when it comes to Woods, it may not matter.

The USGA could contest its annual grindfest at Nullarbor Links, a 1,365-kilometer course in Australia that bills itself as the world’s longest golf course – and doesn’t get much argument. Or it could take the tournament to Jim Bob’s Pitch-N-Putt, where you leave a fiver in the wooden box on the first tee and hope you don’t get paired up with Grandma Mulligan, who uses a 3-wood on the 67-yard opening hole.

Either way, Woods would still be the prohibitive favorite and the course would still suit his game more than that of anyone else in the field.

That’s what happens when you’re the No. 1 player in the world. What happens when you’ve won four times in seven starts. What happens when you’ve earned more than double the amount of world ranking points than the next-successful player this year. What happens when you lead all putting statistics by a mile. What happens when your par-5 birdie or better percentage exceeds that of every season other than the three-major campaign of 2000.

Then again, there are no guarantees in life and no guarantees in golf. Woods won not long before each of the first three majors of last year. Then he proceeded to lose each of them. He won in his final start before last month’s Masters. And of course, he failed to win that one.

The tiger continues to win everything – everything, it seems, except for those things he most wants to win. Like all fables, there’s a lesson in here somewhere.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.