Woods feels 'everything’s headed in the right direction'

By Jason SobelFebruary 7, 2012, 9:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – His personal scandal, the one that rocked the tabloids for months on end, has long since faded from the headlines.

His divorce was finalized 18 months ago.

His knee injury – along with any other aches and pains – has been rehabilitated and healed.

His swing changes have taken effect, appearing more fluid with every round.

The ebbs and flows, ups and downs of Tiger Woods’ career over the past two-plus years have been caused by varying degrees of emotional, mental, technical and physical anguish. There may never be a time – not for Woods, not for anybody – when all such aspects are completely flawless, but it’s difficult to argue that the symphony between them hasn’t produced a melody like this in years.


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And so with everything back to normal – or at least as “normal” as things get for him – there’s only one proper conclusion going forward.

It’s time for Woods to do what he does best. It’s time for him to win.

This is less instruction than observation, just the natural progression of his continued comeback. Woods has often talked about his return being a “process” and the next logical step is to win his first official tournament title since November of 2009.

Sure, throughout the cacophony of lowlights since that time, there have been highlights, too. He helped the United States to a Presidents Cup victory. He won his own Chevron World Challenge, an event that carries unofficial status, but official world ranking points. In his last two official starts – at last year’s Australian Open and this year’s Abu Dhabi Championship – he finished in third place.

All are signs that Woods’ gradual journey toward success is nearing its destination.

This week he will make his U.S. season debut at the AT&T National Pro-Am, a tournament he won in 2000 – along with the U.S. Open at this same venue later that year – but hasn’t played since 2002. His winless streak in official PGA Tour events now stands at 22 starts spanning 27 months, easily the longest respective such periods of his professional career.

Woods has long maintained that he only feels internal pressure, that no measure of tension applied from fellow players, sponsors, media or fans will overrule the pressure he applies to himself. When asked on Tuesday whether that internal pressure is weighing heavier than it did earlier in his career, when the wins were easier to come by, he insisted that it wasn’t.

“I feel very at peace where I’m at,” he explained. “I had to make some changes and that took time, and I’m starting to see the results of that now, which is great. My last four events, I’ve really played well. So I’m just building on that. Everything’s headed in the right direction.”

For most players, “headed in the right direction” would be good enough. Signals toward optimism permeate the practice range prior to the start of each tournament, with every competitor searching for a secret in the dirt and hoping they’ve found it.

If there’s a difference between Tiger and his fellow professionals, though, it’s in the expectation level. And it makes sense. Others have built borderline Hall of Fame careers based on an average of one victory per year. Such numbers pale in comparison to those of Woods, who compiled 71 official wins in his first 14 seasons as a PGA Tour member.

As a result, strong finishes may serve as a barometer for future performances, but they’re still considered failures. Woods has always lived by the Ricky Bobby mantra, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” He’s fond of talking about how all that matters is the “W.” He’d rather that didn’t stand for “waterloo” any longer.

It shouldn’t. Now 36, he believes knowledge in how to win should inherently assist him in reaching that plateau once again.

“I think I understand how to get my ball around the golf course better,” he said. “I’m far better at managing my game now than I was at 26, just like I can say at 16 versus 26. I keep understanding how to play the game.”

There’s no doubt that Woods is making the turn in his career. He’s endured a brief intermission, but is now back on course, playing the back nine. That doesn’t mean the second half of his career will equal the accomplishments in the first half, but it does mean that he’s ready to find the winner’s circle.

After the anarchy that derailed his personal and professional lives over the past few years, it finally feels like business as usual once again. Woods’ usual business is winning golf tournaments. That time is here once again.


Watch first- and second-round coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Thursday and Friday on Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET.

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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 GolfChannel.com 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.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.