Tiger owns majors, but Rory owns the media

By Jay CoffinMarch 6, 2013, 7:47 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Tiger Woods has 12 things Rory McIlroy desires. Rory McIlroy has one thing Tiger Woods needs.

The major math is simple: Woods 14, McIlroy two. The difference between the two numbers are the only assets Woods has that McIlroy should covet. Consequently, Woods should desire McIlroy’s ability to be more forthright and forthcoming.

Never was this more obvious than Wednesday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship when McIlroy sat in front of a gaggle of reporters and answered every question with an honest, thoughtful answer. The world No. 1 was getting peppered with questions regarding his ill-timed WD last week at the Honda Classic, yet handled the heat with the greatest of ease.

“I realized pretty quickly it wasn’t the right thing to do,” McIlroy said. “No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there.

“I regret what I did. It’s over now and it won’t happen again.”

Most left the interview giving McIlroy the benefit of the doubt.

Video: McIlroy at Doral, apologizes for Honda WD

Photos: Rory McIlroy through the years

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, videos and photos

It was refreshing to see the 23-year-old do what he’s done so many times over the past couple years. At The Masters 11 months ago, McIlroy faced the media before the tournament and poured out his soul regarding heartbreak he experienced at the 2011 Masters when he dominated the first 63 holes and butchered the final nine.

About an hour after McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open he was sitting in a fairly empty interview room in the media center waiting for reporters to file in when he busted loose by taking photos of himself with his first major trophy. He had put himself under a Twitter ban for the week and it was finally time to let the excitement of the moment take over and start firing away.

That’s McIlroy, honest to a fault. That’s why last Friday’s explanation that a bothersome wisdom tooth was the reason for walking off the course at PGA National didn’t pass the smell test. If he’d have been as honest in his statement as he was to the reporters he spoke with as he exited, there wouldn’t have been as much of a fuss.

McIlroy righted a wrong. He was contrite. The only time we’ve seen Woods be contrite was following his 2009 difficulties, where being remorseful was the only option.

Sure, Woods commands an audience each time he speaks, but McIlroy commands the room when he’s on that podium. McIlroy genuinely cares what other people think and lets people know that he cares what they think. He gets it.

“Look, we, as in me and all you guys, are hopefully going to have a working relationship for the next 20 years, so I don’t want to jeopardize that by being closed,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “I feel like I’ve always been open and honest and given you guys all my thoughts and everything.

“I don’t want it to be that way where there’s friction between me and the press because at the end of the day, you guys are here because you’re reporting what we do on the golf course all over the world.

“It’s not like I want there to be a strained relationship,” McIlroy said, “because it’s going to be a long one. I hope.”

Add that to the top of the list of words Woods would never speak.

Time will tell if it’s possible to be personable and win major championships at a record clip – Jack Nicklaus largely did it, Nick Faldo did not. Perhaps McIlroy won’t achieve Woods’ heights because he’s too nice a dude. Perhaps he doesn’t have the same killer instinct that has resided in Woods the last two decades. We shall see.

Last week at the Honda Classic, Woods was asked if he had any advice for McIlroy and the pressure that goes with being the game’s top-ranked stud.

“You've just got to be more, just got to think about it a little bit more before you say something or do something,” Woods said. “It can get out of hand, especially when you get into social media and start tweeting and all those different things that can go wrong.”

Translation: Rory, don’t go overboard with information.

For years, PGA Tour players have answered questions about Woods ad nauseam and most have expounded on Woods’ importance to the Tour and have thanked him for essentially raising purses, putting more money in their collective pockets. Yet, Woods stood there Wednesday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and wasn’t able to muster a thoughtful answer about McIlroy’s recent difficulties.

“I really haven’t read much,” Woods said. “I’ve seen a couple things on the ticker, but I’ve been watching other sporting events.

“I’m sure that most of you guys have taken it to him pretty good.”

Some did. But McIlroy walked away earning more respect than he had a week ago.

Call it a pretty good day’s work.

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Watch: Tiger's Saturday birdies at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 9:20 pm

Tiger Woods was in almost total control of his game for the majority of his third round Saturday at PGA National. And although he was once again bit by the Bear Trap, the 14-time major winner tapped in for birdie at the par-5 18th to post a round of 1-under 69 and fight his way back to even par for the week.

Four back to start the day, Woods parred his first seven holes before pouring in his first birdie via this flagged iron from 139 at the par-4 eighth:

Woods hit three more quality approaches at 9, 10 and 11 but couldn't get a putt to drop.

The lid finally came off the hole at No. 12 when he holed a key 17-footer for par to keep his scorecard clean.

One hole later, Woods added a second circle to that card, converting this 14-footer for a birdie-3 that moved him back into red figures at 1 under par for the week.

Unfortunately, the Bear Trap would ensnare Tiger for the second day in a row. Woods, whose iron play had looked as crisp as it had in years, sailed approaches long and left at both the par-15th and 17th, leading to bogeys which erased the two birdies he worked so hard to secure.

But just like on Friday, Woods rallied back with a late birdie, this one at the home hole, to steal back a shot.

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O. Fisher, Pepperell share lead at Qatar Masters

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 5:13 pm

DOHA, Qatar - Oliver Fisher birdied his last four holes in the Qatar Masters third round to share the lead at Doha Golf Club on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Englishman shot a 7-under 65 for an overall 16-under 200. Eddie Pepperell (66) picked up shots on the 16th and 18th to catch his compatriot and the pair enjoy a two-shot lead over American Sean Crocker (67) in third.

David Horsey (65) was the biggest mover of the day with the Englishman improving 31 places for a share of fourth place at 12 under with, among others, Frenchman Gregory Havret and Italian Andrea Pavan.

Fisher, winner of the 2011 Czech Open, made some stunning putts on his way in. After an eight-footer on the par-4 15th, he then drove the green on the short par-4 16th for an easy birdie, before making a 12-footer on the 17th and a 15-footer on the 18th.

Like Pepperell, Fisher also had just one bogey to show on his card, also on the 12th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

''I gave myself some chances coming in and thankfully I made them,'' said Fisher, who has dropped to 369th in the world rankings.

''You can quite easily make a few bogeys without doing that much wrong here, so it's important to be patient and keep giving yourself chances.''

Pepperell, ranked 154th in the world after a strong finish to his 2017 season, has been a picture of consistency in the tournament. He was once again rock-solid throughout the day, except one bad hole - the par-4 12th. His approach shot came up short and landed in the rocks, the third ricocheted back off the rocks, and he duffed his fourth shot to stay in the waste area.

But just when a double bogey or worse looked imminent, Pepperell holed his fifth shot for what was a remarkable bogey. And he celebrated that escape with a 40-feet birdie putt on the 13th.

''I maybe lost a little feeling through the turn, but I bounced back nicely and I didn't let it bother me,'' said the 27-year-old Pepperell, who hit his third shot to within four feet on the par-5 18th to join Fisher on top.

The long-hitting Crocker is playing on invites on the European Tour. He made a third eagle in three days - on the par-4 16th for the second successive round.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 24, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Uihlein fires back at Jack in ongoing distance debate

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 4:32 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Wally Uihlein challenged Jack Nicklaus’ assault this week on the golf ball.

Uihlein, an industry force as president and CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent company Acushnet for almost 20 years, retired at year’s start but remains an adviser.

In an interview with ScoreGolf on Friday, Uihlein reacted to Nicklaus’ assertions that the ball is responsible for contributing to a lot of the troubles the game faces today, from slow play and sagging participation to the soaring cost to play.

Uihlein also took the USGA and The R&A to task.

The ball became a topic when Nicklaus met with reporters Tuesday at the Honda Classic and was asked about slow play. Nicklaus said the ball was “the biggest culprit” of that.

“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” Uihlein said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”

Nicklaus told reporters that USGA executive director Mike Davis pledged over dinner with him to address the distance the golf ball is flying and the problems Nicklaus believes the distance explosion is creating in the game.

“Mike Davis has not told us that he is close, and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” Uihlein said.

ScoreGolf pointed out that the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 was created after a closed-door meeting among the USGA, The R&A and equipment manufacturers, with the intent to make any proposed changes to equipment rules or testing procedures more transparent and to allow participation in the process.

“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s everyday player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”

ScoreGolf said Uihlein questioned why the USGA and The R&A choose courses that “supposedly” can no longer challenge the game’s best players as preferred venues for the U.S. Open, The Open and other high-profile events.

“It seems to me at some point in time that the media should be asking about the conflict of interest between the ruling bodies while at the same time conducting major championships on venues that maybe both the athletes and the technology have outgrown,” he said. “Because it is the potential obsolescence of some of these championship venues which is really at the core of this discussion.”