Why All the Venom Toward Woods

By Kraig KannMay 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
I thought about titling this weeks column, Why do we Love to Hate? And after giving it strong consideration I remembered something my parents told me long ago. Hate is an awfully strong word, they said.
So I didnt go with it. But I want this weeks words to act as a solicitation of your thoughts on this. (For whatever its worth, last week an overwhelming 85-plus percent of you strongly agreed with my take on the Champions Tour cart issue.)
Seriously, why is it that so many people who follow this game seem to have this harshly negative tone toward Tiger Woods?
Some, by comments I read and receive, actually come across as though theygulphate this guy and what he stands for.
Well, your arguments had better be good, because Im hardly buying the thought. Heres the list of most often stated commentary concerning Tiger.
1. Top of the list ' hes cocky, arrogant, distant and unconcerned about the paying customer who goes out to watch him play.
2. You guys in the media go gaga over this guy and I cant take it anymore!
3. He throws more clubs than a Las Vegas Black Jack dealer, and he gets away with it!
4. His on-course reactions include more foul language than Andrew Dice Clay in his heyday.
5. Hes hardly a role model for kids because of his on-course behavior.
6. Hes not the best, and never will be.
7. His likeness dominates the television screen every time he plays. Arent there any other players playing?!
I could go on, but you get the point.
Now, here is mine: Like it or not, hes the Worlds No. 1 ranked player. He got there by dominating the PGA Tour over a period of time and though hes not presently at the same level, hes still the most talented, most intimidating and most skilled player in the game. So APPRECIATE the talent he has, dont take out your frustration over network coverage being overwhelmingly SLANTED his way, and be glad that the game WE love has an athlete of his caliber playing it.
As for my belief that there is indeed a thread of hatred toward what Woods stands for and also a true enjoyment gained (by some) from his recent struggles, I believe I know where it comes from.
Follow me on this: Sports fans in general love to hate the perceived very best at anything. Some feel as though it is ones civic duty to root strongly against those who are at the top. Dont they?
For example; non-NY Yankee fans gloat when Steinbrenners money doesnt buy a World Series ring. For all his stats, Barry Bonds has more detractors than supporters. John McEnroe was the tennis lightning rod for years. He was looked at as a brat - seemingly despised, despite his enormous talent and record. The Dallas Cowboys were designated as Americas Team for years despite the widespread belief that 49 states in America disagreed with everything they stood for.
Maybe Im wired the wrong way, but as a Chicago native who grew up with a love for the White Sox ' I actually root for the Cubs too! Always have. So in that sense, if you love Davis Love or Mike Weir (not hard to do), cant you also appreciate the man they are trying to supplant at the top of the World Golf Ranking? I dont think we rooted extra hard against Alydar when Affirmed was the horse folks found so perfect.
Like him or not, Tiger Woods is the establishment. He drives the PGA Tours bus. He drives ratings for the networks, and even if his drives arent finding the fairways, he drives folks out to the tournament to watch him play.
So dont blame HIM for being shown on seemingly every shot. Dont abuse HIM for a $2 million dollar overseas appearance fee. Dont carve HIM up for every week that he stays at No. 1 in the world. Hes just doing what he does for a living (damn good one) and he only tees it up about 18 times a year anyway. Thats 34 weeks left for television domination by Heath Slocum, Todd Hamilton and Craig Parry among others.
Know this: I, for one, do not put Tiger at the top of my personal rooting favorites list. But I appreciate the heck out of his ability. I cant think of a time when hes ever intentionally shown me a lack of respect personally or professionally. And I do admit to getting enthused when hes at his best.
Recently, in a brief conversation, I told him that I hoped hed get back his A game. I told him that I felt the game is far better when hes at the top of his trade. And I told him that I felt that the likes of Vijay, Ernie, Phil, Davis and Mike Weir would feel even greater about their current accomplishments if those accomplishments were to come while Woods was playing his best golf. You can call that fawning if you like, but I call it understanding whats best for the current state of our sport and understanding how guys like Weir and Love can become even bigger than they are right now.
So, here's message to all you Tiger Trashers, and folks who cant stand the thought of Tiger Tuesdays despite a very strong viewer rating. Try a new approach. Take it easy on greatness, and find a way to appreciate it for what it is. Find reason to applaud the man. After all ' every time television shows a shot of his gallery ' you ARE THERE instead of somewhere else on the course.
And if, for whatever reason, you cant get past the venom and the hate, sell me on your reasons why. Believe it or not, some of us media types are not a closed shop.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

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Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''