Fight Clubs

By Randall MellNovember 7, 2011, 7:00 pm

He’s Perseus without his winged sandals . . .

King Arthur without Excalibur . . .

Odin without Gungnir, the trusted spear that never missed its mark . . .

Tiger Woods heads to the Australian Open looking defenseless in the face of yet another assault.

Three weeks ago, there was the guy throwing the hot dog at him, then last weekend it was Steve Williams hurling the vile rump roast remark. In the two years since his fall from grace, Woods has watched hot dogs, insults and all sorts of doubt being hurled at him with impunity.

Rory McIlroy called Woods an “ordinary golfer” back in March. Last year, McIlroy said Europeans “fancied” their chances against him. Scott Verplank said Woods lives with the knowledge that fans who were once in awe of him are now in the galleries making fun of him. Icons Johnny Miller, Greg Norman and Nick Faldo are on record saying they doubt Woods will now break Jack Nicklaus’ record for major championship titles.

Where Woods could once strike back with such merciless zeal, there appears to be no wrath in his game to fear anymore.

It’s why his critics sound so emboldened.

In his first news conference since the Williams’ insult broke, Woods didn’t look like a man confident of his ability to strike back (Click for full news conference). Speaking to reporters at the Australian Open Monday, Woods didn’t sound like a man who is getting fed up at being kicked around. He seemed passive, like a man eager only to resolve the conflict so it would go away. In his triumphant past, he would have been plotting revenge between the ropes.  Woods used to beat some players as if he were working out a personal vendetta. A sampling:

•  After Stephen Ames made light of Woods’ errant driving before the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2006, Woods humiliated him 10 and 8.

•  When Rory Sabbatini lost to Woods at the Wachovia Championship in 2007, Sabbatini said Woods looked more beatable than ever. A few months later, Sabbatini watched Woods whip him again in a head-to-head final Sunday pairing at the WGC-Bridgestone.

•  After Sergio Garcia complained at the 2002 U.S. Open that Woods enjoyed the advantages of preferential treatment, Woods whipped him in a head-to-head Sunday pairing on the way to winning the title.

•  With Phil Mickelson saying early in the 2003 season that Woods’ equipment was inferior, and that “He hates it that I can fly it past him now,” a small furor followed. Woods ended up winning five times in ’03, Mickelson none.

While Woods could always depend on his shot making to level the most punishing reprisals, we’ll watch his trip to Australia wondering if the sting of Williams’ rancor will actually cause Woods to regress.

Lack of respect, it used to be fuel for Tiger, propellant for exacting revenge, but now you wonder if it still works that way for him. Where he once doled out the beat downs, you wonder if he’s getting too beaten down to answer in any convincing fashion. Is he still taking names and numbers, keeping a payback list the way we believed he once did? Or is the list getting too long to bother? Is he still using too much energy beating himself up?

I don’t know, but if I’m world No. 1 Luke Donald, I’m urging Steve Williams to atone for his sin with a monastic vow of silence.

If I’m McIlroy, I’m hoping the game’s icons tone down their doubt Woods will ever regain his top form.

If I’m Lee Westwood, I’m praying the lack of respect doesn’t finally spark a resurgence in Woods before I can win my first major.

Because I’m waiting to see when Woods will turn a corner and begin fighting back with his game.

Maybe this is the trip.

Theories abound over what most prevents Woods from winning again, but given the nature of his fall, it’s reasonable to believe something still needs fixing in his heart as a competitor, as much as needs fixing in his swing. If Woods is still beating himself up, when does it stop? When does he resolve to beat up his competition again?

“A wounded dog has a tough time trying to keep winning battles,” Michael Jordan said about Woods two months ago. “And because the battle was even tougher than I thought even Tiger realized a while ago, he needs to heal before he gets back in these battles again.”

With Woods trip Australia, we’ll get another glimpse of whether he’s healed enough to begin fighting back. It’s not so much whether he has all the shots this week, but do we see the fight?

“I think he’s waiting to explode again,” Jordan said.

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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.

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