Perez Scrutiny suffocating Woods

By Randall MellMay 6, 2010, 2:48 am
The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Pat Perez found his practice round with Tiger Woods troubling this week at The Players Championship.

Perez believes intense scrutiny of a new kind is suffocating Woods’ game. He thinks Woods’ attempt to play nice between the ropes and appease critics of his stormy temperament is taking away an edge that’s always worked for Woods.

“He needs to get that prick back in him,” said Perez, winner of the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. “But he knows he can’t do that, or he’s just going to get hammered by the media if he does anything. But that’s him. He’s like me. He gets upset. He doesn’t accept mediocrity. That’s part of what’s made him great. You can’t change that.”

Woods and Perez will be among the 145 players teeing it up in Thursday’s start of The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. Woods is coming off only the sixth missed cut of his career, a disappointing showing at Quail Hollow that included a 79 in the second round. It was just his second tournament back since news of his marital infidelities began rocking the golf world. He spent four-and-a-half months away before returning with a tie for fourth at the Masters three weeks ago.

Perez said Woods invited him to play a practice round on Tuesday. J.J. Henry also joined them. Perez said it was mostly a light-hearted day with Perez and Woods trading good-natured barbs.

Perez has taken note of how Woods is trying to change the way he plays the game, particularly the way he’s trying to control his emotions. Perez has wrestled with his own temper over the years. While he’s toned down his act, he says a fiery temperament remains integral to what brings out the best in him.

“I’ve calmed down a lot, but I’ll still have an occasional throw at the bag, or whatever, but that’s just me and that’s the way he is,” Perez said. “It’s why he’s won so many times. He’s got that `I’m going to beat you’ in him, and that `I know I’m going to beat you.’ Whatever he was doing before [inside the ropes], is how he needs to get back to playing. His fierceness, his feistiness, it’s what’s going to make him great again.

“But he can’t, because he’s got so many eyes judging him. It’s `Oh my god, he spit, did you see that?’ They’ll talk about that for 20 minutes on Golf Channel. Or `My god, he hit five balls in the water, we’ve got to talk about that because now he’s ruined.’ Yes, he’s brought it on himself, I understand that, but the golf needs to be talked about.”

Since returning to the game, Woods has pledged to change inside and outside the ropes.

Perez befriended Woods growing up playing junior, high school and college golf against Woods in Southern California. They’re both 34. While Perez said he didn’t broach personal issues in his practice round with Woods, he senses how external pressures might be impacting Woods’ game.

“He’s going through a bad patch on the outside, and there’s no human alive that can’t affect,” Perez said. “The golf will come around. He needs to get himself right in the mind first, and all this other [crap] going on the outside is hard to block. He’s got everyone on him, everyone staring at him, everybody talking about him. The media’s all over him all the time. He just can’t get away from it. They just won’t leave him alone.”

Woods hit five balls in the water over nine holes in that Tuesday practice round. Perez said way too much was made of that with Woods working on shots. He believes Woods is off his game mostly because he’s missed 15 months over the last two years and that his game will rebound as he plays more.

“It was a Tuesday. Who cares?” Perez said of the five water balls. “If he did it on a Sunday afternoon, with a four-shot lead and shot 45 on the back, yeah, you can talk about it. It just doesn’t matter. He didn’t care.”

Perez said Woods found a fix for his swing on the driving range Tuesday, but he has these other challenges. That includes media picking at every imperfection, including those in his swing.

“He’s got to get his head right,” Perez said. “He’s only been back a month now.

“If he had been back three years and was still playing this way, you might be able to say, `You know, he might have a problem.’ It’s only his third tournament. He’s still going through things, with media all over him, eyeballing him everywhere he goes. There were 15 cameras out there at 7 o’clock [Tuesday morning]. I said `I don’t know how you do it. I wouldn’t trade positions with you.’ It’s got to be so old but the questions keep coming. Let him play golf, please, let him play golf.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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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 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.