Tigers Richter Scale

By Randall MellMarch 25, 2009, 4:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. ' When Tiger Woods steps over a putt with a tournament on the line, the sporting world leans forward.
 
As athletic moves go, the slight rocking of Woods shoulders doesnt thrill the way Muhammad Alis jab would or Michael Jordans crossover dribble could or Reggie Jacksons corkscrew swing might, but it ranks as one of the marvels of sport just the same.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts to his remarkable win last year at Bay Hill. (Getty Images)
That little pendulum stroke can make the earth quake.
 
Folks around the 18th green at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill felt it a year ago.
 
So did Palmer himself after Woods rolled in that 24-foot birdie putt to beat Bart Bryant by a shot in a dramatic finish.
 
The lingering image in the aftermath is Woods spiking his hat and roaring in unabashed delight.
 
It was a good time, it was a good memory, Woods said Wednesday.
 
With the Arnold Palmer Invitational beginning anew Thursday morning, and with the Masters just two weeks away, Woods is looking to find the putting stroke that consistently makes him the man to beat in golfs grandest events.
 
While observers still wonder how that rebuilt left knee of his will hold up in just his third PGA Tour start since reconstructive surgery, Woods is focused on his putting stroke.
 
At the WGC-CA Championship at Doral, where he tied for ninth after a sluggish start, he was encouraged that he hit so many fairways on the weekend, posting a pair of 68s despite a mostly uncooperative putter.
 
I wasnt that far off, Woods said. I hit the lip 20 times for birdie on the first three days, and thats a lot.
 
(If) just half of those, some of those, fall in, you get a little bit of momentum, you get a little feel and get some mo on your side. I didnt get any of that. To have that many lip outs and still finish in the top 10, thats a positive side for my ball striking. Now, I just need a few putts to go in. This week I worked on it pretty good, and I feel pretty comfortable with it.
 
Woods shot 4-under-par 66 in Wednesdays pro-am, equaling the low round.
 
When Woods putter is behaving, his ball striking can be mediocre and hell still win. His putter erases so many mistakes. That was the case at Bay Hill last year, when Woods was frustrated with his play and still prevailed. Same story at the U.S. Open, where hardly anyone remembers that for the first time in his career Woods looked like he was blowing a chance to win a major on a Sunday. Hardly anyone remembers that errant drive into a fairway bunker at the 72nd hole, or the sloppy layup in the rough that followed. The image thats frozen in so many minds is Woods rocking back on his heels, clenching his fists and howling to the heavens after rolling in a 12-foot birdie to force the Monday playoff he would win against Rocco Mediate.
 
For Woods, this week is mostly about getting his putter back on track.
 
Unlike other players, who seek to awaken their putting stroke by changing their grips or their putters, Woods will stick with whats always worked for him.
 
Hell be going back to the basics his father taught him as a young boy.
 
Thats what stands out most about Woods putting.
 
His full swing has evolved, from work with Butch Harmon as his swing coach to Hank Haney, undergoing almost constant change as he has sought to improve and, in his words, own his swing.
 
Woods already owns his putting stroke. He has owned it practically since he drained that putt on the Mike Douglas show as a 2-year-old.
 
When somethings wrong with his putting stroke, Woods remembers back to what he learned playing that military course with his father, Earl, while growing up.
 
Dad had everything to do with my putting stroke, Woods said. How I putt now is how Ive always putted as a kid.
 
When I go out there and practice my putting, like I did at Doral, (where) I didnt putt well, didnt make any putts, I went back to all my basics my dad taught me. Its good times, good memories, going back to all those different things and remembering all those different times. But my dad has laid the foundation of my putting stroke
 
I even remember in some of the good years Ive had in golf, like 99, 2000 and 2001. Coming back to Southern California, Id take my dad out and wed go putt, and hed routinely beat me. Anything he said about putting, Id always listen. He just had a wonderful feel, a wonderful touch, and I really understood how to make the ball roll consistently each and every time.
 
Putting wizards like two-time PGA Championship winner Dave Stockton and eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon see the magic Earl Woods passed on to his son. Stockton said he and Woods picked each others brains twice at Torrey Pines last year, once during the Buick Invitational and once at the U.S. Open.
 
Tiger is very conscious of speed control, Stockton said Wednesday in a telephone interview. A good putter always looks like the ball wants to go in the hole. That putt at Torrey Pines (on the 72nd hole) looked like it was going to miss right, but it dove in the hole. I cant remember Tiger Woods lipping out a putt that mattered. Hes always got the right pace. His fundamentals are phenomenal.
 
While Faxon acknowledges Woods looks good over the ball, he admires something else in his approach.
 
Tiger is very visual, Faxon said from the Bay Hill locker room. He is always looking for the putts break. Most people look at him and say he has a great setup, a great stroke. I see him as reactive, I see how he reacts to what he sees, how instinctive he is.
 
I dont see a guy who second guesses himself a lot. What all great putters share is confidence, more than anything else.
 
Jack Nicklaus, widely regarded as the greatest putter under pressure who ever lived, also had a very visual approach. In fact, Nicklaus used to say he didnt pull the putter back until he could visualize the ball going into the hole.
 
Of course, Nicklaus played with great confidence, but his form was so distinctive, a low hunch over the ball, with his right shoulder so much lower than his left.
 
While Nicklaus was admired, no tour pros tried to putt like he did.
 
Thats not the case with Woods. Hes a model.
 
Mike Sposa, a PGA Tour member for 13 years before becoming a Fujikura Composite PGA Tour rep, said he regularly visited putter maker Scotty Cameron for more than fittings. He visited to watch Camerons detailed videotapes of Woods stroke.
 
Everything Tiger does with a putter is perfectly sound, Sposa said. Perfect setup, perfect eye position over the ball, perfect path and release, everything. He looks perfect, he thinks perfect.
 
Of course, Woods isnt perfect, but one competitor with a good eye thinks Woods is close to regaining his best form after watching Woods hit balls at Grand Cypress last week.
 
He didnt make a lot of putts (at Doral), Rocco Mediate said. When he does, that will be the Tiger we know, and that will be the end of the game.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

    Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.