Another dramatic turn in the Tiger Woods camp

By Rex HoggardMay 9, 2010, 9:43 pm

The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s been a shooting pain for Tiger Woods of late, first from his rebuilt left knee to his Achilles tendon, then onto his heart, the byproduct of self-inflicted transgressions, and now, as we learned in a dramatic turn at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, his neck is on the DL.

Dr. Tiger says he thinks the injury that forced him to withdraw 6 ½ holes into his final turn at The Players Championship might be a “bulging disc.” As diagnoses go that assessment seemed more symptom than ailment.

As Woods struggled with every demanding shot this week many figured his problems were the byproduct of his off-course troubles. Now it seems his pain comes of equal parts physical and mental.

From three starts come frightening trends. The one-time Teflon kid can’t seem to wash off controversy these days. In three post-Nov. 27 starts he’s finished fourth at Augusta National and fumed in a post-round interview, missed just his sixth cut as a professional by a “Green Mile” at Quail Hollow and looked like former president Richard Nixon bolting Sawgrass on Sunday.

Woods declined to speak with the media after his WD, instead filling a PGA Tour-generated transcript with one-liners of the wrong kind.

What happened?

“I withdrew,” he said.

Any idea what caused it?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I know playing doesn’t help,” he said.

Did playing this week make it a lot worse?

“Well, I’m having a hard time with the pain. There’s tingling down my fingers,” he said.

You get the idea. It all adds up to one of the most confounding “alphabet soup for the confused golfer” cards one could ever imagine: fourth, MC, WD.

Moments after he withdrew Woods emerged from the sprawling TPC clubhouse and ducked into one of the Tour’s fitness trailers for therapy. Or at least that’s the best guess because when he emerged from the trailer 34 minutes later he was in no mood to talk to the assembled media horde.

Perhaps the most telling assessment of the situation came when Butch Harmon, Woods’ former swing coach and the current architect of archrival Phil Mickelson’s action, walked past.

“Neck?” he asked with a perplexed look on his face.

It was news to Harmon. It was news to everyone. But according to Woods’ one-liner transcript he’s been playing with the ailment since before the Masters.

To be fair, everything about Woods’ 6 ½ holes suggests something was wrong. He was 2 over through six holes and had just played his second shot at the seventh hole from the pine straw short of the green when he sent caddie Steve Williams to gather his golf ball and shook hands with playing partner Jason Bohn, a man that knows a thing or two about neck and back ailments.

Bohn, a winner for the second time on Tour last month in New Orleans, was nearly run out of the game when a procedure to repair a fragmented disc in his back in 2008 resulted in a sliced spinal cord. He spent the next 32 days flat on his back, hoping for the best.

“When he said it was his neck I was like ‘You’ve got to go. You have to take care of yourself,’” Bohn said. “I’m kind of glad he doesn’t take any chances. . . . I want him back out here as quick as possible.”

On Saturday Woods suggested he needed more reps to prepare for next month’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the site of his 15-stroke Open walk-over in 2000. On Sunday he suggested he would be getting “a picture” (MRI) of the ailment in the coming days and that he might be headed for his fourth Tour hiatus in three years.

It is, essentially, another layer of mystery for a man who is suddenly incapable, or unwilling, to keep secrets.

After his 34-minute therapy session Woods emerged from the trailer, signature red Sunday shirt untucked and black Nike wrap-around glasses guarding him from prying eyes, and slumped into the first of two waiting SUVs.

Next stop, Isleworth. After that it’s anyone’s guess.

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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.