Back and to the Future

By Rex HoggardJanuary 27, 2011, 2:00 am

Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – When history is your litmus test and making records, not chasing them, is your job description, nostalgia can be an occupational hazard, which is why for much of his storied and recently stormy career Tiger Woods has avoided gratuitous trips down memory lane like a Royal Liverpool pot bunker.

There would be time for that kind of self-indulgence when the legacy was written.

But that kind of thinking was before things got sideways on a dark Isleworth street in late 2009. Before the once Teflon kid was tarnished by sordid controversy. Before a singularly focused man found out that what happens outside the ropes often has more impact on happiness than anything that transpires within its manicured confines.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hopes to hold aloft another trophy at Torrey Pines. (Getty Images)
Pre-Nov. 25 Woods’ return to Torrey Pines, site of his last major triumph and watershed moment in a career littered with them, would not have rated much of a flashback. Pre-Nov. 25 Woods would have acknowledged the past, his one-legged OT victory at the 2008 U.S. Open over funnyman Rocco Mediate, and quickly moved on. This week, he probably would have stressed, was about the Farmers Insurance Open and another “W.”

But times, and tendencies, have changed.

Numerous times on Wednesday during his first media meet-and-greet of 2011 Woods referred to having “balance” in his life, and sometimes finding that kind of clarity requires an examination of the past.

When the subject inevitably turned to his thoughts on his first competitive trip back to Torrey Pines since 2008 – he participated in a Buick “caddie” ad campaign following the U.S. Open – something within a rested and relaxed Woods ignited.

“I haven’t watched much of Sunday or Monday (from the ’08 Open), but I do watch Saturday,” he smiled. “Saturday turned it all around.”

To recap, Saturday was indeed Moving Day at the ’08 Open for Woods. He posted a back-nine 33 highlighted by a chip-in birdie at the 17th and eagle at the 18th to move into the lead.

But, at least for Woods, Saturday was about more than just getting back into the game. It was about perseverance against all physical odds.

“Saturday probably hurt more than any other day,” Woods said referring to his broken leg. “It was stupid to play and go through that much pain . . . but I have a little bit of a hard-headed side.”

The exchange was remarkable only because it came from a man who has made his competitive “bones” in the moment. To revisit that painfully historic day with such clarity and conviction is musings of the best kind.

Retrospect can be liberating, and Tiger 2.0 is cherry picking the best from his past. Makes sense, really. At no other time in his Hall-of-Fame career has Woods needed more positive reinforcement.

By all accounts Woods’ swing, retooled to the extreme under the eye of new swing coach Sean Foley, is sound. What is not so certain is his putting and confidence, and what better way to deal with the demons that will inevitably crop up the next time he finds himself in a Sunday fray? Been there, done that.

One could fit a Rees Jones par 5 in the space between Woods’ last competitive trip to Torrey and this week. Prior to the ’08 Open he was fresh off his sixth victory on the SoCal muni, he was the runaway favorite and nearly incapacitated by a broken leg.

Despite a cortisone shot in December for an ailing right ankle, Woods set off on Wednesday in the pro-am healthy for the first time in six years and fresh from his first true off-season in at least that long.

“It’s nice to have an off-season where I wasn’t in pain,” he admitted.

Following last year’s largely self-induced turmoil it was also nice to have some peace. Divorce completed, life returning to at least a level of normalcy and a clear direction both professionally and personally.

“I went down a path I shouldn’t have gone, now my life is in balance,” he said.

And much of that balance was discovered via retrospection. Even when asked about the current state of his game, Woods stepped back in time to last month’s Chevron World Challenge where he lost to Graeme McDowell in a playoff.

“The whole year last year golf-wise came down to one golf shot, and that's what I'm so proud of,” said Woods, referring to his approach shot to the 72nd hole at Sherwood Country Club for birdie. “All the changes I made in my swing, I needed it the most. I needed to hit the 8-iron with that kind of shot, and I pulled it off. So under the most intense pressure I hit the shot I needed to hit when I needed to hit it.”

For those who think Woods is putting too much importance on one shot, consider the real-time reaction from Hunter Mahan, who watched Woods quietly from the scoring area at Sherwood.

“This means a lot to him,” Mahan correctly predicted at the time. “The way he’s practicing his swing, he really wants this.”

To be more precise, Woods really needed the approach that rolled to 3 feet. Much like he needs the memories from the ’08 Open this week. They are valuable reminders that he’s been here, done that.


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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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm