Fulfilling wants and needs in 2012

By Rex HoggardJanuary 4, 2012, 4:20 pm

You know the drill, oversized pear drops in New York’s Time Square, “Auld Lang Syne” echoes from Bethpage to Bandon Dunes and we promise to reinvent ourselves for the new calendar.

Whatever the perceived shortcoming, Jan. 1 is the tonic, something of a spring training for a hopeful soul, so we open 2012 with a list of New Year’s wants and needs.

Luke Donald. A 2011 almanac and ear muffs. The race is on for No. 1 with Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods all aligned to overtake the Englishman atop the world heap; but all of those scenarios assume Donald will not play like he did in ’11. For those who say Donald doesn’t hit the ball far or straight enough we give you one statistic – five. That’s how many cuts he’s missed in his last 54 worldwide starts.

Lexi Thompson. Tempered expectations. The phenom earned her way onto the LPGA and is being billed as the next great American player. Powerful stuff, but it’s not often one can over promise and over deliver, and it’s not in Thompson’s best interest to try.

Mike Davis. Short-term memory and a lawnmower. After the field torched Congressional last year there is a feeling of dread among players that the U.S. Golf Association will strike back in June when the national championship returns to The Olympic Club.

Rory McIlroy. A push fade when he needs it at Augusta National. That rebound victory at the U.S. Open eased the pain of his Masters miscue, but he will be haunted by that Sunday swoon until he slips into the green jacket that got away.

Phil Mickelson. An impromptu, and wildly uncharacteristic, ban of long putters by the USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. Of all of Lefty’s experiments – no driver at the 2008 U.S. Open, two drivers at Augusta National – his late-season switch to a belly putter never added up. You don’t fix one of golf’s most creative short games with a crutch.

Bud Cauley. Twenty extra pounds. Conservatively listed at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, the rookie has all the tools to be a Tour staple sans a little more mass.

Andrew “Chubby” Chandler. Some stability to go along with a year’s supply of Dramamine and a few airbags. After the year the European uber manager had – his clients won the first three majors in ’11 but his agency lost two players, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy, late in the year – a few quiet nights would be nice.

Hunter Mahan. A half stroke a side. The difference between “H,” who ranked 17th in scoring average (69.90), and No. 1 Luke Donald is 1.04. To a Tour type that may sound like an eternity, but if anyone has the raw skills to pull it off it is Mahan.

Kyle Stanley. Improved grooming. One of the game’s most refreshing up-and-comers made it to the third round of the FedEx Cup playoffs as a rookie but cold topped his attempt at a “playoff beard.”

Sandy Lyle. No filter. Next year’s World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony may be the closest thing the HOF has to a can’t-miss event with a class that includes Peter Alliss, Phil Mickelson and golf writing legend Dan Jenkins. The always outspoken Lyle, however, may have the most to say in May.

Rees Jones. A Kevlar vest and thicker skin to withstand another barrage of slings and arrows from players. The affable “Open Doctor” was widely criticized for his handiwork at Cog Hill and Congressional last year and unless Mickelson comes down with a severe case of laryngitis at Torrey Pines one should expect the metaphorical beatings to continue until morale improves.

Tiger Woods. An official win of any kind and a 12-month moratorium on MRIs. The one-time Teflon kid has spent more time in the doctor’s office than a hypochondriacal octogenarian the last two years. The mind and swing are willing; the rest is up to the body.

Tim Finchem. The wisdom of Jerry Seinfeld. The commish sidestepped an ailing economy, landed a new TV deal and staved off the demise of Tour stops in Palm Springs, Calif., and Hilton Head Island, S.C. It may be time to leave them wanting more, as the comedian once reasoned.

Stevie Williams. The serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know when to shuddup.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta 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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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

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Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

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Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving

Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

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Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm