Now ... Just do it

By Rex HoggardOctober 5, 2011, 8:18 pm

Maybe Rocco Mediate was right. Maybe the only way to accurately track the ebb and flow of Tiger Woods’ career is via the numbers.

“You look at statistics and go ‘Wait a second. This guy was the best. He was pretty much in the top 10 of every single category we had. But he's not anymore.’ That tells me a story. Why is that happening? Why does he keep breaking?” the Tour’s funnyman-turned-Tiger-antagonist said Tuesday.

There is 14, the Grand Slam haul Woods has been stalled on for more than three years, and 77, his opening round at the PGA Championship. There is 66, his best competitive rounds of the year (Masters and WGC-Cadillac Championship), and 62, his best casual round of the calendar which he posted last week at his south Florida home club.

And, of course, there is 51, his spot in the World Golf Ranking, although it should be noted that he’s closer to No. 1 Luke Donald (7.965 points) than No. 2 Phil Mickelson was to then-No. 1 Woods on Sept. 27, 2009 (8.211).

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Perhaps even more telling is 21, the official number of Tour starts since his last “Big League” victory, the longest such drought of his storied career, and 10, his Grand Slam starts since his last major “W,” which equals the longest schneid of his career.

Or maybe, if the sights and sounds from Wednesday’s tune-up for this week’s Open are any indication, the most important number is 61 percent, the total number of tee shots that found short grass last year at CordeValle.

There are a lot of reasons for Woods to play this week – not the least of which was U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples’ not-so-subtle urging and persistent rumors that Woods may sign an endorsement deal with the electronics giant – but the fact that CordeValle ranked 31st on Tour last year out of 50 courses in driving accuracy is the best reason to date to be optimistic the former alpha male is finally trending in the desired direction.

“It’s always easy to come back from a layoff when you know what to do. I’ve done that before,” Woods said. “But I’m implementing a new golf swing and in order to do that you have to get the reps in and I haven’t gotten the reps in. I have to hit thousands of balls to do that where it feels natural. I’ve done that now.”

His swing coach Sean Foley echoed that optimism earlier in the day when he talked with Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” crew, pointing out his man has reached something closer to critical mass in the weeks since those dark days at Atlanta Athletic Club.

“We had to be more technical in the past because he couldn’t get the rep count. In order to not let the thing flatten out underneath him he had to be thinking of a lot of things. That’s not what you want to be doing,” Foley said. “At the end of the day that’s what we had because there were so many starts and stops the last year and how much he could practice. But since the PGA Championship he’s been fully cleared with his health.”

By many social media accounts, Woods’ game during Wednesday’s pro-am was as erratic as we’ve come to expect. One observer tweeted that Woods hit just eight fairways and 12 greens in regulation during his warm-up.

But pro-am rounds and warm-and-fuzzy 62s back home in south Florida really won’t mean much when Woods steps between the ropes on Thursday. Foley has become the ultimate “person of interest” when it comes to Woods, and while the thoughtful Canadian doesn’t need a defense team it is worth noting that Woods has played just 11 events on the new guy’s watch.

“I don’t think you’d be that impressed with the changes I’d made with Hunter (Mahan) and (Justin Rose) after 11 events,” Foley said. “Given the right amount of time, which no one wants to hear, we’re going to do just great.”

According to Foley the plan this week, and likely beyond, is simple, with a focus on “imagining the clubface is square for the whole golf swing” and smoothing out his transition and rhythm.

It isn’t Foley on the clock this week in California. That honor belongs to Woods. This week’s stop is not an altruistic cameo for the sake of the Tour’s Fall Series, or a make-good for a potential sponsor, so much as it is a rehab start on a rebuilt left leg and swing.

Woods is quick to point out he’s been here before. He’s dealt with injury and a new action, to say nothing of the public scrutiny that comes with both, but never at the same time, or with the same level of urgency.

“You can do whatever you want on the range, but playing thoughts are a little bit different,” Woods said. “That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been playing so much. I’ve started to turn the corner. I was starting to shoot some really good rounds (at the Medalist). That was fun to post a 62. It was a pretty easy round.”

On Wednesday Woods spoke of “playing feel” and “playing instincts,” missing elements to the larger picture for some time, and if his regimen at the Medalist the last few weeks is any indication the previously mysterious should start becoming mundane.

But now he’s officially on the clock, which should be easy enough considering he announced his first major U.S.-market post-November 2009 endorsement deal on Wednesday with Rolex, on a golf course he’s never played with a caddie, however experienced, who is learning the new boss on the fly.

“The major overhauls are done. I’ve done all the work. Now it’s just fine tuning. That’s day to day and shot to shot. That’s part of the challenge,” said Woods, who told his doctors in the weeks leading up to this year’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational he needed 10-plus rounds to “turn this around.”

Which leaves just one number that really counts – eight. That’s how many competitive rounds, at best, Woods will have before he tees off at November’s Presidents Cup. Woods, Couples and the rest of the U.S. team are hoping that’s enough.

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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.

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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.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
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NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.


For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.





Avg. Viewers P2+
































  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.


Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.