One last major shot for Tiger in 2012

By Rex HoggardAugust 7, 2012, 6:46 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – It was here at “Glory’s Last Shot,” just as much as Augusta National, where Tiger Woods figured to make major championship hay.

Through the first decade of his historic career more than half of his 14 Grand Slam keepsakes were collected at the bookend majors, the Masters (four) and PGA (four). The season’s first and fourth majors are also where he has posted four of his six runner-up showings on the game’s brightest stage.

Augusta National, before both the course and his game began undergoing changes both scheduled and otherwise, was always a natural fit for his rare combination of power and touch; but it was the PGA that awakened the inner athlete.

In 2007 at Southern Hills, when temperatures hovered near triple digits, Woods literally outlasted the field as if by an act of attrition, and sprawling ballparks like Medinah, where he won two Wanamaker Trophies, fed his power advantage, be it real or perceived.

Woods on Kiawah, Dye, owning a sports team

Video: Tiger wants course to play tough

Video: Fowler practices diving at Kiawah

There was also something to the argument that Woods’ schedule, lean early in the season to best prepare for the majors, lent itself to a big finish. Forget the Tour calendar, he arrived at the PGA more times than not in mid-season form.

That the PGA is also the last chance to turn a decent season into something special can’t be overlooked by a player who has kept time with a Grand Slam clock. Woods is 2-for-8 getting off the single-season major schneid in his last at bat.

In his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships it will be the PGA, as much as the Masters, that will factor heavily into the final equation. And if his tie for 28th at the ’10 PGA - a week after he began working with Sean Foley - and his missed cut last year is concerning him it wasn’t showing on Tuesday at Kiawah when he talked between rain delays.

“It’s going to take a career,” Woods said when asked of Jack’s benchmark. “Jack didn’t finish his (career) until he was 46, so if you go by that timetable I’ve got 10 more years. Forty more majors is a lot. I’ve got plenty of time.”

It’s that long view that has likely buoyed Woods throughout the last few years. More so than a swing that could win four more majors the goal seemed to be devising an action that would last for 40. Following multiple surgeries to Woods’ leading knee, Foley’s mandate seems to have been “do no more harm.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the notion that his body, particularly his left leg, might not last until he was 46. He missed the second half of 2008 following surgery, withdrew from The Players Championship in consecutive years with various ailments and walked off the golf course on Sunday this year at Doral with a bad wheel.

That he’s won three times this season is encouraging. That he’s now gone 10 events without an injury-induced WD and will play all four majors in a single season for the first time since 2010 is like Christmas in August. In many ways this comeback has literally been measured in baby steps.

By most accounts gone is the knee snap that produced so many trophies but, some contend, shortened Woods’ competitive shelf life, the intense workout regimens and extreme extracurricular activities like training with the Navy SEALs.

Instead, Woods is now indulging in post-round practice, like he did after each round last month at Lytham, to hone a swing that leaves him 13th on Tour in greens in regulation, fourth in ball-striking and 36th in driving accuracy.

“I've progressed this year over my last couple years, and I'm very pleased with what I've done, being healthy and being able to play and practice properly and implement the things that Sean wants me to do,” he said. “This is the way I can hit the golf ball. This is the way I can play. It's nice to be able to do the things that I know I can do.”

He also knows that it will likely be at the PGA where the Grand Slam portion of the program begins its comeback, particularly at the Ocean Course with its four reachable par 5s and grueling heat index. The 1999 PGA was his second major victory and his Wanamaker collection accounts for 29 percent of his Grand Slam haul. In simplest terms the PGA has been low-hanging fruit for much of his career and Kiawah marks the start of his 2012 two-minute drill.

“I've played in three major championships this year, and I didn't win any of them,” Woods said. “Things have progressed, but still, not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good.”

He may not be feeling any pressure to get on with it, but considering that Woods’ major drought now stretches back four years and 13 Grand Slam starts he’s certainly on the clock.

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)