Only Time Will Tell

By Rex HoggardMarch 9, 2011, 11:58 pm
WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – The fifth-ranked player in the world stepped to a familiar microphone just before midday on Wednesday stressing patience and the process. Familiar tones for the one-time 'Man of Steel' termed slow starter by a society fixated on on-demand results.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship is worldwide start No. 19 and counting since Tiger Woods last had a reason to celebrate on a Sunday. An unthinkable drought just, well 19 events ago, but times have changed no matter how hard we fight that reality.

“I don't know, man. I played for 10 years when that guy dominated, so it's tough to get a different mind-set on things,” said Ernie Els, who was Woods’ primary bridesmaid for all those years.

Tiger Woods and Sean Foley
Tiger Woods works with instructor Sean Foley Wednesday at Doral. (Getty Images)
“Tiger was the dominant player. He won 14 majors. Think about it, 14 majors, in such a short period of time. Who is ever going to do that again? Who knows? That is pretty dominating.”

After only Woods, Els is likely the most flummoxed by Woods’ steady decline over the past 12 months or so. This is, after all, the same man who beat Els by more than two touchdowns at the 2000 U.S. Open, the man who matched him shot-for-shot at the 2000 Mercedes Championships, the man who ran him down at the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic.

If “Joe Three-Jack” has a hard time stomaching the title “world No. 5 Tiger Woods” imagine how that reality must weigh on Els, whose Hall-of-Fame career unfolded primarily into the headwind that was the Tiger era.

“For us, myself, Phil (Mickelson), Vijay (Singh), Davis (Love), Fred Couples, guys like that to have played under a guy who was that good, we took a beating, not only from him, but from you guys (media), too,” Els sighed. “It's been a tough – it was a tough 10, 12 years for us.”

Early Wednesday, Woods hoofed out into a steady south Florida breeze, the Achilles’ heel of Tiger 4.0. The playing lesson for the “lab rat,” as one scribe recently dubbed him, began at 8 a.m. complete with entourage: Sean Foley, Stevie Williams and a Nike Golf rep.

Good thing the latter was along for the windy ride, Woods needed the extra pellets particularly on Doral’s demanding 18th hole where he pulled one drive into the water left of the fairway and pushed another into the right rough. From the rough he pulled another ball into the deep blue – wash, rinse, repeat.

Foley is good for Woods, for his positive energy if not for his insight on the modern swing, but one couldn’t help but think the student would have been better off giving the teacher the morning off and rounding up a game with the likes of Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. After nine holes watching Two Gloves’ action maybe Woods would conclude that it is time to play golf, not swing.

Instead, Woods marched from the 18th green to Doral’s practice tee. More work. More reps. He’s running out of time as the major clock ticks toward Augusta National. At best he has 10 Tour rounds, counting next week’s Tavistock Cup, between him and Magnolia Lane. Rumor on Tuesday at Doral was he was thinking of adding next week’s Transitions Championship to his dance card but on Wednesday that seemed less likely.

At the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Woods said he may need “a million” swings for the changes to take, but he doesn’t have that kind of time. The 24-hour cycle won’t allow it. So what if Foley has been behind the camera for just 11 worldwide events, those with unrealistic expectations will conclude that those 18 majors aren’t going to win themselves.

“All of (his swing changes) have been challenging,” Woods said. “They’ve all been hard because changes to motor patterns take time.”

What is different this time is the golf public wants their Grande Americano now, not in 12 months.

On Wednesday Woods said “there is no timeline” for when he will move into his new south Florida castle – indications are that won’t happen before the Masters – but he could have said the same thing about his swing.

“I know what I can do, I just can’t do it on the golf course,” he said. “I’m not to that point yet, but I’ll get there.”

“I’ll get there” is not what the masses want to hear, not with Mickelson waiting on Thursday’s tee sheet and cries for Tiger v. Phil at Doral, Part Deux.

Woods and Foley continue to preach “process.” It’s about new motor patterns and new realities. Unlike his previous three swing changes, first with Butch Harmon and then with Hank Haney, Woods’ new world is about balance. The guy who willed himself to a U.S. Open title on one leg is now subject to the whims of a drastically altered life.

When asked on Wednesday why he hasn’t added to his schedule to help the process along, Woods’ response was telling. “I have a family. I'm divorced. If you've been divorced with kids, then you would understand,” Woods said.

From that new reality comes a golf world full of uncertainty. Woods no longer shows up at Doral with the field spotting him a stroke a side, at least not the New World Order.

“To see kind of the new world out there, you know, with these young players coming through, they have got something going for them,” Els reasoned. “They didn't have to play under a guy that was so dominant and I don't think they will ever appreciate how good Tiger was back then.

“He could do it again, who knows. . . . But at that level, who knows, I don't know.”

Only time will tell and that’s the one thing the world No. 5 does not have on his side right now.
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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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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