Right Place Right Time

By Rex HoggardMarch 17, 2010, 4:45 am

The Masters works because the U.S. Open is too far away. The Masters works because Bay Hill, a great event, is shoehorned into a sprawling neighborhood and already a logistical challenge, sans zoo. The Masters works because the Tavistock Cup in not a real competition. The Masters works because Augusta National is as close to a Tour autocracy as one can get.

But mostly the Masters works as the site of the “return” because it is where mind, game and calendar collide into a perfect storm, however imperfect Tiger Woods’ current situation may be.

According to Woods’ own statement released just before midday March 16 he called Arnold Palmer and Joe Lewis, Mr. Tavistock, to explain why the pin went directly to the first week of April on his competitive calendar. Make no mistake, both breathed a sigh of relief.

Woods’ return would be a boost for either the Arnold Palmer Invitational or unofficial Tavistock Cup, but at Augusta National, where no detail is left unattended, it’s a reason to dig in.

“They will control everything,” Palmer said. “If there is a place in the world you can do this it will be there.”

The question will be asked over the next two fortnights whether Woods is bigger than the Masters? Check back on April 11 for that answer. What is not up for debate is if the world No. 1 is bigger than the API, to say nothing of the Tavistock Cup? He is, with apologies to the golf purists who cling to the notion that no one is bigger than the game.

When the API surfaced as a possible site of Woods’ return the discussion immediately turned to a press center that had long ago surpassed “max. occupancy” and an aged infrastructure that leaves no room for the fleet of satellite trucks and paparazzi that would descend on central Florida.

At Augusta National, that is not a problem. Media credentials for this year’s Masters were received via e-mail last week, and there are three things the powers that be at the National do really well – pimento-cheese sandwiches, golf tournaments and deadlines.

There is a large parking lot adjacent the Hooters Restaurant on Washington Road that will have room for an army of main-stream, and tabloid, media. But that will be as close as they get to Magnolia Lane, a fact that likely influenced Woods’ decision almost as much as his stellar resume on the Georgia gem.

Woods normally talks to the media on Tuesday at Augusta National. Whether he continues that tradition, and whether he approaches anything even close to full disclosure, remains to be seen. But Team Tiger is aware that the Masters media center is populated with sports and golf writers. There will difficult questions, to be sure, but nothing compared to the discomfort that would have awaited him at Bay Hill.

CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus said Woods’ first tournament “will be the biggest media event other than the Obama inauguration in the past 10 or 15 years,” and there is no better place for such a spectacle than between the pines and magnolias.

It is a risk showing up at the year’s first Grand Slam gala cold. He can plow through as many range pellets as he’s likes on the Isleworth practice tee under the watchful eye of swing coach Hank Haney, but there is no substitute for live fire.

Competitively he could have used the “reps” at Bay Hill, where he has won with walk-off putts at the last hole the last two years. Even the Tavistock Cup, a 10-man team event, offers a measure of competitive tune-up and, at the least, a chance to give 19 fraternity brothers a chance to get the awkward “How ya been?” out of the way.

But if anyone can debut with a “W” it is Woods, despite a record that is mixed when it comes to cold comebacks.

At the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot following the death of his father he carded rounds of 76-76, missed the cut at a major for the first time as a professional, and didn’t sugarcoat things afterward.

“I was not ready to play golf,” Woods said then.

While the 2008 U.S. Open after two months off and knee surgery will perhaps go down as his greatest competitive achievement – one- or two-legged division.

But this time it is different. Physically Woods is fine and after five months of inactivity and intense therapy the thought of golf between Augusta National’s manicured ropes must be a welcome relief.

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect,” Woods wrote in his statement on Tuesday, with an eye toward history, recent and otherwise. “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.”

And that’s perhaps the best reason why the Masters works, because it is finally time to move on

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.