Tiger LeBron and the Anniversary

By Rex HoggardNovember 26, 2010, 11:56 am
The Swoosh got it wrong.

Tiger Woods’ first Nike Golf commercial post-Nov. 27, 2009 – you know the one with the grainy black and white imagery and the voice of his father, the late Earl Woods, that was roundly criticized – did little, if anything, to mend his tattered image.

Instead, Woods’ mass media mea culpa went to LeBron James, of all people. It’s simply dubbed “What should I do?” and in the hands of Woods would have likely advanced a healing process, at least publicly, that has been on the tectonic side of slow.

Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship
Tiger Woods will be glad to bid adieu to 2010. (Getty Images)
Imagine Woods gazing into a camera and asking:

Should I admit that I’ve made mistakes?

Should I tell you how much fun we had?

Should I really believe I ruined my legacy?

Should I just sell shoes?

Should I tell you I am not a role model?

Should I accept my role as a villain?

Maybe I should just disappear.

Should I make you laugh?

Should I read you a soulful poem? “Shoot me with your words. You may cut me with your eyes, but still, like air, I rise.”

Or should we just clear the deck and start over?

Should I be who you want me to be?

What should I do?

But maybe that kind of soul searching was too close to the nerve, too deep and private for a public forum. Maybe those were questions he wouldn’t or couldn’t ask himself.

In fairness, jilting a city and betraying a family are two vastly different forms of treachery and bring with them a wildly divergent set of baggage.

At the stroke of midnight on Saturday Woods’ meanest year will mercifully come to a close and few, if any, have so eagerly awaited the turning of a calendar.

There were no victories, few shots to fist pump and little reason to venture out on Tour, and into the spotlight, other than the simple desire to compete.

If everything changed last year on Nov. 27, as many say it did, Saturday’s benchmark is, at the least, a chance to reset.

Competitively he seems to be on the right track. He was 7 under for 15 holes on Monday at the Ryder Cup, posted bookend 68s at the WGC-HSBC Champions, his last chance to get off the Tour victory schneid in 2K10, and played his last six holes at the Australian Masters in 6 under to tie for fourth place and celebrated like he’d collected his fifth green jacket.

But the best player of his generation, perhaps all time, is not content with fits and spurts. Never has been, and Nov. 27 didn’t change that.

Had he played enough rounds to qualify he would have finished 167th in greens in regulation, the lowest of his career by more than 100 spots, 103rd in proximity to the hole and 145th in average distance of putts made, both key stats according to Tour frat brothers who pay attention to such things.

The man who has been charged with righting the competitive ship, however, is encouraged.

“I'm just trying to get the philosophy and the concept which I've taken from a collection of fifteen different concepts and what I think is suited to Tiger and what he needs to do,” said Sean Foley, who officially began working with Woods the week before the PGA Championship. “I feel good with the direction he is going, his misses particularly.”

But beyond the scores and statistics the most telling sign Woods is on the right track can be found in his words. Like he did in 1997 with Butch Harmon and 2004 with Hank Haney he has signed on to Foley’s theories with every inch of that imposing frame.

“At the PGA I was wresting with the idea, do I really want to go through another swing change? This would be my fourth one, two with Butch (Harmon), one with Hank (Haney) and now with Sean,” Woods said earlier this month in Australia. “My whole idea is to find the commitment level. I have to believe what I’m doing is the right thing. That’s why I had to make sure this was the road I wanted to go.”

Yet it is Woods’ life away from the manicured world of the PGA Tour that remains clouded and uncertain. His divorce from wife Elin is completed. His tony new digs in south Florida, complete with three putting greens and a full-sized practice tee, are ready for the new bachelor. Yet Woods’ personal recovery remains, as it always has been, a mystery.

“I'm much more balanced and certainly have a more introspective look at myself and where I was and where I wanted to go and how I was raised,” he said in China.

“So trying to understand all of that and trying to become better as a person; I think everyone has at some point in time in their lives tried to do that. It's not an easy process. But it's a process in which once you come out the other side, you feel so much better.”

Dr. Phil would probably like what he’s hearing from the world No. 2, but the questions, many of which Nike’s marketing magicians put into James’ teleprompter, remain and very likely unanswered both publicly and privately.

Should I admit that I’ve made mistakes?

Should I tell you how much fun we had?

Should I really believe I ruined my legacy?

Should I just sell shoes?

Should I tell you I am not a role model?

Should I accept my role as a villain?

Maybe I should just disappear.

Or should we just clear the deck and start over?

Should I be who you want me to be?

What should I do?

We drove past the tree and fire hydrant recently, you know the ones adjacent the big house in Isleworth that became ground zero a year ago and marked the public unraveling of an intensely private man. Both are doing well – the fire hydrant new and the tree grounded. A year later, we’re still not sure about Woods.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.