Tiger Says A Lot Without Saying Much

By Rex HoggardJuly 13, 2010, 4:45 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – It is a measure of our society that the third, or maybe fourth, most interesting question asked of Tiger Woods during his 30-minute to-and-fro with the Open Championship press was his decision to switch front-line putters for the first time in more than a decade.

Such is life for the world No. 1 in the post-Nov. 27 landscape, particularly when the turf is hard and fast and the air thick and cool. St. Andrews was the international press corps first crack at Woods since revelations of his serial infidelity turned his life, and the golf world, into a made-for-tabloid feeding frenzy.

tiger woods st andrews news conf
Tiger Woods' news conference Tuesday at St. Andrews was his first in front of the international media. (Getty Images)
On Monday former Open champion Tony Jacklin said, “Tiger won’t get such an easy ride here.” He was talking about the galleries that promise to ring the wispy Old Course this week, but he may as well have been referring to the U.K. press.

The St. Andrews media centre . . . eh, center, was packed 20 minutes before Woods arrived and had a similar feel to his first Q&A earlier this year at Augusta National, but with teeth. It was a rare vision of an embattled wolf being led to a mob of lambs.

For half an hour a life that has endured more humps and bumps than can be found on the adjacent Himalayas putting course was probed to a degree never before seen. At least not publically. Turns out, Woods could have saved a lot of money on therapy and just let the European press dissect his vices.

Among the volleys tossed by our cousins across the pond were questions regarding Woods’ sometimes explosive behavior on the golf course and whether his attempts to tone down has acts of anger have been successful.

“I’m trying to think I’m a better player and a better person,” Woods said.

He was also asked whether a victory this week, which would improve him to 3-for-3 as a professional in the shadow of the Auld Gray Toon, would help him along his “road to redemption?”

“I would like to win no matter what,” he said. “Winning here is one of the highlights of my career because it is the home of golf.”

In between the sordid action Woods acknowledged he was switching to a new Nike putter, the first time he’s traded “gamers” since the 1999 Byron Nelson Championship, in an attempt to adjust to what he called unusually slow greens at St. Andrews. It’s little surprise he also added a 2-iron to his bag this week, and talked about his comfort and familiarity with the Old Course.

Not that the U.K. press had any interest in golf clubs or golf.

In order, Woods was asked about his Dubai golf course project, which was put on hold when the global economy turned sour, and how his image reclamation project was going. “I don’t know,” said Woods to start a string of terse answers to rather pointed questions.

-On recent reports that he and his wife, Elin, had filed for divorce Woods offered a familiar response, “I’m not going to go into that.”

-Regarding his meeting with federal authorities earlier this month about the ongoing investigation of Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea, who has been charged with distributing HGH, Woods declined to comment. “It’s an open case,” he said.

-And whether he will ever seek out another swing coach following his split with Hank Haney, “I’m never going to rule it out.”

In essence, the Q&A may have been the worst storm Woods has faced at the storied Old Course in his last eight rounds, and it was neither unexpected nor unbearable.

If there has been any outwardly visible signs of progress Woods has made it is his willingness to suffer the slings and arrows of a suddenly less-than-kind media. He may not always handle pointed questions with the same deft touch he used to have on the game’s putting surfaces, but if body language is any indication he has at least resigned himself to a post-Nov. 27 existence.

Fittingly, it was neither the media grilling nor his surprising putter switch that was the most notable point Woods made. Of the 34 questions that were asked of Woods, at least three of his answers fixated on his relationship with his two children.

“I have two beautiful kids and I’m trying to be the best dad I can possibly be, and that’s the most important thing of all,” said Woods, who flew home following last week’s two-day J.P. McManus pro-am in Ireland to spend time with his children.

It was sentimentality, not SkyMiles, that prompted Woods to crisscross the Atlantic on the eve of arguably the most important championship of the year and, by his own admission, away from the practice tee. And whether he did it to help his public image or because he’s reached a private epiphany really doesn’t matter. In this case it is the effect, not the cause, that is important.

No, Woods really didn’t say much on Tuesday. But what he did offer was worth listening to.


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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.

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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.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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