Tiger's latest transgression differs from 2009

By Rex HoggardMay 30, 2017, 10:56 pm

JUPITER, Fla. – This doesn’t look good. It never did.

To be clear, according to the documents and evidence that was released to the public on Tuesday from the Jupiter Police Department, it appears Tiger Woods climbed behind the wheel of his 2015 Mercedes-Benz and drove when he shouldn’t have.

According to the arrest report, Woods was found in his car with the engine running on a road at around 2 a.m. on Monday. He was sleeping, his speech “slow, sluggish, very slurred” and when officers asked the 14-time major champion where he was coming from he said “L.A.,” and that he was going to “Orange County.” Whether he meant the OC in California or Central Florida remains unclear. What is clear, officers found Woods in his car in the southbound lane on Military Trail, which would be heading away from his home in Hobe Sound, Fla.

In an arrest photo that’s now threatened to break the internet, Woods looks tired and confused. In his defense, there’s never been a “good” arrest photo taken at 4 a.m.

Monday wasn’t a good day for Woods, but it could have been worse. It’s been worse.

As the news, which with Woods is normally a highly regulated trickle, began to rush from the Jupiter Police Department a strange picture emerged.

There were the initial revelations of Woods handcuffed and mumbling responses to questions from police officers to go along with that arrest photo. But along the way Woods seemed to break from his normal game plan of reclusive silence and embrace the strangest of concepts – the truth.

Only time and an ongoing police investigation will tell if Woods’ version of the events on Monday dovetail with reality, but the mountain of evidence released on Tuesday suggests that Woods made a mistake – a terrible mistake, but a mistake, nonetheless. And not only did he do so, but in a complete break from the norm it appears he has owned that miscue, no excuses, no qualifiers, no subterfuge.

“I understand the severity of what I did and take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said in a statement. “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Whatever the cocktail of medication Woods was taking – he mentioned using Vicodin to officers but it’s unclear if he’d actually used the medication on Monday – his claim that he hadn’t been drinking alcohol was confirmed by a breathalyzer test. The results of a urine test won’t be in for a few days but given the fact that he had his fourth back surgery in April it’s worth giving him the benefit of the doubt.

In 2009, Woods’ world crumbled when he smashed his car into a fire hydrant after a domestic squabble with his then-wife Elin Nordegren. Months of speculation followed while Woods remained in seclusion. When he did speak it was in front of a select audience in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and he read from a carefully crafted statement.

The void his silence caused was filled by speculation and innuendo. His desire for privacy, although understandable, gave the story a life of its own. Whatever happened Thanksgiving night in ’09 was very personal to a very public figure, but instead of owing his misgivings, Woods went with stoic silence bordering on self-righteous indignation.

Having covered extensively that dark episode in golf, the juxtaposition between Woods’ actions in ’09 compared with this week is stark.

There are still plenty of questions to be answered. On Wednesday, police plan to release the dash cam footage from Woods’ arrest, a reality TV moment that almost never works out well for the accused.

But in the detailed reports released by police on Tuesday, officers pointed out that Woods was “cooperative” and answered most of the officers’ questions.

He was asked if he had been drinking alcohol. No. If he had been taking illegal drugs. No. If he was on any medication. Well, that part of the report is redacted, but as Woods’ own statement suggests that seems to be the likely culprit.

Make no mistake, Woods should not have been driving. He could have hurt or killed innocent people. He could have hurt or killed himself. There will likely be a price to pay, a suspension of his driver’s license, a fine, community service, whatever authorities deem appropriate.

But by all early accounts this seems to have been a mistake, honest or otherwise, an unfortunate episode of self-medicating that should not be ignored or dismissed, but a mistake nonetheless that Woods has thoroughly owned.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.