Waiting on Woods

By Rex HoggardMay 1, 2012, 9:58 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a lonely press center, just past the lunch hour here in this cozy corner of Dixie, the truth arrives like a blast of early summer humidity.

Framed by empty lawn chairs, the vacant podium and silent microphone speak volumes. There was no reference to the “process” this random Tuesday afternoon. No talk of “reps” and proper “traj.” No reminders to the AWOL members of the press corps that the work with “Sean,” the endless hours in pursuit of perfection, was ongoing.

No Tiger Woods.

No questions asked, none answered and maybe that’s for the best. After 16 odd years, maybe there was no new ground to cover, not for the scribes or the subject.

After 14 majors, 72 PGA Tour victories and 2 ½ of the most turbulent years the sport has ever witnessed, the banal fallback, “So, how ya feeling?” just wouldn’t do. So this week Woods called an audible, bypassed the standard media Q&A and took his message to the people, or at least the people on Twitter and Facebook.

To be fair, there never was a social contract.

There is no bylaw that requires players participate in pre-tournament news conferences, although considering how long Woods toed the line, one would have thought that the Tour suits had Red Shirt on a lifetime retainer.

More so than any other golfer, Woods has endured far more than his share of media slings and arrows over the years. He wasn’t always entirely forthcoming, and it’s not a stretch to suggest that his oft-frosty relationship with the press was economically motivated.

But on this, Woods’ record is clear. Dating back to the 1996 U.S. Open, there are 1,076 transcripts of Woods' Q&As, and that’s not counting the endless television, radio and undocumented print interviews.

But still, he did it, over and over again. At least until this strangely steamy Tuesday.

Not that Woods’ track record made his absence any less eerie.

There were no gems like this one from 2010, the last time he played the Wells Fargo Championship, when he was asked about his wayward driving:

“The right is caused by hitting it left,” he smiled. “This morning I was warming up, I was hitting it left, and on the golf course, I hit it right. So there you have it.”

Or this from the same year when he was asked if he would name who recommended he see Dr. Anthony Galea, who was under federal investigation for illegally prescribing performance-enhancing drugs.

“No,” he said flatly.

OK, so Woods never really said much. In fact, some contend no one is better at saying nothing at all. After some 1,076 Q&As and counting, some would call that a necessity. Some would even go so far as to consider it a defense mechanism.

But surrounded by empty lawn chairs and an unused microphone, the silence was deafening. That 14-minute social media experiment was nice, but for those conditioned to weekly clichés, Monday’s video begot silent Tuesday, which did little to fill the gaps.

What does he make of the criticism leveled against him for his club-kicking incident at last month’s Masters?

Does he agree with swing coach Sean Foley’s assessment that the “tearing down” of Tiger Woods must stop?

How’s the left leg? Knee OK? Achilles?

What does he make of the Tour’s plan to go to a fiscal-year calendar?

Who would he have taken first in last week’s NFL draft?

But the microphone offered fewer answers than normal.

Perhaps this is the new normal, a transformed reality for a player that has won once since the 2009 BMW Championship. There are 15 2012 Tour winners in this week’s field, and just four were called to the press center for pre-tournament meet-and-greets at Quail Hollow.

It’s worth noting that no one was clamoring for Justin Rose, who won the last World Golf Championship. No one spent the day pining for Kyle Stanley, whose bounce back victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was nothing short of storybook.

To hold Woods to a higher standard at this juncture, is simply not fair. We can always expect more from Woods, but that doesn’t mean he has to comply.

Maybe Foley was right when he figured last month on Sirius/XM Radio that Woods deserves a break. But that didn’t make Tuesday’s empty interview room any less lonely.

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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 halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

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.


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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


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Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

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Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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