Where does Woods go from here

By Rex HoggardDecember 3, 2009, 6:15 am
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Just the other side of the Isleworth ivy, secluded in a bubble of his own making Tiger Woods set the record straight on two fronts Wednesday.

In the wake of numerous published reports of alleged infidelity the world No. 1 relented in his own guarded way: “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”

And for the third consecutive public statement Woods stressed how important his privacy is to himself and his family. In fact, of the five paragraphs Woods penned on Wednesday, three fixated on the issue of privacy and the actions of the media the last few days.

When it came to Woods’ situation with the Florida Highway Patrol and his Friday morning run in with a shrub, a hedge, a fire hydrant and, finally, a neighbor’s tree, there was a compelling public interest, just as there was two years ago when Arjun Atwal was in the wrong place at the wrong time on a central Florida road not far from Isleworth.

Whatever domestic issues Woods and his wife may or may not be having, however, are like Vegas – what happens at One Woods Place stays at One Woods Place. There is no unwritten right to all the juicy details of an athlete’s private life regardless of how zealously the entertainment press pursues or the public craves.
Yet, the questions remain: Where does Woods go from here? What is the best way to move on?

There is precedent for Woods’ crisis management conundrum, call it the mea culpa cameo. You know the drill, superstar gets sideways with the law or the wife or the league, takes his public relations lumps and next thing you know he’s on a couch next to Oprah spilling the goods and asking for forgiveness.

Kobe Bryant – who was charged with a crime, a far more appalling act than anything being lobbed at Woods’ reputation – did it, moved on and won his NBA Championship sans Shaq. Alex Rodriguez – who not only violated baseball’s doping rules but lied about it until he couldn’t lie about it anymore – did it and is now treated like he hung the moon in the Bronx.

Lost in all the “expert” crisis management chatter is the simple truth that contrition and winning are the ultimate tonics to what ails an image. Woods may want to remain behind the central Florida ivy and let his 316-word final word stand. He may want to cling to the ideal of privacy, but that yacht has sailed.

“His image will take a little hit,” said Steve Stricker, who spent more time paired with or against Woods this year than any other Tour player. “I’d like to see him come on TV and pour it out a little bit  ...  I’m on that line, that fence. Do we really need to know? That’s the bottom line.”

Do we need to know? Of course not. Will a well-executed and timely televised apology – combined with a rousing victory at, say, Torrey Pines next January – help smooth the transition out of crisis mode? Of course it will.

Some have criticized Camp Tiger since “Black Friday,” saying they didn’t move quick enough to gain the public relations higher ground. Those people don’t know Woods, who has won 14 major championships and 71 Tour titles doing things his way.

Rocky Hambric knows the feeling. Hambric, president of Hambric Sports Management, found himself in a similar situation at this year’s British Open when one of clients, Sandy Lyle, became embroiled in a very public spat with Colin Montgomerie.

“I took heat at the Open Championship for Sandy, there’s nothing you can do,” Hambric said. “The (Daily Mail) writer knew nothing about me or what I advised Sandy to do and still criticized my actions. Same as American writers don’t know anything about Tiger’s situation and keep criticizing Mark (Steinberg, Woods’ manager with IMG). In our situation you have to do the best you can within what the client wants you to do.”
So far it remains clear Woods wants to keep an in-house matter in-house, regardless of what a room full of well-meaning experts tell him. That’s worked for a decade through a series of minor scrapes with controversy, but this is different.

This is K2 to the mole hill that was Fuzzy Zoeller, a Sunday power walk to that triathlon that was that controversial GQ article. But with time, and a cameo on Oprah’s couch to expedite the process, he will recover. Just ask Kobe and A-Rod.

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.