Woods Life Has Changed

By Rex HoggardAugust 9, 2010, 7:28 pm
2010 PGA ChampionshipOn Wednesday at Firestone Country Club, Tiger Woods, a man whose career has been defined by a flare for the dramatic, summed up a turbulent year with a grossly understated yet economically astute, “Life has changed.”

Woods was answering a question about his limited practice schedule this year, but the three words neatly wrapped up a life that has made the journey from Teflon to tormented in a single competitive calendar.

It was 12 months ago when the golf world was spinning upon a familiar axis. Woods, unstoppable at a major when pacing the field through 54 holes, was two clear of Padraig Harrington and someone named Y.E. Yang when the sun inched under the horizon at Hazeltine National. Eighteen holes, 75 strokes and 12 inexplicably eventful months later everything has changed.
Tiger Woods
The 2010 Woods seems to have lost his dominating edge. (Getty Images)
Shortly before last year’s PGA Championship, Paul Goydos was asked about Woods’ 54-hole record at majors, a perfect 14-for-14 when ahead but flawed to the extreme when trailing. “He’s never come from behind to win (a major)? Big deal, neither have I,” Goydos deadpanned at the time.

Since then, one of those two players has shot 59 in a PGA Tour event, the other is Woods.

Changing times, indeed.

Woods is still No. 1, at least on paper, but by any other measure the cup is wanting. Last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was Woods’ eighth start of 2010, the first time he’s been this deep into the calendar without a victory in more than a decade; he’s 85th in earnings, 119th in FedEx Cup points and his margin atop the world ranking has slipped to the point that not one but three players (Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker) can overtake him atop the pack when the dust and decimal points settle on Sunday in Kohler, Wis., site of this week’s PGA Championship.

Despite his tie for 78th at Firestone, his worst Tour finish as a pro, Woods remains optimistic about his game, if not his PGA title chances. And, at least in a historical context, that optimism is rooted in former performances almost as much as it is current form.

“I think I can turn it around,” he said Sunday before making his way to Whistling Straits. “I’m just going to be ready for Thursday.”

Of the 17 events Woods has played after the Open Championship since 2006 he’s won a dozen times and had four runner-ups. By comparison, in the 31 events he’s played before the U.S. Open since ’06 he has 10 victories and three runner-ups.

He may have made history at the Masters (1997) and U.S. Open (2000 and 2008), but from a competitive point of view the dog days seem to bring out the best in Woods.

Some of the Southern Cal native’s post-Open Championship success can be attributed to the summer heat, and the notion that whatever swing flaws Woods was dealing with had been sorted out via the reps of spring and early summer.

For Woods, however, it is the familiarity and fondness for many late-season ballparks like Firestone, where he’s won seven times, that give him his late-in-the-year boost.

“I love playing (Firestone). I believe that some of those wins were actually at (the Buick Open) as well, which I like that golf course, as well,” said Woods, who failed to finish in the top 4 at Firestone for the first time in 11 starts. “It was a lot to do with the venue. I think in my career I've played pretty good on certain venues.”

Although Whistling Straits, where Woods finished tied for 24th at the 2004 PGA Championship, may not have the same caché as Firestone, his four Wanamaker Trophies account for nearly 30 percent of his Grand Slam haul to date, compared to three victories apiece at the U.S. and British Opens.

All things considered, “Glory’s Last Shot” is still Goliath’s last, and best, chance to get off the schnide and salvage what has been a forgettable 2010.

If others have reached a point of panic Woods remains resolute, if not realistic given the turmoil in his life. Or perhaps Woods’ optimism is born from experience. In 2004 he failed to win a stroke-play event for the first time in his career and in 1998 he managed just a single “W.” Both droughts were followed by career years of six (2005) and eight (1999) victories.

“Just be patient, keep working, keep going,” Woods said last week. “I've been through periods like this before. And I just have to keep being patient, keep working, keep building, and keep putting the pieces together, and when they do come, when they do fall into place, that's usually when I will win a few tournaments.”

Whether those pieces fall into place in time to salvage the meanest of seasons this week in Wisconsin likely depends less on Woods’ wayward driving or balky putter, the most common culprits in the stalled comeback, and more on his life outside the ropes, an existence turned upside down by the events of Nov. 27.

Woods has, however reluctantly, acknowledged the impact his personal life has had on his game.

“It’s not only concentration, but it's also preparation and then also my preparation out here,” Woods said. “But things are starting to normalize, and that's been a good sign.”

CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, a man who has battled his share of off-course demons, said it best in a recent interview. “There’s nothing wrong with his swing. There’s nothing wrong with anything except the head full of slamming doors that you have when you go through a divorce – especially when there’s children involved.”

By almost every measure, 2010 has been a year of change for Woods, a man who savors the status quo even more than the familiarity of the Tour’s late-summer fairways. How quickly life returns to something close to the norm will ultimately decide how the endless summer is remembered.

Last Wednesday in a final moment of understated clarity, Woods seemed to realize how much has changed since last year’s PGA Championship. “It has been a long year,” he said.
Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.