Woods optimistic about upcoming season

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2012, 12:23 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – “I started from the green back.”

That’s the way it works when you’re rebuilding, from the green back, from the ground up, from this point forward.

Tiger Woods was talking about his seven-week off-season and how he prepared for 2012 and this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship – two weeks on hiatus and then onward and upward. From the green back.

For those who take the long view, Woods’ assessment is part metaphor, part method. From the competitive and emotional depths of 2010 Woods has rebuilt, some may even say reinvented, seemingly every part of the product.

In order, Woods has rebuilt with a new swing coach (Sean Foley), a new caddie (Joe LaCava), a new home (South Florida) and, finally, a new start (Abu Dhabi).

Critics will say it was a fat appearance fee that lured Woods to this Middle Eastern playground. Perhaps but even in a down economy there is something to be said for the cathartic benefits of a fresh start.

“My first time in Abu Dhabi,” Woods smiled on Tuesday. “I hear nothing but positive things of the golf course.”

The same could not be said of Woods’ first news conference of 2012. The 30-minute Q&A was dotted with six questions regarding Hank Haney’s new book “The Big Miss,” which is due out the week before the Masters.

Woods reiterated his disappointment in what he views as a violation of trust, although it must be pointed out that Haney seems to be one of the few members of Team Tiger that was never asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and, in a telling exchange, offered a rare glimpse into how stardom complicates relationships.

Woods was asked if it was difficult, given his comments about Haney’s book and his unsavory split with caddie Steve Williams, to trust people who are close to him. “One might say that,” Woods allowed.

One might also say that despite the distractions, or maybe because of them, Woods begins his 16th year as a professional with more optimism than he has exhibited in some time, the byproduct of improved health and a better understanding of what Foley wants him to do.

It’s also the first time in two seasons he has a bit of history on his side following his victory at the Chevron World Challenge in December and solid showings at the Australian Open and Presidents Cup.

“I missed most of the year (2011), and to finally be able to get ready for a tournament properly and to do the type of lifting that I think I need to do to be ready, I was finally able to do that and my game came around,” Woods said.

Left unsaid was a competitive psyche that also reset in a familiar way at Sherwood Country Club. Before the Chevron some wondered if Woods needed to learn how to win again. Birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to clip Zach Johnson by a stroke proved it was still familiar curriculum despite a two-year victory drought.

“I know how to get it done,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I’ve been there before and it shouldn’t feel any different. They asked the same question of Jack (Nicklaus) in ’86 (at the Masters). Did if feel any different out there? It didn’t.”

Maybe the most telling sign of how far Woods has come will arrive on Thursday when he tees off with world No. 1 Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi. Last year at the Dubai Desert Classic, Woods’ one-dimensional swing was blown off course by a fierce Sunday storm, he signed for a 75 and tied for 20th.

“I got exposed again because the wind was right to left and I couldn't cut the golf ball into it,” Woods said in December.

Just past noon on Tuesday Woods carved a drive into a similar right-to-left gale and smiled faintly as his golf ball bounded safely along the first fairway.

From the green back, from the bottom up, from this point forward, that’s how Woods began his climb back from the abyss that was 2010 and why it’s taken longer than many thought it would to turn the tide. And why he’s starting to sound like a man who knows where he and his golf ball are going.

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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.

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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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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