As the World Turns

By Rex HoggardAugust 11, 2010, 4:54 am
2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Throughout a muggy morning on the Lake Michigan shore, Steve Williams dutifully held the non-business end of a golf club to Tiger Woods forehead during his swing, a drill to keep the world No. 1 from swaying off the golf ball.

Most, maybe even Woods himself, believe the real problem with Woods’ game rests within the 12-inches of gray matter behind the handle of Williams’ golf grip.

What CBS Sports analyst David Feherty called a head full of slamming doors is now public enemy No. 1 in a fitful comeback that has gone from promising to painful.

How did we end up with reverse osmosis? How did we go from a T-4 at the Masters to a T-78 at Firestone? Woods has always improved with reps, but the traffic has been moving in only one direction of late.

Simply put, there’s nothing wrong with Tiger Woods’ swing that some time on the “sharing couch” and a little clarity of thought couldn’t cure. He needs a session with Dr. Phil not a Sunday showdown with Phil Mickelson to wrest himself from the clutches of the worst season of his career.

On Tuesday before the prying eyes of the press, Woods, in his own subdued way, seemed to acknowledge as much.

“I really took solace in going out on to the golf course after my dad passed because it brought back so many great memories of us growing up,” Woods said. “(Now) every time I come out here it’s been a little bit more difficult.”

On Tuesday Woods talked about attaining balance in his life and finding his equilibrium, all of which looks good on a bumper sticker and in “self help” books but a spiritual journey is not exactly conducive to winning major championships and chasing history.

Woods took a positive, and surprisingly public, step at Whistling Straits on Tuesday, walking his front nine with swing coach Sean Foley and acknowledging the possibility that the two could work together.

Foley is not your off-the-shelf instructor, sprinkling in copious amounts of existential thought in among swing mechanics. He will not simply tell you to maintain three degrees of spine tilt through impact but will give you your motivation for doing so.

But Foley can only take the reclamation project so far.

In short, the answers Woods seeks can’t be found inside the ropes of high-profile golf. For the first time in a charmed life the game is no longer a refuge.

Last week at Firestone Sergio Garcia, who has gone through his own share of mental mash-‘em-up following his very public split with Greg Norman’s daughter, said he is going to take an extended break from golf following this week’s PGA Championship.

Make no mistake, Tiger Woods could use a similar health-and-happiness hiatus. Whatever negative short-term impact on golf an extended break would have would more than be recovered if Woods returns with some peace.

“Sometimes golf is a refuge,” said Dr. Gio Valiante, a sports psychologist whose list of current clients includes Sean O’Hair and Justin Rose. “But over time golf catches up to you. Tiger’s problems are many right now. He has a two-way miss going and I don’t mean mechanically.”

At Whistling Straits Woods repeated a familiar theme, saying things were beginning to feel like normal, and in many ways that seems true.

He played his practice round on Tuesday with O’Hair and Hunter Mahan like a man without a care in the world and even his press conference, which have become more contentious of late, had some rare moments of levity if not guarded optimism.

“I’ve seen him at Isleworth a little bit and he’s got his laugh back, it’s not forced. He’s having fun with people,” Valiante said.

Perhaps, but Woods slogged his way to a final-round 77 two days ago at Firestone with the look of a man hoisting more baggage around than an episode of “Jersey Shore.”

“It’s been a long year,” Woods sighed on Sunday in Ohio, and his appears to be getting longer following news late Tuesday that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin will make him a pick for this year’s squad if he doesn’t qualify.

Without question, America needs Woods in Wales. We just wonder if Woods needs the pressure and intensity that the biennial grudge match always delivers?

Foley will fix the swing. The Ryder Cup may even fix the slump. But only time and an emotional epiphany away from prying eyes will fix the man.

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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.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.