Boring Us with Greatness

By Rich LernerApril 15, 2002, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Boring. Thats what it was. Lets not kid ourselves. Masters Sunday was like so many Super Bowls, hyped to the heavens and by the third quarter youre flipping back and forth between the game and 'Blind Date.'
 
How in the world did it fall apart?
 
Players talked about pin placements. But pin placements had nothing to do with Vijay rinsing a pair of balls at 15, and nothing do with Ernie dropping eight on the board at 13. Maybe Ernie tapped into the heart of the matter when he admitted that he got greedy off the tee at 13. Tiger Woods takes guys out of their games. They know hes not giving a thing away, so consequently they step on the accelerator and end up crashing into a tree.
 
For his part, Woods simply doesnt miss four- and five-footers that matter. He consistently targets the right quadrant on the greens. He eases into a tournament and then applies heat by the weekend. Ultimately, Woods squeezes the life out of the field.
 
His mastery of Augusta National continues. Of 24 rounds hes played, hes been at par or better 22 times, including 10 straight. His scoring average is 69.83.
 
The longer golf course in the end, as many thought it might, limited the number of potential winners to mostly big hitters. Nick Price ripped the changes, arguing that a shotmaker like Gary Player could never have won on this course. Who knows? The true measure of the changes to Augusta National will come when conditions are firm and fast. In any event, Woods is more than just a long hitter. Hes a shotmaker, a thinker, an artist around the greens and an unrivaled grinder.
 
There had been some talk that the gap between Woods and the rest of the best was closing, but the only gap thats narrowing is the one between Tiger and Jack Nicklaus. Tigers now played 21 majors as a professional and has won seven. Through 21 tries, Jack had won six. Tigers finished in the top three on nine occasions, compared to 13 for Jack. Both legends posted 13 top-10s through their first 21 majors. Whats more, Tigers now deadlocked in the professional major department with a few names you might recognize: Vardon, Jones, Sarazen, Snead and Palmer. And hes just 26. Thats a daunting prospect for Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, David Duval and countless others. Majors will be hard to come by.
 
Sunday, the best in the game were bunched up, and Woods made a statement. Theres only one. His mother, Tida, told me earlier in the week that Tiger felt he hadnt garnered all the respect he may have been due as people debated whether hed achieved the Slam or not. She said he might just go make it a moot point by winning them all in 2002.
 
Unless some of Tigers challengers step forward, it could be a predictable - and dare I say boring - march to more history.
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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.


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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”


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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.


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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.