Woods Continues Without Swing Coach

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Tiger Woods no longer has a swing coach.
 
Woods cut back on his time with Butch Harmon at the 2002 PGA Championship, but he made it clear at the start of the year that the relationship is severed.
 
And there doesn't appear to be a replacement in the works.
 
'I haven't reached a point where I really need a pair of eyes - when I'm struggling that badly, where I need some help,' Woods said. 'I'm sure there will be a point in my career. Hopefully, I can figure it out between now and then.'
 
Woods said he can fix what's wrong through videotape or by watching his ball flight.
 
'Over the years, from working on my golf swing, you start to learn what causes what,' Woods said. 'For me, a lot of it starts with setup. Once I get the setup right, it's usually the takeaway. You take it step-by-step.
 
'A lot of my faults start right at address. If I get my address position correct, everything postured right, then the swing will happen naturally.'
 
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MAJOR TICKETS: The Masters is still the best bargain in golf - at least in this country.
 
Augusta National increased its weekly badge (four tournament rounds) to $175, up from $125. Monday and Tuesday practice rounds went up $10 to $31, while the Wednesday practice round (and Par 3 Contest) went up $10 to $36.
 
It was only the second price increase in 10 years.
 
Augusta National spokesman Glenn Greenspan said the 40 percent increase is not related to the Masters dropping its television sponsors because of the debate over its all-male membership.
 
He said it was 'normal business policy,' although there were six-year intervals between the last two increases. Tickets went from $90 in 1989 to $100 in 1995, and to $125 in 2001.
 
The cheapest ticket among majors is the British Open.
 
It is offering a season pass - four days of practice rounds, four days of competition - for $200 if purchased before Jan. 31. That's almost half the cost of tickets bought each day at the gate.
 
Weekly tickets for the U.S. Open are $350, while the PGA Championship charges $375.
 
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BRAVE BIRDIES: Phil Mickelson has more reason to go low this year.
 
The Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Fund is starting a program called 'Birdies for the Brave,' in which he will donate $100 for every birdie and $500 for every eagle he makes to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
 
The foundation pays college tuition for children of Special Operations personnel killed in missions.
 
'This is our way of helping families in need stay together and grow strong even after the loss of a parent,' said Mickelson, whose father was a Navy fighter pilot.
 
Mickelson, who makes his PGA Tour debut this week in the Bob Hope Classic, made 323 birdies and nine eagles last year, his worst season on tour. He has averaged a birdie or an eagle every four holes over the last five years.
 
'I hope it gets pricey,' Mickelson said. 'That'll mean I'm playing well and the Warrior Foundation will see a major benefit.'
 
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TIGER'S SCHEDULE: Tiger Woods usually doesn't announce in advance which tournaments he is playing, although his Web site offered some clues.
 
Woods plans to play in the Dubai Desert Classic the first week of March, meaning he will not play at Doral. Woods skipped Dubai last year because of uncertainty in the Middle East.
 
He also has the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japanese tour on his list, which is Nov. 18-21. Woods played the Dunlop Phoenix two years ago and finished eighth.
 
The Japanese event is the same week as the World Cup. Woods has not played in the World Cup since a change in criteria in 2002 kept him from choosing his own partner.
 
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DIVOTS: Bob Verdi, a longtime columnist for the Chicago Tribune who now works for Golf World and Golf Digest magazines, has won the 2004 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. ... The MCI Heritage has raised its purse by $300,000 to $4.8 million. ... Players at La Quinta CC during the Bob Hope Classic won't be able to hit anything but irons on the practice range because of the relatively short length of the range and newly constructed houses just beyond it. Anyone wanting to hit driver will have to go to the range at nearby PGA West.
 
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STAT OF THE WEEK: Annika Sorenstam's longest drive at Colonial was 283 yards. Michelle Wie hit 10 drives longer than 283 yards at the Sony Open.
 
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FINAL WORD: 'The kind of money we were going to play for, I didn't want to put her dad under that kind of pressure.' - Ernie Els, asked whether he and Michelle Wie played a money match during their practice round.
 
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