As the Golf World Turns


Tiger Woods
WOODS, PART I:  Tiger Woods returned home from a week-long stint at an Arizona rehabilitation center, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. The AP said he was in Arizona for marriage and family counseling with his wife, Elin. It is still not known when Woods will return to the PGA Tour; though, he has started practicing again, the story said.

Backspin The focus now shifts from Woods' personal life to his professional one – at least until he encounters an open media forum. That likely won't happen until he plays again, which begs the big question: When will he play again? The Masters Tournament is one month away. A week ago that didn't seem like a target, but now it's a definite possibility. If Woods has taught us one thing it's: never be surprised by anything he does [on or off the course].

Steve Williams and Tiger Woods
WOODS, PART II:  Jack Nicklaus said he believes Tiger Woods will play the Masters Tournament. Meanwhile, a return was made more imminent when Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, appeared on New Zealand's version of '60 Minutes.' In the interview Williams reiterated that he had no clue as to Woods' infidelities and was mad at his boss, but would stick by his side.

Backspin Whether you believe him or not, Williams is saying what he needs to in order to keep his job. Though it sounds like he's being critical of his employer, if he says he knew even the slightest detail he would be viewed as implicit and abiding. And he'd likely have to go. But Williams might have taken it a bit too far with the, 'I would have blown the whistle on him' rhetoric. Karen Silkwood wouldn't have blown the whistle on Tiger Woods.
John Daly
DALY, PART I: A Jacksonville, Fla., newspaper revealed John Daly's PGA Tour transgressions in a 456-page report obtained by court order. Daly's offenses over an 18-year period, through the fall of 2008, included: Being ordered to undergo counseling or alcohol rehabilitation seven times; being placed on probation six times; being cited for 'conduct unbecoming a professional' 11 times; being flagged for 'failure to give best effort' 21 times, and accruing over $100,000 in fines.

BackspinGetting a personnel file from the Tour is tougher than prying away a dead wildebeest from the jaws of a hyena. But when Daly lost a libel suit over a column he didn't like, the disciplinary file became evidence. Ironic, huh? As for the numbers, they are staggering, if not surprising. Still, Daly remains a popular figure in today's game because fans view him as Everyman. He's a regular guy, just like me and you. Isn't this how you would behave given Daly's talent and opportunities?

John Daly
DALY, PART II: John Daly responded Tuesday night to the revealing of his PGA Tour personnel file in FloridaTimes-Union writer Garry Smits' article by asking his Twitter followers to 'CALL & FLOOD his line & let’s tell him how WE feel.' Smits said he received nearly 100 calls by the following afternoon from Daly's angry fans. The Golf Writers Association of America has asked the PGA Tour to suspend Daly.

BackspinOf course, we wouldn't know if he did get suspended thanks to the Tour's hush-hush policy – a procedure which is disingenuous to its supporters. Fans don't need to know that Daly was ordered to go to some form of counseling or rehabilitation on seven occasions [that's personal], but they do have the right to know when a player is put on probation, fined for conduct unbecoming or flagged repeatedly for giving up [that's professional].

Camilo Villegas

Camilo Villegas earned his first PGA Tour win since the 2008 FedEx Cup playoffs with a dominating performance at the Honda Classic. Villegas played the Bear Trap [the final three holes at PGA National] in 3 under for the week, without a bogey. That helped lead the 28-year-old Colombian to a five-stroke triumph and his third career Tour title.

It's only March, but Villegas has been the most impressive player on Tour in 2010, with three top-10s in three starts. Meanwhile, Honda runner-up Anthony Kim ranks among the most disappointing players thus far this season. He closed in 78 to fall from T-8 to T-52 at Riviera. In Phoenix, he was one back after two rounds but shot 5-over 76 Saturday and finished T-24. And this past week, he was tied for the 36-hole lead with Villegas, but shot 3-over 73 to Villegas' 67 to fall six back, a deficit he couldn't overcome Sunday.
Sam Saunders

SAM I AM: Sam Saunders tied for 17th at the Honda Classic. The 22-year-old carded three consecutive rounds of 1-under-par 69 before finishing with a 3-over 73 to complete the event at even-par 280.

BackspinIf you don't know who Sam Saunders is, this blurb might feel as non-sequitor as Tiger Woods' PED comments a few weeks ago. But if you do know that he's Arnold Palmer's grandson, then it makes a little more sense. Saunders is accepting of the perks that come with his lineage – including sponsor's exemptions above players more qualified. But he also wants to make a name for himself. The best way to do that, is do what he did this week: take advantage of those offered opportunities.

Jack Nicklaus and Drew Brees

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees played in the Honda Classic pro-am alongside Jack Nicklaus, Dan Marino and Kenny G. ... Fred Couples earned his second Champions Tour victory of the season at the Toshiba Classic. ... Karrie Webb closed in a course-record 11-under 61 to win the Australian Ladies Masters by six shots. ... Ernie Els, whose last PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Honda Classic, tied for 67th ... Steve Pate won the Nationwide Tour's Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open. ... South Korean teenager Noh Seung-yul birdied the final hole to win the Malaysian Open.
Wonder how Marino feels when he has to spend time around people who have won Super Bowls? ... The Champions Tour couldn't have scripted a better start to 2010. ... It's her seventh Australian Ladies Masters title. ... Els shot 6-over 41 on the back nine Sunday, and had three double bogeys and one triple bogey for the week. ... The 48-year-old won a Tour-sanctioned event for the first time since 1998. ... The 18-year-old finished one shot clear of countryman K.J. Choi.