Comparisons to 2000 Season Linger for Tiger

By Associated PressDecember 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Target World Challenge pres. by CountrywideTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- No matter how often he won, by however many shots, no matter how wide the gap grew between Tiger Woods and the rest of the world, he could never escape comparisons to 2000.
 
Some thought such a year could never be matched.
 
Woods won the last three majors, including record-setting wins at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, to complete the career Grand Slam at age 24. He won nine times and was in the top five at 17 of his 20 tournaments. He set or tied 27 records on the PGA Tour.
 
By the numbers, it still stands as his greatest season.
 
As player, most of his peers believe Woods has become even better.
 
'The reason people still talk about 2000 is because he won the U.S. Open by 15 and the British Open by eight,' caddie Steve Williams said. 'Those are the two biggest tournaments, and he won by 23 shots. So the public's perception of his year is based on two weeks. That will stand in our memories forever. That's why we're still talking about it.'
 
And now?
 
'No doubt, this is the best he's ever played,' Williams said. 'He's in more control of his shots. I wouldn't even compare the years because they're so vastly different -- different in the way he plays, the way he manages his game, his course strategy. He's more equipped now.'
 
Woods, ending a 10-week break this week at the Target World Challenge, only talks about 2000 in context.
 
He collected his ninth PGA Tour player of the year award on Tuesday after winning seven times, including his 13th career major. The numbers were slightly down from the year before, even though Woods looked to be more in control of his game.
 
He thought he had a better year, but when drawing comparisons, he focused on the ones that got away.
 
Woods finished two shots behind at the Masters, haunted by bogey-bogey finishes in the first and third rounds. He wound up one shot behind at the U.S. Open, and still talks about a third round in which he hit 17 greens at Oakmont and could only squeeze a 69 out of it.
 
Then there was the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, where he had five three-putts and took nine more putts than Phil Mickelson in the final round alone, and finished two shots behind.
 
'I was just a few shots away from doing what I did in 2000,' he said. 'If I get those done, people would probably be comparing it to 2000, if not better.'
 
It goes beyond 2007.
 
Two years ago, Woods won the Masters and British Open, was second at the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the PGA Championship, finishing a combined four shots out of the lead in the two he didn't win.
 
'I've been pretty close the last few years of eclipsing what I did in 2000,' he said.
 
For those around him, they see far more control -- the flight of his ball, the management of his game, and his life.
 
It has taken Woods close to a year to get over the death of his father in May 2006, and even now he talks about feelings of guilt about not spending as much time with Earl Woods.
 
'You always feel this sense of you didn't really capture each and every day with him,' Woods said.
 
His daughter, Sam, was born the day after the U.S. Open. His wife and daughter made a surprise visit to Southern Hills on the final day, when Woods captured his 13th career major at the PGA Championship. For those who wondered how fatherhood would change him as the most cut-throat player in golf, Woods smiled.
 
'I think the end of the year probably demonstrated that pretty good,' he said, referring to victories in four of his last five events.
 
Even more daunting is the comfort he feels on the golf course.
 
For swing coach Hank Haney, the pivotal moment came Saturday morning at Oakmont on the first tee, a hole that looked extremely tight to Woods. He had planned to hit iron, but a shift in wind demanded driver, and Woods piped it.
 
That was a sign of confidence that has only grown.
 
'The best thing that Tiger does is he makes an honest assessment where he is,' Haney said Wednesday. 'He can take a step back and make an honest assessment of how to get better. And it's always accurate.'
 
So how much better can he get?
 
Woods is winning at nearly a 50 percent clip, an astounding rate in this era. He has won 15 times in 31 starts on the PGA Tour the last two years, and he has won as many times worldwide as the next five players behind him in the world ranking combined.
 
He stopped going to the practice range after a round at the British Open, mentally rehearsing his swing and learning to trust it.
 
'This is just the tip of the iceberg of where he can be mentally and confidence-wise with his swing,' Haney said. 'You're just starting to see it. We've seen it in practice, and now you start to see it on the golf course. It's a slow progression.'
 
About the only thing missing is the spectacular shot. His father once said that Woods always hits at least one shot that fans will talk about for years. Now, it's the subtle appreciation of flawless execution.
 
His 2000 season was best remembered for the 6-iron he hit out of the bunker, over the water and right at the pin to win the Canadian Open, and the 7-iron he gouged out of the rough to reach the par-5 sixth green at Pebble Beach.
 
Two years ago, it was his U-turn chip-in at the Masters. Last year, it was the 4-iron he holed from the fairway at Hoylake.
 
Was there one memorable shot this year?
 
Not really, except for the 15-foot putt that lipped out and denied him a 62 in a major, or breaking his 4-iron against the tree on the 11th hole at the Masters.
 
Meanwhile, the gap is no different than it was in 2000, if not greater.
 
'The chasing pack is getting better,' Colin Montgomerie said. 'But the problem is, so is he. I always feels his best time was in 2000, and I think we're getting back to that level again. I think he's almost a better putter. But as a swing, he's very close. Very close.'
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Target World Challenge
  • Getty Images

    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.