Masters cant come soon enough for Woods

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2011, 3:05 am

The interview room was packed, with green-jacketed Augusta National members lining the back wall to make sure journalists didn’t get too unruly. Tiger Woods was on his way in, finally ready to answer some of the questions about the mystery that surrounded his life.

None of us in the room that day last April expected to learn much, and Woods was true to form. He talked vaguely about becoming a better man, danced around questions about his personal life and offered little about the state of his game.

Even the bizarre commercial Nike ran a few days later with his late father presumably speaking to him from above drew just a soulful gaze from an otherwise silent Woods.

“I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything?” Dad asked.

A year later we’re still trying to figure that out. Woods remains as much of an enigma today as he was in the room that day at Augusta National, preparing for his return to golf while still grappling with the issues that would eventually make him a divorced man.

There are reports he has a new girlfriend, which stirred up some excitement recently among the tabloids. But as another Masters looms the talk about his personal life has largely faded.

Now we just want to know about his game.

It was on display Saturday in Florida, where Woods entered the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with thoughts of contending after a posting a nifty 68 the day before on a tough golf course.

“We’re trying to build toward the first major, and that’s kind of how my game is,” he said after the round. “It’s building, and it’s coming.”

Hopeful words, though nothing we haven’t heard before. Woods has been talking about his game coming around for months now, even as his winless streak stretches into a second year.

Then he plays like he did on Saturday, and you wonder if he’ll ever win another green jacket again.

Two balls in the water on the back nine. Chunked chips from perfect lies. Misses on short putts, the kind he never missed before.

It all added up to a fat 74 that once again left Woods no chance of winning in his final tuneup before the Masters. On a course he once dominated, Woods struggled to hold his place as Bubba Watson and some of the game’s rising stars took dead aim at the flags.

The Masters is less than two weeks away. And Woods still looks lost.

Just what is wrong with his game has been debated in press rooms and bars from the coast of California to the swamps of Florida. Trying to figure it out is about as easy as trying to figure Woods out, and that’s a task a lot of amateur psychologists have failed at.

He has a good round, then follows it with a stinker. He hits shots like the Woods of old used to hit, then follows them with clunkers.

There’s no real pattern to it, which makes it even more perplexing. Woods himself seems baffled by it all, as if it’s happening to someone else.

He should be dreading the drive down Magnolia Lane to one of the parking spots reserved for former champions. In a strange way, though, Augusta National might just be the perfect place to turn it all around. 

He picked it for his coming out party last year and was in contention all week, despite a balky swing. Every round was under par, and his tie for fourth place gave no indication of the struggles that were yet to come.

He knows every blade of grass and every shot he’ll have to play. If he was able perform like he did last year with the circus that surrounded him, he should be able to put some scores on the board this year.

“There are certain golf courses where I feel pretty good and comfortable no matter how my form is going into it, and Augusta is one of them,” Woods said. “Over the years I’ve won there a few times, but the majority of my finishes have been pretty high. Golf course fits my game.”

If Woods was upset after his round Saturday, he didn’t show it. He was patient with the press, then went and signed autographs for about five minutes.

That’s something the Tiger of old wouldn’t have done and proof he’s at least trying to live up to his vow of being more respectful to both the game and its fans. He’s still a work in progress but seems more comfortable in his occasional interactions with fans.

The new swing is coming around, too. There are more good shots than bad, and now it’s just a matter of putting them together more consistently.

Sooner or later, though, he needs to win to get his swagger back.

For Woods, the Masters couldn’t come at a better time.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below:

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Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”

Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath.