A Summer of Speculation Over Woods

By Associated PressJune 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger answered his phone during the final round of a U.S. Open that attracted more prime-time viewers than the NBA finals. He was among them, camped in front of his TV.
 
Im watching my show pony, he said, referring to longtime friend Rocco Mediate.
 
Asked what he thought about his Secretariat, there was a slight pause.
 
Im a little worried for him, Azinger said while watching Tiger Woods flinch, grimace, limp and hit a careers worth of clutch shots at Torrey Pines. Not for the Ryder Cup. I just hope hes not doing anything to create a long-term issue for himself. Thats my concern.
 
Woods seems to have everyone worried.
 
The countdown toward Jack Nicklaus benchmark of 18 professional majors began in earnest three years ago when Woods won the Masters in a playoff and reached the halfway point with his ninth Grand Slam title.
 
But when he picked up No. 14 with a playoff victory Monday at the U.S. Open, looking into his future was like summer in San Diego. It can be so foggy you cant see the Pacific from the bluffs, or clear enough to see across the ocean to La Jolla Cove.
 
I think I need to shut it down for a little bit, Woods said. I pushed it pretty hard this week, and I just want to enjoy it. And were going to reevaluate after this event and see what happens.
 
What does that mean? How bad is his knee? How severe was the pain?
 
Only Woods knows, and hes more tightlipped with an injury report than Bill Belichick.
 
The Buick Open next week is most certainly out, and probably his own AT&T National at Congressional the week after. Even the British Open at Royal Birkdale, where Woods missed out on a playoff by one shot in 1998, is up in the air.
 
Woods is expected to expand on his immediate future later this week.
 
In the meantime, this surely will be a summer of speculation.
 
Perhaps it was only fitting that Woods cradled his daughter in his arms before handing Sam Alexis, who turns 1 on Wednesday, over to his wife. As he was piling up majors at a staggering rate, conventional wisdom said that only three things could keep Woods from breaking Nicklaus major record'marriage, children or injury.
 
He handled the first two just fine. But he has had three surgeries on his left knee, two in the last five years.
 
Weve got to get this fixed, one member of his camp said quietly.
 
After going 91 holes to win at Torrey Pines, someone brought up Ben Hogans victory in the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion, which came 16 months after a near-fatal car accident. As injuries ago, there is no comparison.
 
Geez, he was in the hospital and he didnt know if he was ever going to walk again, Woods said.
 
But there is a worthy comparison in their schedules.
 
Hogan never played more than nine times a season for the rest of his career. He won three of the four events he played in 1951, including the U.S. Open and the Masters. He won all three majors he played among eight tournaments in 1953.
 
This was the second time Woods returned from a two-month layoff due to knee surgery and won at Torrey Pines. The other was the 2003 Buick Invitational, and swing coach Hank Haney spoke of a huge difference that had little do with firm greens and thick rough.
 
With Woods, everything comes down to preparation.
 
Hes done this before'laying off'but he didnt do it without preparing, Haney said. Thats what made me apprehensive. Thats why this is the greatest win hes ever had.
 
Woods had not played a full round since the Masters until eight days before the start of the U.S. Open, and that was in a cart. Then came more cart golf in Newport Beach, followed by nine holes of walking on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. He didnt walk 18 holes until the first round at Torrey Pines.
 
As far as practice time, Haney said Woods never tested himself on anything but an even lie. Haney was asked if Woods might follow that routine before going to Royal Birkdale, if he plays.
 
Hopefully not, Haney said, breaking into a thin smile. But he proved he could do this, too.
 
Woods has played only seven times through the U.S. Open, the most abbreviated schedule of his career. That he already has won five times worldwide and leads Phil Mickelson by nearly $2 million on the PGA TOUR money list illustrates how wide the chasm is between No. 1 and everyone else. This is the 500th week that Woods has been atop the world ranking, and his 14 majors are one more than the rest of the top 20 combined.
 
But where does he go from here? And when?
 
Unless his knee heals quickly'or he finds the doctor that helped Paul Pierce climb out of a wheelchair in two minutes'Woods might have to decide between two cups at the end of the season.
 
Ryder Cup or FedExCup?
 
In a typical schedule, he would play two FedExCup playoff events, take a week off, then go consecutive weeks at the time-consuming Ryder Cup and the TOUR Championship.
 
Based on what happened at Torrey Pines, its doubtful he can play four times in five weeks.
 
Under a retooled points system, Woods could not sit out three playoff events and win the FedExCup'not the end of the world since he didnt even bother kissing the cup last year.
 
Does he pour everything into the Ryder Cup?
 
Woods loves the competition of the matches, but loathes everything else about that week. He might have a convenient excuse to sit this Ryder Cup out. Imagine the no-win situation Europe would face playing an American team without the worlds best player.
 
Who knows? Woods might up doing his team a favor.
 
And himself.
 
Related Links:
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    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.

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    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.