Tiger Growing in Areas Off the Golf Course
The latest came earlier this week when Woods said he would design a course in the North Carolina mountains -- his company's first U.S. project.
'The reason I waited so late is I wanted to make sure the timing is right,' Woods said Tuesday when the announcement was made about the new course. 'And the timing is right. There's a wonderful balance in my life.'
A big reason is 2-month-old Sam Alexis, the first child for Woods and wife Elin.
'It's hard to believe,' said Woods, his eyes lighting up when discussing his daughter. 'When we first had her that night, Elin and I just looked at each other and said, 'How do you love something so much that didn't exist an hour ago?''
Woods immediately headed home for more time with his family after meeting with reporters about the new course, The Cliffs of High Carolina.
He'll change diapers, no matter how bad the odor, and help with late-night crying.
'It's the little things. It's having her change from day to day. It's fun,' Woods said.
'It's so hard, but so much fun, you want to do it again,' he added, laughing. 'Go figure.'
Woods' growing family so far hasn't affected his play. The world's No. 1 golfer has won twice since Sam's birth June 18, including Aug. 11 at the PGA Championships for his 13th career major.
Almost from the time he won his first major, the 1997 Masters, Woods was the face of golf and the PGA Tour. He starred in countless commercials, maturing from a skinny 20-something to the chiseled megastar of today.
But he and American Express recently ended their decade-long endorsement partnership. Woods told reporters there might be less of him on TV.
'I figure I've done enough commercials and stuff like that,' he said. 'It was fun for a while. Now I want to try something else.'
Woods expects he'll devote some of his extra time to the design business. Besides the planned layout near Asheville, N.C., Woods is working on a course in Dubai.
For Woods, design is a fascinating, new opportunity -- as mentally stimulating as becoming the best golfer in the world was to him 10 years ago.
'We all like different challenges in life,' Woods said. 'That's why we read different books, we have different activities. That's why we don't play the same golf courses all the time.'
Cliffs owner Jim Anthony said Woods has been focused and determined regarding the project -- like the concentration he displays at major championships. 'He holds us accountable,' Anthony said.
Not that Woods plans to let his game slip. He only wants to take on select projects and will continue teeing it up as he pursues Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors.
Is the new business venture a chance to leave Sam and potential siblings something more than a roomful of trophies?
'No, no, it's not about that,' Woods said emphatically.
'They're going to have to earn their own lives,' he said. 'I will provide an atmosphere in which they will be encouraged to go out there' and explore the world.
Should his children fail, Woods said they can always return home and 'we'll love them to death. But they have to carve out their own lives, that's their responsibility. That's the way I was raised.'
Sounds like Woods wants to be as proficient at raising children and building a business as he has been in dominating the world's best golfers.
'I take great pride in what I do,' Woods says. 'When my name's on it, I give it everything I possibly have.'
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Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby
AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.
Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.
Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.
“It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”
The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.
“I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.
A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.
“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.
He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.
“It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”
Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury
AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.
“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”
The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.
He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.
Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.
“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”
Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead
Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.
With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.
All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.
“This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”
Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.
“It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.
Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.
“Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”
Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
“My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”
Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger
We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.
Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.
If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.
It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.
Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.