Woods on crutches expects to play US Open
Good thing for Woods there’s time to get healthy.
The golfing great hasn’t hit a ball in about two weeks. Woods needs crutches and a walking boot for relief on his aching left leg. He won’t even start leg training until the end of next week.
But Woods expects to tee off at the U.S. Open June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
“You just play through these things,” Woods said. “There’s a difference between being in pain and being injured.”
That’s why Woods has shut himself down to prepare for the major.
Woods is bothered by pain in his left knee, left Achilles’ tendon, tightening in his calf, and has a sore lower back. He says doctors have not mentioned leg surgery. But he doubts he’ll play the Memorial next week in Dublin, Ohio.
Woods said he’ll start training by the end of next week. How his leg responds will determine when he can start hitting balls again – all but ruling out the Memorial.
“I’ve had four surgeries on it,” Woods said. “Obviously, it’s not what it was when I was little.”
That means Woods would go to the U.S. Open with little competition, although this is nothing new for him. In 2008, he had arthroscopic surgery after the Masters and didn’t play again until the U.S. Open. Doctors discovered a double stress fracture in his left tibia in the weeks before the major. Going against his doctor’s advice, Woods not only played the U.S. Open, he won it at Torrey Pines in a 19-hole playoff.
Now, he says his left leg is not nearly as bad as it was then.
His golf, however, is a different story.
In the 11 tournaments Woods played before the U.S. Open, he won eight times, was runner-up twice and didn’t finish out of the top five. In the 11 tournaments before this U.S. Open, he has only five finishes in the top 10.
Woods said he was more worried about his health in 2008.
“I’m a lot better off,” Woods said. “I feel that in the next week or so, I can start getting back toward that and start practicing pain free. That’s where I’m at.
Woods spoke Tuesday at Aronimink Golf Club to promote the upcoming AT&T National.
Woods withdrew after only nine holes this month at The Players Championship. He also fell out of the top 10 rankings for the first time in 14 years.
He has been No. 1 for 623 weeks in his career, by far the longest of any golfer since the rankings began in 1986. He had been No. 1 from June 2005 until Lee Westwood of England supplanted him last November.
“I haven’t played. It’s one of the reasons I’ve fallen as far as I have,” Woods said. “When I did play, I haven’t played well. Winning takes care of all of that.”
He acknowledged he did come back too early for The Players Championship. He hurt himself on the opening tee shot at Sawgrass. Woods’ status was borderline for the tournament to begin with, but he pressed on and did further damage. He won’t risk additional injury to the leg.
“It’d certainly be nice to come up here and play practice rounds,” he said, “and do all the other prep I do for the majors.”
Not a chance this week, even on a gorgeous Tuesday.
Woods posted on Twitter that he would donate $1 million to his foundation if no reporters asked him about his leg. There was no chance of that on the very first question. Woods later posted on Twitter he would donate the money anyway.
Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity
Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.
On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.
In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids.
Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.
Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'
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:
Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'
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.
Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'
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.
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:
If u get friend zoned on live tv after winning a tourney, u pretty much need to do some not appropriate for all viewers type stuff after ur next W to get rid of that stigma #JustSaying— max homa (@maxhoma23) May 21, 2018
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.”
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 GolfChannel.com, 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.