Woods Ends Military Training
After spending four days at this sprawling Army post, the golf great now knows some of what Earl Woods experienced as a soldier 40 years ago.
Woods trained with various Army units, fired weapons, awoke early for 4-mile runs and twice jumped from a plane.
By Friday, he was back on familiar ground, hosting a junior golf clinic and providing one-on-one instruction for eight young golfers. He seemed completely at ease, smiling often as he tutored the youngsters and talked about his crash course in the military.
'My father shared a lot of his military experiences with me as I was growing up,' Woods said. 'For me it was neat to look back on history. It's not that I didn't understand what my dad did, but to physically see what he did just shed a whole new light on it.'
That his training was a watered-down version of what his father went through during two tours of duty at Fort Bragg in the Vietnam era hardly mattered to Woods. He said the experience alone reinforced many of the lessons his father taught him.
Earl Woods first trained at Fort Bragg in 1963 following a tour in Vietnam. The elder Woods also was assigned to a Special Forces unit here before leaving for another tour in 1970.
On Monday, after finishing 22nd at the Masters, Tiger Woods flew by private jet to Pope Air Force Base, which is next to Fort Bragg. Woods was issued a uniform, received briefings on the installation and attended several social functions on the post, Bragg spokesman Lt. Col. Bill Buckner said.
By Tuesday morning, Woods was in uniform for three days of training. The schedule began with physical fitness training at 6:30 a.m. each day.
On Thursday, he completed two tandem jumps with the Golden Knights, the Army parachute team based here. Woods was attached to an instructor for the jumps from 13,500 feet.
Reporters were barred from covering the training sessions after Woods said he wanted the experience to be a private one.
Members of the Golden Knights presented Woods with a plaque Friday adorned with a photo of the jump. In it, Woods is wearing a yellow jumpsuit and goggles with his arms outstretched. He's smiling broadly.
'I was so excited. I couldn't wait to go,' Woods said. 'I'm one of those people who love to ride roller-coasters, so to me it's like the ultimate roller-coaster.
'It's an experience I'll never forget. You're going 120 miles per hour, but it still feels like you're floating.'
Also on Thursday, Woods participated in a 4-mile run with members of the 18th Airborne Corps. Woods and 400 members of the unit finished the cadence-call run in just over 31 minutes, four minutes better than the standard time.
Woods saw many similarities between military training and the preparation he does to compete on the PGA Tour.
'The only difference (in the run) was yelling at the top of my lungs and singing along with the guys,' Woods said. 'I'm used to running alone with my MP3 player.'
'Throughout the week, I think everyone was impressed with his physical abilities,' Buckner said. 'He's a good soldier.'
Woods' competition on the golf course will be disappointed to learn that Woods may have picked up something that will help him on the putting green during firearms training. Earl Woods said his son discovered while trying to aim the guns that he is left-eye dominant.
'He's found that out for the first time in his life -- here,' Earl Woods said. 'It's applicable to golf because you use your dominant eye to determine the break on a putt. And he could never do that. Now he has that capability.'
After conducting the youth clinic Friday, Tiger Woods gave a skills exhibition for about 4,300 soldiers, students and invited guests, some of whom won tickets in a lottery.
He arrived in a Humvee, sitting at the helm of a machine gun, to cheers from the audience.
Bragg is one of the nation's largest Army posts, with nearly 47,000 soldiers. Thousands are currently deployed to places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
'I'm just trying to hit the ball into a little bitty cup that's 400 yards away,' Woods said. 'These people here are putting their lives on the line. That to me is the ultimate dedication. They're doing it for our country to keep all of us safe.'
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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener
The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.
Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.
According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.
"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"
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News got out last week that I was dealing with an oblique injury the past two tournaments...it was confirmed yesterday, via MRI, that I have a partial tear in my right oblique...my team and I feel like it’s best not to play next week in the Northern Trust...I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!
Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.
Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.
Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas
Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.
Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.
Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.
Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.
It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.
While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.
One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.
Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days
Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.
But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.
Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.
A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:
Another week, another set of missing golf clubs and lost baggage with @AmericanAir & @British_Airways. Any chance you could help find all of my luggage and send it to me before my tournament this week?! Need them for work!! Thanks— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 13, 2018
So the comedy continues, @British_Airways have managed to now lose 5 suitcases and 2 sets of golf clubs in 10 days!— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 14, 2018
Decided to bring my only backup set of clubs on this morning's flight to the Nordea Masters in case my other lost set don't arrive and BA have also now lost these! pic.twitter.com/V6QPXzAaBk
Just reached 50,000 followers on Twitter and was going to do a bag giveaway, but @British_Airways has lost them all a href="https://t.co/WwiPqD9bql">pic.twitter.com/WwiPqD9bql— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 14, 2018
After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.
He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.
For those that are asking about the Bag Giveaway, that’ll be done next week as promised... once my luggage isn’t left behind again— Thorbjørn Olesen (@Thorbjornolesen) August 15, 2018
Details to follow! pic.twitter.com/3AVMgE02HU
Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks
Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.
A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.
Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.
Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: