Woods Eyes Grand Slam

By Associated PressJanuary 22, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Three weeks into the PGA TOUR season, Tiger Woods finally arrived with expectations larger than ever.
 
The difference this year is that he created them.
 
First came a comment toward the bottom of a story on his Web site earlier this month when he was asked about the possibility of winning the Grand Slam in a calendar year.
 
'I think it's easily within reason,' he said.
 
Then came a five-week break over the holidays that was filled with hours spent on the range.
 
'It's the first time he didn't go skiing,' swing coach Hank Haney said Tuesday after watching his pupil play nine holes on the North Course at Torrey Pines, followed by a one-hour session on the back end of the practice range.
 
'He is really working hard,' Haney said. 'Last year was tough on him, and then it turned around at the end. When your mind is not 100 percent there, it's harder. But now you see the work ethic that he has always had, and the determination. He is 100 percent locked in to what he wants to do.'
 
Woods makes his 2008 debut Thursday at the Buick Invitational, where he is the three-time defending champion. Most would be surprised if he doesn't make it four in a row.
 
Rust shouldn't be a problem.
 
Woods took a 10-week break after the TOUR Championship, then won his Target World Challenge by seven shots. But it wasn't long after a few celebrations -- Christmas, birthday parties for him (Dec. 30) and his wife (Jan. 1), that he was back to work.
 
'I felt like I made some improvements this winter,' Woods said Monday at his Tiger Woods Learning Center. 'I solidified things I was working on toward the end of last year. At Target, I wasn't quite there the last two days. I went back and looked at it, figured out a few things and was working on that. I'm excited to play again.
 
'I'm really excited about starting out the year, and then my preparations toward Augusta.'
 
Some don't believe the golf season starts until Woods shows up, and there's two things wrong with that thinking. One, it's a disservice to Daniel Chopra, K.J. Choi and D.J. Trahan, winners of the first three PGA TOUR events.
 
Besides, the golf season really doesn't start until the Masters.
 
That would be the first leg of the Grand Slam, and everyone knows how Woods feels about that.
 
'I think it's easily within reason.'
 
That comment spoke more to Woods' confidence in his game than the odds of winning all four majors in a calendar year.
 
Take a sample of sound bites over the years on the Grand Slam, and Woods sounds like a politician constantly changing his position.
 
When he won the Masters in 1997 by 12 shots in his first major as a pro, and Woods was asked about winning the Grand Slam, he reasoned that Phil Mickelson had won four PGA TOUR events the year before.
 
'If you win the right tournaments four times, then you have the slam,' he said, making it sound easy at age 21.
 
Four months later, after being an also-ran at the U.S. Open and British Open, he was asked again about the Grand Slam. Woods said it was tough to even get into contention at four majors in one year.
 
'Realistically, it's almost next to impossible to win all four,' he said before the '97 PGA Championship.
 
A decade later, there is proof it can happen.
 
Over 294 days that connected 2000 to 2001, Woods became the first player to hold all four major titles, from his 15-shot victory at the U.S. Open to his two-shot victory at the Masters.
 
And when he won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2002, Woods wondered why there was such a fuss.
 
'It's certainly doable, because I've done it before,' he said after winning the U.S. Open at Bethpage. 'To win all four in a calendar year would just be different. Because at that one time, in my household, there was all four major championships right there. And no one else in the world had them but me.'
 
The starting line for a calendar slam is the Masters.
 
While he is a four-time champion, Woods has won only once in the last five years. That was in 2005, which featured the magical chip-in for birdie on the 16th and a playoff victory over Chris DiMarco. Inevitably, the question came up that day about when he starts thinking about the Grand Slam.
 
'I don't know -- when we go to IHOP or something,' he said.
 
Maturity has come to his game and his speech over the years, and that's why it was mildly surprising to hear him speak so boldly about a calendar slam, something that has never been done at the professional level.
 
Reminded of his various comments about the Grand Slam on Monday, Woods shrugged his shoulders.
 
'I've gotten better as a player,' he said. 'The last four, five, six years, I been in contention in more majors than when I first started out. Put that into more chances, and probably over the last two or three years, I've given myself a chance in just about every major. And that's the whole idea.'
 
In his last 12 majors, since confidence caught up to his swing changes, Woods has finished out of the top four only twice. He missed the cut at Winged Foot in the '06 U.S. Open in his first tournament since his father died, and he tied for 12th at the British Open last year.
 
'That's what I've been the most proud of over the last couple of years,' he said. 'I've really given myself a chance, sometimes only after two or three days, but I'm in the mix. Sometimes I'm on the periphery of contention, like the British last year, where you need to make a couple of putts to change things, and I just didn't do it.
 
'But if that's the worst I can do, that's not too bad.'
 
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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.