Woods' fans have all the answers

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2015, 10:21 pm

When we last saw Tiger Woods he was fleeing from a golf tournament in mid-round, mumbling something about improper activation of his glutes.

He's been missing in action for some time now, desperately searching for some of the magic he once took for granted. Woods blamed the glutes, but the truth is that his game is in such a deep, dark place that he's embarrassed to even tee off in public places.

The Masters begins in two weeks, and it's not a place someone who seems to be struggling with the yips while chipping wants to make a comeback. If Woods does play at Augusta National, bookies in Las Vegas who for nearly two decades have made him the odds-on favorite are giving 50-1 odds he won't leave the place with a fifth green jacket.

He's got another new swing coach and a vague plan to regain his mojo by returning to the ways of his youth. But he needs more - much more.

Tigerwoods.com has always been the place he voices his thoughts. Now maybe it's the place he can find his game.

If only he would listen to his own fans.

''Tiger, stop trying to be perfect,'' someone identified as Jati wrote on the site. ''Perfection is a myth. Nobody can achieve perfection, why go after it and waste enormous amount of time and energy?''

''Your confidence coupled with your huge successes has impacted on your general well being,'' writes Kevin Frankie. ''But I say this...you can get it ALL back plus some. Just get your game on a more natural level not unlike your wonderful years of sheer sublime brilliance.''

''I can help you with your mental game,'' LL writes. ''If you want to talk, I promise you I won't (waste) your time and do not want your money. I just want to see you back at the top of golf. This is not a scam I've been doing this successfully for over 20 yrs.''

Who knows, it might be as simple as a trip to the produce section of the local Piggly Wiggly.

''Tiger, hang in there,'' says Dana Bergerstock. ''I just had a total knee replacement, and I had to start over from square one. They tell me it will come around like a fine wine. I started eating grapes to start the progression. It's working! Eat some grapes during your next round. It might be mental, but it's working for me.''

Or try this, courtesy of Brett McHaney:

''Tiger, take the change out of your right pocket and put it in your left pocket. Tie your left shoe in a double knot. Turn your hat around and put this tee behind your left ear,'' he writes. ''I look like a fool. Yea. Now take this little white ball and hit it down the fairway. Tiger, go out have some fun and get out of your own way.''

Someone called Anonymous Pro says he can help Woods on the chipping that embarrassed him in his season debut in Phoenix, saying all he needs to do is keep his wrists hinged.

Or maybe it's more basic than that.

''I think you have forgotten the child like quality to chipping,'' writes Roc. ''Did you think about anything when you were 21 when chipping? No technical thoughts. Not sure why you would change something that was so pure but I'm just a hacker talking. Walk up and hit it.''

Some think it's not Tiger's fault at all. Circumstances have been out of his control.

''In 2010, you entered a VERRY challenging astrological period indicating very serious challenges,'' jrcsamad writes. ''The beginning of this period corresponds to the start of your difficulties, which we needn't discuss here. There can be periods of respite in this period which lasts until 2020. The good news is that there are technologies of consciousness that can help to decrease the obstacles coming from past actions (karma) indicated in this period.''

There's plenty of support for Woods among the 1,739 comments, though some seem to be growing impatient with their hero, who hasn't won a major in seven years.

''Tiger ya baby get out there and play,'' says someone with the screen name Love Tiger Woods. ''You have turned into a spoiled rich kid.''

Mostly, though, they simply want the Tiger of old back.

''Where are you Mr. Woods?'' asks Jared. ''Where are the Sundays when you walked onto the course and commanded respect and inflicted fear in the souls of everyone who dare tee it up with you? Where are your laser focused eyes that never deviate from the task at hand? Where is that unwavering confidence that can never be shaken or broken? Where is that killer instinct that none of these kids are going to take my destiny from me?''

So far at least, it's nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, the Masters is just two weeks away.

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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”