Woods Opens Learning Center Alongside Clinton

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2006, 5:00 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Tiger Woods didn't have to hit a spectacular shot or pump his fist to find satisfaction. Instead, he gripped an oversized pair of scissors and cut the ribbon to officially open his $25 million learning center Friday aimed at helping children find their way.
 
'This is by far the greatest thing that has ever happened to me,' said Woods, a winner of 57 tournaments worldwide and 10 major championships. 'This is bigger than golf. This is bigger than anything I've done on the golf course. Because we will be able to shape lives.'
 
But even a grand-opening ceremony came off with the kind of flair that has marked his career.
 
Woods was joined by former President Clinton and Maria Shriver, the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with dozens of the estimated 5,000 children who will pass through the doors of the Tiger Woods Learning Center by the end of the year.
 
The 35,000-square-foot facility is located next to the H.G. 'Dad' Miller Golf Course, where Woods played when he was in high school. Kids who apply by writing letters come to the center after school for interactive programs in science, math and technology.
 
'I'm impressed Tiger Woods decided to do this when he was 30 instead of when he was 60,' Clinton said.
 
Clinton recalled being elected governor of Arkansas when he was 32, the youngest person elected to that position in 40 years. He referred to himself as a 'good governor and a political failure.'
 
'It's hard to have great gifts and bring them to bear in the public eye under enormous pressure when you're young,' Clinton said, then turning to Woods.
 
'And it's a tribute to you ... that somehow you've been able to amass a stunning, unprecedented record and keep holding yourself up to start giving back at this point in your life.'
 
The only sad note to a day of brilliant sunshine was the absence of his father, Earl Woods, who is battling cancer and could not leave his home a short drive away.
 
Woods nearly broke down when he mentioned the support of his father, just as he did last April when he won the Masters for the fourth time.
 
'I talked to him last night,' Woods said. 'He kept telling me how proud he was of what I was able to do, and proud of me for thinking of this. It's hard on all of us.'
 
The Tiger Woods Foundation was created shortly after Woods turned pro, and although his focus immediately turned to children, he did not have a clear vision of what to do. Woods primarily staged junior golf clinics around the country, later assembling selected kids to attend a clinic in Orlando, Fla. He referred to it as a 'circus act,' breezing in and out of town and leaving kids little more than memories.
 
That changed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Woods, stranded in St. Louis where a World Golf Championship was canceled, drove to Florida and said he spent most of that time reflecting on his life and the foundation.
 
'I felt we weren't doing enough,' Woods said.
 
That's when he thought of the idea of a learning center, and it took 3 1/2 years from the first meeting with Orange County officials to reach the grand opening.
 
Woods donated the first $5 million to the project, along with earnings from his Target World Challenge at the end of the season. He was involved in starting a new PGA Tour event, the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, which gives its net proceeds to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
 
And he relied heavily on 25 founding partners, which range from Target to Nike to Augusta National.
 
Woods has said he would like to be remembered more for his work with children than the number of majors he ultimately wins, and referred to golf as 'merely a vehicle.'
 
It was reminiscent of comments his father made to Sports Illustrated in 1996, after Woods turned pro and won twice in his first seven events to qualify for the Tour Championship. Earl Woods referred to him as the 'Chosen One' and said he will 'do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.'
 
Asked about some of his father's comments, Woods smiled and attributed them to 'proud parents talking.'
 
'But he's always told me behind closed doors that 'You'll find your way; you'll choose the direction of the foundation,'' Woods said. 'This is a step away from golf. This is certainly more important than hitting a high draw or a high fade. This is getting someone prepared for life. And this (center) is going to do that.'
 
Clinton and Woods played golf Thursday -- the former president beat him on one hole, but said he finished 25 shots behind over 18 holes.
 
Clinton took a brief tour of the center before the ceremony, and watched children in their light blue shirts building computer models with Legos and working on forensic science projects.
 
'It's important for us to understand that there has never been a time in our history when private citizens have had the ability to do public good,' Clinton said.
 
He encouraged everyone to do their part, and held up Woods as an example.
 
'If we do our part, we don't have to worry about the future of this country,' Clinton said. 'I think more likely than not, this will be the most peaceful, exciting, interesting era in our history. But we all have to do our part. And today, you've seen in a beautiful, moving, hopeful way that Tiger Woods has done his.'
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.