Tiger Woods Watch Intensifies

By Brian HewittJanuary 29, 2009, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker is cooking with gas this week, mostly about the wild atmosphere that surrounds the 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale.
Without further ado:
Randy writes: The 16th at the FBR is the reason purists are shunning the FBR tournament. The Thunderbirds have totally ruined a fine golf event and equally great golf venue. Take it from someone who has lived in the Valley for 21 years and have attended the tournament faithfully until a few years ago when I and many of my friends said enough. First of all most of the drunks at 16 wouldnt know a birdie from a used car. The entire atmosphere is more akin to the state fair than golf. ...The FBR has become a joke in town. And forget all those hyped up attendance figures they tout every Saturday and Sunday. Ask them sometime how they come up with that then have a laugh. It is a fraud..
The Comebacker
To repeat the words of Rocco Mediate: If you dont like it, dont come.

Tom writes: You mentioned the story about Tiger (Woods) only coming to Scottsdale once since the gun in the fanny pack incident. What you may not know, or may have forgotten, is that last appearance was marred by a high school kid trying to bean him with an orange after being dared by his friend. That was also the year (Mark) Calcavecchia went nuts and set a scoring record or two. ... How about an article calling out Tiger for his lack of variation in his scheduling? In my opinion, he should try to show hes the best by adding in some of the scoring records to go along with the majors and the Vardons. Hes never shot a 59; I think he ought to play the easy courses and strive for the first official 58. He should be shooting for a 36-hole score of 21 under or a 54-hole score of 30 under. Do something to show hes the best other than just being the most consistent on tough courses.
The Comebacker
Yeah, really. What has Tiger ever done for golf?

Michael writes: I am a long-time golfer who was not alone in noticing that Pat Perez should have been given a two-shot penalty on hole 15 (Sunday). While in the deep rough (greenside), Perez grounded his club two or three times and the ball noticeably moved every time. Go back and look at it on video. The part that burns me the most is, there is no way Perez himself wouldn't have noticed it. Although he won by three shots, that would have considerably turned the tide, even putting him behind by one. I'm sure he wouldn't have been so calm/cool after that. Please respond.
The Comebacker
PGA Tour officials examined tape of the shot in question and determined there was no violation.

Bill writes: Add me to the list of real golfers who are tired of (Boo) Weekly and his ignorance, (John) Daly and his drunken waste of talent, and (Michelle) Wie and her act. I used to be a regular fan of the Golf Channel, but the incessant fawning over these idiots causes me to tune out every time you and the other announcers spout off. Criticize me as being from the country club set, but at least the real golfers I know have also gotten tired of the trend that is promoted by the Golf Channel.
The Comebacker
Wow. Where did all this anger come from in a year that hasnt even spawned a good, juicy golf controversy yet?

John writes: I have to disagree that you are a news organization, first. Your coverage of Michelle Wie over the past five years has bordered on fawning, with nary a critical word. For a young woman who has won exactly one USGA tournament (and not a single LPGA tourney), you have devoted an incredible amount of hype to her, rather than an honest assessment of her performance on the golf course (or lack thereof). If she competes successfully on the LPGA (after earning her way on) ' great. She is to be congratulated. If not, then I hope you will accurately reflect that, also.
The Comebacker
Michelle Wie has taken many hits at GolfChannel.com. Any hype, by the way, whether it come from Golf Channel or anywhere else, is more justified now than it ever was before with Annika Sorenstam in retirement and the LPGA struggling to hold on to its sponsors. If you dont think the powers-that-be in Daytona Beach werent overjoyed at Wies recent successful trip to LPGA Q-School, you dont get it.
Dorothy writes: I too am tired of the Boo Weekley show. It is more embarrassing than entertaining. Why the press thought his antics at the Ryder Cup was noteworthy, I am at a loss to understand. You have had more than your 15 minutes of fame Boo, lets move on and play golf.
The Comebacker
The Comebacker continues to be miffed by this ongoing antipathy towards Boo Weekley. Wake up, people. Hes a character. And hes genuine. So what if its possible that he cant name the five Great Lakes. This is golf, not Jeopardy.
Sam writes: Although I'm a keen fan of the Golf Channel and look forward to enjoying the season on my new large screen HDTV, I must say GC's coverage of the Hope has been really disappointing. I accept the premise of the Hope to incorporate amateurs, and (Nick) Faldo's analysis of some of their swings was instructive for us amateur viewers who commit the same sins. But to showcase the amateurs and dwell on who's attending whose soire that evening leaves your audience way behind. When you showed some celebrity narrowly missing a putt and then broke away to some other celebrity's tee shot just as Brad Faxon was preparing his putt, I threw in the towel. I'm curious, is the Hope format a vestige of what pro golf used to be? It strikes me that the whole concept is an anachronism. PS: It is sobering to see what these guys can do when roughs, green speeds and pin placements are comparable to what we amateurs face every weekend. My occasional sub-par rounds look a lot less like tickets to the tour now.
The Comebacker
Me? I just miss George Lopez; although, Im happy to see Arnold Palmer anytime anyplace. As to the conditions: Its also sobering to see what a gusting wind can do to anybodys golf game, even the best players in the world. Kind of makes what Padraig Harrington did at Royal Birkdale last year even more impressive, no?
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 3:30 pm

Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters:

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Cut Line: Johnny's exit, Tiger's fatigue

By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

In this week’s edition we bid farewell to the most outspoken and insightful analyst of his generation and examine a curious new interpretation that will require players to start paying attention to the small print.

Made Cut

Here’s Johnny. After nearly three decades Johnny Miller will hang up his microphone following next year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Miller called his first tournament as NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s lead analyst in 1990 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and he told Cut Line this week that at 71 years old he’s ready to relax and spend time with his 24 grandchildren.

“I was the first guy with an open microphone,” Miller said. “That requires a lot of concentration. It’s not that I couldn’t do it but the handwriting was on the wall; it would be more of a challenge.”

Miller will be missed for his insight as much as his often-blunt deliveries, but it’s the latter that made him one of a kind.

A long ride to the right place. After nearly four years of legal wrangling a group of PGA Tour caddies dropped their class-action lawsuit against the circuit this week.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in early 2015 in an attempt by the caddies to secure marketing rights for the bibs they wear during tournaments as a way to create better healthcare and retirement benefits.

The district court largely ruled against the caddies and that ruling was upheld by an appeals court earlier this year, but better healthcare options may still be in the cards for the caddies.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the Association of Professional Tour Caddies.

Sajtinac told Cut Line that the Tour has offered a potential increase to the longtime stipend they give caddies for healthcare and in a statement the circuit said talks are ongoing.

“The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

It’s rare when both sides of a lawsuit walk away feeling good about themselves, but this particular outcome appears to have ended with a favorable outcome for everybody involved.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

A long haul. Tiger Woods acknowledged what many had speculated about, telling a group this week at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach that his season-ending push and his first victory in five years took a physical toll at the Ryder Cup.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said on Tuesday. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Woods went 0-4 for the U.S. team in France and appeared particularly tired on Sunday following the European victory at Le Golf National.

For Woods the result was worth the effort with his victory at the Tour Championship ending a five-year drought, but his play and concession that it impacted him at the Ryder Cup does create some interesting questions for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, who sent Woods out for both team sessions on Saturday.

Tweet(s) of the week: @BobEstesPGA (Bob Estes) “I spoke to a past Ryder Cup captain yesterday. We both agreed that there should be a week off before the [Ryder Cup] to adequately rest and prepare.”

Given Woods’ comments this week it seems likely he would agree that a break – which may become the norm with the Tour season ending three weeks earlier – would be helpful, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had a slightly different take in response to Estes’ tweet. “I’m afraid a different schedule wasn’t gonna make the fairways wider. On that particular course with how we played, [the United States] had absolutely no chance. Hasn’t more than half the euros played playoffs too?” Colsaerts tweeted.

It’s never too early to get a jump on the 2020 trash talking.

Missed Cut

By the book. The USGA and R&A’s most recent rulemaking hill involved the use of green-reading materials. On Monday the game’s rule-makers unveiled new interpretations on what will be allowed starting next year.

Out will be the legal-sized reams of information that had become ubiquitous on Tour, replaced by pocket-sized books that will include a limited scale (3/8 inch to 5 yards).

While the majority of those involved were in favor of a scaled-back approach to what to many seemed like information overload, it did seem like a curious line to draw.

Both sides of the distance debate continue to await which way the rule-makers will go on this front and, at least in the United States, participation continues to be a challenge.

Banning the oversized green-reading books may have been a positive step, but it was a micro issue that impacted a wildly small portion of the golf public. Maybe it’s time for the rule-makers to start looking at more macro issues.

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S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

SHANGHAI  -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.

''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''

Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.

Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos

''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''

She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.

Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.

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'Caveman golf' puts Koepka one back at CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:12 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Brooks Koepka, recently named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, gave himself the perfect opportunity to become the No. 1 player in the world when he shot a 7-under par 65 to move to within one shot of the lead in the CJ Cup on Friday.

At the Nine Bridges course, the three-time major champion made an eagle on his closing hole to finish on 8-under par 136 after two rounds, just one stroke behind Scott Piercy, who was bogey-free in matching Koepka's 65.

With the wind subsiding and the course playing much easier than on the opening day when the scoring average was 73.26, 44 players – more than half the field of 78 – had under-par rounds.

Overnight leader Chez Reavie added a 70 to his opening-round 68 to sit in third place at 138, three behind Piercy. Sweden's Alex Noren was the other player in with a 65, which moved him into a tie for fourth place alongside Ian Poulter (69), four out of the lead.

The best round of the day was a 64 by Brian Harman, who was tied for sixth and five behind Piercy.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

The 28-year-old Koepka will move to the top of the world rankings when they are announced on Monday if he wins the tournament.

Thomas, playing alongside Koepka, matched Koepka's eagle on the last, but that was only for a 70 and he is tied for 22nd place at 1 under.

Koepka's only bogey was on the par-5 ninth hole, where he hit a wayward tee shot. But he was otherwise pleased with the state of his ''caveman golf.''

''I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun,'' Koepka, winner of the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, said.

''My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf – you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You're not going to see any emotion just because I'm so focused, but I'm enjoying it.''

Piercy, who has fallen to No. 252 in the world ranking despite winning the Zurich Classic earlier this year with Billy Horschel – there are no world ranking points for a team event – was rarely out of position in a round in which he found 13 of 14 fairways off the tee and reached 16 greens in regulation.

''Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,'' said Piercy, who is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win since the Barbasol Championship in July 2015.

''It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.''

Australia's Marc Leishman, winner last week at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, shot a 71 and was seven behind. Paul Casey's 73 included a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole and the Englishman is nine behind Piercy.