Woods at Peace with Self
Tuesday afternoon a refreshed-looking Woods, just days shy of his 31st birthday, thoroughly engaged a press gathering at Sherwood Country Club where he will host his own Target World Challenge that begins Thursday.
Woods didnt hesitate when asked which year was the better one'2000 or 2006. In 2000 he won nine times and captured three majors. In 2006 he triumphed twice in major championships and finished the season with six straight official PGA TOUR victories.
No doubt about it, Woods said. As far as hitting the ball, 2006 was probably even better. In 2000 I had virtually no three putts the entire year.
There was nothing boastful about any of this. Not a whiff of false modesty. This was an interesting subject answering questions he genuinely sounded interested in addressing.
When the subject of privacy arose, he freely conceded that the public respects my privacy a lot more.
Why is that?
Maybe, he suggested, theyre not as curious about his private life. Pretty much everythings been written about me, he said.
Woods repeated his standard line about goals, saying his aim is to finish every year a better player in December than the one who started out in January.
If the answer is yes, each and every year, he said, great career.
And yes, he said, when asked, the answer has been yes at the end of every year since he turned professional in 1996.
Great career, indeed.
Inner peace, too.
I certainly have a lot more tranquility in my life, he said. He cited his wife, Elin, his foundation and the state of his game as reasons why.
And he talked about this time last year when his father was dying. Earl Woods, the ex-Green Beret, fought the good fight. But Tiger says now he didnt even know it was Christmas when Christmas day arrived because he was staying up with his father.
Earl Woods loved Christmas, Tiger said, because his beloved Lakers were always on television. Earl Woods died earlier this year.
No course at Stanford can prepare you for this, the bumps and the curves, Woods said.
He adroitly dodged the only real opportunity Tuesday to make news when asked if he planned to play in the Mercedes-Benz Championships next month. He knows the media wants to know so it can start pounding the public drums for a seventh straight win.
Tiger said he hasnt decided. Hes going skiing soon. Then he will make up his mind. For what its worth, sources say he will play at Kapalua.
The thing that excites him the most about golf right now is perhaps the best indicator of the wisdom he is acquiring. You never get there, he said. You can always get better.
And that, said Tiger Woods with a smile Tuesday in California, is what makes golf so great.
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.