Divorce behind him Tiger back to golf
“I know he is going to go down as the best golfer who ever lived, and rightfully so,” Elin Nordegren, his ex-wife, says in an interview with People magazine. “I feel privileged to have witnessed a part of his golfing career.”
He’s not looking so great at the moment.
Still the No. 1 player in the world ranking – barely – Woods has not won in any of his nine tournaments this year, the longest he has ever gone without a victory. For more telling evidence of his game, look no further than the FedEx Cup standings.
Woods was the No. 1 seed the past three years. He starts the PGA Tour playoffs this time at No. 112, needing to have a decent tournament at The Barclays just to advance to the second round next week.
And perhaps the most telling of all? Because of his low seeding, he will be the first to tee off Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club.
Has that ever happened before?
“First off on Saturday and Sunday, yes,” Woods said, a joke that barely registered with the media. “But not the first two days.”
At some point, the focus will return almost exclusively to his golf.
Just not quite yet.
Nine months after he was caught in a web of infidelity, Woods and Nordegren divorced on Monday. It was announced through a press release from their lawyers, after a hearing that lasted no more than 10 minutes.
Ready to start a new chapter on Wednesday at Ridgewood, he was confronted with yet another story. Nordegren, in what she said will be her only interview, spent 19 hours over four visits with People magazine to give her side of this tale. It was short on details – exactly what happened that night after Thanksgiving that caused Woods to drive off in wee morning hours and crash into a tree, and how much he paid in the divorce settlement – and chock-full of heartfelt emotion.
“I’ve been through hell,” Nordegren said in the interview, which the magazine released about the time Woods teed off in his pro-am. “It’s hard to think you have this life, and then all of a sudden – was it a lie? You’re struggling because it wasn’t real. But I survived. It was hard, but it didn’t kill me.”
Woods spoke to the magazine, so this was no surprise.
The surprise came on the first hole of his pro-am, after he hit his approach to the green. Andrea Peyser, a New York Post columnist, walked out into the fairway with notepad and pen to ask him questions. She had never been to a golf tournament and was not aware that reporters were to stay by the ropes.
Later, he was asked about his ex-wife’s comments in the magazine interview.
“I wish her the best in everything,” Woods said. “You know, it’s a sad time in our lives. And we’re looking forward in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that’s the most important thing.”
The focus now shifts to his golf, and Woods indicated as much by saying, “This is my job. This is what I do.”
Gone are the days when practice and even some tournament rounds ended with a phone call from lawyers, or a divorce document that had to be approved. Among the more telling details from divorce papers made public were that he signed the marital settlement agreement on the weekend of the AT&T National outside Philadelphia.
Woods handled questions about his golf swing and his divorce in equal fashion, but on one question he was succinct. He was asked to describe how the divorce process had affected his preparations for golf.
“It was a lot more difficult than I was letting on,” said.
Hard work remains. In the first year of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Woods didn’t even bother playing in The Barclays. That was in 2007, when he was playing so well that he could spot the field one tournament and still win the $10 million prize, and he did just that.
He also missed in 2008, this time with knee surgery, when the tournament was played at Ridgewood. It’s a Tillinghast course, traditional and tree-lined, and Woods had never seen it until his pro-am round Wednesday.
He seemed to hit the ball well enough and was pleased with the shape of some of his shots. The trouble for him all year, however, has been taking the same game from practice to a real round. That’s what awaits on Thursday.
Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018
Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.
Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.
An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.
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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise
Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.
“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.
Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.
“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.
Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.
Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.
“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.
Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy
We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.
This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.
Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.
Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters
SOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.
More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.
English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.
''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''
Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend
After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.
The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.
Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.
“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 APTC.
In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.
“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”
In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.
“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. 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.
Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.
“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”