Tiger Woods has leading role in golfs soap opera

By Doug FergusonAugust 12, 2010, 3:04 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Along the humps and hollows of Whistling Straits, against the magnificent backdrop of Lake Michigan, the stage is set for golf’s final major championship of the year, the PGA.

This year, that could stand for Players Gone Amok.

Tiger Woods is getting grilled like never before, but not about his marriage, his personal life or that fire hydrant his car ran over last Thanksgiving. It’s about his golf, of all things, and it’s not pretty.

Phil Mickelson revealed he’s recovering from a painful bout of arthritis and has become a vegetarian. Lefty is now eating greens in regulation, along with hitting them.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray nearly hit each other.

Woods, the No. 1 player for a record 270 weeks in a row, hasn’t come close to winning a tournament this year and reached a new low last week at Firestone when he posted the worst score of his career (18-over 298) and finished 30 shots behind the winner.

For a guy who has won 14 majors – that’s one more than his next four rivals combined – the drama at the PGA Championship is not whether Woods can win, but whether he can make the cut. And if he doesn’t, whether he will be picked for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

“Life in general the last nine months has been very difficult,” Woods said. “But just like my dad always said, ‘Just keep living.’ That’s something I’ve taken to heart quite a bit. And there were quite a few times that I’ve definitely said that to myself.”

Then came the shockers from Mickelson.

Before taking questions Tuesday, he revealed that he has been battling a form of arthritis since the week before the U.S. Open in June and made a special trip to the Mayo Clinic but now is taking medication and headed for a recovery.

The other surprise is his diet.

Mickelson, an investor in the popular restaurant chain “Five Guys, Burgers and Fries,” has become a vegetarian. Make that “Five Guys, Bulgar and Fennel.”

“Can you believe that?” he said. “It’s not really me, but it has been.”

Then there’s Sergio Garcia, the talented young Spaniard who was 19 when he nearly beat Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship.

He had his heart broken by Greg Norman’s daughter last year and has been in a funk ever since. It reached a point last week that he said he was taking a two-month break after the final major, even though that means skipping a chance to play in the Ryder Cup.

With all this commotion going on, clouds gathered over the PGA Championship on Wednesday, the final day of practice, and pounded Whistling Straits with rain so hard that Anthony Kim went barefoot on some holes.

And then another black cloud arrived – or maybe it was Gray.

The Golf Channel’s Jim Gray reported Tuesday evening that Pavin told him he was picking Woods for the Ryder Cup if he didn’t make the team on his own. Pavin saw this Wednesday morning while playing a practice round before the rain arrived, and he put on Twitter that he never said that.

Minutes after Pavin’s news conference, Gray walked into the interview room for a heated exchange with Pavin, and pointed a finger at his chest. According to Pavin – his wife taped the argument on her cell phone – Gray called him a liar and said, “You’re going down.”

In the entry way to the media center, reporters were buzzing over the spat. Pavin was in the back of the room with Colin Montgomerie to sign the Ryder Cup captain’s agreement.

In walked Woods’ chief spokesman, Glenn Greenspan, and hardly anyone noticed.

And it was Woods himself who had sparked the Ryder Cup debate.

Even in such strange times, Woods drives just about every topic of discussion. And to think that just one year ago, at the PGA Championship in Hazeltine, the biggest shock was that Woods finished in second place.

The focus should shift to golf when the tournament gets under way Thursday. What’s missing is a clear favorite, and that can be attributed to Woods, too.

Graeme McDowell won his first major in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, even though the Sunday contenders included Woods, Mickelson and Ernie Els. Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open at St. Andrews with a performance reminiscent of Woods, even though not many knew the 27-year-old South African, and even fewer could pronounce his name.

In some respects, Mickelson was a surprise at the Masters. He had not won a tournament all year, and has not won since. But his wife, Amy, made her first trip to a tournament since being diagnosed with breast cancer a year earlier, and their embrace behind the 18th green at Augusta National remains among the most poignant moments of the year.

What will Whistling Straits deliver? Just about anything.

“The major championship have got a lot more wide open, it seems, in the past couple of years,” said 21-year-old Rory McIlroy, who has as good of a chance as anyone this week.

He mentioned the problems Woods is having on the golf course – Woods has broken par in only four of his last 20 rounds – along with the 78 that Mickelson shot on Sunday when he had a chance to go to No. 1 in the world. The No. 3 player is Lee Westwood, who pulled out of the PGA with a calf injury.

“So there’s going to be a lot of guys here thinking that it’s the right time for them to break though,” McIlroy said. “And I’m definitely one of those guys. You can never write off the likes of Tiger and Phil.”

So who’s the winner?

“Anyone in the field,” Carl Pettersson said. “It’s not like it used to be.”

In many ways.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.