Woods has high hopes about his game

By Doug FergusonAugust 4, 2010, 10:29 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125w

AKRON, Ohio – A two-hour window Wednesday provided a snapshot of a strange year for Tiger Woods.

The guy famous for sweeping dew off the grass with his crack-of-dawn practice rounds arrived shortly before lunch on the eve of the Bridgestone Invitational to play nine holes at Firestone. That’s not terribly unusual, for Woods knows Firestone as well as any other course, and it’s where he made history last year as the only player to win a PGA Tour event seven times on the same course.

One tee shot into his practice round, the siren sounded because of dangerous weather. 

He wound up playing only four holes.

This year has been anything but routine. Woods didn’t start until the Masters while coping with the fallout from his extramarital affairs. He has gone seven tournaments without winning, the longest drought at the start of any season since he turned pro.

And in comments that were veiled yet somewhat revealing, Woods said the distractions he faces in his personal life affect him as much during practice as they do during tournaments.

“I haven’t been able to practice as long as I normally have when I’ve been out here,” Woods said. “People have been wanting more of my time. I’ve had more things going on once I’m at a tournament site than I have in the past, and for different reasons. That’s obviously taken a little bit of a toll on my preparation.

“Things are starting to normalize,” he said. “And that’s been a good sign.”

Who wants more of his time? Woods didn’t elaborate.

He has refused to answer questions about his personal life. Notah Begay, one of his best friends, mentioned last month at a press conference that Woods is going through a divorce, which most have suspected.

That would be one thing that Woods couldn’t turn over to his business team to handle.

“It’s been difficult,” Woods said. “It’s been a trying time for a lot of people who are friends of mine and who know me. It’s been tough, no doubt.”

As for the golf? Woods believes it’s getting closer, and only he knows.

The results have not been impressive, especially considering the places he has been. This was supposed to be the year that Woods, with his 14 majors, made inroads into the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. But he fell apart early in the final round at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open, and after opening with a 65 in easy conditions at St. Andrews, he was never a factor the rest of the week.

The culprit has been putting, and Woods attributes that to not getting the right speed.

He also attributed it to lack of practice.

“Just had to go back to basics and practice a little bit more,” Woods said. “I haven’t worked on my putting probably as much as I should have the last couple of years. So had to go back to that.”

Putting was his primary focus in the two weeks he has been at home in Florida since the British Open.

Why did he stop practicing as much in the first place?

“I haven’t had time,” he said. “I haven’t had as much time to practice overall, with the kids. Life has changed.”

Only players know how much time they really put into the game, although Woods brought attention to his preparations for the British Open when he flew home from a two-day charity event in Ireland for four days instead of staying over in Ireland or Scotland and practicing links golf ahead of one of his favorite majors.

Firestone should be a good gauge on his game, perhaps even more than St. Andrews.

Woods first played the tree-lined course as a teenager when he traveled through Ohio with his father. He made his debut in 1997 when it was the old World Series of Golf. In 11 appearances, he has seven victories and has never finished out of the top 5. Not even his record at Torrey Pines is that daunting.

It has been six years since Woods teed it up at Firestone without winning. He was a runner-up that year.

“I’ve always liked this type … golf courses like this where the shape is very simple,” Woods said. “It’s not target golf, and I’ve always liked that.”

The timing has rarely been so important.

Woods slipped to No. 9 in the Ryder Cup standings this week, giving him only two tournaments – the World Golf Championship this week and the PGA Championship next week – to get into the top eight and qualify for the U.S. team.

Asked if he would play in the Ryder Cup as a captain’s pick, Woods replied, “I’m planning on playing my way onto the team.”

Two more questions along the same line produced the same answer. It was Woods’ way of saying he’s not thinking about anything else but playing well enough to make the team, just like he doesn’t practice from drop zones, like he refused to practice out of the Church Pew bunkers at Oakmont before the U.S. Open.

Also at stake this week is his No. 1 ranking, which he has held the last five years. Phil Mickelson has had a chance to overtake him since the middle of May, but now Lee Westwood is in position to get to No. 1 by winning at Firestone.

“How I got here in the first place was by winning golf tournaments, and how I will sustain it is by winning golf tournaments,” Woods said. “Winning golf tournaments takes cares of a lot of things, and being No. 1 in one of them.”

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:

View this post on Instagram

Finally got it down lol

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

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.

View this post on Instagram

How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

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

Getty Images

Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).

And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 


Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 


Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 


Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.

Getty Images

Pepperell likely sews up Masters invite via OWGR

By Will GrayOctober 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

Eddie Pepperell received a trophy for his win Sunday at the British Masters, but another prize will be coming in the mail at the end of the year.

Pepperell held on to win by two shots at rainy Walton Heath, giving him his second win of the year to go along with a pair of runner-ups. The Englishman started the year ranked No. 133 in the world and was as low as 513th in May 2017. But with the win, Pepperell jumped 17 spots to a career-best 33rd in the latest world rankings.

It means that Pepperell, who finished T-6 at The Open while fighting a hangover in the final round, is in line to make his Masters debut next spring, as the top 50 in the world rankings at the end of the calendar year become exempt into the season's first major.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

Another player now in the mix for that top-50 exemption is Emiliano Grillo, who went from 62nd to 49th with a T-2 finish at the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic. Grillo has played in two Masters but missed this year's event. Marc Leishman moved up eight spots to No. 16 with his win in Malaysia, while T-2s result moved Chesson Hadley from 75th to 60th and Bronson Burgoon from 162nd to 102nd.

There were no changes among the top 10 in the latest rankings, with Dustin Johnson still ahead of Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. Francesco Molinari remains in sixth, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth rounding out the top 10.

Both Koepka and Thomas are in the field at this week's CJ Cup in South Korea, where they will have an opportunity to overtake Johnson for world No. 1.

With his next competitive start unknown, Tiger Woods stayed at No. 13 for another week.

Getty Images

USGA, R&A unveil new limits on green books

By Rex HoggardOctober 15, 2018, 1:53 pm

Following a six-week feedback period, the USGA and R&A unveiled a new interpretation of the Rules of Golf and the use of green-reading materials on Monday.

The interpretation limits the size and scale of putting green books and any electronic or digital materials that a player may use to assist with green reading.

“We’re thankful for everyone’s willingness to provide feedback as we worked through the process of identifying a clear interpretation that protects the essential skill of reading a green, while still allowing for information that helps golfers enjoy the game,” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior managing director of governance.

Players will be allowed to continue to use green-reading books beginning in 2019, but the new interpretation will limit images of greens to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480), and books can be no larger than 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches (pocket-sized). The interpretation also bans the use of magnification devices beyond normal prescription glasses.

The USGA and R&A will allow for hand-drawn notes in green books as long as those notes are written by the player or their caddie. The rule makers also dropped a proposal that would have limited the minimum slope to four percent in green-reading material.

“These latest modifications provide very practical changes that make the interpretation easier to understand and apply in the field,” Pagel said.