Woods ready for Ryder Cup challenge

By Doug FergusonSeptember 28, 2010, 9:19 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – The Ryder Cup is getting personal for Tiger Woods.

Interrupting an otherwise dull press conference Tuesday, Woods fired back at a comment Rory McIlroy made six weeks ago that “I would love to face” the world’s No. 1 player in the Ryder Cup unless his game rapidly improved.

Asked for a reaction, Woods leaned into the microphone and said only, “Me, too.”

The quote from McIlroy – the closest thing to bulletin board material at Celtic Manor – came the week after Woods’ golf reached a low point in a dismal season. He had the highest score of his career and beat only one player in the 80-man field at Firestone.

McIlroy was not worried that he had given Woods or the U.S. team any more motivation.

“I’m fine. I’m all right,” said the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland. “You’ve got to realize, I said those things the week after he had just shot 18 over at Akron, so he wasn’t playing too well at the time.”

Woods was aware of the comment before arriving in Wales.

He mentioned the quote two weeks ago at Cog Hill while talking about Stephen Ames, whom Woods had beaten 9 and 8 in the Match Play Championship after Ames was quoted making fun of Woods’ accuracy.

“At least Rory said, ‘Unless my game improves,”’ Woods said in Chicago.

There also were stories circulating at Cog Hill that Woods had said to McIlroy upon passing him, “Careful what you wish for.” McIlroy, however, denied that ever happened.

The singles matches on Sunday, which decide the Ryder Cup, are a long way off. And because it’s a blind draw, there is no guarantee Woods and McIlroy would play each other.

Singles rarely has been a problem for Woods or the other top American players. Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk—the core of the U.S. team since 1997 – collectively have won 125 times on the PGA Tour, including 19 majors.

That hasn’t carried over into the Ryder Cup.

In singles, they are 10-6-2, with Woods and Furyk losing only once. In fourballs and foursome matches, with different partners in the 18 Ryder Cups they have played, that trio is 18-34-9.

Maybe that explains why they all have losing records, and have played on losing teams.

“It’s disappointing,” Furyk said. “But I guess we’ve got an opportunity to get closer back to square. Instead of looking at the past, I think right now you look ahead. You look ahead to Friday, Saturday, Sunday and not worry about what’s happened. The bad news is the last 20 years, we haven’t won very often. Right now … try to figure out how we’re going to take the cup back home with us.”

Tuesday was the first day of practice on the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor, designed specifically for the Ryder Cup. What began under a light drizzle soon gave way to mild sunshine, only for rain to arrive toward the afternoon.

Based on the foursomes both captains sent out, there were no surprises.

Europe started on the back nine with Francesco and Edoardo Molinari playing with McIlroy and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland. Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher brought up the rear.

European captain Colin Montgomerie defended his selection of Harrington, a three-time major winner who has not won in two years, saying he played the best of anyone on his side during practice and made two eagles.

“There’s reasons why Padraig Harrington was picked, and judge me about that selection on Oct. 4,” Montgomerie said.

Montgomerie cited the record of Luke Donald – 5-1-1 – when he made the Englishman a captain’s pick. Donald, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood all have winning records in the Ryder Cup. They are considered to be good Ryder Cup players.

Does that mean Woods, Mickelson and Furyk are not good Ryder Cup players because of their records?

“You can say that about a number of players,” Montgomerie said. “Tiger’s record in the Ryder Cup is not quite as bad as people think it is. It’s just because his individual record is incredible.

“Who says that won’t happen this week?”

Woods played alongside Steve Stricker, with whom he was 4-0 at the Presidents Cup a year ago. They were joined by Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, while the anchor foursomes was Mickelson and Dustin Johnson with Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, the 21-year-old who became the first PGA Tour rookie to be picked for the Ryder Cup.

Woods got through his least favorite part of the week – his press conference – putting little thought into any of his answers, except when he listened to one British reporter refer to him as an ordinary golfer. Woods thought he recognized the reporter from the British Open who harshly asked whether he would respect the game.

“I hope you’re having a good week,” Woods replied.

His teammates painted a different picture, especially Stricker. Woods gave him a putting tip during the practice round, and Stricker noted that Woods was hitting the ball crisply and his spirits were high.

“He’s talking very positively,” Stricker said. “I think his motivation level is high, as it is always in this event. I think he’s a little misunderstood when it comes to these team events.”

Asked what he meant by talking positively, Stricker said it appeared to him that Woods was “in a good place.”

The sex scandal that led to so many humiliating headlines also cost him his marriage – the divorce became official Aug. 23 – and kept Woods from qualifying for the Ryder Cup team for the first time. He is playing as a captain’s pick, although Woods says he feels no extra pressure to perform.

Even so, he no longer looks as unbeatable – even in individual tournaments – and McIlroy picked up on that.

“He’s still a fantastic guy, and I’m sure he’ll get back to winning the way he used to,” McIlroy said. “For the meantime, I suppose a little bit of that aura is probably gone.”

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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

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

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

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.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

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.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


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.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

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.”