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Timeline: Look back at Woods' injuries

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 30, 2017, 9:30 pm

While compiling the greatest career record of his generation, Tiger Woods has been no stranger spending time on the sideline because of injury. Here's a look back at some of the ailments that have caused Woods to miss time during his career:

December 2002: Woods has surgery to remove fluid from around the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of his left knee. The surgery sidelines him a few weeks, but Woods wins in his first start back at the 2003 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.

April 2008: Shortly after a runner-up finish at the Masters, Woods has arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage to his left knee. Weeks later it is revealed that the then-two-time U.S. Open champ has a pair of stress fractures in his left tibia.

June 2008: After playing through pain to claim the U.S. Open title at Torrey Pines, Woods has reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee. During the surgery, further cartilage damage is repaired, and Woods does not return to action for nearly nine months, losing to Tim Clark in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February 2009 in his first start back.

May 2010: After missing the cut the week prior at the Wells Fargo Championship, Woods withdraws during the final round of The Players Championship, citing what he believes to be a potential bulging disk. 'I've been playing with a bad neck for quite a while,' he tells reporters. The injury was later diagnosed as an inflamed facet joint in his neck. Woods does not miss a start, tying for 19th in his next appearance at The Memorial Tournament the following month.

April 2011: Woods announces that he will withdraw from the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship due to a 'minor' injury to his left knee and Achilles' tendon, one that he claimed to have suffered at the Masters earlier in the month. 'This is precautionary,' Woods' agent tells reporters. 'We're not at all concerned.'

May 2011: In his first start since his most recent injury announcement, Woods abruptly withdraws from the Players Championship after nine holes, exiting early from TPC Sawgrass for the second consecutive year. 'The knee acted up and then the Achilles' followed after that,' he tells reporters. The injury is later diagnosed as both a sprain of the MCL ligament in his left knee and a strain to the left Achilles' tendon, and Woods ultimately misses three months of action, including both the U.S. Open and British Open. He ties for 37th in his return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.

March 2012: Woods withdraws with seven holes left in his final round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, citing an injury to his left Achilles' tendon. 'In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary.' The injury does not sideline him long, as Woods wins just two weeks later in his first start back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

June 2013: After a T-32 finish at the U.S. Open, Woods announces he will miss the upcoming AT&T National due to a left elbow strain. 'I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment,' he says in a statement. It marks the third time he has missed the event because of injury in its seven-year history, and Woods confirms that he intends to return at the British Open in July.

March 2014: Woods withdraws on the 13th green in the final round of the Honda Classic, citing lower back spasms. Woods shot 5-over 40 on the front nine. Woods said after the round that it was too soon to tell his status for next week's WGC-Cadillac. Woods’ spokesman, Glenn Greenspan, said that the world No. 1 had experienced discomfort during warm-ups and that the issue was similar to what Woods experienced during last year’s Barclays, when he fell to his knees in pain during the final round en route to a runner-up finish.

April 2014: Woods announces that he will miss the Masters for the first time in his pro career. He also revealed that he recently underwent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back and that he hoped to return to the PGA Tour “sometime this summer.”

August 2014: Woods withdraws on the ninth hole of the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, citing lower back pain. The injury stemmed from an awkward lie on the second hole that sent Woods back into a fairway bunker after impact. “Just jarred it," he said, "and it’s been spasming ever since.” This was his third tournament since returning from surgery in March, and he played his first eight holes 3 over. When asked about his prognosis for the upcoming PGA Championship, Woods said, “I don’t know. Just trying to get out of here.”

February 2015: In his second start of the year, Woods walks off after completing 11 holes of his opening round at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a back injury. Woods explained that the injury stemmed from enduring multiple fog delays before the start of his round, and that he was unable to keep his glutes "activated." "My glutes are just shutting off," he said. "Then they don't activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back."

September 2015: After showing signs of improvement in his final start of the season at the Wyndham Championship, Woods on Sept. 18 announces that he has undergone a second microdisectomy surgery two days prior to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve. "This is certainly disappointing, but I'm a fighter," Woods said in a statement. "I've been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will." Woods says the surgery will cause him to miss the Frys.com Open, Bridgestone America's Golf Cup and his own Hero World Challenge. He further states he hopes to return "early in 2016."

October 2015: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone a "successful" procedure as a follow-up to his latest back surgery. Intended to "relieve discomfort," the procedure was performed in Park City, Utah, by the same neurosurgeon who performed Woods' microdiscectomy surgery on Sept. 16. "It's one of those things that had to be done," Woods says. "I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I'll be back as soon as I can." There is still no timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.

April 2016: Woods, who hasn't played competitively since Fall 2015 surgeries, announces that he will miss the Masters for the second time in three years. "After assessing the present condition of my back, and consulting with my medical team, I've decided it's prudent to miss this year's Masters," he said in a statement on his website. "I've been hitting balls and training daily, but I'm not physically ready. I've said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what's best for my long-term health and career. Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn't be the right decision. I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf."

September 2016: Woods announces in a statement that he "hopes" to return to competition at the Safeway Open, Oct. 13-16, the 2016-17 PGA Tour season-opener. The statement said he "intends" to also play the Turkish Airlines Open in November and his Hero World Challenge in December. “My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortbale making plans, but I still have work to do,” he said in the statement released on his website. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.”

October 2016: After committing to the Safeway Open three days prior, Tiger Woods officially withdraws on Oct. 10. He says in a statement, “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.” He also said he will not compete in November's Turkish Airlines Open, but hopes to return at the Hero World Challenge in December.

February 2017: Woods withdraws from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before the start of his second round. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, cites back spasms as the reason. Woods said he was feeling no pain following his first-round 77.

February 2017: Woods announces that he will not compete in the Genesis Open nor the Honda Classic, two of four events in a five-week stretch in which he planned to play to start the year.

March 2017: Woods misses the Arnold Palmer Invitational as he continues to recover from back spasms.

March 2017: Woods says he is not "tournament ready" and misses the Masters for the third time in four years.

April 2017: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone "successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg." The announcement explains that "Woods' bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain. ... The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing. The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute."

May 2017: Woods is arrested in Jupiter, Fla., on suspicion of driving under the influence. Woods later says alcohol was not involved and he had "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications."

July 2017: Woods tweets that he "recently completed an out of state private intensive program," as he continues to seek professional help following his arrest for DUI on May 29. "I will continue to tackle this going forward with my doctors, family and friends," the statement continues. "I am so very thankful for all the support I've received."

October 28, 2017: Woods pleads guilty to reckless driving and enters a diversion program. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

October 30, 2017: Woods announces he will make his first competitive start in nine months at the Hero World Challenge.

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Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1

By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 12:13 am

Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.

She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.

She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.

Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.

She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.

When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.

At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.

“Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.

All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.

“A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”

Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.

Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.

“She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”


Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship


Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.

Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.

“You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”

Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.

What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.

“Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”

Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.

Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.

“I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”

Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.

Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.

Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.

Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.

“I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”

Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.

“When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”

Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.

“Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”

Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.

“I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”

Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.

“I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”

Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.

“That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”

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Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:50 pm

Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.

Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.

Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:

Austin Regional Madison Regional San Francisco Regional Tallahassee Regional
Arkansas Duke UCLA Alabama
Texas USC Stanford Furman
Michigan State Arizona State South Carolina Arizona
Florida Northwestern Kent State Washington
Auburn Illinois Oklahoma State Wake Forest
Oklahoma Purdue North Carolina Vanderbilt
Houston Iowa State Colorado Florida State
Miami (Fla.) Virginia Louisville Clemson
Baylor Wisconsin N.C. State Georgia
Texas A&M Campbell Mississippi Tennessee
BYU Ohio State Cal UNLV
East Carolina Notre Dame San Diego State Kennesaw State
Texas Tech Old Dominion Pepperdine Denver
Virginia Tech Oregon State Oregon Coastal Carolina
UTSA Idaho Long Beach State Missouri
Georgetown Murray State Grand Canyon Charleston
Houston Baptist North Dakota State Princeton Richmond
Missouri State IUPUI Farleigh Dickinson Albany
       
Brigitte Dunne (SMU) Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State) Alivia Brown (Washington State) Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)
Xiaolin Tian (Maryland) Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo) Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis) Claudia De Antonio (LSU)
Greta Bruner (TCU) Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State) Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico) Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)
Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State) Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky) Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State) Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)
Ellen Secor (Colorado State) Erin Harper (Indiana) Darian Zachek (New Mexico) Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)
Faith Summers (SMU) Cara Basso (Penn State) Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis) Kaeli Jones (UCF)
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Leach on grizzlies, walk-up music and hating golf

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:47 pm

He's one of college football's deepest thinkers, and he has no time to waste on a golf course.

Washington State head football coach Mike Leach created headlines last week when he shared his view that golf is "boring" and should be reserved for those who, unlike him, need practice swearing. The author and coach joined host Will Gray on the latest episode of the Golf Channel podcast to expand on those views - and veer into some unexpected territory.

Leach shared how his father and brother both got bitten by the golf bug as he grew up, but he steered clear in part because the sport boasts an overly thick rule book:

"First of all, the other thing I don't like is it's pretentious. There's a lot of rules. Don't do it this way, don't do it that way. You walked between my ball and the hole. This guy has to go first, then you go after he does. I mean, all these rules, I just don't understand."

Leach also shared his perspective about what fuels the vibrant fashion choices seen on many courses:

"You can tell there's a subtle, internal rebellion going on with golf, and where that subtle, internal rebellion manifests itself is they really liven up the clothes. I mean, they're beaten down by all the little subtle rules, so they really liven up the clothes. Maybe have knickers, maybe they'll have a floppy hat or something like that."

Leach on the advice he would sometimes offer when friends explained their rationale for hitting the links: 

"They say, 'Well I don't go there to golf or go to take it seriously. When I go golf, I just like to have some beers.' And I'm thinking, 'You know there's bars for that? There's bars for that, and at those bars they have, often times, attractive women and music going on?'"

Leach is heading into his seventh season at Washington State, and he also described a unique hazard that can sometimes pop up at the on-campus course in Pullman, Wash.:

"In the spring the grizzlies come out, and the grizzly preserve is right across the street from the golf course. So they’ll be out, you’ll see them running around on the hills inside the preserve there. But there is this visual where, all of a sudden you drive up this hill on your golf cart, and you’re at the tee box and you’re getting ready to hit, and on the hill just opposite of you it’s covered with grizzly bears. And as you’re getting ready to hit your ball, it occurs to you that the grizzly bears are going to beat you to your ball."

Other topics in the wide-ranging discussion included Leach's proposal for a 64-team playoff in NCAA Division I football, his chance encounter with Tiger Woods before a game between the Cougars and Woods' Stanford Cardinal, his preferred walk-up music and plans for "full contact golf."

Listen to the entire podcast below:

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Post-Masters blitz 'exhausting' but Reed ready for return

By Ryan LavnerApril 25, 2018, 8:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – After briefly suffering from First-Time Major Winner Fatigue, Patrick Reed is eager to get back inside the ropes this week at the Zurich Classic.

The media blitz is an eye-opening experience for every new major champ. Reed had been told to expect not to get any sleep for about a week after his win, and sure enough he jetted off to New York City for some sightseeing, photo shoots, baseball games, late-night talk shows, phone calls and basketball games, sitting courtside in the green jacket at Madison Square Garden next to comedian Chris Rock, personality Michael Strahan and rapper 2 Chainz. Then he returned home to Houston, where the members at Carlton Woods hosted a reception in his honor.

With Reed’s head still spinning, his wife, Justine, spent the better part of the past two weeks responding to each of the 880 emails she received from fans and well-wishers.

“It’s been a lot more exhausting than I thought it’d be,” he said Wednesday at TPC Louisiana, where he’ll make his first start since the Masters.

It’s a good problem to have, of course.

Reed was already planning a family vacation to the Bahamas the week after Augusta, so the media tour just took its place. As many directions as he was pulled, as little sleep as he got, Reed said, “We still had a blast with it.”


Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


There are few places better to ease into his new world than at the Zurich, where he’ll partner with Patrick Cantlay for the second year in a row.

Reed wants to play well, not only for himself but also his teammate. After all, it could be an important week for Cantlay, who is on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk’s radar after a victory last fall. That didn’t earn him any Ryder Cup points, however – he sits 38th in the standings – so performing well here in fourballs and foursomes could go a long way toward impressing the captain.

“There’s maybe a little extra if we play well,” Cantlay said, “but I’m just trying to play well every week.” 

Reed got back to work on his game last Tuesday. He said that he’s prepared, ready to play and looking forward to building off his breakthrough major.

“A lot of guys have told me to just be careful with your time,” he said. “There will be a lot of things you didn’t have to do or didn’t have in the past that are going to come up.

“But first things first, you’ve got to go out and grind and play some good golf and focus on golf, because the time you stay and not focus on golf will be the time you go backward. That’s nothing any of us want. We all want to improve and get better.”