Punch Shot: Most memorable part of Woods' season?

By May 15, 2013, 8:00 pm

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods has regained the No. 1 ranking in the world and won four times on the PGA Tour, but he’s also been embroiled in several on-course incidents that have garnered national attention.

So we asked our panel of writers: If his season ended today, what would you remember most from Tiger Woods’ season?


By RYAN LAVNER

In a year with no shortage of Tiger-related controversies – or emphatic victories – his drop in the second round of the Masters resonates still.

Fairly or not – I’d argue the latter – that singular moment has trumped his best-ever start to a season.

What began simply as chat-room buzz morphed into a full-blown controversy, with every story an opinion, every sound bite a headline. The incident featured all the necessary elements of an epic golf controversy: the star player, the year’s biggest major, a buttoned-up club, bungled calls, cries of favoritism and misplaced priorities. Did Tiger receive a favorable ruling? Should he have done the honorable thing and withdraw? What about his race to catch Jack? The story was delicious, no doubt. But ultimately it seemed an unfair burden for one man to bear.

It’s a shame, too. For the past 13 months Tiger has played brilliant golf, winning seven times in his last 22 starts. But unless he soon pads his major total, Woods’ year is destined to be remembered for the one tournament he didn’t win, largely because of a debated penalty. 


By WILL GRAY

Were it to end today, the thing I’d most remember from Tiger’s 2013 season is the return of the “air.”

Not necessarily the air of invincibility seen during his peak – the heights reached in 2000-2001 will likely never again be matched. But still, Woods’ success this season has rekindled sentiments from years ago: the thought, for instance, that top-tier players enter rounds or entire events knowing that Woods must somehow falter to even have a chance at victory. The notion, especially at Torrey Pines and Doral, that the outcome of the event was known long before the final putt dropped. The general consensus that Woods’ next major win is not a matter of “if,” but rather “when.”

A wise man once said, “Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.” While fans and writers alike can debate the depths to which Woods’ game once fell – and whether or not the 14-time major champion ever truly left – the fact remains that with four wins under his belt before the calendar hits June, the “air” is back for Tiger Woods.


By REX HOGGARD

His Farmers Insurance Open victory was textbook, as were those walk-offs at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational. But if Tiger Woods’ season ended today, it would be his two-stroke triumph at The Players that would stand out.

For the record, Woods had a combined 17 victories at Torrey Pines, Doral and Bay Hill (counting the 2006 and ’05 Ford Championships at Doral and 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines), while Sunday’s tilt at TPC Sawgrass was just his second victory on the Stadium Course as a professional.

The Players was an enigma for Woods, through health and illness, solid play and slumps. Before last week, Pete Dye’s devilish design made Woods look, well . . . un-Woods-like.

He was 1-for-15 entering the week, hadn’t posted a top-10 finish in a decade and had last hoisted the crystal chalice in 2001. Truth is, in his last three starts at the PGA Tour’s flagship event he’d made it to the weekend just once following injury-induced withdrawals in 2010 and ’11.

It’s why last week’s victory was every bit the signature triumph, a ball-striking masterpiece that featured just one driver on Sunday, 55 of 72 greens in regulation (third in the field) and a par-5 scorecard of 12 under par. He finished at 13 under par.

All victories are to be cherished, but after a 12-year wait, this one was special.


By RANDALL MELL

Even when Tiger Woods wins in bundles, he can’t win.

I mean that in the sense that the scrutiny on him is so intense there seems always to be something for somebody not to like in his game. Woods has won four times this season, but every time he tees it up, we do an autopsy on the performance. We analyze his drop at Abu Dhabi, his drop at the Masters, his drop at The Players, his uneasy interactions with Sergio Garcia, his skipping Los Angeles again, his skipping Wells Fargo . . . Every notable step is a headline.

When you are the most recognizable and successful athlete on the planet, the scrutiny comes with the territory. Enormous fame and enormous riches have that price. And when you’ve created a standard of success never before reached, you’re plagued with the expectation of continuing to meet the standard. It’s all part of the bargain. It all drives interest in the game. It also must drive Woods crazy sometimes. That’s what I would remember about this year if it ended today.

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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.”

The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

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.”

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PGA Tour Latinoamérica moving season finale to Doral

By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

“We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

“We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.