Tiger's words need to match his actions

By Jay CoffinFebruary 3, 2017, 12:56 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – At least five times a week, I tell my 10-year-old son to choose his words more carefully. Tiger Woods should heed similar advice. For different reasons, mind you, but the same principle applies.

The greatest champion of this generation became that way, in large part, because of his unrelenting resolve to pound his competition into the ground along every step of the way. Every single day Woods woke up wanting to beat the snot out of anyone who stood in his path. He was essentially a stroke ahead of the field while standing on the first tee each week because everyone knew he was the man to beat. It was a beautiful thing to watch for nearly two decades.

That man is long gone and likely never to return. Some of his Tiger-speak needs to hit the road, too.

Woods arrived at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic fresh off a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, yet sat in front of the assembled media on Wednesday and said he was here to win. He also insisted that he was perfectly healthy. Twenty-four short hours later we discover that neither of those comments were remotely accurate.

Woods on Wednesday

“Goal is to win it.”

“Whether my swing looks classical, rhythmical or it may look unorthodox, I don’t care. As long as I don’t feel nerve pain.”

Woods on Thursday, after shooting 5-over 77 and appearing to be in pain

“No, I wasn’t in pain at all. I was just trying to hit shot and I wasn’t doing a very good job.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg on Friday

“Felt OK coming off the golf course yesterday. So he wasn’t in pain. Dinner last night. I didn’t see him at dinner but said he was OK. And went into a spasm in his lower back, fairly late last night after dinner.” 

He’s not ready to win. He’s not healthy.

Woods isn’t going to change, the whole old dog, new tricks analogy comes to mind. He said these things because that’s simply what he’s always done; Never let the competition see weakness, never let anyone see inside your soul, give as little information as possible. Earl Woods engrained those tactics into his son at an early age.

That philosophy is garbage now that his body has failed him and he’s not able to produce results.

Perhaps more than ever, critics are going to hold Woods’ words against him. If he says he’s ready to win, says he’s healthy, shoots 77 and withdraws the next day with back spasms then chaos inevitably is going to ensue. And Woods deserves all the heat he gets.

It’s a new day and this is a different Woods. Now is the time for him to choose his words more carefully. Step up, tell people that, while the goal has always been to win, right now the only focus is getting your game and your body ready to be more competitive with each passing week.

Say that it’s going to take time, even say that it’s a process. But don’t fly from Los Angeles to Dubai with an aching back, after missing the cut in San Diego, and say that victory is in the offing. Woods is not capable of playing 36 holes, he’s surely not ready to win.

It’s time for Woods to be more forthcoming with his prognosis. It won’t hurt him. Humble pie has never given anyone indigestion.

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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.

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That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.

Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.

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Watch: Dufner makes six (!) fist pumps after birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 4:53 am

Jason Dufner makes Ben Stein seem like Jonathan Winters. Dufner often looks mighty miserable for someone who plays golf for a living.

But not on Friday at the CJ Cup!

Dufner made a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and “celebrated” with one-two-three-(pause)-four-five-six fist pumps. There could have been more, but the camera cut away.

That was Dufner’s third birdie on the back nine, which offset a triple bogey at the par-3 seventh, en route to an even-par 72. Good times.

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Watch: Paul C-ace-y makes hole-in-one at CJ Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 2:35 am

Par-par-par-par-par-par. It was a boring second round over the first six holes for Paul Casey at the CJ Cup.

And then he aced the par-3 seventh.

Casey's tee shot from 176 tracked straight towards the hole and rolled in near the final revolution. That got him to 2 under par for the tournament. He was five off the lead, held by Chez Reavie, but bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes to give back those two strokes.

Hey, it's a no-cut event and a guaranteed paycheck. Drinks on Casey!