Latest setback doesn't mean the end of Tiger

By Jason SobelApril 1, 2014, 6:14 pm

In the wake of Tiger Woods’ announcement that he will miss next week’s Masters Tournament after having surgery on his back, allow me to save you some time by summarizing the initial reaction from social media and message boards and water coolers around the world.

He’s done. It’s over. All of it. The chase for Jack Nicklaus’ all-time major championship record. The quest to be the best golfer ever. It’s finished. Kaput. He had a nice run, but it’s time to move on. Thanks for the memories, Tiger.

Forgive me for pumping the brakes on public opinion and stifling more than a little speculation. I’m just not ready to write the guy off so quickly. That’s not to say I believe he’ll unquestionably break Nicklaus’ record – I didn’t maintain that even before his back became an issue – but I’m also not convinced that we’ve reached some sort of finality, either.

In order to explain this view, let me relay an old story you probably remember.

This now-famous story centers on Woods’ visit with a doctor prior to the 2008 U.S. Open, when he was suffering with a torn ACL and multiple leg fractures. It turned out to be a pointless visit, because Woods was advised to remain on crutches for three weeks, then rest for another three afterward.

“Tiger looked the guy in the eye,” his then-coach Hank Haney once recalled, “and said, 'I'm playing in the U.S. Open and I'm going to win.' Then he started putting on his shoes and told me, ‘We're going to go practice.’ It's just incredible."

The rest was, literally, history. Woods won the tournament at Torrey Pines in a Monday playoff, and then sat out the remainder of the year to recuperate.

Tiger vs. Snead and Nicklaus

Check out Tiger's road to catching Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus' victory records

If we’ve learned anything about Woods after Tuesday’s announcement, it’s that he now follows doctors’ recommendations and is taking necessary efforts to aid the longevity of his career.

Think about it: He could have defied medical orders once again. He could have sacrificed the year to compete in the Masters. He could have been stubborn once again.

Instead, at age 38, Woods is playing it safe and making the proper call.

That doesn’t mean he’ll return in two or four or six months completely healthy and ready to win majors again. And really, if his back was in too much pain to swing the club, he couldn’t have defied doctors’ orders even if he wanted to.

But the microdiscectomy surgery that Woods recently underwent should be considered more of a positive than a negative. It means that rather than trying to continue playing through pain as he did at the Honda Classic before withdrawing and the WGC-Cadillac Championship, he is making a point of looking more toward the long-term than the short-term.

“I'm absolutely optimistic about the future," Woods said in a press release on his personal website. "There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I've said many times, Sam [Snead]and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine."

In this case, the precautionary measure may have also been a necessary one. Woods is five years younger than Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, each of whom have won majors in their 40s. If they can do it – both after suffering career-affecting injuries, as well – there’s no reason to believe Woods can’t similarly win during the back-nine of his career.

That said, Woods is an old 38. He started playing competitive golf and enduring lengthy, grueling practice sessions at such a young age that he might have as much as a decade more tread on the tires than fellow professional of the same age. Since turning 30, he’s endured major injuries to his knee, Achilles, neck and now back – all of which are unequivocally important in maintaining a successful golf swing.

Through it all, he’s maintained the world’s No. 1 ranking and status as the game’s most talented player. He’s no stranger to the three R’s – rest, rehabilitation and recovery – and certainly isn’t unfamiliar with working hard to achieve those goals.

All of which should lead to the following conclusion: This is not the end of the line. It’s too shortsighted to believe that Woods won’t recover from this injury as he has in the past. It’s too careless to think he won’t return as the game’s best player once again.

That’s probably not the popular opinion right now. You might think he’s done. You might think the chase to catch Jack is over. You might think he’s doomed – if such a term is the proper description – to be the second-leading major winner ever.

The most riveting subplot in sports will only become more intriguing when he returns. There are plenty of people writing off Woods’ chances following this latest announcement. But if there’s another thing we’ve learned about him over the years, it’s that he loves proving people wrong.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 11:30 am

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson