The old Tiger Woods is never coming back

By John FeinsteinJune 19, 2012, 8:25 pm

There is a good reason why people tend to jump back on to the Tiger Woods bandwagon every time he pieces together a couple of decent rounds.

It’s because when they look at him they see Tiger Woods. Problem is, he’s not.

He’s not the Tiger Woods who dominated golf in ways no one in history has ever dominated the sport. He’s not the Tiger Woods who made getting up-and-down from anywhere look so easy that the only real question seemed to be whether he’d hole out from off the green or walk up for a tap-in.

And he’s most certainly not the Tiger Woods who, in a rare moment of complete honesty, once said finishing second “sucks.”

That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to win more majors. As he pointed out repeatedly after his victory at the Memorial, he’s still only 36. That’s right in golfing middle age and there isn’t any doubt that Woods is going to continue to work maniacally on finding the missing pieces in his game because that’s who he is and who he always has been.

Even so, it was shocking to hear him talk about how encouraged he is, about how close he is, after he collapsed on a weekend at a major championship in a manner one would expect from a mini-tour player who somehow found himself on top of a 36-hole leaderboard and then remembered who he really was when he woke up on Saturday.

It is to Woods’ credit that he talked to the media after his rounds on Saturday and Sunday even if he did react to Roger Maltbie asking him if the hand that smacked a camera on his way off of 18 on Saturday was alright, as if Maltbie had asked him how things were going with his ex-wife. You go from tied for the lead in the U.S. Open on Friday night to five shots back on Saturday night you should be a little bit cranky.

But let’s face it, the old Woods wouldn’t have talked to Maltbie or anybody else on Saturday. And Sunday? He would have been in the car and out of Dodge – or San Francisco – before the group behind his had walked up the hill to the 18th green at Olympic.

Butch Harmon, who was Woods’ teacher during the period when he was so much better than the rest of the world, made the comment a few months ago that he believed part of his old pupil’s problem was that he was trying to be someone he’s not; that trying to rehab his public image in order to win back corporate sponsors was getting in the way of rehabbing his golf game.

There may be something to that. Or there may be something to the theory that he has spent so much time trying to hit the ball straight off the tee that he’s lost the magic he once had around the greens.

Or maybe it’s just this: he’s trying too hard in the majors.

That’s natural for everyone who plays golf at the highest level. Does anyone think for one second that Jim Furyk would have hit a tee shot like the one that came off his club at No. 16 on Sunday if he was in contention at Bay Hill, the Memorial or, for that matter, The Players?

Of course not. Even though the Official World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup point systems don’t acknowledge the fact that the majors are at least 10 times as important as any weekly tournament, the fact is they are to everyone who has ever teed it up on Tour.

And for Woods, they are even more important than that. He’s said as much from the first day he first popped onto golf’s radar and, for the most part, has never backed away from that. There was the tiniest crack in that veneer when he won at Memorial. For some reason, he really wanted people to understand how remarkable it was that he had matched Nicklaus’s 73 Tour victories. He repeatedly pointed out that he’s 10 years younger than Nicklaus was when he won his 73rd tournament, something he never would have brought up pre-hydrant. His response then would have been something like, “It’s an honor to have my name in the same sentence with Jack Nicklaus but this is NOT the number I’m ultimately after.”

Maybe the thought has crossed his mind that he might not reach that number, the one that appeared to be an absolute lock at the moment four years ago when he last kissed a major trophy. Maybe that’s why he’s squeezing the club so tight at the majors these days.

Think about this: after his victory at Torrey Pines, Woods had won six of the previous 14 majors. Earlier in his career he won seven-of-11 at one point. It was not unreasonable to think that today, 16 majors later, he would already be at 19. Even if you account for the two he missed at the end of 2008 he still would have had 14 chances to win five more and be past Nicklaus now.

Of course, since that day his body has betrayed him and he betrayed his family. His putter has turned on him at key times and even his nerves have frayed. Four years ago, tied for the 36-hole lead at a major, Woods would have wondered only by how much he was going to win, not if he was going to win.

He’s correct when he says he’s seen progress. He’s won twice on Tour this year and finished second with a closing 62 on another occasion. But the majors have been a different story. In fact, his past four majors have produced the following results: DNP-injured; missed cut; T-40; T-21.

Do those results look like Tiger Woods? Consider for a moment his results the last year he was completely healthy and scandal-free, which was 2007: T-2; T-2; T-12; 1. And he wasn’t all that thrilled with those numbers.

In the end, there’s probably too much of the old Woods rummaging around inside the one we’re looking at right now for him not to win again when it really counts. He’s smart and he’s driven like perhaps no one in golf history has ever been driven. Nicklaus was driven by history; Woods is driven by history and anger.

But when it does happen, when he does win again on a Sunday when he really and truly cares, let’s not start screaming, ‘he’s back!’ The new Tiger Woods may be good enough to win a major. But the old one, the one who would have won by five last week and then said, “it’s nice win but I’ve got a lot to work on,” is never coming back.

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 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 GolfChannel.com.  

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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.


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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.