Reality Check - COPIED

By John HawkinsAugust 14, 2010, 5:35 am

His performance at Firestone was laughable, full of shots you would expect from a 10 handicap, not the best golfer ever. A week that began with Tiger Woods talking about not having time to practice ended with him at 18 over par, the worst 72-hole score of his career. The post-tournament media briefing was just as comical, as Tiger leaned on self-deprecating humor in an attempt to explain himself. It was almost as rare as the awful play that preceded it.

For the first time since his infamous public confession (Feb. 19), however, Woods sounded like a man ready to surrender to reality, which would qualify as a huge step forward in a rehabilitation process that hasn’t really happened. At Firestone, a golf course he has dominated like no other, Tiger’s basically was inept. Perhaps the experience altered him to the fact that hard work and success are synonymous, that focus is as essential to shooting a decent number as a tweak to the golf swing.

“Not tomorrow,” Woods said of searching for answers after Sunday’s final-round 77. “I’ll be up there [Whistling Straits] today. I can probably play 18 and still watch the guys finish [at Firestone].” From a guy who five days earlier had blamed his winless 2010 on a busy schedule, the sense of urgency amounted to progress.

At the very least, Eldrick Almighty has turned misaligned priorities into a felony. No time to work on his game? Really? Forget for a moment that any tour pro, much less the best in the world, isn’t afforded the luxury of such an excuse. As revelations of his illicit behavior turned into an avalanche last winter, it became clear that Tiger had remained a great player despite his off-course transgressions. The lies to his wife, deceptive life and adulterous stretches added up to a massive distraction, yet he still won five or six times without breaking a sweat and never had to worry about losing the No. 1 spot in the world ranking.

Firestone proved Woods can’t overcome anything and everything. Instead of immersing himself in golf to soothe the pain of a collapsed marriage, Tiger appears to have done the opposite. Considering all the self-imposed damage, a loss of desire almost seems logical, but at some point, a man must identify who he is and what he does. First, second and third, Tiger Woods is a golfer. If finishing 30 strokes out of first place doesn’t lead him to the Land of Soul Searching, nothing will, but my sense is that last week’s misery served as a pretty loud wake-up call.

John Hawkins appears on Golf Central every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and on the Grey Goose 19th Hole every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

For the record, on-site sources at Whistling Straits say they did not see Woods on the grounds Sunday afternoon. His caddie, Steve Williams, went through his usual pre-tournament preparation, but Tiger didn’t show, which doesn’t mean that he wasn’t working on his game somewhere else. The fact that he was so unforgiving and excuse-free when assessing the state of his game is a step in the right direction. Even if he’s 15 or 20 steps away from returning to premium form.

If you’re U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, you express concern over Woods’ woes but acknowledge that you have to offer him a spot on the team if he doesn’t qualify. You don’t leave behind a guy with 71 victories and 14 major titles – doesn’t matter how sideways he’s hitting it. A lot can change between now and October 1, and besides, Pavin doesn’t have to make his picks until Sept. 7, so we’re talking about a pretty large window of opportunity. That said, the decision to participate should be Tiger’s. If he’s playing like he is now, he won’t want to go, anyway.

“Shooting 18 over par is not fun,” Woods quipped shortly before heading to Whistling Straits. “I don’t see how it can be fun. Especially when my handicap is supposed to be zero.” A chuckle or two later, one could see how Tiger’s only true handicap is a reluctance to come to terms with reality.

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Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

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Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

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Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”