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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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."