Reality Check

By John HawkinsAugust 10, 2010, 12:08 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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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

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Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.


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Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.



“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”