What to Believe

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 19, 2010, 11:00 pm
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Not from Tiger Woods. From the talking heads while roaming from network to network. Tiger Woods sincere? Honest? Humble?

“One of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure,” according to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Do ... he ... what ... said ... I couldn't form a complete sentence after having that load shoveld on me.

Did I watch a different news conference? Well, not a news conference, since there were no questions allowed. Let’s call it a scripted performance. One with fervor of Ben Stein proportions.

As I sat at home I could not believe what I was listening to. First from Woods, who in no way seemed like a changed man, but the same person we always thought we knew simply reading a very carefully prepared statement. And then from reporters, analysts, players and pundits who just wanted to give him a hug and a pat on the back.

I saw no emotion, just choreographed motions. Rehearsed deep breaths and stern looks at the cameras. William Hurt was more heartfelt in “Broadcast News.”

Woods didn’t need to cry Friday in order to appear sincere, but how do you not at least get choked up when you speak of letting down your children?

Fifteen feet from my girls’ bedroom, as they lay asleep for their morning nap, I listened to Woods for 13 minutes. Never before, not even when lurid details emerged from his private life over the last three months have I been more disappointed in this man.

Forget about the fact that this was not a Q&A. Forget about the fact that most of the roughly 40 people in attendance were hand selected for support. This was a chance for Woods to win over the millions watching on TV. And that’s what he wanted – or at least wanted us to believe he wanted – closing his speech with, “I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.”

To believe that he was a different person than the one we had come to know recently and closer to the one we thought he was before last Thanksgiving.

If first impressions leave a lasting impression, then that's going to be a tough sell – at least for me.

For 13 minutes, Woods took time to apologize to his family, his fans, his business partners and “kids all around the world.” He denied accusations of domestic violence, praised his wife, chastised the media and made no assertions as to when he would return to competition.

He admitted “irresponsible behavior,” infidelity and multiple affairs. He called himself a cheater. He blamed only himself.

He vowed to return to his Buddhist roots, to become more spiritual, and, above all else, to become a better man.

For the most part, he said the right things. It was just the manner in which he said them.

For 13 minutes Woods talked and never did it seem as if it came from his heart, but rather from his well-paid “people.” He was robotic. He was calculating.

He was who he has always been.

He was Tiger Woods, the professional. The man who calmly and icily stares down an opponent until he blinks, whether that opponent be man or addiction – not that he ever did use the word addiction or say for what he was in rehab for 45 days.

It would have been nice to see Tiger Woods, the human, because this isn’t just a golf story; it’s a human-interest story – one that reaches far beyond this sport.

But, as we were reminded, when Woods is in control he lets you know what he wants you to know, see what he wants you to see, and hear what he wants you to hear.

That hasn’t changed. And I believe, deep down, neither has Tiger.
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Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 10:19 pm

Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.

But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.

With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.

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Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.

In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.

His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.

“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.

“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”

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DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 23, 2018, 9:20 pm

Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.

DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.

"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."

DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.

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Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 9:09 pm

In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.

With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.

The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher. 

The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.