The 6-Minute Man Looked Like a New Man - COPIED
Yes, six minutes with Golf Channel and a similar allotment with ESPN Sunday night didn’t seem like enough for his first interviews since his fall from grace, and yet Woods managed to give us a more telling glimpse of who he intends to be from now on than he did reading his public apology over 16 minutes a month ago.
Six minutes isn’t enough to know the new man, or if there truly is a radically different man emerging, but it was a promising start.
This six-minute man doesn’t look like he could angrily bounce a club into the gallery without appearing to care who he hits.
He doesn’t look like he could use a certain vulgar word as a noun, verb and adjective in the same sentence without caring how those words bruise innocent bystanders.
This guy looks like he might be undergoing a transformation beyond the way he views marriage. This guy sounds like somebody who might be changing his relationship with the world.
For six convincing minutes, at any rate, Woods did.
If there’s more of this new man to come, then this great journey Woods will resume when he tees it up at the Masters next month might not be something to dread after all. It might not be a repeat of Barry Bonds’ miserable march to break Hank Aaron’s record. It’s full of hope that it might be the greatest march to redemption we’ve yet witnessed in sport.
Because Woods’ quest to break one of the great records in the history of sport, Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championship triumphs, is not a solitary journey. Everyone who loves the game, who loves sport, will walk with Woods. This six-minute man looked and sounded like somebody you could embrace when he officially becomes the greatest player who ever lived.
This six-minute man deftly dodged a question that he deems as personal but so many of us deem more than that.
What happened the early morning hours of Nov. 27 matters.
It didn’t just change Woods’ life; it changed the golf world.
Yes, something happened between Woods and his wife, Elin, to set off the crash that was obviously personal, but the crash damaged more than Woods. It damaged the entire golf industry. How and why the game was forever changed is relevant, even important.
“It’s all in the police report,” Woods told Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman.
It isn’t all in the police report, but it appears we may never know how and why the game was changed. It seems destined to go down as one of the sport’s great mysteries. Of course, Woods will protect his family, and that’s understandable, but some general accounting is due because of the way the game was injured early that morning.
There also are still serious questions about why Woods would seek treatment from a doctor who has a history of using and prescribing banned HGH substance. The game’s integrity is potentially damaged by the link, no matter how innocent the treatments were.
Still, the six-minute man set a tone that leads us to believe he might be more transparent in the future, if not in these matters, in matters he has closed us off to so severely in the past.
Frankly, even after the public apology, it was difficult to envision Woods transforming his nature, to envision him somehow becoming less guarded, less controlling, less private and more revealing. The suggestion that he might even become more of a “people person” seemed farfetched. It was easier to envision him as a man determined to aim the formidable powers of his personality at fixing a problem, at taming the unruly lust that turned his life upside down. The six-minute man is easier to see changing.
The revelation that Woods is wearing a Buddhist wrist band for “protection and strength” tells us a lot about his fragile state of mind. So did his revelation of how therapy is helping him: “The strength I feel now, I have never felt this type of strength before.”
The six-minute man looked and sounded like somebody on his way to winning more than golf’s biggest events again.
For six minutes, Woods sounded like a man who will win his redemption.
Of course, it will take a lot more than six minutes to know if Woods wins that match, but it was a sure-footed step for a guy who's counting his steps.
TT postscript: This 65 better than Aronimink 62
ATLANTA – The start wasn’t much to look at, but that finish was something else. Tiger Woods eagled the final hole on Thursday and shares the 18-hole lead at the Tour Championship. Here are the things you know you want to know:
• First of all, let’s give a pat on the back to the man who most deserves it today: Me. Early this morning, I sent this tweet:
Less than an hour until tee time. Gotta good feeling about this week. Let’s set the O/U today at 66.5 on the par 70. And then take the under.— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) September 20, 2018
Never doubt my good feelings. Ben Crenshaw doesn’t have my good feelings. We may have 54 holes to play, but I gotta good feeling we’re going to be changing that Tiger Tracker avatar Sunday night.
• Now onto Tiger. After all, he did hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 28 putts. It wasn’t looking good early when he had nine putts through four holes and was 1 over par. But he birdied Nos. 5 and 6, turned in 1 under, and really turned it on down the stretch with two birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes. And if you take a good look at the scorecard below you’ll notice he didn’t make a bogey after the first hole.
• How good is a 65 at East Lake? Better than his opening 62 at Aronimink, according to Woods: “This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink. Conditions were soft there. This is – it's hard to get the ball closer. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”
Woods added that you had to play “conservatively” and be patient – take what the course allowed. Tiger missed five putts – four of them for birdie – inside 15 feet. But in the 93-degree heat, he kept his composure and made putts of 26 and 28 feet for birdie, and 28 feet for eagle.
• This week feels different. It feels like Tiger is really ready to win again. He seems very serious, very focused. He talked about “getting the W” on Wednesday and said on Thursday, “[T]he objective is to always win.”
After shooting 65, Woods signed a few autographs and eventually made his way to the putting green. If he gets those 15-footer to fall, we’re going to be two wins away from tying Sammy.
• So, what about that eagle on 18, you ask? Tiger said he “hammered” a driver – which was listed at 320 yards – and then hit a 5-wood from 256 yards to 28 feet. As for the putt: “It took forever for that putt to start breaking, grain coming down off the left. But once it snagged it, it was going straight right.”
Right into the cup. Right into the lead. Our man is making history this week.
Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.
Co-leader. pic.twitter.com/MMUZ8zptQ9— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 20, 2018
The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?
Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.
It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.
A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.
Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.