The good news in Tigers statement

By Randall MellDecember 12, 2009, 6:31 am

Tiger Woods is “profoundly sorry.”

He is “deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt” that his “infidelity” caused. He asks for “forgiveness.”

Woods is turning his “focus” on being a “better husband, father and person.”

For Tiger Woods’ fans, this is all good news in the statement he just released on his Web site.

It’s good news after nothing but awful news the last 14 days.

The announcement leads us to believe Woods hasn’t lost his family yet, that he’s working “to repair the damage” he’s caused. There’s hope in the message for those who want to see him save his family. There’s hope of healing and redemption.

The downside for Woods’ fans is that he will be taking an “indefinite break” from professional golf.

There’s a potentially steep downside in that for the PGA Tour.

When Woods doesn’t play, the game’s not the same. This won’t help the Tour as it tries to secure a new TV contract and renew title sponsorships in a bad economy.

Really, though, this may be a case of short-term pain that’s well worth the long-term gain.

We don’t know how long Woods will be gone. It seems apparent he won't be back for the PGA Tour event in San Diego, where he traditionally makes his season start in late January. That wouldn’t be an indefinite break. It would be a normal break.

Whatever time Woods spends away, it’s good for Woods and the PGA Tour if he returns as “the better father, husband and person” he says he is trying to become. The downside is the likelihood that it will take longer than a couple months to do that work.

Still, this message is good news, and it would resonate so much more powerfully if he looked at us when he said it.

Woods has serious credibility problems. Statements issued on the Web alone won't change that.

As much as Woods supporters fiercely argue that he shouldn’t have to make a public appearance to confess and apologize, the act would go a long way in starting his rehabilitation in so many minds.

Sports Illustrated’s Phil Taylor said it well this week.

“Does Woods owe the public further insight into his private life?” Taylor wrote. “Of course not, but this is not about what Woods owes us; it is about what he wants from us going forward. Does he want the same thunderous reception from the gallery as he approaches the 18th hole that he has enjoyed? Does he still want to be admired as a pioneering role model, and not just appreciated as a great golfer? If he cares about those things, he will have to earn them back by being honest with us and revealing at least some of his pain. That is his public penance. The public, in a way, is like the spouse who has been cheated on. If you want to repair the relationship, you need to do more than just say you're sorry – you have to let us look you in the eyes and make our own judgments.”

Maybe that’s coming.

Maybe we’re finally nearing the bottom of this awful story, but there’s no guarantee with media outlets continuing to dig. The appetite for the scandal is staggering. The depth of the allegations is equally staggering.

The story still needs a bottom, and here’s hoping Woods moved us closer to it with his statement. Here’s hoping he’s on his way to turning this story around and leading us all out of this mess.

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Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”