Woods fields softball questions

By Randall MellApril 30, 2012, 8:38 pm

The Tiger Woods fan presser Monday wasn’t exactly riveting fare.

You could call it a clinic on “The Art of the 2-Foot Putt.”

Or maybe just “The Big Miss II.”

As questions go, they were all 2-footers. It was about as much fun as watching Woods line up gimmes all day on the practice putting green. It must have been easier than shooting reporters in a barrel, uh, I mean fish in a barrel.

For as much as Woods talked Monday about his “better-than-most” putt at The Players Championship in 2001, he made sure to spare himself any tough, double-breaking questions from fans in the video he posted on his website. That’s not to say the fans didn’t come up with some compelling questions; we’ll never know, because Woods got to pick and choose from a collection we’ll never see.

My bet is there were some great questions in the mix, but I wouldn’t have included as “great” the ones Tiger did.

What have you been working on since the Masters?

“Great question,” Woods deadpanned. “At the Masters, I was kind of struggling with my ball striking a little bit, and Sean (Foley) and I fixed it. It had to do with my posture. My setup wasn’t quite right, as well as my takeaway.”


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OK, as Woods answers goes, he was practically baring his soul.

Do you still rotate between the 2-iron and the 5-wood in the bag?

“That is a great question,” Woods said again before going on to explain he uses the 2-iron when it’s dry and fast and he feels as if he can chase the shot with some run on it and uses a 5-wood when there are reachable par 5s and he needs some height on his shots.

Those two “great questions” were among 19 Woods answered off  papers he held in a 14-minute and 19-second video.

Which was your most memorable Players Championship and why? . . . How many practice rounds will you play before a tournament? . . . What ratio of long-game to short-game practice do you do before a tournament? . . . Do you think you have a good chance of winning Wells Fargo?

If Edward R. Murrow or Mike Wallace were still around, surely they would have been taking notes on the penetrating quality of the inquiries. If Bernard Darwin and Herbert Warren Wind were around, surely they would have feared the end of probing media interviews as we know them with social media moving them aside.

“The Big Miss II” could have described this social media experiment as well. It did feel like an experiment given Woods chose for the first time at a tournament site to do this kind of fan Q&A in place of a media conference. Given the awkward exchanges in his media session at the Honda Classic, and given his own swing coach’s plea for critics to back off Woods, it’s clear Woods would prefer fewer media encounters, though he deserves credit for regularly standing up to the camera when many of his brethren high-tail it after rounds. Woods may not say a lot, but he does stand up to face the questions.

This felt like the Big Miss because Woods did have a chance in a more relaxed, informal social-media setting to connect with fans in a meaningful manner. He could have had the chance to show social media can be more illuminating than traditional media. Instead, he whiffed on that 2-foot putt. Instead, we got more of the same, little meaning beyond trivial detail.

Yeah, I get as much as I can that Woods must guard his private life, that he must get exhausted and irritated having everything he says and does analyzed ad nauseam. I understand if Woods says anything of substance, has any strong or controversial opinion, it is headlines around the world. It’s fodder for endless blogs, discussion boards and talk-show debates.

There are probably fewer headaches when you’ve mastered the art of saying almost nothing, and Woods has mastered that like he’s mastered real 2-foot putts.

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Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

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“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.


Projected FedExCup standings

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“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.


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“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.