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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Woods talks about Ryder Cup prospects in third person

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:47 pm

Conversations between Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods have gotten a little awkward.

That’s what happens when Woods, the U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain, needs to assess the prospects of Woods, the player.

“We’re talking about myself in the third person a lot,” he said with a chuckle Tuesday at the Northern Trust Open. “That’s one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

“I’m one of the guys on the short list, and sometimes I have to pull myself out of there and talk about myself in the third person, which is a little odd.”


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


After placing second at the PGA Championship, Woods finished 11th on the U.S. points list with just eight months of tournament results. Three of Furyk’s four captain’s picks will be announced after the BMW Championship in three weeks, and barring a late injury, it’s almost a certainty that Woods will be one of those selected.

Still, Woods was named in February as an assistant for his third consecutive team competition, even though he told Furyk at the beginning of the year that he envisioned himself as a player on the 2018 squad.

“I’m very close to making that happen,” he said. “It’s been a long year, and that’s been one of my goals, to make the team. To be a part of that team you have to be one of the 12 best players, and I’m trending toward that.”

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Woods on busy schedule: 'It's about pacing myself'

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 1:34 pm

At the beginning of the year, Tiger Woods was anxious to see how his fused back would hold up to tournament play.

Now he’s in the midst of one of his busiest stretches in years.

With the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup likely to be added to his schedule over the next few weeks, Woods could play seven events in a nine-week span.


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


“That is a lot of golf,” he said Tuesday at The Northern Trust. “It’s about pacing myself and making sure I don’t practice too much, don’t overdo it and make sure my training schedule goes well.

“One of the hardest things this year has been finding the right balance. As the summer has gone on, I’ve gotten better and felt better. This is a pretty important stretch.”

Woods has already played 14 events – his most since 2013, when he had 16 starts.

He’s committed to playing the first three playoff events, beginning with this week’s event in New Jersey. There’s a week off after the BMW Championship, and at No. 20 in the FedExCup standings, Woods doesn’t need to do much to punch his ticket to East Lake. He’s also virtually assured of being a U.S. captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup, held in France the week after the Tour Championship.

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Tiger Tracker: The Northern Trust

By Tiger TrackerAugust 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

Tiger Woods begins his FedExCup Playoffs run at this week's Northern Trust. We're tracking him at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.


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Stock Watch: Will Bjorn buy or sell slumping Sergio?

By Ryan LavnerAugust 21, 2018, 12:07 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Sneds (+9%): It doesn’t always happen, a Tour player shooting 59 and then finishing it off with a W, so it was satisfying to watch Brandt Snedeker go wire to wire at the Wyndham. An in-form Sneds now should edge out Kevin Kisner for one of Jim Furyk’s final captain picks.

Viktor Hovland (+6%): Watching the Oklahoma State junior maul the field at the U.S. Amateur, a question arose: How does the fifth-ranked player in the world not win more often? The U.S. Am was just his second title, anywhere, outside of Norway. That could all change, after he proved to himself that he could handle the best field and the stiffest challenge.

Lexi (+4%): She once again was penalized – for playing preferred lies in a different fairway – but Thompson still shot 17 under and tied for 12th in her first start since a self-imposed break to recharge her batteries. In the media tent she was refreshingly honest about the difficulties of being a 23-year-old superstar who never went to college and whose life is consumed by golf. Here’s hoping she can find a better balance (like, say, Michelle Wie) over the next few years.

Tyler McCumber (+3%): The world rankings don’t reflect it, but McCumber is playing the best golf of anyone in the world right now. In his past four starts on the Canadian circuit, he’s gone win-win-3rd-win and shot 90 under par with a scoring average of 65.88 and just two rounds higher than 68.

Nick Taylor (+1%): Playing for his Tour card, Taylor shot a bogey-free 63 Sunday at the Wyndham – with an eagle and birdie in his last four holes – to jump from 129th to 119th in the standings. That’s clutch.


FALLING

Billy Hurley III (-1%): A winner two years ago at Tiger’s event, Hurley is now headed back to second stage of Web.com Q-School after finishing 201st in the standings – by a point. A tough break for one of the game’s good dudes.

Kevin Stadler (-2%): He reminded us of the dangers of slamming clubs, after the head of his 7-iron flew off and struck a spectator in the head, requiring stitches. It was a scary scene – “It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much blood,” said playing partner Shaun Micheel – that could have been even worse.

Sepp Straka (-3%): There were plenty of stories of heartbreak at the Web.com Tour regular-season finale, perhaps none as crushing as Straka, who went 5 over for his last seven holes (including three consecutive bogeys to finish) to drop outside of the top-25 bubble.

Sergio (-4%): At last, some signs of life – his tie for 24th in Greensboro was his best finish on Tour since March – but he still didn’t make the playoffs, and it still might not be enough to sway Thomas Bjorn. For the captain it may come down to a question like this: Who would you rather have in Paris, Sergio or Russell Knox?