Cut Line: Tiger taking slow road back from surgery

By Rex HoggardMay 23, 2014, 6:52 pm

High marks this week to Tiger Woods for following doctor’s orders, Rory McIlroy for listening to his own advice and Jason Gore for remembering a truly inspiring summer.

Made Cut

The slow road. If anything could be gleaned from Monday’s Q&A with Tiger Woods at media day for his Quicken Loans National, it is that the often-injured star has turned into the model patient, however reluctantly.

This was, after all, the same guy who told doctors in 2008 that not only was he going to play the U.S. Open on a busted left wheel, but he was going to win. He delivered on both fronts.

This time, however, Woods has replaced his normal bravado with a much more balanced approach if his take on Monday at Congressional was any indication.

“There is no timetable,” Woods said when asked about his recovery from back surgery on March 31. “That’s been kind of the realization through all this. There is no date. It’s not going to be up to me if I play, that’s up to my docs. I’d like to play now.”

It’s good to see that at 38 Woods may still think himself invincible on the golf course, but in the doctor’s office he leaves things up to the experts.

Un-qualified success. Open qualifying for all of the national championships annually delivers a healthy dollop of tales, but this week was particularly interesting.

On Tuesday, 11-year-old Lucy Li became the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open after shooting 74-68 at Half Moon Bay. It’s the second time this year the youngster has charmed the masses.

In April, Li won her age division at the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National.

A day later, 50-year-old Laura Davis followed Li at sectional qualifying, carding rounds of 72-75 to punch her ticket to Pinehurst. It was another victory for golf’s most democratic championship.

A true patriot. Your scribe is bound for the Patriot Cup this weekend in Tulsa, Okla., a tournament that benefits the Folds of Honor Foundation, which supports the families of servicemen and women injured or killed in combat.

The Folds of Honor was founded by Dan Rooney in 2007 to assist those who serve, and the Patriot Cup brings together current service members, supporters and PGA Tour players for a two-day event.

While his work is inspiring, your scribe has to admit the U.S. Air Force major is a tad delusional.

He recently texted your scribe explaining that the “grunts” (U.S. Marine and Army personal) didn’t stand a chance against the “flyboys” (U.S. Air Force and Naval aviators).

Always knew you had to be a little off to be an Air Force pilot.

Tweet of the week: @JasonGore59 (Jason Gore) “It’s been nine years since I’ve been on this awesome property! So glad to be at #PinehurstResort”

During one of the most magical summers in the history of professional golf (non-Tiger Woods division), Gore earned a battlefield promotion with three victories on the Tour, qualified for the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and was three shots back entering the final round before he ballooned to a closing 84.

His Cinderella story still ranks as one of the best in the last decade, and his emotional return to Pinehurst is an indication how much that episode in his life still means to Gore.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Silent Rors. Anyone who watched Rory McIlroy’s news conference on Wednesday had to feel for the young man.

His very public engagement came to very public ending this week when he announced he and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki had broken off their plans to marry.

“There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people,” McIlroy said in a statement. “The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails.”

Later that morning, the Ulsterman had to endure a 30-minute “therapy” session with the media at Wentworth and later disclosed he has been keeping his phone off and gave away his laptop to avoid dwelling on the news.

He opened the BMW PGA Championship with rounds of 68-71 and is tied for fifth place, proving yet again that McIlroy is nothing if not resilient.

Missed Cut

Remembering Mac. This week at Wentworth players and caddies honored longtime European Tour caddie Iain “Mac” McGregor, who suffered a heart attack and died while working at the Madeira Islands Open on May 11.

On Thursday at the BMW PGA, players wore black to honor McGregor (#BlackForMac) and European Tour officials apologized for allowing the Madeira Island event to continue in the wake of the caddie’s death.

“I completely understand the views of people who say that we should not have carried on, but it was a terrible situation for anyone to be in and the decision to finish the tournament was not taken lightly, either by myself or by the tournament officials on the ground in Madeira,” European Tour chief George O’Grady said.

Although it was two weeks too late, Mac finally received the honor he deserved.

NFL (No Fun League). The par-3 13th hole at Colonial this week is strangely quiet thanks to a move last year by the PGA Tour to end the annual caddie races on the hole.

The circuit banned the races last year at Colonial and the Waste Management Phoenix Open over safety concerns for the caddies, and given the tragic death of McGregor two weeks ago perhaps it was for the best.

But watching groups trudge from tee to green on the hole in near silence this week is a vivid reminder that entertainment is always in the eye of the beholder.

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Watch: On 59 watch, Sneds dunks approach for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

Brandt Snedeker was having a good day in Round 1 of the Wyndham Championship. And then he reached the green a the par-4 sixth at Sedgefield Country Club and his day got even better.

Snedeker holed a 7-iron from 176 yards, on the fly, for an eagle-2. Playing his 15th hole of the day, Snedeker vaulted to 9 under par for the tournament.

With Sedgefield being a par 70, Snedeker needed two birdies over his final three holes to shoot 59 and he got one of them at the par-3 seventh, where he hit his tee shot on the 224-yard hole to 2 feet.

Snedeker actually had 58 in his cross hairs, but missed an 8-foot slider for birdie at the par-4 eighth.

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Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have already been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility and a goal. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback honor in 2012. Even without an official award, it’s fun to compare the cases of Koepka and Woods.

What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

“There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”

The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue, which occured at the Hero World Challenge in December (in which he finished last in the limited field), putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

As amazing as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened four times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers

Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”

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Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

  • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
  • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
  • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
  • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.

Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.