Woods finds himself in uncharted waters

By Rex HoggardSeptember 3, 2010, 12:43 am

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NORTON, Mass. – TPC Boston is familiar ground for Tiger Woods. He won here in 2006, finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson in a clash of the titans in 2007 and proceeds from the event benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

But on Thursday under sweltering skies and the threat of a hurricane named Earl everything must have seemed as new as freshly fallen snow. Make no mistake, the world No. 1 is entering uncharted waters, like Indian summers in New England and a Red Sox pennant bid that wanes long before October.

Never before has Woods started a tournament under the looming reality that if he doesn’t play well at the Deutsche Bank Championship he won’t be playing at all for the rest of the Playoffs.

Not in this lifetime has his Ryder Cup fate depended on the hospitality of a captain’s pick.

Only in Bizarro World would Woods have imagined that he would have the same number of victories in September that he had in January. And only in his nightmares would he have envisioned an empty house and broken family back home in central Florida.

But times have indeed changed.

In very practical terms, the season of change is on display this week south of Boston, and central to this competitive paradigm shift is a cerebral Canadian whose father was a chemist and whose mind never stops.

Post-Nov. 26 there are few, if any, questions Tiger Woods is not prepared for, but on Thursday on the eve of the Deutsche Bank Championship he was asked what were the fundamental swing differences between Butch Harmon, his original instructor when he turned pro, Hank Haney, who took over for Harmon in March 2004, and Sean Foley, the newest edition to Team Tiger who started publically working with Woods at last month’s PGA Championship.

“Well,” Woods paused, “they are three different philosophies, three different ways to hit a golf ball.

“There’s a lot of learning to different philosophies, and that’s probably the biggest thing is you first have to understand the philosophy in order to buy into it and then be committed to it. That’s been kind of where I was at.”

If that doesn’t exactly answer the question it at least walks us through the process by which Woods arrives at his fourth professional crossroads.

Unlike journalist and police investigators, Woods has little interest in the when and where. In this case it is only the why and the how that matter. Whatever the differences between the Tiger triumvirate, for Woods the road ahead is all that interests him.

Instead, we tracked down Foley, who was busy most of Thursday afternoon working with Woods and the rest of his stable on the TPC Boston practice ground, and asked how his philosophy differs from that of Harmon and Haney.

“There’s a difference in the generation,” Foley said. “There’s been a whole lot more information.”

Know this about Foley, his Tour-issued credential may read “instructor,” but he is a student of the golf swing by any measure. If Woods wants to know why the golf club continues to get “stuck” behind him on the downswing, a common culprit particularly with the driver, Foley will explain the complexities of biomechanics, physics and the principles of motivation, a detailed intellectual style that likely separates him from Haney and Harmon.

That’s not to say Foley, who at 35 is much younger than his forerunners, is unfamiliar with Harmon and Haney’s teachings.

“Those are predecessors, right? Butch (Harmon), Lead (David Leadbetter), all those guys and obviously I’ve read all their stuff. Worked on all their stuff,” Foley said.

But the die was cast at an early age when the uber-analytical student tried to comprehend a game dominated by dogma and disconnected philosophies.

“I was very scientific minded and found that things were too golf-y,” Foley said. “I found there was too much pseudo-semantics to the golf swing. This plane and that plane, but as I started reading more. I read this is a horizontal swing plane, what is that? That’s the face position at impact. I start thinking about every dimension of movement.”

What followed was a single-minded pursuit of answers. Cause and effect dominate much of the conversation when Foley is talking swing.

Foley’s swing philosophies hardly dovetail with his predecessors. But what all three seem to have in common is a reluctance to teach a single method.

There is little chance Woods’ swing will begin to mirror that of Hunter Mahan, a two-time Tour winner this year and a member of Foley’s stable, but, “(Woods) will look like him at impact.”

For Woods, whose previous swing changes took anywhere from 18 months to two years to incubate, the results have come surprisingly fast. His tie for 12th last week at The Barclays may have been his best ballstriking week of the year and he did little to hide his budding confidence on Thursday.

“I’m starting to see some progress, which is nice,” Woods said. “It’s nice to see that the things that I was trying to do earlier at the PGA I’m trying to do now.”

Although his quick turnaround may be a bit of a surprise, to say nothing of the concerns that accompany unrealistic expectations, Foley figured the best player of his generation would be a quick study and he has not disappointed.

“He’s picked everything up very fast. I would think that the greatest players would be fast learners in any sport,” Foley said. “To finish first last week (in fairways hit), I don’t care if he was hitting 3-wood. He hits his 3-wood 280 (yards).”

With that, Foley inadvertently unearths something that hasn’t changed, Woods’ ability to amaze. Over the last 10 months it has been put to the test, questioned, even dismissed in some circles, but he can still impress.

And amid the sea of change that has become Woods’s life, that’s a start.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.

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Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).

And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 


Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 


Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 


Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.