Woods Life Has Changed

By Rex HoggardAugust 9, 2010, 7:28 pm
2010 PGA ChampionshipOn Wednesday at Firestone Country Club, Tiger Woods, a man whose career has been defined by a flare for the dramatic, summed up a turbulent year with a grossly understated yet economically astute, “Life has changed.”

Woods was answering a question about his limited practice schedule this year, but the three words neatly wrapped up a life that has made the journey from Teflon to tormented in a single competitive calendar.

It was 12 months ago when the golf world was spinning upon a familiar axis. Woods, unstoppable at a major when pacing the field through 54 holes, was two clear of Padraig Harrington and someone named Y.E. Yang when the sun inched under the horizon at Hazeltine National. Eighteen holes, 75 strokes and 12 inexplicably eventful months later everything has changed.
Tiger Woods
The 2010 Woods seems to have lost his dominating edge. (Getty Images)
Shortly before last year’s PGA Championship, Paul Goydos was asked about Woods’ 54-hole record at majors, a perfect 14-for-14 when ahead but flawed to the extreme when trailing. “He’s never come from behind to win (a major)? Big deal, neither have I,” Goydos deadpanned at the time.

Since then, one of those two players has shot 59 in a PGA Tour event, the other is Woods.

Changing times, indeed.

Woods is still No. 1, at least on paper, but by any other measure the cup is wanting. Last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was Woods’ eighth start of 2010, the first time he’s been this deep into the calendar without a victory in more than a decade; he’s 85th in earnings, 119th in FedEx Cup points and his margin atop the world ranking has slipped to the point that not one but three players (Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Steve Stricker) can overtake him atop the pack when the dust and decimal points settle on Sunday in Kohler, Wis., site of this week’s PGA Championship.

Despite his tie for 78th at Firestone, his worst Tour finish as a pro, Woods remains optimistic about his game, if not his PGA title chances. And, at least in a historical context, that optimism is rooted in former performances almost as much as it is current form.

“I think I can turn it around,” he said Sunday before making his way to Whistling Straits. “I’m just going to be ready for Thursday.”

Of the 17 events Woods has played after the Open Championship since 2006 he’s won a dozen times and had four runner-ups. By comparison, in the 31 events he’s played before the U.S. Open since ’06 he has 10 victories and three runner-ups.

He may have made history at the Masters (1997) and U.S. Open (2000 and 2008), but from a competitive point of view the dog days seem to bring out the best in Woods.

Some of the Southern Cal native’s post-Open Championship success can be attributed to the summer heat, and the notion that whatever swing flaws Woods was dealing with had been sorted out via the reps of spring and early summer.

For Woods, however, it is the familiarity and fondness for many late-season ballparks like Firestone, where he’s won seven times, that give him his late-in-the-year boost.

“I love playing (Firestone). I believe that some of those wins were actually at (the Buick Open) as well, which I like that golf course, as well,” said Woods, who failed to finish in the top 4 at Firestone for the first time in 11 starts. “It was a lot to do with the venue. I think in my career I've played pretty good on certain venues.”

Although Whistling Straits, where Woods finished tied for 24th at the 2004 PGA Championship, may not have the same caché as Firestone, his four Wanamaker Trophies account for nearly 30 percent of his Grand Slam haul to date, compared to three victories apiece at the U.S. and British Opens.

All things considered, “Glory’s Last Shot” is still Goliath’s last, and best, chance to get off the schnide and salvage what has been a forgettable 2010.

If others have reached a point of panic Woods remains resolute, if not realistic given the turmoil in his life. Or perhaps Woods’ optimism is born from experience. In 2004 he failed to win a stroke-play event for the first time in his career and in 1998 he managed just a single “W.” Both droughts were followed by career years of six (2005) and eight (1999) victories.

“Just be patient, keep working, keep going,” Woods said last week. “I've been through periods like this before. And I just have to keep being patient, keep working, keep building, and keep putting the pieces together, and when they do come, when they do fall into place, that's usually when I will win a few tournaments.”

Whether those pieces fall into place in time to salvage the meanest of seasons this week in Wisconsin likely depends less on Woods’ wayward driving or balky putter, the most common culprits in the stalled comeback, and more on his life outside the ropes, an existence turned upside down by the events of Nov. 27.

Woods has, however reluctantly, acknowledged the impact his personal life has had on his game.

“It’s not only concentration, but it's also preparation and then also my preparation out here,” Woods said. “But things are starting to normalize, and that's been a good sign.”

CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, a man who has battled his share of off-course demons, said it best in a recent interview. “There’s nothing wrong with his swing. There’s nothing wrong with anything except the head full of slamming doors that you have when you go through a divorce – especially when there’s children involved.”

By almost every measure, 2010 has been a year of change for Woods, a man who savors the status quo even more than the familiarity of the Tour’s late-summer fairways. How quickly life returns to something close to the norm will ultimately decide how the endless summer is remembered.

Last Wednesday in a final moment of understated clarity, Woods seemed to realize how much has changed since last year’s PGA Championship. “It has been a long year,” he said.
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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.

Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos

Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”