Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tiger's pre-Buick interview

Excerpts from Tiger's pre-Buick interview


PGA Tour: You've tied Walter Hagen with winning 11 majors, talk a little about that

TIGER WOODS: Well, it was just an emotional win for me. I think any time you win a major
championship, it brings up so many different emotions, because it's so hard to do. Then when
you are actually able to come out on top, you feel the elation, the euphoria that goes on,
all of the hard work, all of the nervousness, the things you've got to deal with in major
championships, all of these things just wear you down and if you're able to come out on top,
it's one of the greatest feelings you could possibly have.

Q. Looking ahead at the PGA, do you feel like whether you win it or Phil wins it, one of you
can kind of have 2006 be the memorable Player of the Year so to speak?

TIGER WOODS: Well, right now as of right now, I think with, you know, having the two World Golf Championships, THE TOUR Championship and a major championship ahead of us, four big
events, anything can happen. Hopefully I can get it done in those four events check, four
bigger events like that, especially in a couple of weeks.

Q. How much motivation was what happened at the U.S. Open for you at the British to rebound
from missing the cut there for the first time?

TIGER WOODS: I think the Western was pretty important. I did not start off well. I shot my
first round over par and I got it going from there. I had a chance with a few holes to go to
win the golf tournament. That to me was what I needed to have happen going to the British. I
needed to have it turn around like that kick quickly and get back into playing mode again.
By the time I got into playing mode at the U.S. Open, I was already 2 , 3 , 4 over. You
can't do that in the U.S. Open, you have to get into the rhythm of the round quickly. I
didn't do that. At the British Open, because of the Western, I got into the rhythm of the
round so much faster and I didn't put myself behind the 8 ball right out of the gate.

Q. You talked a little bit about the Ryder Cup, you have a very young team, what do you
think about the chances of the USA team up against the Europeans?

TIGER WOODS: Well, as of right now, both sides are going to have some players that have
never been on any team before. So as of right now but you know, the points can swing so
fast. We've got basically three tournaments left and with the major being worth so many
points, I mean, every time I look at it, it's like, okay, he's in, he's out. It keeps
changing every week and it's changed a lot.

But as it stands right now, yeah, we have a lot of inexperience versus the top 5 guys on the
team have all been on teams before and then the other guys haven't. The Europeans are
finding the same thing. Right now I think there's four guys that have never played on a team

So it will be interesting to see for both sides to see what transpires and also see how the
picks go and see what the two captains are going to do for their picks.

Q. You've been in the public spotlight, a fan favorite for quite a few years now, but one
kind of senses that with the passing of your father and the emotional win a couple of weeks
ago, that there's even more love for you more as a person than as an athlete, is that
something that you sense?

TIGER WOODS: People have come up to me and said really nice things since the Open and that's awfully nice of them. They can say all these nice things, but I still miss my dad. It is
what it is. It's awfully nice that people especially that have had loss before come up and
share their experiences. That's rewarding in that sense to hear so much about other people's
lives and how we're all basically in the same boat at one time or another. From that
standpoint, it's been remarkable, really.

Q. Last year in a question I posed to you, I referred to you as a "wily veteran" now on Tour
and you said, "don't put me out to pasture yet." But with time, and now with success, you're
tied with Walter Hagen. There's only one more name on the list and that great history and
tradition of golf leaves you one more target. I know it's a one tournament at a time type of
situation, but what does it mean to you now as one more of those accomplishments on the
major list adds to a total that gets you closer to the greatest maybe of all time, Jack

TIGER WOODS: Well, starting out, if you're lucky enough to get anywhere near Jack's record, awfully lucky to pass him, if it happens, it's going to take a career. It took Jack over 20
years to get his. There's no way you can ever have it happen quickly. I've played ten years
out here and I'm just barely passed halfway and realizing how many he won.

Certainly looking at Jack's record, I think the most important thing about Jack's record is
he had 18 wins and he got 19 seconds. When you put in 27 Top 2s, it puts it in perspective
he good he was in the biggest events. When you look at his whole record, you look at how
good he was for the longest period of time. No other player in the history of the game has
done that, be that good for that long.

Q. You've had Chris DiMarco on your heels for a couple of majors last two years. You've
shared team rooms with him at the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. What have you learned about him over the last couple of years as a player and as a person?

TIGER WOODS: Well, what a fantastic competitor. He's a guy that will continue to fight. He
needs to just hang in there and gut it out and give it his best. That's one thing that you
have to admire about any player is that ability not to quit. People quit, you see it all the
time, but I think it's more remarkable that people never quit.

Q. You talk about liking this course and obviously you have a relationship with. Beyond
those things, does the timing work out really well, this year in particular, to have a break
after the emotional win and time after this before the PGA?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it works out perfect because I got a chance to unwind for a few days and then get back up and start getting ready for this event. I have all of next week to go home
well, maybe go home, hurricane might be blasting through there again. But I get to go
somewhere and practice and get ready. I always find it nice to get ready in solitude and
have my game where I want it when I go into a major championship, rather than playing my way into shape.

Q. It's been 12 days since Hoylake now. When you think back on the emotions that came
pouring out on the 18th green, do you have a different perspective about what that was all
about or why that happened, because as you said afterward, that's really not you, but it
happened. Have you thought about that in the last week and a half?

TIGER WOODS: I try not to. Only because I never really lose my emotions like that. And for
me to feel that type of loss, it doesn't feel very good. I haven't seen the coverage, so I
haven't seen that part of it. I haven't even seen a golf shot yet. I've been asking for
somebody to send me a DVD or some kind of tape and I haven't got it yet. So I haven't seen
anything of the golf tournament.

All I know is I remember being in Stevie's arms and crying like a baby and him pushing me
away into my wife saying you deal with him and just bawling there. I've never done that. I
never have. It's because I've never, ever played a golf tournament without Dad. It's the
first time where I've ever within a golf tournament without Dad either seeing me or being
around physically where I could call him up and say, hey, we can talk and rap about it. But
those days I'll never have that day again.

What hurt so much for me this year at Augusta not winning, because I knew that was Dad's
last tournament he would ever see me play in. And it hurt quite a bit, I've never been as
disappointed walking off a golf tournament. I just wanted to play well at the U.S. Open and
I was able to win the British. I kept coming back, why couldn't I have done this a few
majors ago and give him one more thing to see.

But I don't think I could have probably won at the British Open without Dad because I had a
sense of calmness that I don't have I'm usually pretty calm at majors but I was unusually
calm at this major. I think it was Pop up there just keeping me cool and level headed.

Q. There's so many great young players in the field this week and I think I counted a dozen
major winners just playing in the Pro Am alone today, and yet everybody likes to come
gunning for Tiger. Is that still something that you kind of feed off of and enjoy, the fact
that you know, wherever I tee it up, everybody wants to get a shot at me?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it is and it isn't, one of the guys in the field. That's about it. The
ones that are playing this week, you've got to beat everybody here, not just one of those
guys. Hopefully I can put my name up there with a chance on Sunday and get the W somehow.
But there are a bunch of major championship winners, as you said. But, you know, whoever is
in the field, you've got to beat them all in order to win the golf tournament.

Q. How did getting back and playing golf again help you kind of recover a sense of normalcy
after your father's passing?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it was interesting because it was actually probably the hardest thing for me to do was get back and play again because that's how I learned the game. I learned it
from Dad. Every time I take time off when I come back, I always focus on the basics, grip,
posture, stance, alignment. I learned every one of those things from Dad. So that was the
hard part is coming back and getting started. Once I got started it was all right. But
getting over the hurdle of getting started and knowing that he'll never be there to talk
about these little things in detail.

Tiger's effect on TV ratings

Good story from the Washington Times...

By Tim Lemke

August 3, 2006

It's simple math: A golf tournament, plus Tiger, equals good ratings. Broadcasters and fans have known that since Tiger Woods sprang onto the golf scene a decade ago. But the absence of Woods in several key events this year has underscored how much his presence controls the viewing habits of sports fans.

For more, click here.

I played

Like a glutton for punishment, or a fool, I just played 18 holes in this heat.

Teed off at Inniscrone at 11:30 this morning, just as the scorching sun was almost perfectly overhead. By the second tee, I was sweating like a pig. By the third tee, I had finished the Gatorade I bought in the pro shop. By the fourth tee, I looked like I'd been shoved in a pool. By the fifth tee, I had sweated through both my golf gloves and was fishing around in my bag for old crinkled, dried-up gloves that I'd never bothered to toss.

Every time I came to a water cooler, I soaked my towel and wrapped it around my neck. The worst of it was when I had to actually get out of the cart and hit a shot. Searching for errant balls in the rough, or standing over a shot, with the sun pounding on my back, there were moments I feared I might spontaneously combust.

In all, I spotted one foursome and one twosome on the course. By the time I left, the kid collecting carts said they'd had 16 players total today. I'm surprised that many people went out.

I drank two Gatorades and a bottle of water. By the end, I was weak and pretty much miserable.

Didn't play that bad, though.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ortiz wins Junior-Junior

Jonathan Ortiz of Philmont CC defeated Zachary Dilcher of Hartefeld National, 4&2 to win the 2006 Junior-Junior Boys' Championship Wednesday at Woodbury CC.

That was Wednesday. But you could see this kid coming a mile off. Here's a story I did about him four
years ago.

A star rises in Kensington
Jonathan Ortiz, 9, emerged as best in a contest for about 6,000 children.

By Joe Logan

As well as he already plays golf, ask Jonathan Ortiz what he wants to be when he grows up and you'll hear no mention of being the next you-know-who. "I want to be on top of the world - in golf circles," said Jonathan, who lives in the Kensington section of the city and is a fourth grader at Visitation School.

He's off to a good start.

Two weeks ago in Orlando, Fla., Jonathan smashed a 159-yard drive, nestled a couple of chip shots oh-so-close to the hole, and sank putts of 7 and 20 feet to win the national title from among about 6,000 hopefuls in the 7- to 8-year-old age group in the Golf Channel's annual Drive, Chip & Putt Junior Golf Skills competition. Add that honor - along with the handsome Waterford crystal bowl that came with it - to Jonathan's impressive and fast-growing array of almost 60 trophies from junior tournaments here at home and as far away as Florida and California and it's clear this boy has a knack for the game.

"This kid is special," said Chris Eck, co-owner and teaching pro at Experienced Golf Center in Fort Washington, where he works weekly with Jonathan.
"I teach Jonathan as if he were a 20-year-old, because he already has the attention span and desire to learn and listen and perform as an adult. Honestly, he has what it takes to make it to the PGA Tour. "

As Eck spoke one evening last week, 9-year-old Jonathan pumped ball after ball into a net, showing off a compact, well-honed swing that seems equal parts hard work and natural athletic ability.

"You see that move?" said Eck, proud that Jonathan already demonstrates a kind of body control that most young golfers don't master until much later in their development. It was Jonathan's stepfather, David Brice, a guard at Graterford Prison, who first put a club in the youngster's hands. Inspired, as so many others were, by Tiger Woods' amazing 12-shot win in the 1997 Masters, Brice rushed to the closest driving range he could find. Jonathan, not yet 4, tagged along.

As Brice pounded balls, he couldn't help but notice that young Jonathan, hitting from the next mat at the range, had a pretty good little swing of his own. They came back to the range again and again.

Almost two years ago, Brice and Jonathan met Eck by chance when they stopped by his booth at the annual winter golf show at the Fort Washington Expo Center. Before long, Jonathan had a new friend and teacher in Eck, as well as a place to practice.

For Brice, the struggle has become how to finance Jonathan's golfing quest, which this year took him to 33 tournaments (in which he earned 16 first-place trophies, nine seconds and four thirds) up and down the East Coast.

"We are poor - at least we don't have money compared to the other kids traveling this circuit," said Brice, who is married to Jonathan's mother, Nydia Vasquez. Vasquez works in a medical records office. Jonathan's 12-year-old sister also lives with the family in Kensington.
Brice estimates he dug into the family coffers for about $6,000 this year. Another $6,000 came from a benefactor, Joe Corcoran, a businessman whom Brice met while he was caddying in an outing at Philadelphia Country Club.

"As far as I'm concerned, Joe Corcoran walks on water," Brice said. "Believe it or not, there are some good people in this world, and he has a big heart. This guy has seven kids of his own. "

Who knows what next season holds for Jonathan. Now it's time for a little downtime, a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation. Then it's back to work, getting ready for next season. "This year was a big test for us," said Brice, who not only had to juggle the finances but also time off from work. (The inmates at Graterford follow Jonathan's exploits through Brice. ) "I think he'll stay with it."

Jonathan didn't hear his father. He was too busy hitting balls.

Media scum's diary as Tour caddie

Good, juicy reading here as Gary Van Sickle, senior writer for Sports Icky and self-described media scum, bears all in his on-line diary of his five days caddieing for Andy North.

MILWAUKEE -- A chart of my pulse rate Saturday morning would've been entertaining. It was about 6:15, well after zero-dark-thirty but still well before any self-respecting caddie would expect to be awake and alert. (I don't have any self-respect but that's another story.) I was on the practice range at Brown Deer Park with Andy North, the two-time U.S. Open champion who asked me to caddie for him during the U.S. Bank Championship (just for fun, no money will change hands). He was warming up before we went out at 7 a.m. to finish the last 8½ holes of our rain-delayed second round.

For more, click here.


From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram news of a Hummer golf cart...


Sam Goodrich says he can’t afford a Hummer — so he got the next best thing. Or at least the next best thing for a golfer like him.

“It’s a toy you can brag on that other people are envious of,” Goodrich, a 59-year-old retired Delta Air Lines pilot, said of his $21,000 customized golf cart, which looks like a mini-Hummer. “Golfers always want the newest driver or the coolest-looking putter.”

For the rest of the story, click here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Golf in this heat? You nuts?

Against my better judgment, I scheduled a tee time for early afternoon today. I took a shower, slathered on sunscreen and tossed an extra shirt in my bag, just so I could to be dry on the drive home.

Then I walked outside.

In the 10 steps from my front door to my car, I suddenly came to my senses: Only a dope with a death wish would play golf in this 101-degree weather. What, did I want to be carted off the course like Michelle Wie at the John Deere Classic?

I can't believe I actually stood there for a minute or two, with my hand on the car door, debating whether it was really as hot as it seemed, or was I wimping out? By then the smoldering heat had begun to rise up from the asphalt. Yeah, it really is that hot.

I walked back inside, cracked open a bottle of ice cold water and returned to my desk, where I adjusted the air conditioning vent near my feet to wide-open. What was I thinking?

Is anybody playing in this heat?

Weekly notes from the PGA Tour



The veteran set played well last week at the U.S. Bank Championshipin Milwaukee with five players over age 40 finishing in the Top 10.

In addition to winner Corey Pavin (age 46), Jeff Sluman (48), Joey Sindelar(48), Woody Austin (42) and Billy Andrade (42) all finished in the Top 10.·

Corey Pavin won last week’s U.S. Bank Championship while finishing dead last in Driving Distance for the week.·

Vijay Singh enters this week’s Buick Open looking for his thirdconsecutive win at the event. Singh also won the title at Warwick Hills in1997 giving him three wins in the last nine years at the tournament.·

A Tiger Woods victory at the Buick Open would give him 50 career TOUR wins. He’d be just the seventh player in history to reach that figure.He’d also be the youngest. Jack Nicklaus was 33 years, 6 months and 21 days old when he claimed his 50th career title (1973 PGA Championship). Woods turned 30 last December 30.·

If the season were to end today, THE TOUR Championship presented byCoca-Cola would feature a field that included 14 Americans, five playersfrom Australia, four from South Africa, two from Canada and one each fromFiji, Sweden, England, Spain and Colombia.·

Trevor Immelman and Nathan Green lead all rookies with five Top-10 finishes each. The two are among four rookies to already pass the$1-million mark in season earnings. The others are Camilo Villegas and J.B. Holmes

One more on rookies: The top three players in Driving Distance onTOUR are rookies—Bubba Watson, J.B. Holmes and Robert Garrigus. In fact, seven players ranked among the Top 10 in Driving Distance are in theirfirst year on TOUR.


The Nationwide Tour Championship at the Houstonian announced a purseincrease this week. The season-ending event will now offer a $750,000purse with $135,000 going to the winner.·

Does anyone close like Brandt Snedeker? On his final hole inregulation in his last five starts, Snedeker has recorded four eagles andone birdie.·

One more on Snedeker: Over his last five starts, the former U.S. Public Links champ has jumped from 93rd on the money list to seventh.·

Tripp Isenhour enters this week’s Cox Classic presented by Chevroletwith two wins on the season. One more and he earns an automatic promotionto the PGA TOUR. Of the seven players to earn the automatic promotion inTour history, three have done so in Omaha—Chris Smith, Heath Slocum and Jason Gore. Gore accomplished the feat last year.


Following his victory last week at the Senior British Open, LorenRoberts has won five of his 20 career starts on the Champions Tour. He has18 Top 10 finishes in those 20 starts. He’s played in the final group onSunday eight times already this year, winning four times. By the way, hedidn’t earn his fifth PGA TOUR win until his 432nd career start.·

Roberts and Jay Haas are the only players to finish in the Top 10 ineach of four Champions Tour major championships held so far in 2006.·

One more on Roberts: His final-round score of 75 equals thesecond-highest final round score by a winner in Tour history. Only thefinal-round 76 by Lee Elder at the 1985 Denver Post Champions was higher.·

70-year old Gary Player posted a 1-under par 69 in the first round oflast week’s Senior British Open.

LPGA Tournament Owners vs. Bivens

Check out this letter from the chairman of the LPGA Tournament Owners Assn.

July 28, 2006

To: Jay A. Coffin, Golfweek
Fr: Jack Benjamin, TOA Chairman of the Board

Re: Article – Rift Between Bivens, TOA Widens


After receiving many requests for information, the TOA’s position in this memo is only to provide clarification on statements in the article posted on Golfweek’s website this week.

From the tournament point of view, all this really boils down to is managing revenue and expense. Tournaments in 2006 provided roughly $50,000,000 in purse to the LPGA. Tournaments spent another $100,000,000+ to stage events on the Tour. The LPGA takes 6.5% of the total purse ($3,250,000) to support LPGA programs and operations. The remaining $46,750,000 goes to the players. In addition, under the new contract requirement, the LPGA will receive $100,000 from each tournament as a fee to host a LPGA event. Given today’s tour of 32 events, that amounts to $3,200,000 annually. In total, the LPGA receives or will receive a minimum of $6,450,000 directly from the tournaments to support programs and operations. The major concern with just these additional costs (there are other cost requirements in the contract such as purse increases and 100% of the IDS electronic scoreboard expense), is that there are no new revenue sources identified by the LPGA or the Tournaments to sustain these increases in the future. The financial risk rests only with the tournaments.

Another issue that makes interesting conversation is the LPGA impression that tournaments make anywhere from 2 to 9 times the profit that the LPGA makes on an annual basis. This statement is a result of not understanding the business models of most tournaments. The charity gift is not profit. Charity dollars are a requirement and often a line item expense in the tournament budget. The charity gift/expense is necessary in order to attract and keep sponsors and volunteers. It provides a major focus for raising money to support a tournament. The added LPGA expense requirement in the proposed contract, without the identification of new revenue streams, will in many cases reduce the charity contribution, which ultimately reduces sponsor satisfaction and volunteer recruitment. Typically, the only funds left over after the charity donation, are funds to provide operational cash flow until the next year’s tournament.

The TOA’s sole purpose as an association is to investigate, disseminate, and provide factual information to its members in order for the tournament businesses to be competitive and sustainable. The TOA has been engaging in business development efforts with the LPGA on a regular basis for over 20 years. We have had many difficult conversations, and many intense negotiations; we have always come to a satisfactory agreement. That is one of the major reasons why the LPGA business opportunity is so well positioned in today’s sports marketplace. The stage has been set over the years by the great skills of the players, coupled with the partnership between the LPGA and all its major stakeholders and investors.

The implication that the TOA or its member tournaments are struggling with “change” is misleading as tournaments change each year in keeping pace with the sports and entertainment environment and industry. Positive, sustainable change is a negotiated direction between partners who share a vision, and then agree on a path to achieve that vision. This principle is the underlying theme of the TOA’s strategic plan. It’s just business management 101. It only gets complicated when the business vision, the roadways to execute the vision, and the measurements of success are absent or just not clear.

Thank you for your time.

Ryder Cup points

(through British Open/B.C Open)
1. Tiger Woods 3,755.000
2. Phil Mickelson 2,474.375
3. Jim Furyk 1,896.000
4. Chad Campbell 1,129.602
5. David Toms 1,072.250
6. Chris DiMarco 830.000
7. J.J. Henry 778.750
8. Zach Johnson 756.477
9.Brett Wetterich 746.000
10. John Rollins 685.000
11. Vaughn Taylor 660.833
12. Lucas Glover 641.376
13. Davis Love III 631.875
14. Fred Couples 627.727
15. Tim Herron 621.667
16. Tom Pernice 565.000
17. Arron Oberholser 557.500
18. Stewart Cink 556.894
19. Billy Mayfair 489.166
20. Brett Quigley 478.333
21. Scott Verplank 475.667
22. Jerry Kelly 473.750t
23. Ben Curtis 445.000t
23. Steve Stricker 445.000
25. Jeff Maggert 439.334

Note: The Top 10 finishers on the points list qualify for the 12-man team,U.S. Ryder Cup Captain will select the two final players to complete the team.

(through July 23)
1. David Howell 207.27
2. Colin Montgomerie 205.90
3. Jose Maria Olazabal 202.09
4. Henrik Stenson 199.01
5. Luke Donald 187.74
6. Sergio Garcia 180.71
7. Paul Casey 165.33
8. Carl pettersson 154.12
9. Padraig Harrington 152.22
10. Paul Broadhurst 125.73
11. Johan Edfors 125.00
12. Darren Clarke 121.42
13. Thomas Bjorn 101.40
14. Paul McGinley 101.07
15. Miguel Angel Jimenez 99.47
16. Ian Poulter 92.61
17. John Bickerton 89.12
18. Nick Dougherty 88.89
19. Anthony Wall 87.97
20. Lee Westwood 87.63
21. Robert Karlsson 87.06
22. Simon Khan 77.49
23. Kenneth Ferrie 76.99
24. Anders Hansen 76.17
25. Niclas fasth 72.49

(through July 23)
1. Colin Montgomerie 2,413,016.11
2. David Howell 2,274,635.98
3. Henrik Stenson 1,744,908.71
4. Paul Casey 1,721,833.85
5. Sergio Garcia 1,557,771.27
6. Padraig Harrington 1,482,527.44
7. Paul McGinley 1,411,982.24
8. Jose Maria Olazabal 1,381,698.05
9. Paul Broadhurst 1,336,905.57
10. Johan Edfors 1,247,039.24
11. John Bickerton 1,141,957.16
12. Kenneth Ferrie 1,107,963.52
13. Thomas Bjorn 1,104,681.38
14. Robert Karlsson 1,092,811.77
15. Luke Donald 1,059,830.20
16. Miguel Angel Jimenez 1,007,261.85
17. Simon Khan 989,891.32
18. Anthony Wall 989,942.62
19. Stephen Dodd 915,044.05
20. Nick Dougherty 904,124.05
21. Anders Hansen 845,424.55
22. Niclas Fasth 813,308.77
23. Ian Poulter 751,854.43
24. Jose Manuel Lara 747,274.03
25. Simon Dyson 684,533.61

Note: The Top 5 finishers on the Ryder Cup World Points List qualifyfor the 12-man team, the top 5 finishers, not otherwise qualified,on the Ryder Cup European Points List will qualify for the team,European Ryder Cup Captain will select the two final players tocomplete the team.

Golf in space news

Cosmonaut Prepares for Out-of-this-World Golf Shot

Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin will attempt to jettison a golf ball into orbit around the Earth in September when he makes his second trip to the International Space Station. If Tyurin's shot proceeds as anticipated, the golf ball will be in orbit for more than three years, travel some 2 billion miles, and be tracked via the Internet.

For more, click here.