Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tiger's latest newsletter

September 11, 2006

By Tiger Woods
I've been on a great run the last two months and I hope it continues this week at the HSBC World Match Play Championship in Surrey, England. All my hard work is paying off, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. People keep asking how this streak compares to 1999-2000, when I won six PGA Tour tournaments in a row. Even though I've only won five-straight, I know I'm a better player. I can hit more shots, control my trajectory and am much smarter about how I manage my game.

I have always said my career is a work in progress. If you stand still, somebody goes past you. That's why I continue to refine my swing with Hank Haney, trying to become the most complete and consistent player I can be. The day I stop trying to improve is the day I walk away from the sport.

Next week is the Ryder Cup at The K Club in Ireland. Tom Lehman, our U.S. captain, recently arranged a two-day trip there for us to bond and learn the course, and it was a great experience. It was especially good for our rookies - J.J. Henry, Zach Johnson, Vaughn Taylor and Brett Wetterich - to get comfortable with the guys. We're all about the same age, so we can all relate. This is my fifth Ryder Cup team, so I'll take on more of a leadership role.

None of us know for sure what pairings captain Lehman has in mind. He might pair people based on how they are playing next week. We'll just have to wait and see. I would love to have the opportunity to tee it up with Jim Furyk. The guy is a stud and pulled out a great win at the Bell Canadian on Sunday. We teamed up well last year in the Presidents Cup and hopefully we'll get chance to do it again at The K Club.

The golf course is pretty easy to learn; it's not real tricky. It's hard to see the bottom of the cups on a couple holes and there are a couple blind tee shots. We all hit the ball about the same. Whoever putts the best will win the cup.

There has been a lot of discussion about the bogey I made on the ninth hole during the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club. After hitting my drive into the right rough, I had about 167 yards to the green and hit a 9-iron. The ball flew the green, landed on a cement walkway in front of the clubhouse, then bounced over the roof.

I thought the ball was out of bounds. I waited in the fairway to get a ruling from PGA Tour official Mark Russell, who came up to me and said, 'It's in play.' I was as surprised as anybody when I got a free drop because the grandstands behind the green were considered a temporary immovable object, but I didn't make the rule.

It was a great break. You can't hit every fairway and make every putt. If I had to re-drop from where I hit my second shot I would have been lucky to make six. As it turned out, I made a pretty easy 5 and almost made 4. What a par that would have been!

Some golf fans have questioned me for not playing in last week's Bell Canadian Open. If I had played, it would have meant seven weeks in a row - three weeks in the U.S., plus a trip to Ireland, then three weeks in Europe. That's just too much wear and tear on my body.

I have some great memories of Canada, especially the 18th hole at Glen Abbey when I won in 2000. Every time I have played in Canada, I have received amazing support from the crowds. Hopefully, I can return in the future.

People have asked why I tape the middle finger of my right hand when I play. I've got a callous that's unreal. During the summer in the hot, humid weather, it just tears apart when I practice, so I tape it.

My wife Elin and I attended the U.S. Open tennis finals on Sunday in New York and had a blast. We were guests of Roger Federer, who I finally met in person before the match against Andy Roddick. We both represent Nike and are represented by IMG, so we've communicated before. He's an extraordinary athlete and a great champion. About two weeks ago he invited me to the finals - if he made it - and I said sure. I've been to other tennis tournaments before, but never the U.S. Open. I can't believe how hard those guys hit the ball. I always enjoy watching the best athletes in the world compete. Afterward, I congratulated both players in the locker room and hung out for a while.

On October 7th, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Friends will perform at our annual Block Party at The Grove in Anaheim, Ca. My friend Kevin James will emcee the event and renowned chef Bobby Flay will do the cooking. Proceeds benefit the TWLC. I'm looking forward to being back in Orange County and raising funds for our programs. It should be a great time.

Before I go, I want to express my deepest sympathies to those who lost family and friends in the 9/11 tragedy. My thoughts are with you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

O'Hair 3rd at Canadian Open

Having his father-in-law Steve Lucas back on the bag must be the magic formula for Sean O'Hair.

O'Hair, 24, from West Chester finished alone in 3rd at this week's Bell Canadian Open, after firing rounds of 65- 69-66-68 for a total of 12-under par. It was his best finish for 2006, and his second top 10 (after his 4th at the Buick in early Augusta). The $340,000 payday raised his earning for his sophomore season to $1.33 million.

Here's his post-tourney interview:

PGA Tour: Sean O'Hair, thanks for joining us here. Nice round today. Looks like you're going to come up a little bit short, especially a tough finish there with the lip out there on the 17th hole. But overall a good week and it looks like your game is really coming back. Maybe some opening comments about the day.

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah. It was a little bit of a frustrating day, as well as I hit the ball. I felt like I was in such control of my ball flight today. With the wind, there was a lot of cross breezes, and I was able to shape it up against the wind, ride the wind, control my trajectory, and some of those pins were hard to get to. But my short game kind of let me down a little bit on a few holes on the front, and I misjudged the wind on 2, and I actually hit a good shot and I played the best I could today, and unfortunately it was a little bit short.

PGA Tour: Looks like you made good putts there on 17, and on 18 you made a good run at it, too.

SEAN O'HAIR: Yeah, I don't see how that one at 17 missed. I mean, that thing was in the hole and then just dove and missed low. That was a little bit frustrating because I actually felt like I was playing more break than I needed to, and I just was trying to get the right speed so it would take the break, and it broke more than I thought.
I hit a great drive on that hole, and unfortunately I hit a poor second shot. But if you're going to hit bad shots I made a great bunker shot and made a great putt and ended up making par. That was pretty much it because if I put myself in the position where I've got to make birdie on 18, I know that more than half the time I'm going to do it. That was very frustrating.

PGA Tour: And then knowing you were two shots back on 18, what do you do there?

SEAN O'HAIR: It was a tough shot because I just the wind was going pretty hard left to right, but I wasn't going to play it into the bleachers and hopefully the wind takes it. I didn't feel like that was the shot. I wanted to play kind of a low draw up against into the wind and I just kind of came out of it a little bit. That was actually my bread and butter this week was that little punch draw. I was doing it all day today and I felt great over the ball, I just made a bad swing.
That was a tough bunker shot and I managed to hit a little chunk and run, which was nice. I wish it would have ran out a little bit better. But I played my heart out on the back nine. That's all I can do.

Q. You're frustrated now. How long does this last? Tomorrow morning will everything be normal or are you still going to be reviewing shots in your mind for the next who knows how long?

SEAN O'HAIR: I'm not going to take this as a disappointment. I've played good this week, and this year hasn't been the greatest year for me. Things are starting to come around, and I can't look at this as a negative. I mean, this is only a positive. I've got to move on with it and go from there.

Q. You obviously didn't have a chance to see what was going on with Furyk, but to not be able to catch a guy like him cannot be all that disappointing. He looked like he was in pretty good control of his game, as well.

SEAN O'HAIR: You know, he's I mean, his play this year speaks for itself. I don't think anybody is uncatchable. You know, I'm not even close to being the caliber player yet that Jim Furyk is now. But if I'm out there thinking that he's uncatchable, I might as well pack it in. I thought he was very catchable, and if I just a few putts fell for me on the back nine, and if I made a few better decisions on the front nine, I'm right there.
You know, in a way I'm a little bit disappointed with as well as I hit the ball today that I only shot 2 under, but this week is an absolute, 100 percent positive, and that's how I'm going to take it. I'm not going to look at it as a negative. Like I said, I played with everything I had and just was a little bit short, and I'm going to learn from it and hopefully take it into next week. I'm playing next week, and you never know.

Q. Are you the type of guy that takes something like this not into next week even but as well into next year? What I mean by that is when you look at your schedule at the end of this year, you see the Canadian Open coming up next year, different day, different venue. Do you think back on what this was as a positive experience, and does that influence your thinking about whether you play or whether you don't play?

SEAN O'HAIR: In a way it does, yes. I know that it's at a different golf course and I'm not familiar this is my first trip here, so I don't know how that golf course suits me or how that golf course plays or whatever. But Canadian Open is a top notch event in my opinion. It's the National Open for Canada. I look at it as a big event.
I haven't really looked at the schedule for next year yet because I'm still trying to finish this one out, but I really hope it fits into my schedule, and if it does, I'll definitely play.