Posted on: February 8, 2012 7:01 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:49 pm

Here's one ranking Woods is glad not to top

By Steve Elling 

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Here's a No. 1 ranking that Tiger Woods would just as soon yield to somebody else.

In a poll reported this week by Forbes, Woods is tied with NFL quarterback Michael Vick as the nation's most disliked athlete, with each receiving a 60 percent disapproval rating.

Vick was listed first, however, because he got more votes of "dislike a lot" from respondents than did Woods.

The numbers were compiled by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research. Vick was convicted five years ago of running a dog-fighting ring and served time, while Woods endured a well-chronicled sex scandal and divorce.

NFL receiver Plaxico Burress (56%), NFL defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh (51%), NBA players Kris Humphries (50%), Lebron James (48%) and Kobe Bryant (45%), NFL receiver Terrell Owens (45%), MLB infielder Alex Rodriguez (44%) and NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (42%).


Category: Golf
Tags: forbes, tiger, vick
Posted on: May 27, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 6:01 pm

Woods, Sabbo to skip Memorial Tournament

As expected, Tiger Woods elected to take a pass at a place where he has had plenty of success over the years, the Memorial Tournament next week in Columbus, Ohio.

Woods has won the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event four times, but as he indicated earlier this week, it was doubtful he would play while trying to recover from a series of injury issues in his legs.

Woods on Tuesday described his chances of playing as "doubtful." He also indicated he hadn’t begun hitting balls in practice, had been walking on crutches and wearing a walking isolation boot on a foot in an attempt to recover from the maladies that prompted his exit from his last start after nine holes.

Interestingly, on his website, Woods lists his next start at the AT&T National, which his charity hosts. No mention of the U.S. Open in two weeks is made as far as his upcoming schedule, for whatever that's worth.

In another curious development, Rory Sabbatini withdrew from the Memorial on Tuesday, the tournament website noted in a posting with its list of commitments, prompting fast speculation that he has finally been suspended by the tour for two on-course meltdowns earlier this season.

Sabbatini entered, then withdrew, from Memorial.

Sabbatini was 10 over par through 15 holes at the Byron Nelson on Friday when the field list for Memorial was posted.

Posted on: May 12, 2011 6:42 pm

O'Meara 'shocked' at Tiger WD, but in dark, too

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla . -- Mark O'Meara and his new bride had dinner with old pal Tiger Woods at an upscale steakhouse on Wednesday night.

O'Meara, a mentor to Woods for years in the latter's early days as a professional, sensed that his former Orlando neighbor was in a good place emotionally, after many months of well-chronicled turmoil. As a for-instance, he said Woods even picked up the check.

"It's not often that he goes to the hip," O'Meara cracked.

A day later, he took a knee.

It was a decidedly disjointed first day at the Players Championship for the longtime buddies -- O'Meara shot a 6-under 66 and claimed a share of third place at age 54, while Woods headed home with yet another chronic injury to his leg at age 35.

It felt like one of those sci-fi, trading-places scenarios: O'Meara, who hasn't played regularly on the PGA Tour for years, was the guy in the interview room talking about his stellar round, while Woods was home licking his latest wounds. O'Meara, who now lives in Houston, played practice rounds at TPC Sawgrass with Woods on Tuesday and Wednesday and was as stunned as anybody else when he learned before he teed off that Woods had withdrawn after nine sloppy holes.

"I'm as shocked and disappointed for my friend as anyone else," he said. "I know he's a fighter. His injury is probably a lot worse than what we thought it was."

Not that O'Meara, a former confident who lived a half-dozen houses down the same street, really knows, either.

After a one-month layoff, Woods re-injured his ailing left knee on his opening tee shot, he said, and limped his way to a front-nine 42, then withdrew and headed home, his medical and professional future very much in doubt. O'Meara said Woods conveyed few signs of physical discomfort when they practiced this week, and when he asked the former world No. 1 how he was feeling, Woods gave him every assurance that his legs were fine.

"I haven't talked to him," O'Meara said after his afternoon round. "I don't know how bad it is. Obviously, it's pretty bad. But he needs to get that fixed, because you know, I know how much he loves the game, and I know how badly he wants to be competing, and the game needs him. I mean, he's great for this game."

O'Meara said that like all but a handful of folks, Woods isn't a fount of full disclosure with him, either, and he has to read between the lines like the rest of us.

"Sometimes, Tiger, even as well as I know him, sometimes it's very difficult to read him," he said. "I asked him the other day, 'How's the leg,' and he says, 'It's fine.' I don't know if it's fine or if he's just telling me it's fine and it's really not that fine.

"I saw [swing coach] Sean Foley out there, and I asked him, and he's like, 'You know, his leg is not good.' I mean, he can hit balls, but he's having a hard time walking. It's a hard game to play if he can't walk."

Woods is in an increasingly tough spot. He has completed 16 stroke-play rounds in the States this year, and needs to log more rounds to get battle-ready for upcoming majors. But that means subjecting the ailing knee to more stress and strain than it can handle at the moment -- if not beyond.

"He definitely needs to have more reps because you can stand on the range at home at Isleworth or you can come and hit balls or play practice rounds or whatever, but until you get out there in the thick of the battle, it's very difficult to trust anything," O'Meara said. "Even as great as he is, he can struggle with his confidence, and certainly when you start hitting some wild shots and you haven't had the success that he's accustomed to, that just adds to the pressure.

"If the limitations that Tiger is facing with his injuries are holding him back, then he needs to get those totally fixed and get back, and then he needs to come back and just take little steps to get back, because he knows how to win."

Given that his recent hiatus didn't solve his knee and Achilles issues, that increasingly sounds like it could take a not-so-good, long, while. O'Meara said he doesn't sense any anxiety or urgency from Woods about the biological meter running in his bid to supplant Jack Nicklaus as king of the majors. But he is also uncertain as to how much Woods still wants to break those marks.

"I think that's always been a passion of his, to win majors and to compete, and for a while that's all he's dreamed about," O'Meara said. "But I think over the last couple years, now having a family and wanting to be there for his kids, I think he still wants that, but how much only he can really determine.

"Is the fire burning as bright as it once did? Maybe not. But that's to be expected when you look at the intense pressure that this kid has lived under for the last 20 years of his life."

Woods is no kid, but you get the gist.

"Any athlete that's under the scrutiny like he's been under, there's a little price you have to pay, and so it slowly erodes," O'Meara said. "No one can be inside his brain or his body and figure out where he's at, but he needs to just get around his friends, keep practicing, get healthy, and then I think he'll be back where he wants to be."

After three injury-ravaged seasons and yet another debilitating setback, it anybody still holding their breath?

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 8:53 am

G-Mac rolls the rock over Tiger, Lefty

DORAL, Fla. -- Graeme McDowell had just knocked in yet another tidy putt and was making the turn in the first round at Doral Golf Resort & Spa on Thursday when he was congratulated on his success on the greens.

"Yeah, now if I can just keep the ball on the planet," he said.

Playing with the two biggest names on the golfing globe, it didn't much matter where the U.S. Open champion was bashing it, given the scoring exhibition McDowell was staging.

Despite a few wayward shots with his 13 other clubs, the Northern Ireland star more than held hs own with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in one of the day's marquee threesomes, dropping putts as though he was a Florida native.

On the very first hole of the day, the par-5 10th, McDowell jarred a 28-footer for a birdie, which was certainly a sight with which Woods has become familiar. Another sight we have seen fairly often -- Woods then missed from 12 feet.

Recall their memorable duel at the Chevron World Challenge last December? McDowell drained long birdie putts on the last hole of regulation and first hole of sudden death to kick the legs out from under Woods, the tournament host. He also one-putted the 71st hole, too.
Paired again with Woods at Doral, he one-putted the first five holes on Thursday, running his streak when paired with Woods to eight in a row.

"Like shelling peas," he cracked between holes.

McDowell looks like some sort of Bermudagrass savant.

"Didn't used to be," he said.

Mickelson's caddie, Jim Mackay, overheard McDowell and smirked.

"Alabama Birmingham," Mackay said, a reference to the southern school where McDowell was one of the top collegians in the nation and surely drained a few miles of putts on Bermuda surfaces.

When plkay was suspended for the day, Mickelson was 2 under while McDowell and Woods were both 1 under. McDowell, Woods and Mickelson are ranked Nos. 4-5-6 in the world.

In stark contrast, Woods again was scraping it around on the greens. He had seven close-range attempts from between 10-15 feet over the first 14 holes and made exactly one of them, a par effort on his second hole.

Mickelson, a former Doral champion, was slightly sharper.

"There were some low scores and we had a fun day," Lefty said. "We didn't play our best but we didn't play terrible to where we shot ourselves in the foot. We are in good position tomorrow to come back out, finish the round strong, and play our second round."

Because of the two-year window of the world rankings, Mickelson can pass Woods this week as long as Woods doesn't finish in the top seve. The last time Mickelson was ranked higher than Woods was in 1997.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 3, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:20 pm

Trevino to Tiger: Ditch the coaches, start over

First, Jack Nicklaus offered an opinion.

Now another esteemed Hall of Famer from the same era has weighed in on Tiger Woods' playing predicament.

Longtime fan favorite Lee Trevino, who won six major titles, said Thursday that he believes Woods should jettison his coach and go back to the basics that put him in the winner's circle in the first place.

"My suggestion to Tiger Woods, which I don't know will ever happen, is he's got to look at the film from when he started winning all those tournaments and go right back to what he was doing and get rid of all these people," Trevino said in Dallas.

Trevino, 71, was speaking at a luncheon to promote the Byron Nelson Championship. Similarly to Nicklaus, Trevino figures that Woods, in the midst of a 17-month victory drought on the PGA Tour, will eventually solve his swing issues.

"He'll find his game," Trevino said. "He's too good a player. He's got desire. He hasn't lost that yet. He just got off the road a little bit and it's going to take him a little while to get his head on straight, but he's Tiger Woods. He hasn't lost the ability to play. He might not be as intimidating as he was."

The comments were first reported by ESPN.com's Dallas website.

Posted on: February 26, 2011 9:17 am

Miller: Tiger's gone from Tucson to Tyson

MARANA, Ariz. -- He was bounced in the first round, sent packing back to Orlando, the driving range across the street from his home, his latest swing coach, with another bruise to his resume and another fallen peg in the world golf ranking.

Tiger Woods will be No. 4 in the world, or worse depending on how the weekend plays out at the Accenture World Match Play Championship, the lowest ranking since before he won his first major at the Masters in 1997, but he remains very much a front-burner topic.

Just ask the analysts.

Friday night, the Golf Channel aired a state-of-the-game roundtable with the game's brightest talking heads: Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, Roger Maltbie and Brandell Chamblee. The state of Tiger's game essentially superceded any talk of this week's developments at Dove Mountain.

Miller said he feels like he is watching the second installment of an all-time American sporting tragedy. 

"It's a little bit like a Mike Tyson story to be honest with you," Miller said. "Sort of invincible, scared everybody, performed quickly under pressure, and until the Buster Douglas came along, of life, Tiger started to hit that in his life."

Tyson was convicted or rape charges, took an upset beating at the hands of Douglas and was never the same in or outside the ring.

"His life crumbled and it's like Humpty Dumpty," Miller said. "He was on the high wall way above all the other players and had a great fall, and there's pieces all over the place and [he's] trying to put them together.

"It's a tough thing because as my father said the psyche in golf is very delicate, it's very fragile, and when you lose your psyche and your confidence, there's nothing you can do to get that back except for play more tournaments and get put your rounds out there if they're bad, but turn it around and start playing some good rounds and posting some good scores, otherwise you're just doing it on the practice tee."

As he has previously, Chamblee questioned Woods' insistence on making a series of swing changes.

"I think he is the eternal warrior against complacency," Chamblee said. "He's always trying to sharpen the knife. But really what is he trying to do? If you look at the success he had from 2000 to 2002, he won seven of 11 major championships. Let's just say he finally gets all the stuff that he's trying to do with this golf swing, and where does he want to be on the other end of it, in a spot where he can win major championships by wide margins, which was exactly where he was, and all he's done is cost himself a couple years when he'd have been racking up major championships.

"You look at him now and he looks completely lost. He looks like a hunting dog with a bad nose out there; he's on this trail, he's on that trail stuck in between the golf swing that he had in 2000 because he is trying it looks to me to get more upright, but he still has that same lower body action that he had with Hank Haney. It's more rotary, it's more of a flat swing sort of rotation, so he's stuck between these two golf swings. 

"But whether it's with Butch [Harmon] or when he had the perfect golf swing, and here we see him in the playoff when he was just going on and on and making all these practice swings, and that tells you right there that he is playing golf swing, not golf shot."
Posted on: February 8, 2011 9:07 am
Edited on: February 8, 2011 9:58 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Take that, PGA Tour.

Days after the PGA Tour commissioner said the circuit will continue to doctor its early week tee sheet in order to heighten the marquee value of its players, the European Tour one-upped its Yankee counterparts again.

This week at the high-powered Dubai Desert Classic, the top three players in the world -- Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods -- have been grouped together in the first two rounds.

It ought to be quite a scene. While Woods is fighting to regain some semblance of self, he has an incredible record at the Dubai event, where he commands a huge appearance fee. In his last five starts there, he's won twice and finished no worse than a tie for fifth.

Westwood, the current No. 1, lost in a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez last year at Dubai, while Kaymer won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi and has four victories in his last nine starts.

The last time the top three players in the world were sent off together was at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. In the first two rounds, the USGA grouped Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott together.

“It is a fantastic draw for the tournament and for people watching,” Westwood said in Dubai. “I think that's what people like to see.  Certainly at other events where you draw the three Major champions together in the PGA Championship, that's always exciting, and at the U.S. Open, with the top three in the world.  But I don't think it's ever happened on the European Tour.

“Certainly for the European Tour itself, having the top two in the world ranking, with the person that's dominated the game over the last 15 years, playing in the same three-ball would be great for the tour, great for golf and very exciting that would draw a lot of attention to the European Tour in a period where sponsorship and things like that is very competitive."

Kaymer has never played alongwide Woods. 

“Of course I've met him but I don't know how it is to play with him, so it will be nice," Kaymer said in Dubai. "It will be great for the tournament, having the top three playing on Thursday and Friday.  So I look forward to it.
“I think we shouldn't really see it as a rivalry.  We are out here to have fun and play good golf and show the people that we do our job with passion and love.  It's not about winning or losing in the end of the day.  It's about challenging each other and having fun.”

He added: “I think I have a better chance to become the No. 1 this week than last week because I fancy the golf course much more than Qatar. So from this point of view, the chances are bigger and higher this week."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last week that fans can anticipate more of the customized groupings in Thursday and Friday rounds -- which are usually generated by semi-random computer draw based on a player's tour status -- down the road.

"I think you will see it more often," Finchem said at Torrey Pines. "I don't think you'll see more of it in any particular week, but we are going to do it a fair amount during the course of the year. It does help our television product, we think. We also think it creates a little bit more interest.
"Certainly major championships that don't follow us as it relates to pairings have utilized pairings effectively in recent years to create story lines to help break into a few more column inches in the sports section, which is important in today's world, to compete and to get more attention.

"So, yeah, we like it. We'll test it out here the first few weeks and see what happens. But most likely we'll continue during the course of the year."

If the Dubai move doesn’t garner some eyeballs, nothing will.

Ladbrokes has listed Woods and Kaymer as co-favorites at 5/1, with Westwood next at 12/1. Westwood missed the cut last week in Qatar.


Posted on: August 8, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 11:03 pm

Tiger goes off early at WGC, everybody yawns

AKRON, Ohio -- What if they held a golf tournament with Tiger Woods, and nobody came?

Or really cared?

This was the scene at the first tee at Firestone on Sunday morning when Woods teed off with Ryder Cupper Anthony Kim at 7:45 a.m.

Well, at least the dozen people in the stands appeared to be applauding when Tiger was introduced. If they knew Tiger was going to match the highest 18-hole score of his career on U.S. soil relative to par, and finish 30 shots behind the winner, they might have stayed in bed.

Starting the day 20 strokes off the leaders and with the ... Amy Sancetta / AP
Category: Golf
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com