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Tag:Shane Bacon
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:21 pm

Honda cherry on top of great start to '12 season

Tiger Woods reacts to his eagle on the 18th green at the Honda Classic. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The 2012 PGA Tour season has been absolutely nutty good, and we haven’t even had the first major yet. But how good? Check out some of the finishes we’ve had in just 10 events.

  • Farmers Insurance Open: Maybe not exactly the way you’d want to win, but the Kyle Stanley collapse at Torrey Pines is definitely a moment you won’t soon forget, and gave us our first “Is this really happening” moment of 2012. Brandt Snedeker’s reaction and eventual win will be forgotten here much like Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie, but is paved the way for collapses early in the season.
  • Waste Management Open: This one was great for so many reasons. You had Stanley bouncing back to win a week after the collapse you read about above. You had Spencer Levin leading by six shots heading into the final round and by seven shots after his first hole on Sunday only to fall apart. Oh, and you had the biggest crowd in the history of the TPC Scottsdale event. 
  • AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Probably the one you’ll remember out of all the ’12 events so far, with Phil Mickelson coming back against Tiger Woods with that sizzling 64. 
  • Northern Trust Open: Just the fourth tournament in a row that had scream-at-your-TV moments. Bill Haas was the eventual winner, but the birdie putts Mickelson and Keegan Bradley made back-to-back to join Haas in the playoff were so incredible it made this guy do whatever the heck that is.
  • Mayakoba Golf Classic: It went up against the Accenture so not as many people noticed, but a rookie named John Huh won in an eight hole playoff. 
  • The Honda Classic: You already know, but Tiger posting a 62 on Sunday was only the second coolest thing that happened just behind Rory McIlroy simultaneously winning his first PGA Tour event of the year and becoming world number one for the first time in his young career. 
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Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods reminds us he's still here

Tiger Woods swings in the final round of the Honda Classic. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

There is golf, and then there is golf that involves Tiger Woods. On Sunday at the Honda Classic, it seemed we’d get the first one, a big golf tournament with a super talented field and the guy trying to take away what is Tiger’s and run with it. People were excited. The week had been great. It was Rory McIlroy’s chance to shine. 

But a funny thing happened internally for Tiger Woods. He decided to be competitive again. And no, I’m not suggesting that Tiger hasn’t wanted to win or hasn’t wanted to get better and hasn’t wanted to be the golfer he once was. His closing finish on Friday showed us that he is still a fiery guy who hates losing and wants to pull off every shot possible, no matter the circumstances.

But after his remarks about McIlroy on Saturday and his Ben Crenshaw-esque reminder that “you never know” when asked about his chances on Sunday, it seemed that something was bothering Tiger and it was time to change it. 

Let us be clear here; one round isn’t going to remake a career. The final round 62 Tiger posted on Sunday was absolutely remarkable for a number of reasons, but it really just reminded us that Tiger Golf, the events that have him in the mix, just feel different. He’s a needle-mover if there has ever been one in professional sports, and when a guy like that goes on a tear like he did at the Champions Course it forces everyone to drop what they’re doing and just stare in awe. My dad called me after Tiger’s putt dropped for eagle on 18, resulting in a double fist-pump by Woods that, frankly, has been missed by golf fans. My sister sent me a text message. I saw messages on Twitter from sports writers that I didn’t even know could spell “golf” before Sunday. 

Tiger Golf is special. It’s fun. It’s energizing. And to think, he did all this with the New Tiger, Mr. McIlroy, in total control of the tournament? Incredible. 

A lot of things happened on Sunday that were different. Tiger started a round and finished it. He made the putts he needed to make, and they weren’t just curling in putts, they were slammed in the back of the hole. He got excited. He was in the round. He was as focused as I’d seen him in ages. 

No, this 62 won’t mean much in a few months if he doesn’t win. Rory is in charge and it will be a special moment in golf for the boy wonder to land the official ranking that we’ve all been unofficially giving him for a couple of years. 

But the fact that it happened was as important to the game as one round could be. Tiger Woods played 18 holes like we all know he can, and it ended in (and I haven’t been able to use this phrase in a long time) typical Tiger fashion. 

Great stuff, Mr. Woods. Great stuff.

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Posted on: March 3, 2012 4:44 pm

Past major winners making noise at the Honda

By Shane Bacon

Leave it to one of the harder golf courses on tour to bring out some of the best from some of the best. Not only is Rory McIlroy attempting to become number one in the world with a win this week, but some of the guys we hoped would have great seasons are making this a statement week.  

You’d first have to look at Keegan Bradley, who seems to really pump his game up when the field is impressive. Keegan, who lives in the area, has been magnificant this week, and year, and has shown that 2011 isn’t going to be some fluke. 

But the two names you have to be impressed with are past major winners in Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell. Schwartzel was a double-bogey on No. 11 away from posting a tournament-shifting round on Saturday, but still managed a 3-under 67 to get himself in the mix come Sunday. 

Then you have Graeme McDowell. Before there was Rory on our minds, McDowell was the stud out of Northern Ireland who won an incredible U.S. Open. McDowell had one of those special seasons in 2010, but has really struggled since the Chevron that year and has been looking to bounce back. After his 64-69 Friday and Saturday, Graeme is in the top-10 and if he keeps the momentum, might land in the top-five before the week ends. 

While this week is always going to be about Rory’s chance at number one and Tiger Woods trying to bounce back at a course near his home, some of the players making noise are the guys the tour needs to come back to raise the interest level, and so far, they’ve done their jobs. 

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 6:57 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 9:49 am

Tiger's opening 71 seemed just about right

Tiger holds onto his Nike golf glove during first round play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- On Thursday at the Honda Classic, the afternoon buzz was astir because a certain someone was playing in the event for the first time. A fan remarked to his buddy, “It seems like there are a lot more people here than last year,” something that was obvious when the tournament sold 30,000 tickets overnight the day Tiger Woods announced he would be in the field. 

Parents and kids made shirts. A fan next to me erupted in approval and sprinted to the 11th tee after Tiger stuffed his second shot to just a couple of feet for his third birdie of the day. 

And amongst all the buzz, there was a guy that played a very vanilla round of golf on a tough track. Tiger, playing in the windier afternoon, posted a 1-over 71, with the best thing being that it could have been worse. 

Yes, Tiger still missed short putts and seemed downright puzzled when shots would come up short or fly long, but for the most part, he played the golf course average at best, and the best news is he isn’t completely out of the tournament (Davis Love III, for all his great play on Thursday, isn’t exactly expected to post a similar low round on Friday). 

Woods’ golf game is simply Woods’ golf game right now. He hits some good shots and some bad ones. He makes the occasional birdie and drops back with the occasional bogey. All too often he has 30 feet on holes that it seemed he might hit it close, and the putts that almost always dropped in the past are almost expected to miss (And do) these days. 

The problem with explaining Tiger’s rounds these days is that there aren’t a ton of things to expound upon. He is tied for 68th right now and might move up a few spots one way or the other on Friday, but it just doesn’t seem he has a really low round in him right now. 

That might change, but it doesn’t look like Woods has found the magic elixir he so desperately needs just yet, and it could be a while before he uncovers it. 

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:43 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 9:49 am

Rory McIlroy opens Honda with solid 66

Rory McIlroy talks with his caddy J.P. Fitzgerald while shooting a 66 on Thursday at the Honda Open. (Associated Press)

By Shane Bacon

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla -- On Wednesday night, I was lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Rory McIlroy. It was part of Oakley’s entire week here, and they set it up so that a lot of their players could spend some times with lowly journalists like myself. 

And above all else, the thing I took away from McIlroy was at just 22, the kid is a superstar in every sense of the word. As he was leaving dinner, the thing I kept thinking to myself was, “he’s going to win this week. I know it.” And after the first round of the Honda Classic, the prediction might not be far off. 

McIlroy shot an opening round 66 at PGA National, dropping just one shot and taming the always brutal Bear Trap along the way. He did it in the precise way that we used to a see a certain someone that is also in the field this week work. Rory picked his spots, made his birdies, and took his chances when they needed to be taken. 

People nitpick on Rory about his inability to close, like at the Masters a year ago and the Accenture just last week. Critics easily forget his work at Congressional, but above that, just look at the way he’s played the last two months. Second at the match play, fifth at Dubai, another second place finish at Abu Dhabi and a win in December in Hong Kong. 

His play of late has been scary consistent, much like his golf swing, and if he continues to put himself in a position to win, like he has this week after the Honda, the wins are going to start pouring in. 

This week has been about Tiger Woods. The press conference. His debut at this event. The fact that Tiger is playing two weeks in a row. But the real story should be McIlroy. The golf world has been looking for someone to start dominating again after a two year hiatus from such a figure, and if we’d all start opening our eyes, we’d see that someone is a curly haired kid with growing biceps and an incredible resume the last few months. 

Rory needs to win here, but more than that, we all need to just realizing what we have right in front of us. 

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:18 pm

Video: Tiger did not like those book questions

By Shane Bacon

Tiger Woods had his usual timid press conference on Wednesday at PGA National, and while it had the bland answers Woods usually gives reporters, it did have a surprise moment when Tiger lost his cool.

Asked by Alex Miceli about the recent excerpts from Hank Haney's tell-all book about Woods, Tiger said he wasn't going to answer anymore questions and actually broke his cool for a moment. The video is below, so watch it for yourself, but you can obviously tell Tiger isn't a big fan of this upcoming book and might even hate questions about the book more.  

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Category: Golf
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:36 pm

Haney: Tiger considered becoming a Navy SEAL

Tiger shakes hands with members of the Armed Forces at the 2007 AT&T National. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Judging by his brains, good looks and killer instinct, it seemed when Tiger Woods came into our lives he had the ability to be anything he wanted. Sure, he was a golfer since basically birth, but his larger than life persona made it seem like he could be a CEO, professional baseball player or even the president. 

But one of the things you probably didn’t expect to hear is that at one point, Tiger seriously considered becoming a Navy SEAL. 

Golf Digest has some excerpts from Hank Haney’s tell-all Tiger book, and one of the quotations from Hank says that Tiger once told him he seriously was considering leaving golf to join one of the most elite forces in our military. 

"Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan....I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life."

As Mr. Wall points out, there isn’t exactly a time indicated in Haney’s quotes, but to say “the middle of his prime” meant that it had to have been when Woods was winning all those majors, not when his personal life was in shambles. 

That, in itself, is pretty incredible because it shows that Tiger really thought about doing this for no other reason than to serve his country. 

Tiger’s dad, Earl, was a Green Beret in the United States Army so it isn’t like Tiger didn’t have a military background, but it’s incredible to hear he even thought to do this with the level of fame and success he reached at this certain point. 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:01 am

Rory favored over Tiger at Honda

Tiger and Rory shake hands at the Abu Dhabi event. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The thing about sports betting is that you're almost always going to lose (thanks a lot, Eli Manning), but it definitely makes sports more interesting to watch. And another thing about sports betting is that the people in Las Vegas know more about the sport than you do, and they know more about how your mind works than you do. Case and point? Tiger Woods continues to be the favorite at golf tournaments. The reason is because people are always going to put money down on Tiger because he's a name they remember and he's a guy they like to root for.

So it's interesting when you check out the Honda Classic odds (and Masters odds, for that matter) and see Rory McIlroy favored ahead of Tiger to win this week.

These are the numbers in Vegas:
  • RORY McILROY - 8/1
  • TIGER WOODS - 10/1
  • LEE WESTWOOD - 10/1
  • KYLE STANLEY - 25/1
  • BEN CRANE - 25/1 
Sure, looking at the lines in sports don't really mean anything, because it's more about the casinos winning money than putting the right person at the top, but it definitely reiterates our point that McIlroy might slowly be taking over as the main attraction in golf if Vegas thinks people would want to put money on him just as much as they would on Tiger. 

If nothing else it just defines my point about betting on golf; it's stupid and you should never do it.  

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or