Tag:Tiger Woods
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 3:13 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 3:19 pm

Has Tiger earned his U.S. stripes already?

By Steve Elling

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- In case you were wondering what it would take for Tiger Woods to be bypassed as a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team later this season, you have your answer.

Courtesy of U.S. captain Davis Love, the guy who makes the final call.

Love indicated Tuesday at the Honda Classic that unless Woods is dead, dismembered or has the small pox, he will be a member of the American side.

OK, so that's not the exact quote, but it's close. Love didn’t go quite as far as Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, who last summer gave Woods a spot on the team even though he had not earned it with his play, Love gave every assurance that the striped one will play at Medinah.

In fact, when asked what scenario it would take for Woods to be left at home, Love gave a very narrow definition.

"If he was hurt or didn't play a full season," Love said. "But if he plays and he's healthy, again, I would have a hard time seeing him not making the team one way or another."

Woods has been added to the last two international cup teams as a captain's pick as he tries to patch together his game after his well-chronicled personal and professional issues. The last time Woods didn’t play on one of the annual cup teams was at the Ryder Cup in 2008, which the U.S. won without him in Louisville.

The U.S. Ryder points list is compiled by using PGA Tour earnings from the past two seasons, but is heavily tilted toward money list for 2012. Woods has played twice, with mixed results, and is buried at No. 32 at the moment, though this early in the year, one good week puts him back near the top of the chart.

When Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan won, they jumped into the top five. The top eight in points are automatic picks, while gets to use discretionary picks on the other four.

"Well, how many tournaments has he played?" he said of Woods' position. "I think like Phil, or like Hunter, all it takes is one week, you know.  I think if he plays a full schedule, he's going to be right in there.  I just keep saying if he's healthy, he's going to make the team.

"I think that's what Fred, what anybody, would think. If he's healthy, he's going to be on the team one way or another."

Sounds pretty close to a guarantee to us, no?

"II love the way he's played," Love said of Woods' recent uptick. "He had really one bad day since the [Frys.com Open last fall], he's had one bad round, really."

In a controversial move, Woods was added to the Presidents Cup team as a captain's selection last fall and went 2-3, though he scored what proved to be the clinching point. He hasn't won an official event on the PGA Tour in nearly 30 months.

Love is feeling pretty confident about his troops at the moment. American players have claimed the first nine PGA Tour-sanctioned events this year, the longest streak to open a year since Yanks won 12 in succession to start the 1991 season.

"It's been very exciting for me, and I know for the American golf fans, to see them playing well," Love said.

The complete list of U.S. Ryder Cup points through the Mayakoba and match play events last week: http://www.rydercup.com/2012/usa/te

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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Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:18 pm

Do high ratings mean Rory is the new Tiger?

By Shane Bacon

The ratings for the Accenture Match Play finals between Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy were the highest non-Tiger final since the tournament started in 1999. The numbers could have been for a few reasons (no real sports competitor with the rainout at Daytona and the NBA being on All-Star weekend), but what if it was simply because we've found the next Tiger Woods? 

Now I'm not one of those guys that sits here and searches for that person. Rory McIlroy will never be 100 percent of Tiger Woods. Tiger changed the game of golf forever, and his ability to transcend sports was exactly why he was such a big deal. But eventually someone was going to come along to be the successor of Woods. A talent that wins early, wins by a lot, and does so in the big events. 

Sure, McIlroy has fallen on his face as many times on the big stage as he has won (see 2011 Masters and the Accenture), but that many people coming to watch Rory play means that something is up, and it's a great thing for the game of golf.

If Rory can bring that many views to something like the Accenture, playing against Mahan, imagine what would happen if he found himself going head-to-head with a HUGE name in golf on the biggest stage? If Rory was to face Tiger, or Phil, or Lee or Luke in the final round of the Masters, we'd really see what the McIlroy movement would do. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 

Posted on: February 27, 2012 7:29 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 6:10 pm

MMSC: Mahan, McIlroy and The Question Mark

Hunter Mahan showcases his newest hardware. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

Golf is probably the hardest sport in the world to play, and play well, so it makes total sense that everyone is a critic, and that’s what we’re going to do here at Monday Morning Swing Coach. Cover just the PGA Tour? Nope. We're going to try to expand this Monday feature to anything and everything that happened the past weekend. 

A Mahan masterpiece or a McIlroy mulligan? 

The crazy thing about match play format is the fact that a lot of the times you don’t get the best “TV matchup” when you get down to the final four players. We hardly ever get the two best players in the world going against each other, and a lot of the times one of the people in the finals isn’t exactly warranting views, but it was a nice surprise when Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan ended up being the final two men standing in Marana. 

Mahan is a talented American who has always been a golfer to watch, and has had marginal success on the PGA Tour. McIlroy, of course, is Tiger 2.0, a kid with curly hair, a desirable golf swing and the swagger to become the best at a very young age. 

And while we didn’t really pick this as one of our hopeful matches to begin the week, it was definitely satisfying. Mahan had played some of the best golf heading into the finals and McIlroy was searching for something that would have made all the headlines if it happened. But did it turn out to be Mahan’s victory of Rory’s defeat? 

McIlroy admitted after his finals loss that grinding out a win against Lee Westwood in the semifinals might have taken more out of him than he initially thought possible, but I’m not so much into buying that as I am to think that he simply got beat by a guy playing better golf.

Mahan seemed to keep hitting the shot he needed at the right time, rolled in some clutch putts and would have beat McIlroy even worse if not for a nasty lip-out on the 16th green. Rory is the type of player that could go on Tiger-like runs with his game, but it sure doesn’t seem like he’s there quite yet.

For now, we can all enjoy the fact that an American with an equally impressive golf swing and flat-brimmed custom caps took down an incredible field and did it on his own terms. 

McIlroy will have his chance to win this tournament when he’s ready. For now, Mahan notched his third PGA Tour win in as many years, and second World Golf Championships trophy. 

The Question Mark rookie

There is something incredibly brilliant about a good nickname in sports, and a rookie that outlasted a tour vet in an eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Classic might have the best nickname of them all.

John Huh is a big-time player, and in his fifth career PGA Tour event, won after Robert Allenby did just about everything in his power to give Johnny Question Mark the event before a playoff even ensued. 

Allenby had a two-shot lead standing on the 18th tee, but knowing that it’s 2012 and no lead is safe, hit driver into the trees and carded a double-bogey.

Ten holes later, Huh was the champion and Allenby was left wondering how the heck he didn’t get his first PGA Tour win since 2001. 

Note to just about everyone with a big lead on the final hole; it’s okay to hit an iron off the tee. Nobody is going to make fun of the way you win if you win. Anything goes if it means you leave with the trophy. 

One Last Tiger Note

I got a lot of messages from people that mentioned something about Tiger Woods not really looking into his matches this week at the Accenture. A few people mentioned that it almost seemed like he was just working on some stuff and getting ready for this week’s Honda Classic. 

But in our Tiger Vernacular Handbook, wouldn’t that go against everything he has ever said when he talks about playing? He stays true to certain phrases, and “coming here to win” is one of his favorites. If he has some things to work on, that’s fine, but I don’t think Tiger is heading to a big event like the Accenture in hopes of practicing and “finding” something for the next week’s event.

That isn’t Tiger, and I’d be surprised if he believed that is the way to go about things. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 

Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:19 pm

Winners and losers from a great match play week

Hunter Mahan leads our list of winners from the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The Accenture Match Play is our first really big tournament of the season, and with so many talented people involved, it brings us our first winners/losers of 2012. So who killed, and who tanked? Read on and see ...


Hunter Mahan -- Obviously. Mahan played some incredibly inspired golf, beating some big names in the game and stepping up to Rory McIlory, who was playing for something much bigger than just the Marana trophy. Also, with his recent Presidents Cup success, Mahan has shown he’s a match play titan, and is music to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s ears. 

Ping Golf -- They had three of the top four finishers rocking their new equipment, and the talk of the week was Mahan’s new Nome putter that seemed to help Hunter knock in just about any big putt he needed to make. 

Mark Wilson -- This guy needs to be known more than he is, and this week showed that no matter how short he hits it off the tee, his iron play and short game are second to none. Wilson has won three PGA Tour events in just over 13 months. People need to start acknowledging him as an A-class player in golf. 

Sang-Moon Bae -- Look at the list of players Bae knocked off before losing to Rory Mcilroy; Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and John Senden. Sure, the last wasn’t the biggest name possible, but Bae made McIlroy sweat, and showed that he’s a name we must remember when major championship week rolls around. 


Rory McIlroy -- Yes, he made it to the finals, and yes, he nearly became the top dog in golf, but if McIlroy wants to be The Man, he must close these types of tournaments out. He has played some incredible golf over the last few months, but winning is everything, and his game in the finals seemed shaky at best. 

Tiger Woods -- Anytime Tiger isn’t in the hunt he’s considered a loser, but boy did he look lost this week with his golf swing. When the season started I thought Woods was close with his game. Now? I’m not so sure even he could be convinced he’s ready to win a PGA Tour tournament. 

Luke Donald -- You’re the number one ranked golfer in the world, and no matter who you’re playing, you can’t lose in the first round of a tournament you’re defending. Donald showed that while the rankings say he’s the best, his game might not agree. 

Rickie Fowler -- Another week, another disappointment. I think Fowler is a good player, but it seems his name rings louder than his game. Fowler lost in the first round to a veteran that admitted after his match that he’d spent the last week away from golf. Not the best endorsement for Fowler’s time to win PGA Tour events. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com