Tag:tiger woods
Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 10:40 am
 

World tours pay lip service to Williams slur

What, you were expecting swift justice, some semblance of accountability, or at least a measure of transparency?

Slow learners, we are.

Sunday night in Shanghai, after the big-money HSBC Champions event concluded, the commissioners of the PGA and European tours offered a joint statement about the weekend’s other hot-button matter, the perceived racial slur uttered at an off-site banquet Friday night by controversial caddie Steve Williams.

In at apparent attempt at humor at the off-color awards banquet, the longtime bagman of Tiger Woods described his over-the-top celebration after new boss Adam Scott won in August as an attempt to “shove it up his black arse----.”

Williams was denigrating about Woods, his boss for parts of 13 years until he was sacked at midsummer, leaving the caddie feeling bitter and betrayed.

Given the game’s history as it relates to racial issues -- Woods is the lone player of African-American blood with exempt status in 2012 -- the condemnation was swift from all corners of the globe. However, it took two days for the tours to offer any formal comment, and when the wrist-slap was issued, it implied that zero punitive measures were taken.

The PGA Tour is empowered to sanction caddies, but implied that no action had been taken, other than to toss out a few late, hollow words.

“The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport,” the statement began.

Just not strongly enough to offer any sanction, apparently.

“We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context,” the statement said. “We are aware that he has apologized fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks ever again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment.”

This clears a path for Williams to caddie for Aussie-born Scott at the Australian Open later this week and next week at the Presidents Cup matches, where Williams, a New Zealander, will be a sideshow to the story – Woods is playing in both events.

Just another reminder that when it comes to discipline, the sport is long on talk and short on corrective action, especially the U.S. tour. John Daly had an inches-thick disciplinary file that was released in 2010 as part of a lawsuit, and it was learned that despite more suspensions and sanctions than any player in tour history, he had been fined approximately $100,000.

Faced with yet another chance to do the right thing, the professional game’s top officials did what they have done best for years – talked the talk, but skipped the walk.

Williams will get off Scott-free with the new boss, pardon the pun gymnastics. The world's No. 8 player said after his final round at HSBC that he would not suspend Williams for the Aussie Open or Presidents Cup matches and refused to be dragged further into the afffair.

That decision was ar least as disappointing as the non-action taken by the professional tours, given Scott's sterling reputation as a classy player who has rarely, it ever, made such a perceived public misstep. Bluntly asked if the tours were condoning racism by failing to take action -- a charge that could rightly be leveled at Scott himself -- the player blanched.

"Look, I don't [think] digging for a story out of me on this is a good idea," he told reporters.

Posted on: November 5, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: November 5, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Grate Scott: Williams drags Aussie into new mess

The incredible paradox of their personalities would be funny if it weren’t so outrageous, not to mention increasingly uncomfortable.

Australian star Adam Scott, universally regarded as one of the classiest acts in the game, employs a caddie who has come to be defined by his arrogance, ego, venom and vitriol.

At least, he employs him for now.

Again dragged into the mud by caddie Steve Williams’ crass remarks about former boss Tiger Woods, Scott is faced with a decision as the most important fortnight of his year approaches.

Over the next two weeks, with the eyes of his countrymen focused on him, Scott will play in the Australian Open and Presidents Cup. In both instances, there’s a decent chance he will be paired with Woods, who used Williams as his caddie from 1999 to 2011, which included wins in 13 major championships.

To muster some Stevie-style lingo here, Scott will be accompanied by a caddie who has turned from an asset into an ass, not to mention a growing liability.
 
In the midst of rebuilding his career, Scott, 31, once again has been rendered as collateral damage as the caddie continues to lash out at his former boss, whom he first savaged in mid-August after Scott won the Bridgestone Invitational with Woods in the field.

On Friday night in Shanghai, at a tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony for caddies that was supposed to be an off-the-record affair, Williams was presented with a mock “best caddie celebration” award for his post-Bridgestone diatribe regarding Woods.

Williams told the audience in Shanghai, “My aim was to shove it right up that black arse----.”

Time to shove off, Stevie. Frankly, Scott’s next exchange with Williams at the HSBC on Saturday should be: “What’s the yardage to the clubhouse from here? Good. Start walking, mate.”

In fact, the PGA and European tours ought to bench Williams for the rest of the year, at minimum. The tours have the authority, and pejorative comments offered before a room packed with dozens of guests, including a handful of players, have no place in a sport with such an abysmal record on race.

Williams’ comments first saw light when a caddie in attendance recounted to writers from a couple of U.K. publications who were not present. The rollicking awards event was held at the upscale Le Meridien Sheshan hotel.

Hours later, Williams began to understand the impact of his comments and posted an apology on his website, including this passage: "I now realize how my comments could be construed as racist."

How could they not be? According to reports, several in the hotel ballroom collectively gasped at Williams' failed attempt at humor. However you feel about Woods, that comment is so far out of line, it’s not close to funny.

For years, Williams has displayed as much finesse as one of those thunderous Australian road trains. This is hardly a first offense, is it? Three years ago, again speaking publicly and too clueless to understand that the world population is armed with camera phones, Williams ripped longtime Woods rival Phil Mickelson and said, “I hate the p----.”

As ever, PGA Tour communications chief Ty Votaw on Saturday offered no illumination relating to possible pending disciplinary action: “We will have no comment publicly on this matter. The tour does have the ability to discipline caddies of its members.”

Later Saturday, Votaw followed up thusly, implying some action might be forthcoming: "By the way, the fact that we don't have a comment on this at this time, that does not mean we will not have one in the future. Just wanted to make that clarification."

Scott shouldn't wait for the tour to do his dirty work for him.

So far, the world No. 8 said he is satisfied with Williams’ apology and had no plans to fire him, but he might want to reconsider when the issue comes up, again and again, over the next couple of weeks in Australia.

"Steve issued a statement and apologized and did the right thing," Scott told reporters. "That's all there is to say about that from my side of things. I disagree that he should be sacked. I think everything in that room last night was all in good spirits and bit of fun and I think it probably got taken out of that room in the wrong context."

That's hugely disappointing. You can bet he'll hear about it soon enough from along the gallery ropes, too. It would already have been uncomfortable enough playing alongside Woods, given the back story. Aussie Open officials are expected to formally release pairings Tuesday, but many believed even before Williams’s off-color comment in China that a Woods-Scott dance card is a no-brainer that will boost ticket sales and interest.

Well, with Williams in tow for the walk, no-brainer is the perfect term. If the caddie mantra is “show up, keep up, shut up,” he’s only got a rudimentary grasp of the last part. This is one pit bull who needs a muzzle.

Williams obviously remains bitter about the way he was sacked four months ago after spending months waiting for the fading former world No. 1 to clean up his personal life. He’s got a point. After all those wins, most believe that Williams deserved better from Woods.

But the way the caddie has handled himself has turned him from a sympathetic figure into a megalomaniacal, classless jerk.

In the immediate aftermath, he told a Kiwi news outlet: “You could say I’ve wasted the last two years of my life. I’ve stuck with Tiger and been incredibly loyal. I’m not disappointed I’ve been fired – that’s part of the job – but the timing is extraordinary.

“I, along with a lot of people, lost a lot of respect for Tiger and I pointed out before his return at the Masters in 2010 that he had to earn back my respect. Through time I hope he can gain my respect back.”

Fair enough. Then he offered an opera-singer solo – warbling an a cappella string of me, me, me -- on CBS after Scott won at Bridgestone, and continued for another 10 minutes off camera, affectively calling Woods a liar and disputing the player’s characterization of how the firing was handled.

A week after Scott won at Bridgestone, revitalizing his career, Williams was half-jokingly asked after the first round of the PGA Championship if he had anything more to say.

Bag slung over his shoulder as Scott signed his scorecard inside the recorder’s office, he never stopped walking, but couldn’t resist taking another shot as he ambled away.

“At least somebody around here would be telling the truth,” Williams said, a remark clearly aimed at the Woods camp.

The truth here?

Unless he does something quickly, the utterly blameless Scott seems sure to suffer the consequences of Williams’ racially tinged comments, too.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 3:59 pm
 

Stricker and Woods: Still PrezCup's dynamic duo?

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The top-ranked player competing at the Presidents Cup will be arriving to play with a sizeable chunk of competitive rust to shake off.

World No. 4 Steve Stricker, who has paired with great success alongside former world No. 1 Tiger Woods at the last two international cup competitions, still plans to play in Australia next month, but hasn't entered any tournaments beforehand and doesn't expect to.

Stricker’s manager, Jon Heaton of IMG, said the recuperating 44-year-old doesn’t plan to play before the event, set for Nov. 17-20 in Melbourne. Most of the American team will play in the Australian Open or enter the European Tour event in Singapore the week before.

Stricker hadn’t played since the Tour Championship because of a problem with a bulging disc in his neck that prompted a withdrawal a week earlier from the BMW Championship, both staged in mid-September. He has been receiving therapy at his home in Wisconsin and affirmed that he intends to play in Melbourne.

In lieu of tournament action, Stricker plans to work on his game in Arizona before heading to Australia before the matches. Woods, a hugely controversial captain's pick and Stricker's supposed playing partner for the matches, has played once since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, finishing 30th, but is entered in the Aussie Open.

So, wither the Dream Team's fate? The duo was a combined 5-1-1 at the last two Presidents and Ryder matches.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 7:27 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 11:01 am
 

Woods cites progress, needs vintage Sunday rally

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- As you might have heard, for most of his career, players have been looking over their shoulders at the figure of Tiger Woods.

Same thing happened on Saturday at the Frys.com Open, although with a slightly different twist.

Buried in the middle of the pack, Woods was in the first group off the 10th tee, which meant he played his last nine holes of the third round directly behind the trio of leaders. Curious as the rest of the planet as to how Woods was playing, Ernie Els and Paul Casey took more than a few looks backwards as Woods hit shots into certain holes.

"What does that say?" Casey said, squinting to read a distant leaderboard. "Four under? Not bad."

Woods finished with his second straight 3-under 68 and at 4-under overall, which leaves him nine strokes off the lead, but he happily described it as a step forward in his return to PGA Tour completion after six mostly idle months.

Woods was well back in the pack at T38 and moved up only three spots, but for the second day in succession, the misses were less wayward, the misfires were less hurtful, and Woods was downright upbeat afterward.

He said he's been able to make adjustments on the fly as he's come to understand the nuances of his swing changes, which began 14 months ago.

Well, I'm able to, if it does creep in, I'm able to fix it," Woods said. "That's the great thing. I hit it well all day except for a couple of straight ones here and there. But I know what the fixes are."

Making a few putts fixes a lot of problems, too. Woods and his swing coach Sean Foley went to work on his flagging putting stroke this week, and the results were quick to take root. They tweaked his stance and alignment, and for the first time in memory, Woods putted fairly well for two days in succession.

"Certain putts, you just got to make," he said. "And I get a feel for that. The last two days I really putted well after the work we did after Thursday's round. I feel like I'm getting my lines and my speed.  I have got to read these things a little bit better."

Classic Woods -- well back in the pack, but still fixated on the guys in front of him.

"It's getting better," he said. "I'm improving day by day, which is good. Obviously tomorrow I need to improve a lot and make the putts and post a really low one."

His round Saturday marked his ninth full round since the Masters in April. He had five birdies and two bogeys, and unlike in the first round, when he shot 73, kept the damage from the poor shots to a minimum.

With vestiges of his old swagger, Woods sounded as though something big might be in the pipeline.

"I would like to just keep building on it," he said. "I'm definitely doing that. I was very close to really putting it together on the front nine ...  I wasn't that far away from really turning it to the back nine and taking it deep."

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:41 am
Edited on: September 18, 2011 11:01 am
 

BMW's killer plot: Atlanta, Australia and Tiger?

LEMONT, Ill. -- Somehow, we're guessing that he's watching.

Among the myriad subplots in the final round of the BMW Championship, which includes identifying the eventual winner, the cementing of the 20 automatic berths on the two Presidents Cup rosters, and who advances to the FedEx Cup series finale next week in Atlanta, is one that's just as juicy.

Tiger Woods is on the cusp of being deemed ineligible to play in his fall tournament, according to its own rules.

Woods at the moment sits at No. 46 in the world rankings. If he falls outside the top 50 when the new list is issued late Sunday night after play at Cog Hill is completed, he's technically ineligible to play in his own event, the Chevron World Challenge, on Dec. 1-4.

It could be very, very close.

Woods isn't playing in the four-event FedEx Cup series because he wasn't among the top 125 in seasonal points, which means he has been falling steadily in the world ranking. Moreover, his last victory on the PGA Tour was two years ago in the BMW event, so it's fallen off his two-year ranking window.

We'll spare you the various projections and permutations of what needs to happen today for the players lined up immediately behind Woods in the current world ranking, because it's an absurd pursuit to track what might happen -- each move by a certain player affects the points of another. But here is where the principles stand:

No. 47 Bill Haas, on the bubble for a Presidents Cup berth and highly motivated, is T3 at the BMW and surely going to move up in the world rankings if he holds his position through the final round.

No. 48 Sergio Garcia, despite claiming he doesn’t care if he advances to Atlanta next week, is T7 on the BMW board and is also looking at jumping Woods in the world ranking if he retains his current spot.

No. 49 Jonathan Byrd is T36 and is the one guy who could be Woods' salvation unless he mounts a rally today. Most projections, based on the assumption the players between Nos. 47-50 hold their third-round positions through Sunday's play, posit Woods at No. 49. Byrd appears to be the key at this point.

No. 50 Geoff Ogilvy, another player highly motivated because of his uncertain Presidents Cup status, is T3 and looking at a big jump on several points lists tonight.

Beyond that, world No. 47 Robert Allenby is T17 and No. 62 Mark Wilson is T7. Each could make a massive leap in the world ranking with a big final round.

So, if Woods get bounced from the top 50, what happens next? Chevron tournament officials would have to ask the PGA Tour Policy Board to rewrite the status of the event so that Woods could play. As a condition of receiving world ranking points, the two sponsor exemptions at Chevron can be awarded to those ranked in the top 50 when the Sept. 19 world rankings are issued.

The tour Policy Board could eliminate that provision, and quite likely would, if Chevron wants to add Woods to the field and he falls outside the top 50. It was unclear whether the OWGR would need to administer any sort of waiver so Woods could play.

The world ranking means little to TV viewers and ticketholders, of course. You can bet that Chevron wants the show pony on hand -- the company has twice been forced to stage the big-money event without Woods after signing on as a sponsor, including in 2009, when the sex scandal was at a full boil and Woods declined to play, citing injuries sustained a few days earlier in his curious, one-car crash outside his Florida home. The tournament took a huge hit as the scandal brewed.

It's not so much the minutiae of the rankings that's interesting here, but the fact that Woods has had such a spectacular fall through the rankings that's so compelling -- he started the season at No. 2 -- and that rules might need to be changed just to include him in his own, unofficial event.

Already this year, he didn’t play in the AT&T National or Deutsche Bank events, which help benefit his charity, because he was injured or ineligible. Greg McLaughlin, who runs both Woods' charity and the Chevron event, has not indicated how they would proceed if Woods fails to remain in the top 50.

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Rose and Wilson tracking Tiger at Cog Hill

LEMONT, Ill. -- For those who believe that as much can be learned in defeat as can be gleaned in victory, Justin Rose and Mark Wilson could be living proof of that notion this weekend.

Assuming one of them ultimately delivers the goods, of course.

Rose is in contention for the second time in four years at Cog Hill, where he played in the penultimate group of the final round with eventual winner Tiger Woods in 2007 and got a front-row seat at how to seal the deal. Wilson, tied for the lead with Rose at 11 under, played with Woods in 2009 when he shot a course-record 62 en route to his fifth career victory at Cog Hill.

Talk about witness to history. Woods practically drew a template of how to play the course while both of them watched and tried not to get run over.

Rose, 31, said had flashbacks of the day while shooting 3-under 68 Friday. Four years ago, Woods shot 63 in the final round and blew past everybody, Rose included, on the way to his fourth win at Cog Hill.

"I remember that day clearly," Rose said. "We were both sort of 4 under through seven or eight holes, going along really nicely, and I think I shot 68 in the end, and as the round went on, he was very jovial and laughing and joking around to start with, and then the way he closed it out was a huge learning curve right there.

"He got more and more focused, more and more into his shot, more tunnel vision as the round went on. I kind of thought about that, funny, enough today on the 13th tee, about the way he closed that round out."

Rose bogeyed the 13th Friday, but made an eagle two holes later to reclaim the lead. He bogeyed the last to settle into a tie with Wilson at 11 under. Wilson played with Woods on Saturday when the former world No. 1 recorded his last victory logged on the PGA Tour.

So both of the guys tied for the lead had front-row seats in seeing how Woods delivered the goods.
 
"Yeah, it definitely is a big lesson when you see someone who's playing that way and the way they have the ability to close out," Rose said. "There's nobody better than him at that, so it was a good lesson to learn that day."

Wilson thought of Woods, too, during his second-round 66 on Friday.

"[I] bogeyed the first hole, and the first thing that popped in my mind was when I played with Tiger in 2009, he shot 62 after an opening bogey," Wilson said. "So obviously my mind is in the right place thinking of stuff like that."

Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 2:53 pm
 

McDowell plans Tiger flyover on way to Dubai

NORTON, Mass. -- Looks like it just got a little easier for Tiger Woods to win his annual year-ending tournament.

Assuming he qualifies for a spot.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell, who last fall at the Chevron World Challenge outdueled Woods is one of the most exciting finishes of the year, confirmed Thursday that it's going to be logistically impossible for him to return.

The Chevron event this year is set for Dec. 1-4, the week after McDowell will be paired with Irish teammate Rory McIlroy in the World Cup in China. The week after the Chevron event, staged in suburban Thousand Oaks, McDowell will play in the European Tour' season finale, the Race to Dubai event in the Middle East.

McDowell said he had already spoken with Chevron tournament officials and was hoping to speak to Woods personally before he formally backed out of defending, but hasn't seen Woods of late. Woods didn’t qualify for the current FedEx Cup series, which is staging its second leg this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

"I don’t see how I can do it, unless he wants to send me a jet," McDowell said.
 
From China to California to Dubai in a span of eight days would be hard for anybody to survive.

"The schedule is just so compressed this year," McDowell said. "Dubai, it's just too important a week for us. I am trying to play both tours. But with a Ryder Cup year coming, it's too important. I have to be ready to play when I get there."

The Chevron event, while unofficial, was one of four titles McDowell won in his transcendent 2010 season, including the U.S. Open.

The Dubai event has a $7.5 million purse, the richest European Tour event of the year. McDowell is 33rd in the Race to Dubai standings, otherwise known as the money list. To make the 2012 Ryder Cup team as an automatic pick, he needs to pick up as much in earnings as possible.

"I would love to play," he said. "It's not so much the week of Tiger's event that I am worrying about -- it's the week after [Dubai]."

As for Woods, he fell to No. 38 in the world ranking this week, and if he falls out of the top 50 while idle over the next three weeks, he won’t be eligible to play. In order to the Chevron to award world ranking points, each of the 18 players in the field must be ranked in the top 50 when the rankings are issued Sept. 19.

It's a longshot, however, that Woods will fall that fast, even though by Sept. 19 it will have been two years since his last PGA Tour win in Chicago.

Category: Golf
Posted on: August 31, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Mediate says Woods problem stems with coaches

NORTON, Mass. -- Rocco Mediate is rarely at a loss for words.

Sometimes, that's not a great thing.

The ever-loquacious PGA Tour veteran weighed in with his opinion on old pal Tiger Woods' travails in the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday and effectively trashed the fading former No. 1's last two swing coaches.

"I love the way he plays, but I'm disgusted with what's going on with him because it's sad for our game," Mediate said Tuesday. "A lot of guys are happy Tiger isn't playing well. I'm not. ...

"We need to have Tiger back at the top, because he's the draw. It's fantastic all these other kids are winning, but they're not Tiger Woods."

Disgust?

Mediate believes that Woods' new swing under new coach Sean Foley is putting too much stress on his body. By design, it's supposed to do just the opposite, by the way.

"The physical motion is wrong," Mediate told the newspaper. "To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake -- the guys working with him just don't know. Sean knows some stuff, but what's going on with Tiger is not correct. That's why he keeps breaking and that's why the ball keeps going sideways."

Wow, hard to know where to begin here. Mediate knows more about the golf swing than Foley, whose students include Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, who both won twice last year? Mediate didn't leave out Hank Haney, Woods' former coach, either.

"Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction," he said.

As an aside -- Woods was more consistent from week to week under Haney than at any point in his career. Haney has the incontrovertible data to back it up. Woods won 45 percent of his starts in their final three seasons together.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts," Haney said in an email Wednesday.

Mediate said that if he was coaching Woods at this point, he might bow out.
 
"If it was me [as his coach], I would say to Tiger, 'Look, dude, I'm not helping you, you're getting worse. You've broken down three times and you've had 57 knee surgeries. It's not happening,'" Mediate said.

So, the assertion here is that none of Woods' issues are of his own making? Really? Recall that 13 months ago, after Haney quit as his coach, Woods hit rock bottom while flying solo at the Bridgestone Invitational, finishing one spot out of dead last, his worst 72-hole finish ever. He was lost and looking for a lifeline, and began working with Foley a week later.

Then there's the loss of his psychological edge, his crisis of confidence, his frequent and various injuries, the fact that his putting has been frequently ghastly, and that he hasn’t won on the U.S. tour in nearly two years. Woods beat Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to win his most recent major title, at the 2008 U.S. Open. Mediate is the defending champ at the Frys.com Open, where Woods will make his debut in a second-tier Fall Series event on Oct. 6.

If it were only as simple as the swing coach, Woods might have righted the ship by now.

Mediate lauded Woods' decision to play, although it might have been a condition of being added to the Presidents Cup team as an at-large pick. The U.S. team is captained by Fred Couples, who publicly asked Woods to add a tournament because he is ineligible to play in the current four-week FedEx Cup series.

"It just shows another side of him," Mediate said of Woods' commitment to the Fry's event. "He's trying to get better, trying to figure out his swing problem. When he gets his stuff together, he'll be No. 1 again and everything will be back to normal."

Normalcy and Tiger Woods? That not only would be welcome, it would represent a first.

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