Tag:tiger woods
Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Lefty: No issue with Tiger, still wants Bradley

EDISON, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson throttled back his Presidents Cup lobbying just a tad on Friday.

Two days after he said that rookie Keegan Bradley should be the first player selected with one of the two captain's picks for the cup matches in Australia this fall, Mickelson said he couldn't find fault with Fred Couples' surprisingly early decision to name Tiger Woods to the team.

Couples, the U.S. captain, said Thursday that he has already told Woods he's on the 12-man team, though the two at-large picks were not formally due to be announced for another month.

Bradley won the PGA Championship two weeks ago and has two victories in his first PGA Tour season. Points are accrued over two seasons and Bradley stands 18th on the U.S. list. Only the top 10 are assured berths.

"I still feel the same way and nothing has changed," Mickelson said, reacting to Couples' selection of Woods. "I don't have a problem with Tiger being picked.

"But I think that Keegan has had a great year and has only been able to get points for this season, and not last season. I think he deserves it for his play already."

It looks increasingly like Bradley might need the at-large pick. He shot 74 in the second round and missed the cut at The Barclays on Friday, so he won't be moving up the U.S. points list this week for sure.

On Wednesday, Mickelson offered some impromptu support for the rookie, a frequent playing partner in practice rounds: "This is his first year. Meaning he was not allowed to make Presidents Cup points [in 2010] and he's had arguably the best year for any U.S. player. I think he needs to be a pick if he doesn't get on it on his own."

Later that day, Lefty said he believed Bradley deserved to be named as the first pick. Obviously, with Couples' highly contentious decision to pick Woods four weeks early, that didn't happen.

As for why Couples didn't use the coming month to vet all of the players in the at-large pool before making a decision, Mickelson didn't venture a guess.

"I think you could argue either way," he said of Couples' move, "but there are a lot of good things that come from Tiger being on the team."

Woods is No. 28 on the U.S. points list.

Rising American player Gary Woodland, considered an at-large candidate while enjoying a breakout season, stands at No. 25 in points and said he had no issues with Woods getting the nod, either. In fact, Thursday's news was hardly a surprise based on what Couples told prospective team members three months ago.

Apparently, Couples has been locked in on Woods for several weeks, his freefall down the world ranking notwithstanding.

"He told us that [Woods was a likely pick] when he met with us back at the Memorial," Woodland said of Couples' intentions. "I've played sports long enough to know that you have to makes these teams outright or you put your fate in the hands of other people."

Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:08 am
 

Couples call on Tiger wrong for a hundred reasons

EDISON, N.J. -- Corey Pavin, wherever you are, accept this belated olive branch.

Like many, I spent the latter half of 2010 having a field day with your captaincy of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, belittling the sieves that passed as team raingear in Wales, poking fun at your colorless quotes, making cracks about your height, questioning whether your wife was actually running the show.

There's only one thing left to say after the developments of the past few hours: Bring back captain Corey, because the guy steering the Presidents Cup team is steering the team headed toward the Great Barrier Reef.

U.S. captain Fred Couples, in a remarkable admission, said Thursday night in Seattle that he has already told Tiger Woods that he's assured one of the two captain's picks, even though Woods' season has been punctuated by missteps, missed cuts and missed fairways.

Couples is having none of it. Or all of it, whichever way you hook or slice it.

"In my opinion, when you’re the best player in the world for 12 straight years and you’re not on a team, there’s something wrong," Couples said.

That's the crux of the critical blowback here. Woods was indeed the best player on the planet for 12 years. Problem is, we're in Year 14 now.

“I don’t know how you can criticize someone for choosing Tiger Woods," Couples said. "If he goes there and doesn’t play well, I would be shocked."

Hopefully, Couples doesn’t scare easily, or he could be in for some fainting spells when the matches begin in Australia, based on the way Woods has played in 2011. Perhaps Couples missed the parts at the PGA Championship where Woods missed the cut, hit balls in 22 bunkers, and hit a 20-foot putt so fat, it came up six feet short of the hole.

Woods hasn’t won in 23 months in the States and others have blown past him so fast, he has plummeted from second to 36th in the world, a spiral that will continue because he is ineligible to play for four weeks and his last PGA Tour win is about to fall off his two-year ranking period.

Couples sounds about as stable as Captain Queeg, rolling around two ball bearings in his hand and trying to figure out who swiped the strawberry ice cream.

This call is wrong for so many reasons, it's nothing short of astounding. Let's list a few.

At No. 11 in points is Jim Furyk, who has had a forgettable season on the whole. But Furyk is the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, a guy who won the FedEx Cup last year after finishing with three wins. Furyk, unlike Woods, has shown far more recent signs of life, including T9 last week.

Keegan Bradley not only isn’t on the team, he's 18th in points despite two victories in his rookie season. Phil Mickelson noted this week that Bradley is the perceived front-runner for tour player of the year, opined that Bradley ought to be the first player named as a captain's pick. Oops. Mickelson and Bradley are represented by the same management firm, so there's a bias here, but Mickelson's got a point. No other American won a major this year. Woods hasn’t won a major since mid-2008.

Even though Bradley, now No. 18 in points, was unable to amass a single Presidents Cup point last year, he is 10 spots ahead of Woods in the standings. Woods is 28th and sandwiched between immortals Kevin Na and D.A. Points.

Couples, a guy who will never be confused for Vijay Singh for his work ethic, is taking the easy way out. The captain's picks are not set to be finalized for four more weeks, until after the Tour Championship in Atlanta. What, he didn’t want to face questions for a month about his two at-large options?

Even for those who believe Woods deserves a pick, there is absolutely no defensible reason to announce the selection a month early. Too many other players who play well over the next month could get left at the curb as they angle for the last remaining spot.

The doltish Couples move certainly underscores the fact that the Presidents Cup is an exhibition, and not held in nearly the same esteem as the Transatlantic swordfight called the Ryder Cup. Making the pick now makes the PrezCup, a thinly veiled Ryder knockoff, look even more farcical.

Think the PGA Tour, which invented and runs the Presidents Cup, wasn't giggling in the hallways when their savant captain tabbed Tiger on Thursday? Moments after Couples told reporters in Seattle that Woods was already a lock, the tour sent out Couples' comments in a blast email, cementing the deal and trumpeting to all the world that Tiger was on the team.

Twelve years ago, after watching a couple of balls take cruel bounces at the 1999 U.S. Open, David Duval stoically answered a question about the caprices that had just cost him the title. "There is no such thing as 'deserves,'" he said. Well, looks like he was wrong. In a game known as the ultimate meritocracy, Woods was grandfathered in based on his resume from two years ago. If he handed any employer a resume with a gap that large in is performance history, the boss would say, "so, what's the deal with the last two years?"

If Woods wanted to earn a spot on the team the right way, he should have played last week in Greensboro, his last chance to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, which began this week at The Barclays. He was outside the top 125 positions required to make the FedEx series, tied in with rookie Will McGirt, who not only played well enough at Greensboro to get in the series, he was an overnight co-leader at The Barclays on Thursday night. Woods didn’t play. He said he had family commitments. Then he participated in a corporate PR stunt for EA Sports last Tuesday, sending a nice message of indifference while others were trying to grind their way into the FedEx picture.

Couples is so out of touch with affairs on the tour, he was unaware that Woods had not qualified to play in the FedEx series, and told him he wants him to add another tournament before heading to Australia to play in the Aussie Open (where he will receive an appearance fee) and Presidents Cup. Couples didn’t even wait to see whether Woods followed through and signed up for a Fall Series event before picking him. The Australian Open is Nov. 10-13 outside Sydney and the cup matches follow the next week.

Couples' assistant captain is Jay Haas, whose son Bill is 10th in Presidents Cup points at the moment. Guess who gets bumped if anybody makes the slightest move over the next four weeks and displaces him from the automatic-pick perch in the top 10? Right. Haas would then need to be picked to make the team. Awkward.

Plenty have compared Couples' decision to pick the skidding Woods as comparable to International team captain Greg Norman's decision to tab Adam Scott two years ago. Scott was in a months-long slump, and Norman figured being on the team might give the young Aussie a lift. What people forget is that Scott finished 1-4, however.

Picking Woods is akin to juggling dynamite. Couples, especially has ensured that a decent faction of Americans will be pulling against the U.S. team. 

Nice call, captain America.

Posted on: August 22, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Woods wants PrezCup slot, might add Fall event

Tiger Woods says he wants to play on the Presidents Cup team and might add another PGA Tour event to his schedule, which would mean playing in a second-tier Fall Series event.

They might be related issues, actually.

Writing on his website on Monday, Woods said he is laying low at the moment after missing the cut at the PGA Championship and skipping last week’s event in Greensboro, N.C., which ensured he was ineligible to compete for the next five weeks during the FedEx Cup series, which he won twice previously.

The fading former world No. 1, now 36th in the world ranking, sounds as though he has the Presidents Cup event in Australia on his radar, and it’s an event that could go a long way toward rehabbing his image. As it stands, he will be in Australia, site of the matches, already – he is playing in the Aussie Open the preceding week, Nov. 10-13.

Woods said he first will play in a benefit tournament with former Stanford mate Notah Begay on Aug. 31 in Verona, N.Y. Then comes a corporate obligation in Asia, followed by the Aussie Open.

“And hopefully I'll get picked for the Presidents Cup team,” Woods said. “I've had some conversations with U.S. captain Fred Couples, and we'll see how it goes. Of course, I want to be on the team.

“It's always fun to play for your country, and we did pretty well two years ago in San Francisco. I'm just going to keep practicing and try to get better. It's Freddie's call, and he can make any choice he wants.”

Well, yes and no. Knowing that Woods is already scheduled to be there, Couples will be hard-pressed not to add Woods beforehand. Couples last week told media that he's asked that Woods add another tournament before the Australian Open, for which he will receive a reported $2 million. But Couples will make his captain’s picks on Sept. 26, before the Fall Series begins, and before he can see Woods play again.

Woods seemingly has heard the message from the U.S. captain, too.

“I might add another PGA Tour event to my schedule,” he said. “Right now, I'm looking at my options.”

Woods indicated that he hasn’t yet hired a new caddie to replace Steve Williams, either.

“I haven't decided on a new caddie yet, but am definitely thinking about it a lot. There's a few guys I'm looking at, but it all depends on timing. At this point, I'm in no hurry to make a decision. What am I looking for? Two things: A person with a lot of experience, and a person I'll have fun with.”

Posted on: August 19, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Tiger: Video shoot over Greensboro shots

ORLANDO, Fla. – The dissonance and disconnect continue.

A few days ago in Atlanta, former world No. 1 Tiger Woods said he had family obligations that this week precluded him from making a last-ditch attempt at qualifying for the much-hyped FedEx Cup playoffs.

Then he spent Tuesday posing for new video game animation and publicity shots.

As though things aren’t bad enough on the golf course for Woods, already plunging down the world rankings after missing the cut last week at the 93rd PGA Championship, he’s all but begging to get hammered over his latest myopic management decision.

Without clarifying, Woods indicated in Atlanta that he had family obligations this week, which most assumed meant he had custodial scheduling issues with his children that could not be reworked.

Fine, dandy. Feel free to examine that logic at your leisure, if you so desire, especially since he claimed for two straight week that he needs “reps” in order to get his game back.

Seem like a mixed message? We’re just getting started.

Woods spent Tuesday at EA Sports in suburban Orlando filming computer footage for a new version of his video game, then engaged in a publicity stunt to promote sales by playing a teenager who won a national contest for the right to face Woods on the virtual golf course.

Maybe it’s just me, but what message does that send to Greensboro, the million-dollar FedEx Cup series title sponsors, the TV networks paying rights fees and golf in general – even if he does have custody of the kids?

Amazingly, the PGA Tour saw fit to pimp the EA Sports publicity stunts on its website Friday, even though Woods’ decision to skip Greensboro reads an awful lot like a tacit message that he doesn’t care about the FedEx Cup – or not enough to choose playing actual golf in lieu of satisfying one of his last remaining endorsement clients.

Custody of the kids or not, it smells all wrong and screams, “I am not there.”

Turning Tuesday’s EA Sports outing into a series of propaganda stunts – publicity photos of Woods at the video shoot were splashed over at least two notable golf-related websites Thursday -- is just plain begging for more criticism and scrutiny at a time when Woods can ill afford it.

This week in Greensboro, a slew of big names like three-time major winners Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are trying to make the cut and move up in the FedEx Cup standing. This marks the last week to secure additional points in order to qualify for the four-event playoff series beginning next week at The Barclays in Edison, N.J.

As for Woods, all the public knows for sure is that he spent one day this week helping hawk a video game.

PGA Tour communications chief Ty Votaw acknowledged Friday that the organization has a licensing deal with EA Sports, but would not elaborate about revenue percentages or other financial particulars of the contract.

Votaw also declined to discuss or express an opinion about whether Woods’ decision to conduct corporate-related business instead of playing at least indirectly sends the wrong message about the importance of the FedEx Cup.

As for the kid from Indiana who won the right to play Woods on his video game? The PGA Tour story noted that the 19-year-old held a 10-shot lead over Woods at one point.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Poll: Tiger popularity levels still cratering

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods is yet again prominently featured, high atop a couple of notable lists this week, and no, none of them are the world golf ranking.

Nearly two years after his fall from grace began, throngs of the American public still hasn’t forgiven or forgotten, and from a marketing standpoint, has named him the country's least-liked and least-trustworthy sports figure.

Things are bad when you get lower marks for public approval than actor Mel Gibson, which was exactly the case when a new Ipsos poll of 2,000 American respondents was released on Wednesday.

Popular actress Betty White topped the list of 25 most popular celebrities from a marketing standpoint, along with notables such as Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington.

Here the online summary of the findings regarding the least-liked celebs:

"At the other end of the spectrum, only two of the 100 celebrities asked about were viewed unfavorably by an outright majority of respondents: Paris Hilton (with 60% expressing an unfavorable opinion of her vs. only 12% a favorable one) and Charlie Sheen (52% vs. 22%). The next-most unpopular personalities among those rated are: Britney Spears and Kanye West (each of whom is viewed unfavorably by 45%), Arnold Schwarzenegger (44%), Tiger Woods (42%), Kim Kardashian (38%), Mel Gibson (33%), Donald Trump (31%), and LeBron James (29%).

“Several of these 10 personalities – Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears – are more widely disliked by women than they are by men. The others show relatively comparable proportions of male and female detractors.”

In other words, women seemingly are fueling Woods’ diminished chances at bettering his commercial opportunities.

Woods ranked sixth on the poll’s 10 most-unpopular personalities list. The only other athlete on the list was fellow Nike pitchman LeBron James at No. 10. As it relates to the country’s least-trusted celebrities, the findings for Woods were just as sobering.

“The list of the 10 least-trusted celebrities is nearly identical to that of the 10 most unpopular ones. Two-thirds of those asked (67%) rate Hilton below average in terms of being someone they trust – roughly the same proportion who rate Betty White above average. Sheen is rated below average by 65%, followed by Spears (60%), Woods (57%), Schwarzenegger and West (both 55%), Kardashian (47%), Gibson (45%), Trump (44%) and Kobe Bryant (40%).

“Majorities of those asked indicated that they would trust a company less if it were endorsed by Sheen (54%) or by Hilton (53%). Relatively large proportions also said so of Schwarzenegger and Spears (42% each), Woods (40%) and Gibson (34%)."

Here’s the complete story, charts and all: http://t.co/wREaoB8

Woods has fallen 32 spots to No. 33 in the world ranking since the first week of January.

Category: Golf
Posted on: August 14, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Tiger learns Rude is an adjective and a noun

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Tiger Woods is gone, but not forgotten.

As ever, he continues to be fodder for jokes, putdowns, one-liners and some downright hilarious fare.

Well, unless you happen to be on his payroll.

Saturday night, Golfweek columnist and occasional Golf Channel guest Jeff Rude reeled off a series of cheeky Tweets on his account, inventing some imagined conversational snippets between Woods' and his course-design employee and stand-in caddie, Bryon Bell.

Woods, continuing a painful slide down the golf pecking order, missed the PGA Championship cut on Friday night.

Here's the list of @GolfweekRude, in his own words.

Top 11 list of things fill-in caddie Bryon Bell might have said to Tiger Woods after Woods found 23 bunkers and missed the PGA cut by 6 strokes:


1. I know you live in a beach community with sand and water, but don't you think you carried the theme a bit far here at the PGA?

2. By the way, I’ve got those phone numbers you asked for on the 16th tee.

3. I had more fun being your travel agent.

4. Again, what was so bad about that old “wipey” swing?

5. It’s not me, it’s you.

6. I’m leaving you to caddie for Jason Dufner.

7. This wasn’t the most satisfying tournament of my career.

8. You know there were no blondes in those bunkers, right?

9. What’s 10 percent of zero?

10. Has anyone gotten carpal tunnel raking sand before?

11. Who are you?

Posted on: August 9, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Like it's not hot enough in Atlanta already?

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- Under a tree today at Atlanta Athletic Club, Mark Steinberg and Steve Williams had a lengthy discussion about, gee, we can't possibly imagine.

Here's a photo from Atlanta television station WSB-TV.

Steinberg, the agent for Tiger Woods, is the one on the left with his hands on his hips. Williams, Woods' longtime and embittered former caddie, has his arms crossed on the right.

Write your own photo caption. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for this meeting, which a WSB reporter said lasted between 15-20 minutes.


vcpuq.jpg
Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 4:14 pm
 

Azinger: Feud shows Tiger still 'lightning rod'

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- This is why Paul Azinger has become such a popular TV broadcaster.

The former Ryder Cup captain and major-championship winner, appearing on a Tampa sports radio outlet, summarized the Steve Williams and Tiger Woods feud better than anybody when he cut to the heart about what seemed so distasteful about the caddie's inflammatory, post-round comments Sunday night.

Williams had just finished caddying for Bridgestone Invitational winner Adam Scott, who had won in dominant fashion against one of the deepest fields of the year, but he turned it into a platform to vent his feelings about Woods.

"The old joke is when the player plays good the caddie says, 'we,'" Azinger told Tampa's WDAE radio. "But when the player plays bad, the caddie says 'he.' In this case the player played great and the caddie said 'I.'"

Azinger said the brushfire that broke out after Williams aired his laundry affirms and underscores where Woods is held in the public pantheon. To him, interviewing Williams was absolutely the proper thing to do.

"What it shows you is that Tiger Woods is a real lightning rod," Azinger said. "There’s a lot of emotion still wrapped up in whether you really like Tiger or can’t stand him. A lot of people have not liked Steve Williams through the years. He has not been a popular person amongst the players and the caddies, necessarily, and that’s OK -- he’s got a work ethic and people don’t like winners a lot of times.

"This situation was unique. I believe Stevie should’ve been interviewed. I wanted Adam Scott to win so I could hear what Stevie said in regard. It was as much what he said that did the damage. It became a 'me, me, me' or 'I, I, I' fest and he didn’t say how great Adam Scott played.

"When he said it was the greatest week of my life, I don’t know how anybody could believe that, and it just shows you there is a lot of bitterness and animosity towards Tiger still and the way he was let go [fired]. Probably some of it is justified, but he should’ve given Adam Scott his props and then lit Tiger up and I think everybody would’ve thought differently."

Azinger was asked whether Woods has many friends or allies left.

“I know that he has to be angry at the media that tore him down," Azinger said. "He’s got to be angry at himself first. He’s dealing with the worst of all possible emotions and that is shame, and he’s not healthy.

"Who are his friends? I mean [his agent], Mark Steinberg? Come on."

The show host, Steve Dueming, interjected, "He doesn’t have anybody."

"Well, he brought it on himself,” Azinger said.

 
 
 
 
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