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Williams: Woods’ magic remains

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Tiger Woods’ career is not only a series of wins; it is a series of moments. You can hear and see them in the theater of your mind. It is amazing putts, improbable iron shots and impossible chips, all of them somehow equal parts amazing and important.

The importance of Woods’ victory at the 2012 Memorial can be measured with several different yardsticks. With his record fifth win at the event, he ties Jack Nicklaus with 73 PGA Tour victories, 10 years faster than the Golden Bear. He also joined Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner as the multiple winners in 2012, having a posted a win at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational prior to this year’s Masters. Woods, one of the great front-runners in golf history, ran down third-round leaders Spencer Levin and Roy Sabbatini with three birdies in the final four holes.

Tiger credited the victory to his ball-striking, accurately commenting that he “put on a stripe-show”. The stats confirm the account; Woods hit over 75 percent of fairways and 74 percent of greens in regulation. Woods also averaged a stingy 1.75 putts puts per hole, all of which adds up to potential victory.

But even in Woods’ Bay Hill win, there was something missing. What was missing was The Moment, that one seemingly impossible shot that brings earsplitting roars from the gallery and a volley of .45 caliber fist pumps from Tiger. That moment came today on the 16th hole, where Tiger had left his approach in thick rough behind the green. It seemed as though it would take a miracle just to keep the ball on the green; Tiger used an 80-mile per hour swing to produce a weightless lob shot that trundled down the slick slope and found the bottom of the cup.  Nicklaus himself called it,” one of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen.” The crowd gave its best imitation of a Sunday gallery at Augusta, and Tiger’s bellowing was as much catharsis as celebration. It was, at last, The Moment. Tiger put the finishing touch on the win with a 8-foot birdie on the 18th that put him two strokes clear of Sabbatini.

The difference between Tiger and his entire peer group has never been defined by words like “consistency” or “precision”, although those were certainly components of his game. The difference has been his ability to create magic, to turn trouble into triumph and potential tragedy into permanent history. From Sawgrass and Augusta to Bethpage and St. Andrews, Woods has been the author of some of the most memorable moments in all of sport. For the last 36 months, the majority of the drama that Woods produced had been off the course. Today, Woods reminded the golf world that someone wins every week on Tour, but sometimes it’s how you win that makes the world sit up and take notice. With the U.S. Open just over the horizon, Tiger Woods today sent a message that couldn’t have been clearer if it had been written in smoke lettering across the blue Ohio sky: “I’m Back!”

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

Michael Williams is the contributing editor of Newschannel8 Capital Golf Weekly and Bunkershot.com, as well as a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. DannyBoy

    Jun 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I’m not sure I would call a win at Memorial anything more than that….a single win. To say TW has returned is a bit of a stretch IMO. He wasn’t even a factor until the leaders collapsed. I seem to recall another recent tournament he won like that too (could be a couple years old since he hasn’t really won anything of late). He does add more excitement when he’s in contention but I think at this point it’s more hope for something entertaining than anything else.

  2. BlahBlah

    Jun 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    The avg fairway hitting was 69% for the field. Big wide open fairways like you see at Memorial and BayHill are where Woods will shine. Put him on tight fairways at a US Open, we’ll see if he can do anything of note. The TW’s of 2000 he aint.

  3. WickNilly

    Jun 4, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Yes! I’ve been waiting so long to see that fist pump! the perfect finish to my wkend

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Tour News

REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

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Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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