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Tiger Woods carrying drives 300 yards at junior clinic

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Hold on to your Nike Golf hats, Tiger fans. This isn’t another rumor from Secret Tour Pro, Robert Lusetich, or insider info from Tim Rosaforte: Tiger Woods was spotted at a Nike-sponsored junior clinic today hitting a full range of shots — including bombs with the big stick, according to Golfweek Junior.

And here’s more featuring the 14-time major winner from the social media sphere. 

@tigerwoods at the #SageValley #JuniorInvitational #golf @nikegolf #TW

A video posted by Graham Pocialik (@gtroit) on

Interestingly, Woods appearance at Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina, comes on the same day as the release Wright Thompson’s piece for ESPN painting a somber portrait of Woods’ life after the passing of his father, Earl.

Here’s some more footage, courtesy of the Shreveport Times’ Roy Lang III.

Woods hasn’t competed on the PGA Tour since last year’s Wyndham Championship. His camp has been unwilling to commit to any timeline for the golfer’s return following a pair of late-2015 back surgeries.

In an April 1 blog post explaining his decision not to play in the Masters, Woods wrote: “I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready….I’m absolutely making progress, and I’m really happy with how far I’ve come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.”

More recently, Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, said he believed his client would return to competition this season. With Steinberg’s statement and today’s clinic footage, speculation is set to begin in earnest as to when the former World No. 1 will make his return.

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Tour Rundown: Magical stuff on three tours

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Something happened this weekend. Something quite large in the world of professional sport. An athlete with a hearing impediment claimed victory on the world’s stage. Diksha Dagar, former world deaf championship winner and silver medalist in Deaflympics golf, chased down a victory on the Ladies European Tour. In this writer’s mind, the winners of the Players Championship and the Kenya Open, while deserving of praise, take a rightful backseat to a standard bearer.

Ladies European Tour – South African Open goes to Indonesia’s Diksha Dagar

Diksha began the week with a double bogey, and closed it with a trophy in hand. Not the traditional manner of claiming a first, major professional victory, but certainly one for a unique record book. The young Indonesian golfer totaled 76 that first day, but dropped 10 strokes on day two with 66, sitting just two behind the leader. Her only trouble was, the leader was home-country pro Lee-Anne Pace, in search of a 10th Euro Tour win, and first in five years.

On day three, Pace looked every bit a champion, and Dagar, equal parts runner-up. Scotland’s Michele Thomson and Germany’s Esther Henseleit were in the mix as well, ultimately tying for thrid spot at 3 under. As for the challengers? Pace stumbled with bogeys at 13 and 17, to finish at 4 under on the week. Dagar, in Pace’s words, played flawless golf and closed with birdies at 15 and 16, the later on a holed chip shot, to reach 5 under and claim victory. On this occasion, flawless was the diamond.

PGA Tour – The Players Championship has fitting champion on St. Patrick’s Day

At 2:20 EST, 18 golfers were within 2 shots of the lead at TPC Sawgrass. The leaders were in the throes of McIlrahmoid Fever, that wretched illness that strikes most golfers when much is on the line. Even thought it’s not an official major, the Players has every trapping of that august status: a course waiting to bite you on every shot, money, exempt status, peer respect, and P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E. In the end, only four golfers were within two shots of the lead, and two of them didn’t figure until late. Confused? Understandable.

In a nutshell: Jim Furyk made a run for the old guys, but came up one stroke shy. Jon Rahm hoped to claim that first big win of his professional career, but a wretched closing stretch did him in. Tommy Fleetwood, Jason Day, Brian Harman and others all tap-danced their way into, then out, of contention. In the end, it was the leprechaun himself, Rory McIlroy, who recovered from an early double bogey with 33 on the inward half, to raise the trophy of many faces. McIlroy, birdied 11, 12, 15 and 16 on his way to 16-under par. The title certainly cements him as a potential favorite to finish the career grand slam next month at Augusta.

European Tour – Magical Kenya Open ends up in the hands of Migliozzi

Don’t think that others didn’t try to claim the 2019 Magical Kenya Open trophy. The statue of the strutting rhinoceros would make other baubles pale in comparison. The final nine holes of this year’s event were as compelling as the majestic beast whose visage went home with Guido Migliozzi. The first-time champion on the European Tour took the lead early on Sunday, lost it, then found it again with a run of six pars to the finish. His birdies on 10 and 12 were enough to reclaim the top spot, and pars held his space atop the podium.

Last week’s winner, Justin Harding of South Africa, made four birdies and an eagle from holes 10 to 18. It was his unfortunate bogey at lucky No. 13 that kept him one shot behind the Italian. Countryman Louis De Jager also reached 15 under, closing with seven frustrating pars, while in search of the elusive bird to reach 16 under or better. Spaniard Adri Arnaus jumped into the lead with three mid-round birdies, but gave it back with bogey at the par-5 12th. One more birdie coming home was just enough to join the tie for second with the South Africans.

 

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Tiger Woods working with putting coach Matt Killen at The Players

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Tiger Woods says he is fit and healthy ahead of this week’s Players Championship, and the 14-time major champion has putting coach Matt Killen alongside him at TPC Sawgrass as he seeks his third title at the event.

Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte broke the news on social media, and the move represents the first time Woods has had an instructor of any type since his split with Chris Como in 2017.

Woods struggled with the flat-stick at his last outing at the WGC-Mexico, where he three-putted six times. That event represented the first time that Woods has lost strokes to the field on the greens at a tournament since the Northern Trust back in August, and over his previous 24 rounds, the 43-year-old ranks 42nd in this week’s field for strokes gained putting.

Killen currently works with Justin Thomas, J.B. Holmes, Bud Cauley and Blayne Barber, and speaking to Golf Digest, the putting instructor stated on Monday that he likes what he sees in Woods’ stroke.

“His stroke looked good. His putting is better. I like what I see.”

Woods tees off on Thursday at 1.27 pm ET alongside Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed.

 

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Francesco Molinari joins Callaway tour staff; WITB details

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Callaway Golf has announced that the 2018 Open Champion, Francesco Molinari, has joined its tour professional staff.

Molinari will make his debut on the PGA Tour as a Callaway staffer this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he will game Callaway woods, irons, wedges, an Odyssey Putter, and a Chrome Soft Golf Ball, as well as a Callaway Staff Bag.

Regarding the announcement, the Italian had this to say

“I am joining Callaway because I’m so impressed by their equipment. More than anything, I’m looking forward to playing the new Epic Flash Driver and the Chrome Soft X Golf Ball. The ball speed gains that I’m getting from the driver are unbelievable. And this golf ball is the best one that I’ve ever played. The performance from tee-to-green, especially the feel and control, is exactly what I want.”

Speaking on the announcement, Callaway Senior VP of Global Sports marketing, Tim Reed stated

“We’re proud to welcome Francesco as our newest Callaway Staff Professional. We’re confident that he will play at an even higher level and enjoy many more great wins with Callaway equipment. He’s added ball speed off the driver with Flash Face Technology, and his performance on approach shots and around the greens has been spectacular with his new Callaway irons, wedges, and our Chrome Soft Ball.”

Currently in the Italian’s bag is an Odyssey Toulon Madison Putter which features a new Stroke Lab Shaft. Speaking on the putter which Molinari is presently using, Sean Toulon, SVP, Callaway Golf & GM, Odyssey Brand, said

“Francesco is a tremendous putter, and he really likes the milled performance he’s seeing from the Madison. And with the Stroke Lab Shaft he’s getting more consistency in the rhythm and the tempo of his stroke. It’s a combination that’s going to help him have a lot of success and make of a lot of big putts.”

Francesco Molinari WITB 2019

Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei White 60 TX

Fairway wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei White 70 TX

Irons: Callaway Apex 19 (4-iron), Apex MB 18 Irons (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X 100

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X 100

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison Stroke Lab

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

 

 

 

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