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Tiger Woods’ comments after “pain-free” practice round continue to stoke fires of optimism

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Good news, Tiger Woods fans. TW played a pain-free practice round at the Hero World Challenge site on Sunday, suggesting further that optimism about this return isn’t totally unfounded.

Woods told ESPN’s Bob Harig: “The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”

The 14-time major champion reportedly played a brisk 18-hole practice round using a cart that took just over two hours.

Regarding his Hero return, Woods said.

“It could be the next step, I just didn’t know [when the pain would occur]. That’s tough to live with. And it’s been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting. I am stiffer. Of course, [his lower back is] fused. But I don’t have the pain. Life is so much better.”

He added he’s shocked just how good his back feels.

“I am a little surprised…The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”

Woods added he enjoyed measuring his game against world No. 1 Dustin Johnson during his Friday round at Trump National. He did not add, however, that he was disappointed with the comparison; which is certainly a good sign.

Ultimately, though, John Wood, Matt Kuchar’s caddie, talking as part of Golf.com’s Tour Confidential panel, offered the take we surely all second about Woods’ return.

“The three things I would love to see is a pain-free golf swing, a lot of drivers off the tee and, like Michael said, joy. I hope he looks like a junior golfer out there sometimes, with a smile and having fun. I think that’ll be a good starting point.”

Indeed. Woods will make his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Thursday. Tee times for the 18-player tournament are yet to be announced.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tom54

    Nov 27, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Tiger has been battling all sorts of injuries for many years. It would be nice if he could play all year without withdrawing cause of the nagging back issues. Until he can accomplish that I will hold my breath and see. No doubt he still knows how to play and compete it’s whether he can get to a level that he will accept. I hope he will enjoy playing again to see how he stacks up with the youngsters that he definitely inspired. He’s been away a while but I hope he has a good time and can get back in the mix. Golf may not need Tiger like in the past but there’s always room for him. We wish him well

  2. Jack Nash

    Nov 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    It’ll be good to see Joe again.

  3. Mike Honcho

    Nov 27, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I hope he shoots 12-over.

  4. jd57

    Nov 27, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Trump National??!! TRIGGERED!!

    Seriously though, that’s great. Love seeing people be healthy and pain free.

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19th Hole

Curtis Strange didn’t like Jon Rahm’s behavior during CareerBuilder playoff. Is he right?

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Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry filled their plates at the birdie buffet CareerBuilder Challenge to each finish at 22 under par. The pair battled in a four-hole playoff, with Rahm emerging victorious.

Good stuff if you like watching pros pencil circles on their scorecards, right? Not for Curtis Strange. The two-time U.S. Open winner didn’t like the pair’s chumminess between shots during the playoff, and he did what angry people do in the year 2018: He tweeted about it.

Hat tip to Alex Myers at Golf Digest for spotting this (as one Twitter user commented) “get off my lawn take” from Mr. Strange.

Here’s Strange’s dad tweets, curious punctuation and all, as well as a sampling of some of the replies.

So, what say you, GolfWRX members of all generations?

Plenty have maligned the friendliness of the current crop of young talent. Rahm, for his part, has been characterized as more of a volcano than a gentle breeze on the course in general, but this specific bit of chatter is doubtless bothersome to the old-school hardline set.

Clearly, Rahm wasn’t adversely affected by the dialogue. Was Landry? Was your enjoyment of the telecast affected? Let us know.

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Is this the worst “my clubs were stolen” story ever?

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Tom Owen. Remember the name, because this unfortunate gentleman may have the worst tale of club theft in recent memory.

Now, the experience of having one’s bag pilfered, never to be seen again, is awful. Your clubs are simply gone, and you have no idea who took them and where they went. Tom Owen had the first part of that experience, however, he knows exactly where his clubs are…and he can’t (legally) do anything about it.

Therese Henkin New Zealand’s Howick & Pakuranga Times originally reported the story.

Mr. Owen’s bag, with its thousands of dollars of equipment and his cell phone, was lifted December 15th from Howick Golf Course at Musick Point, New Zealand.

“They took everything, all my clubs, my bag, trundle, golf balls and my mobile phone which was tucked away inside the bag,” he told the paper.

However, as this is the 21st century, Owen was able to track his phone (which was in his golf bag) to a nearby residential address on Pigeon Mountain Road.

Presumably overjoyed, he called the police to report the theft and the location of his stolen property. One can only imagine his despair when he was told the authorities would be unable to lawfully search the premises and thus could not recover his clubs.

After reporting the incident, Owen was surprised to learn that police were not able to search the premises for the goods.

A police spokesperson explained.

“While we understand people may think police can use the tracking system people use on their phones and then send a patrol car to retrieve the property, under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, police officers do not have the authority to enter a premise based off a locater app on a missing phone. If police resources are available and the technology can pin-point a specific address such as a household, Police are able to knock on the door and make enquiries, but not enter.”

Obviously, Owen isn’t a fan of the law, and he thinks it puts victims in a bad position. He’s right: Knowing the authorities can’t do anything, but knowing where your stolen phone, etc, is, do you risk your life taking the law into your own hands?

“It’s very frustrating to know where your stolen items are and not have anyone do anything about it. If police really can’t act on the information you give them, then something needs to change.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does this make any sense? Do you join Owen in calling for a rewriting of the law?

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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson’s pursuit of average driving, Phil being Phil, and plenty more Mickelsonia from the wires today

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Phil Mickelson. We tend to forget the left-hander remains a divisive, swashbuckling figure as he settles into the home stretch of his PGA Tour career. We pretend that his outrageous risk-taking-masquerading-as-cool-calculation approach to the game is somehow something other than an affront to the plodding, conservative way the game was “meant to be played.” Phil Mickelson: Even those who can’t stand him have to be deeply intrigued by Mickelson the Man and Mickelson the Golfer. How can you not be fascinated? How can you not be frustrated?

The 47-year-old begins his season at the CareerBuilder Challenge this week seeking his first victory since the 2013 British Open. Thus, it’s not surprising to see a rash of Mickelson-related pieces populating the golf newswire today.

Here are a few morsels. Per Cameron Morfit of PGATour.com, Mickelson is pursuing “average” driving this year. The left-hander has historically struggled with the big stick and placed outside the top 100 in strokes gained: off-the-tee last season,

Here’s what Mickelson said about his pursuit of mediocrity off the tee.

“What’s funny is when you’re good at something, chipping, putting, wedges, distance control, all that stuff, it’s easy. It takes me a day or two of practice to get back to kind of an elite level. But to become just an average driver when you’re not good at it, it takes a lot of work. And that’s what I’ve been spending the last few years on, really trying to figure it out. Get the swing plane right, get shallower into the ball, get the weighting of the driver right. The whole mental approach to the driver. Just to get everything dialed in just to be average.”

“I just don’t want to give away shots off the tee. I don’t need to gain shots off the tee; I’ll gain them elsewhere. I feel like the short putting has been addressed. I feel like, and believe, that I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough with the driver. And if that happens, I think 2018 could be a remarkable year, a year where I can win multiple times.”

Golfweek’s Brentley Romine has some interesting remarks from Jon Rahm. Rahm, of course, was coached by Phil’s brother Tim at Arizona State–a job Mickelson left to manage Rahm. Tim Mickelson then ditched that gig to loop for his brother after Bones Mackay dropped his bag to pick up a microphone. In other words, Rahm has seen the pair up close plenty of times, and had this to say about the difference between his approach to the game and that of the variable-obsessed Mickelson

“It’s really fun to hear how they (Phil and Tim) talk to each other, because Tim being my coach at ASU, I don’t need much – “Okay, it’s like 120 (yards), this shot, right?’” Rahm said. “And you have Phil, it’s like, ‘Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like 1 mph wind sideways, it’s going to affect it 1 yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They’re thinking (that) and I’m like, ‘I’m lost.

“It’s funny, he gets to the green and then it’s the same thing. He’s very detail-oriented. He gets there and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a foot right.’ And he goes, okay, he reads the green, like, ‘Oh, it’s 1.8 degrees of slope here and this and that. And I’m there listening and I’m like, ‘Man, I hope we’re never paired together for anything because I can’t think like this.’ I would not be able to play golf like that. For me to listen to all that is really fun. And then you hear me and Adam talk, ‘180, a little breeze into, okay, hard six.’ … And it’s just opposite extremes completely.”

Different strokes before making strokes.

Then, there is this piece from Shane Ryan exploring the nature of Phil Mickelson, if you will, and suggesting he could impress this year. Of course, this is a wholly inadequate description of a piece for Golfworld you absolutely must read.

 

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