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What Tiger should give back to the game



After Tiger Woods’ nothing-less-than astonishing return to form this year, capped by his recent win at The Tour Championship, it seems nearly everyone is back on the bandwagon. Need proof? Odds makers around the world have already made him the favorite to win next year’s Masters. And if you listen to the pundits tripping over each other to provide each fresh take you’d think this older, wiser, and humbler version of Tiger is not only now primed to do finally break Nicklaus’ major tournament record, but to possibly even be the one to who finally brings peace to the the Middle East, but I digress.

It’s true, Tiger’s done much for golf, likely more than any player of the modern era. In the past, he’s been penned as the games’ savior, bringing more eyeballs on, and players to, the sport than anyone since Palmer, and maybe more. He ushered in the era of the golfer as an uber-athlete, while bringing more attention, and more money to the sport (and the pockets of all his would-be successors and competitors), than any player before him. And he’s done all that just by playing it.

At the same time, though, the game has given Tiger much, arguably much more than any player before him, and so to a degree, I think it’s okay to expect that he owes it much more than any player before him. Sure, he’s given back in ways that go beyond just playing, like what he’s given to many who may never even play the game through his foundation. But it occurred to me after his win the other day, that Tiger now has a unique opportunity to give something different back to the game, and a host of struggling rank and file golfers that have largely supported him through the highs and lows of his career. And maybe, just maybe, this kinder, gentler, humbler Tiger is finally in a place where he’ll consider doing it.

Despite the scourge of slow play, time famine, and the other myriad of reasons cited for a drop in golf participation during the decade Tiger has spent absent from the major winners’ circle, one of the biggest ongoing issues affecting participation often goes unheralded. And this issue not only drives an estimated 25 percent of the players who quit the game from it, it greatly hampers the enjoyment of it for a vast multitude of others who still choose to play. The affliction known as the yips.

Now, if you listened to nearly every one of those same back-on-the-bandwagon pundits a mere year or two ago, they were lining up just as fast to claim how the yips were as much behind Tiger’s absence from competition (and his poor showings when did compete) as was his ailing back. Even the Tiger apologists had begun to come around, resigning themselves to the fact that something was seriously wrong, even while they tip-toed around the actual word like its utterance alone had the power to take him down. But with each topped tee shot, skulled bunker shot, or pitch from a tight lie that he laid the sod over, what were at first whispers rose to a near crescendo. Tiger had the yips. Especially around the greens, but it didn’t stop there, as his decade-long struggle with the big-stick was also being hailed as more mental than anything to do with the umpteen incarnations of his golf swing.

Watch this new Tiger, though, especially these past few months, and while his driver is still suspect, it’s hard to believe all those conversations about the yips were even being had. Contending in numerous events, coming close in two majors, and now winning The Tour Championship, and nearly The FedEx Cup, and even the staunchest Tiger critic would have a hard time not agreeing that he’s back, and not just from a bad back, but from a mental abyss the likes of which it can be argued that few have ever returned to the top of the sport from.

And this is where Tiger can finally, truly give something back. As one of the best to ever pick up a pitching wedge, I think it’s time we were treated to a little bit more than a mere platitudes, a What’s in The Bag, or an analysis of the nuts and bolts of the latest incarnation of his golf swing. It was long considered that Tiger’s iron-clad psyche, his iron will, and his mental toughness were his greatest weapon. In his prime, he was other-worldly, winning often by sheer intimidation. But now that that the myth of his immortality has been shattered, and he’s been revealed as much everyman as he is the superman we once put up on that pedestal, it’d be nice to see him play the part of Toto and pull back the curtain a bit on the struggles of the great and powerful Oz. And give us some real insight on what it exactly took to bring him back from the brink.

Tiger’s former coach Hank Haney (who also battled the yips) once did it, even wrote a whole book about it, something I’m sure it took some pride-swallowing to do. Tiger doing it would be on another level. And while it would be an even bigger act of humility for him to do so, especially when you consider his long-standing disdain for admitting to any kind of weakness, it would mean so much more.

If what we’re really seeing is a kinder, gentler, wiser, humbler Tiger this time around, one whose more appreciative of all he once had, all he still does, and all the game has given him, then maybe just maybe this time he’ll throw a bone to some of the rank and file who love this game, who’d love to keep loving it, and shed some light on the specifics of how he’s managed to leave one of the games’ biggest specters behind. It could help many get more out of the game, and give many more the hope they need to keep playing it. And in the process, Tiger just might give back to the game something he never knew he had the power to: the gift of its enjoyment.

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Mike Dowd is the author of the new novel COMING HOME and the Lessons from the Golf Guru: Wit, Wisdom, Mind-Tricks & Mysticism for Golf and Life series. He has been Head PGA Professional at Oakdale Golf & CC in Oakdale, California since 2001, and is serving his third term on the NCPGA Board of Directors and Chairs the Growth of the Game Committee. Mike has introduced thousands of people to the game and has coached players that have played golf collegiately at the University of Hawaii, San Francisco, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, University of the Pacific, C.S.U. Sacramento, C.S.U. Stanislaus, C.S.U. Chico, and Missouri Valley State, as men and women on the professional tours. Mike currently lives in Turlock, California with his wife and their two aspiring LPGA stars, where he serves on the Turlock Community Theatre Board, is the past Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Commission and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock. In his spare time (what's that?) he enjoys playing golf with his girls, writing, music, fishing and following the foibles of the Sacramento Kings, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, and, of course, the PGA Tour. You can find Mike at



  1. bernd

    Oct 9, 2018 at 1:04 am

    1. Tiger owes nothing to the game of golf, he has given as much as he has received, if not moreso if you’re talking net revenues, etc
    2. Poorly written article, terrible transitions from one thought to another. Please, stop writing.
    3. Tiger doesn’t need to be anything to anyone besides his family at this point. If perceived as kinder, humbler, gentler, to the public, does it even matter? Is it even real? And again, he doesn’t owe that to the public. Last thing we need is another athlete pretending to put on a facade.

  2. Aztec

    Oct 8, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Mike Dowd is the same guy who wrote an article saying amateurs should play at 30 times their average driving distance in order to break 100, 90, etc. (it’s easy to find on this site if you want). So, if you’re average drive is 250 you should be playing 7,500 yd courses to maximize your chances. AND he says this is backed by ‘research’. A lot of people called him out on this – not one response from him to either defend his position of just admit he made a mistake. This should give you an idea how credible he is.

  3. frank cichon

    Oct 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    His putting is not close to what it was like 5-6 years ago. I first noticed at Agusta a few years back when he had an eagle putt around 10 feet for either taking the lead or to tie for the lead (back 9 on Sunday) and he missed the put on the low side and the putt would not have hit the back of the hole..maybe it would not have even got to the hole. When Tiger was winning most of his putts hit the back of the cup with speed……too of he come up SHORT & often short on the LOW side…how often did that happen 5-6 years ago.His win was in a short field event (30 in the field , although a strong field) rounds of 65,68,65 FINAL round of 71 (average score for final round was UNDER 70) had a 4 shot lead after the 1st hole and only won by 1 when really only 2 players had a chance to beat him and they posted rounds of 74 & 75. I do not think he had much pressure put on him Sunday or the result may have been different.

  4. dat

    Oct 8, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Pathetic piece.

  5. William Davis

    Oct 8, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Could we not have a rest from Woods for, say, two months. He can then make yet another comeback.

  6. Hawkeye77

    Oct 8, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Seems like the only folks suggesting Tiger needs to “admit” he had the yips are those folks who wrongly claimed that he did in the first place, lol. Now he’s won and all the naysayers have to cling to something. Well written but the premise simply wrong.

  7. JP

    Oct 7, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Author of this story should be fired.

  8. Kool Aid

    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    I said that when Tiger fell from grace, he should have donated 100 million dollars to 3rd world countries

  9. Duggie Howser

    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Sounds like an Elizabeth Warren piece.

  10. Johnny Penso

    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    “I would hate to see golf get lost again in that Tiger talk” – Greg Norman

    Quite prophetic.

  11. bj

    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Worst Ive read on this forum…..Way off base with this. wrong…wrong….wrong

  12. Paul Booij

    Oct 7, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Tiger owes us nothing. However, it would be nice if he wrote a book about what he went through. I would probably buy it. Just to know about how he changed his swing from where he was a few years ago.

  13. Really?

    Oct 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Tiger owes us nothing.

  14. Beau B. Jamin

    Oct 7, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Mike – There is far more factual basis in Big Foot and UFO’s that there ever will be in the so called dreaded golf “yips”. It makes me laugh every time I hear anyone bring this topic up as it is some sort of incurable disease. Where did this goofy old school mythological golf disease actually come from? A scene from Caddyshack perhaps? I honestly don’t know. . . Now if you want to discuss poor performance brought on by a wide variety of things such as : A lack of confidence due to a lack of practice and experience with a given lie, distance, and/or ground conditions; or a lack of confidence due to mental distraction often brought on by paralyzing self consciousness and fear of failure which is more often than not brought on by lack of practice and experience with a given lie or situation, then we might have something to talk about, but “the yips”. . . I don’t know. . .

    • The dude

      Oct 7, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Here’s what I learned from your post……you don’t know…(really bad post)

      • Bob

        Oct 8, 2018 at 9:23 am

        Here’s what I learned from your post. You’re a troll. . .

  15. Francis Speight

    Oct 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

    He never had the yips he had a bad back, it effects every part of your game.

    • dixiedoc

      Oct 8, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      He still has a bad back and he still has the yips. They’ll come back, you’ll see

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Hidden Gem of the Day: The University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia



These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member thejuice, who takes us to The University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia. Robert Trent Jones, Sr designed the course, and in thejuice’s detailed description of the track, he highlights the excellent challenge provided, as well as the facilities on hand for you to have a great experience.

“This is a RTJ, Sr course design at its best.  It’s LONG and tough with what seems like 18 elevated greens (I exaggerate, but there are quite a few), and the greens all have their own personality.  It’s always maintained VERY well, and the staff is super friendly.  They have coupon deals regularly that allow golf with a cart for under $35, which makes it a complete steal. 

 To top all of that off, you’re right next to campus and near downtown Athens, which is the perfect spot for some good eats and drinks post-round.  My group made it a weekend trip where we paired it with rounds at the Georgia Club and Hamilton Mill on the way back into Atlanta.  It was an awesome weekend!!!!”

According to The University of Georgia Golf Course’s website, 18 holes can be played midweek for $42.50, while the rate rises to $49 if you want to play on the weekend.




Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Roseland Golf and Curling Club in Windsor, Ontario



These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member tommg, who takes us to Roseland Golf and Curling Club in Windsor, Ontario. The course has previously featured on the Mackenzie Tour, and in tommg’s description of the track, he praises the fact that it is a course full of the characteristics that you would expect from a Donald Ross designed course.

“Classic Donald Ross built in 1928. Very flat besides the elevated greens, but all holes surround by mature trees. Always in very good condition. Extensive renovations in the last couple of years to bring it back to the original Ross design.

Hosted MacKenzie tour a few years ago. Being a muni it can get a tad slow on weekends. When you get to the huge oak on #11 look to your left and wave, I may wave back.”

According to Roseland Golf and Curling Club’s website, 18 holes can be played for $44 on both weekdays and weekends.




Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper



Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.


Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.


The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.


I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.


I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.


Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.


And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.


In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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19th Hole