The 2006 season was a tale of severe ups and downs for Tiger Woods. It started as a lot of seasons do for him, with a win at Torrey Pines and another at Doral. All things as we would expect from TW in the first run of the season.
Then, life happened in a brutal way that would affect all of us severely: on May 3, 2006, his father passed away. Earl Woods was not only Tiger’s dad but his best friend, most trusted confidant, and Tiger’s security blanket. The passing itself was not a sudden shock per se but regardless it was a hit to the heart and soul of a young man who was on the verge of becoming a father himself.
Leading up to his passing, Tiger had top 25s at Bay Hill and The Players and a T3 at Augusta. Not bad by any measure, but in comparison to the rest of his year, a downtick. Looking back it’s to be expected, and by normal human measures, his play was pretty solid.
In the aftermath of Earl’s passing, Tiger had his first missed cut in a major at the U.S. Open. Not shocking at all, considering how tough the course played and the long layoff leading in for TW. It would be like not swinging a bat for two months and your first at-bat is against Randy Johnson. I don’t care who you are, but the odds are stacked against you in a major way.
It’s at this point that Tiger started a run that I believe was the greatest of his career, maybe even in history.
The Cialis Western Open was his first tournament back, roughly a month after his missed cut at the U.S. Open. It was simply a warmup for TW with a T2 and some signs that his ball-striking was rounding into form.
It was at the 2006 Open Championship that every part of Tiger’s game rounded into form. Some say his performance at Royal Liverpool was his best ball-striking performance ever.
This is what his coach at the time Hank Haney had to say:
“Many consider that the best ball-striking tournament of Tiger’s career but given the fact that he didn’t hit woods I probably wouldn’t go that far but he was nearly flawless with the irons, he hit all the shots, high and low, left to right and right to left.”
The win at The Open that year was monumental even beyond the ball striking. The moment the final putt dropped for a five-stroke victory Tiger Woods, the man who had been a stoic brick house since day one, broke down in tears. Exhausted physically and emotionally, Woods melted into caddie Steve Willams’ shoulder and let it all go. It was a beautiful moment.
The five tournaments after the open were a display of play that I think will go unmatched…ever.
Just look at the results: These are consecutive starts mind you. Keep in mind that winning any tournament is exhausting, two in a row, Herculean…What is six in a row? Not of this planet. And four of them were against the best fields in the world.
If you do the math, he was a combined 109 under par for a tournament average of 18 under. Also, keep in mind that this run included two majors and two WGC championships. Just one of those wins designates a great year. Tiger had four in the span of six weeks.
His final tallies were
Staggering performance, given the fact that he missed a good portion of the year dealing with the death of his father, which changes people in so many ways.
I’ll get pushback on this, especially from those who say the 2000 run was the pinnacle, but I disagree.
But of course, I’m a reasonable man. So I say: Bring it on. Change my mind.
Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut
1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
The DailyWRX: What’s buzzing on social media (5/25/2020)
Gotta say, The Match: Champions for Charity, was a fun escape from reality and further fueled the “we need golf back” fire. I dedicate this DailyWRX to The Match, thanks for thrills boys.
No matter how hard you try to make this a meme…
It’s Tom Brady. He wins….always, no matter what. He’s a Mount Rushmore guy.
This gave me goosebumps…
Its an exhibition match for charity, and I’m over here jacked up like its Balboa vs. Drago. SMH. I love TW.
To all of it.
Please just run for President and get it over with, you got my vote…..in perpetuity. I mean hellacious seeds? Yes I want hellacious seeds. Please.
Justin Rose, Honma officially part ways
Justin Rose and Honma Golf have officially severed ties, per a joint statement released Friday evening.
Former World No. 1 and current World No. 14, Rose (previously a TaylorMade staffer) made waves in the equipment industry when he signed on as a full-bag Honma staffer at the beginning of 2019. He made waves again in late February when he arrived at PGA National with a TaylorMade SIM driver in his bag.
The next week, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose swapped out his remaining Honma wares for a TaylorMade SIM Max fairway wood, a Cobra Speedzone Pro 5-wood, TaylorMade P730 irons, and TaylorMade and Titleist wedges.
Full text of the statement from Honma/Rose below
“Honma Golf Limited (“Honma”) announces that, following a successful partnership with the former No. 1 player in the world, Honma and Justin Rose have agreed that Justin will no longer be one of Honma’s brand ambassadors. We are proud to have been a key part of Justin’s journey to regain his position as World Number 1 in early 2019, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open in his second event with Honma equipment in play.”
“For over a year, Justin worked closely with our team to help develop innovative and top performing lines of Honma woods and irons. His pursuit of perfection, approach to product testing and feedback has produced great value to Honma. Justin’s expert input and desire for maximum ball speed inspired our team to make the Honma TR20 460 and 440 drivers among the fastest drivers in the game. Consistently, and excitingly, our nationwide team of fitters are seeing the new TR20 460 and TR20 440 drivers produce some of the fastest speeds on the market. We wish him the very best in his pursuit of more majors and career success,” said John Kawaja, President Honma Golf North America.”
“I have enjoyed working with the Honma team and collaborating closely with them to design and develop excellent golf equipment. I was able to see firsthand the innovations that the craftsmen at Honma bring to their clubs. I am hopeful that during our time of partnership, we have laid the groundwork for Honma to continue to expand their brand. We both feel it is the right time to pursue our own paths,” said Justin Rose.”
Per Honma PR: “This will be the official statement and we are unable to provide any further comments”
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