For further background on Tiger’s tantrum that was directed to Golf Week senior writer and Golf Channel contributor Alex Miceli during today’s media presser, click HERE.
My take: I remember being a professional wrestling diehard in my younger days as a kid, and I absolutely loathed Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan had a way of royally pissing off the fans, making sarcastic remarks, always portraying this “better than you” schtick that always seemed to accomplish his mission each week. He was acting, of course… a lot of people don’t realize this, but many professional wrestlers are some of the greatest actors on camera, and are quite different from their professional character portrayals once they resume their personal lives.
As Tiger Woods continues his egotistical campaign of mocking the sports writers and journalists with his ever-growing sarcasm and petulance, he reminds me of that one pro wrestler that everyone hated… the type who always wanted to be front and center of all the attention, but only on his terms and most importantly – when it was most convenient. Tiger has become professional golf’s equivalent of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, except the act that he continues to produce week in and week out is anything but an act. It’s the real deal.
I know that we have some readers here who blindly follow Tiger, who are more than willing to excuse his attitude because of his former “greatness.” They’ll argue that he has a right to be upset about a book being written about him that he doesn’t approve of, that he owes the sports writers and the journalists absolutely nothing. I will concede those points and agree, only to say that neither is he owed absolutely anything in return. I’d love to see the day when Woods walks into a media tent to a room full of open chairs, with only a handful of reporters there, loyal scribes if you will… reminding him of how great he still is, while the rest of the real sports writers of the world are out covering reality. To quote his very own words on Wednesday, “you’re a beauty, Tiger, you know that?”
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest….
“Before the rain it played soft. After the rain it played a lot softer. After the rain I got a couple of mud balls on fairways. But it’s pretty warm out there at the minute and it’s a warm wind. It should be okay by tomorrow morning. But it will still play long. It’s a par 70 and it’s a tough par 70 at that. With the thick rough and the place playing a little bit longer, if the breeze gets a little bit up, it will be a very tough test, even if the greens are holding. If the wind gets up, they will firm out during the week. But you’re going to have to hit it really well from tee to green to score.” Rory McIlroy, talking about the difficulty of the layout Wednesday at the Honda Classic.
“I’ve seen a few physical differences with his putting stroke, because I’m a player and I’ve got an eye for it. But I can see occasionally like at the Matchplay, you could see the swing of the putter was not exactly the same as it was the first day as it was on the last day. Is that a technique or is that tension or who knows, or is that a mental block. We all hate being in that position. When you see someone at the top the game — I love watching the best do the best. When you see the best struggling, you feel for them because you know what it’s doing to them inside, and every five foot putt he misses, you feel like another nail might be going in that gets a little bit deep and a little bit harder.” – Greg Norman, commenting on Tiger Woods’ continuing struggles with his putting.
“I saw Justin Leonard make his putt on 17 to win it. I was at a dinner with him and Bones and some of the other guys and I told him I was sitting alone with him, I said I saw the putt you made to win the Ryder Cup, I was 13 years old and they all made fun of me that I was a little kid. But I was there and I saw it and I just saw how intense it was. I’ve been able to talk to Phil a little bit about that Ryder Cup, and it just seems like it’s so much fun. I think it’s a lot of pressure, as well, but I think that it’s almost a bond that you form with these guys, and I would really look forward to playing for the team.” – Keegan Bradley, talking about the 1999 Ryder Cup and his goal of making the Ryder Cup team this fall.
“I’ve been around a long time now. I think this is my 19th year out here, and there’s been sort of various rivalries thrown at me during my career and I really don’t pay much attention to them. You learn through playing golf a long time that the only thing you can control is your own game. That’s all I try and do. If it keeps cropping up that you’re playing for one player, like we were going for the Order of Merit two years ago; I figure if I’m going to keep playing well and getting in contention for tournament, we are always going to pretty much be in a similar position. So we’re going to be playing together a lot and it’s going to go backwards and forwards. One of us will get the better of the other, as I did in Dubai two weeks ago and Rory got the better of me last week. That’s just the way it is. But I mean, rivalries are good.” – Lee Westwood responding about a potential rivalry in-the-making with Rory McIlroy.
“I’m not offended by it. I always feel like the game is a game that is a very difficult game to start with. You try to figure out, how do you get the ball in the hole. As long as you’re using a legal stroke and a legal club what you’re saying, is the club legal. I mean, how many majors have been won with these putters? I guess Keegan uses one. Is he the only one that’s ever won a major with that? So I guess it’s just been a rampage that’s won so many tournaments with it; a flood on the market. (Laughing). I’m surprised they didn’t ban that big putter I used in the Masters in ’86. We sold a lot of them. (Laughter) I don’t have an issue one way or the other with it. I don’t think people have asked me the question. I just don’t see the big deal about it.” – Jack Nicklaus, commenting on the use of the belly/long putter and whether or not he feels it should be banned.
Featured Pairings on Thursday
7:30 – Kyle Stanley, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy
7:40 – Mark Wilson, Camilo Villegas, Rory Sabbatini
12:30 – Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Tiger Woods
12:40 – John Huh, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els
For a full list of Thursday’s pairings and starting times, click HERE.