Tiger Woods followed a near-miss at the Abu Dhabi Championship with a Sunday fold at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Does the 14-time major champ and 71-time PGA Tour victor need to learn how to win again? Hank Gola of The New York Daily News puts this question to Nick Faldo, Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee and gets differing responses.
I asked the first question, whether Tiger Woods needs to learn how to win all over again and they took it from there. I thought I’d run the entire transcript. Here goes:
NICK FALDO: Yeah, I do. I believe, because what we have seen, his incredible record in the past, leading after 54 and converting was ridiculous. But now we have seen about four now times when he's been right there, good enough to get into contention but not good enough to finish it off. And I think that’s when you discover all of those little things that you can't really put your finger on, what it takes to finish it off. But the bottom line is trust, or self belief, self confidence in your ability. We have seen a few swings and a few putts that — we watch Tiger scratch his head, let alone scratch your own.
JOHNNY MILLER: I don't know if the word is learn how to win again. But like Nick said, he's got to go do it is all it amounts to. The more tournaments that he’s sniffing on the lead and doesn’t pull it off, even starting with the Masters last year, that great charge on Sunday, it looked like he was going to do it and just sort of fizzes out. The more of those that he has, the more scar tissue you get, and you know, the tougher it is to make those putts. He used to do it, like, ‘Hey, it always goes in for me. Why not be confident?’ And all of a sudden, they are not going in, and he needs a lucky win or something, or a couple of guys gag or something and he wins. He just needs to win. That's what I said all along; I don’t care he did win at Sherwood, but I don’t know if that totally convinced him that that was a real win. He needs to do it on Tour with a PGA Tour win.
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: You know, I think he knows how to win. I don’t think he’s forgotten how to win. I just think he’s forgotten how to swing.
Lee Westwood says Europeans have advantage at Accenture Match Play While PGA Tour members have been battling in California (with a stop in Phoenix), European Tour players have been playing in the Middle East for the last month. Lee Westwood said Tuesday that all that desert golf pays off for European players when they get to the Accenture Match Play in Tucson.
Q. Do you see the Middle East swing as being very beneficial, and has some characteristics similar to this golf course out here? Does that give the Europeans an advantage as they've shown winning the last couple of years? Do they have an advantage coming into this tournament because they play Dubai and Abu Dhabi? LEE WESTWOOD: It's very similar playing the Middle East as to here. The greens will be very similar, and some of the golf courses are fairly similar. So it's probably good preparation for this tournament, yeah. Q. Do the Europeans have an advantage? LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah.
Westwood also talked about his decision to give up alcohol.
Q. This non use of alcohol LEE WESTWOOD: You can't comprehend that, can you, Alex? Q. I actually can. Do you think this is just one more thing that can help you?
LEE WESTWOOD: I don't drink a lot, anyway, to be perfectly honest. But I just felt like stopping altogether. Q. When you say you feel better, what do you mean exactly? LEE WESTWOOD: Well, I mean after Christmas I was trying to lose weight. There's a lot of calories in alcohol. So it was the easiest place to cut it out for starters. Q. What were you up to? LEE WESTWOOD: 97 kilos [214 lbs], something like that. Q. So it's just the weight? LEE WESTWOOD: The main reason, yeah. I like a break every now and then.
Schwartzel wants to master the grill at Augusta National Just when you thought the Champions Dinner at the Masters couldn't get any cooler, 2011 champ Charl Schwartzel asked Augusta National if he could hold a South African "braai" barbecue this year. (By tradition, the previous year's champion chooses the menu of the storied, champions-only Tuesday night dinner during Masters week.)
Q. Charl, is it true that you're going to do something unique at the Champions Dinner with the meal and where does that stand? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Well, I mean, we were going to try and do a barbecue. In South Africa we call it a 'braai'. I don't like very formal dinners. I thought of keeping it very relaxed, sort of standing around a fire and cooking the meat. Q. Is that what you hope to do? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: That's what I hope to do. Only thing that could stop me probably if there's too many people. Then it's very difficult to do the meat yourself. But we're still waiting for confirmation if it will be allowed, see how it works. Q. Charl, I'm curious. When you presented Augusta National that you wanted to cook your own meat, I'm wondering what their initial response was. CHARL SCHWARTZEL: I don't know. Their initial response was obviously, We'll come back to you on that. I think it took them quite by surprise, maybe expecting something a little more different or more the way they always do it. I just find sometimes that I don't enjoy these functions that are formal. You sit down, the food comes. I like it to be fun and relaxed, something that everyone will eat. If you bring in funny sort of foods, not everyone eats it. That's not what you want. I think everybody must be able to eat it and everybody must be able to enjoy it. That's what I do when I'm home on my off time. Basically every night I cook meat on the fire. Yeah, I thought that's something to do. Q. If they give you the go ahead, what meat are you throwing on the grill? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I don't know. We'll put some lamb chops, fillet steaks, a thing we call boerewors. It's a sausage that is very sort of famous in South Africa. I'm going to get to some South African shops in the United States and order some of those sausages and things.
Schwartzel spoke to reporters via telephone Tuesday at a Masters media conference, where he talked about another trapping of Masters tradition: the green jacket.
Q. You kindly came to the Golf Writers Dinner at the Open and wore the green jacket. How many times did you wear it over the previous year and what was the most fun, interesting occasion that you wore it? CHARL SCHWARTZEL: There's something about the jacket. Every single time you put it on, you get this very, very proud feeling. I wore it I don't know how many times. It traveled with me the whole of last year. Basically every single function that we went to, I wore it. I have no idea. I mean, I played 36 tournaments last year. I must have worn it more than 20, 25 times at some functions. Every time you put it on, it's a special moment.