He’s getting close.
That was Tiger Woods’s holiday message to fans posted Tuesday on TigerWoods.com. In his blog post, Woods recounted his November trip to Asia where he played in two exhibitions (a nine-hole, made-for-television match in Japan with Ryo Ishikawa, and a one-day skins game in his mother’s native Thailand) and two tournaments (the HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the Australian Masters in Melbourne). His best showing was in Australia, and Woods said that his final-round 65 proved that the changes he’s working on with new swing coach Sean Foley are working.
I finished up the trip in Melbourne, Australia, at the JBWere Masters, where I finished fourth. I finally got it going on Sunday, when I played the last six holes 6-under par and shot 65. I can’t wait until I can do that for an entire tournament.
It just takes time to build. You just have to go piece by piece. Before, I couldn’t even do it on the driving range and now I can. Now, after working with Sean Foley, I can do it on the golf course sporadically, then it becomes more consistent. Eventually, it becomes a full 18 holes and beyond that, a full tournament.
Woods also talked about the game’s rising young stars and pointedly placed himself in an older generation of Tour players (he’s only 34, while the other guys he mentions are in their 40s). Still, the Rickie Folwers and Rory McIlroys of the world should know that Woods plans on sticking around for a while.
As for my golf game going forward, the drive is still the same: to win golf tournaments. I had a pretty good run at No. 1 — 281 consecutive weeks — but you only stay there if you win.
It’s good to see the next generation of players stepping up, because it’s great for the game. My generation was Ernie Els, Phil, Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh. Those are the guys I went head-to-head with. But regardless of age, my goal is to beat whoever is in the field.
PGA Tour bends rules for Lee Westwood to play 11 eventsThe PGA Tour and Lee Westwood found themselves at odds after Westwood and Rory McIlroy shook up the balance between the PGA Tour and the European Tour by announcing they would not play a full PGA Tour schedule in 2011. The Tour responded by saying that as non-members, Westwood and McIlroy could only play 10 events. According to Lawrence Donegan in The Guardian (UK), the Tour has changed its position.
The rewards for being the world No1 go far beyond money and fame, it seems, after Lee Westwood revealed that the PGA Tour has changed its rules to allow him to play an extra event in the United States next year.
Earlier this month, officials insisted the Englishman, along with Rory McIlroy, both of whom have declined to take up PGA Tour membership, would only be allowed to play in 10 events on the other side of the Atlantic. “Those are the rules,” one said.
Except when they are not, apparently. “I spoke to them last week and I can play three world golf championships [in the US], four majors, the Players Championship and three invites,” Westwood said.
The Englishman’s problem was that in addition to the 10 most obvious events he also wanted to play in the St Jude Classic in Memphis, a tournament he won last year. “That adds up to 11. I would then have to pick between the Players and Memphis, and I don’t think anyone would have wanted that, not the PGA tour or the sponsors.”
2011: The year golf makes contact?The Waggleroom Golf Blog claims that 2011 could be the most important year ever for professional golf. Not because of the fight for No. 1 or the game’s youth movement but because labor troubles in the NFL and NBA might make golf one of the only games in town for sports fans.
How real are the possible work-stoppages? Depending on which news source you reference, the “percent-chance” fluctuate everywhere from “more than likely” to “yeah, it’s going to happen”. NFL Union head DeMaurice Smith believes that a lockout is all but imminent. Likewise, NBA Union chief Billy Hunter is “99-percent certain” that his sport will follow-suit in 2011.
Consider this a golden opportunity for professional golf; after all, sports fans will want to watch something, right? There may have never been a better time for golf to be in the spotlight, either. The sport is rich in both talent and marketability at this time as more “young guns” rise to the top of leaderboards on a regular basis. Tiger Woods, considered to be the face of the PGA for at least the last decade, has nowhere to go but up in terms of his play…
Stray Shots: Things we saw while wishing we could still watch the Thanksgiving Skins game…
Tiger Woods could drop to No. 3 in the rankings behind Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. (Via The Golf Channel)
Slimmed down John Daly says he can’t putt without his love handles. (Via The Hartford Courant)
Commercial satellite firm GeoEye’s 2011 calendar includes a picture from space of the first hole at Augusta National:
Finally, the tweet of the day, from Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and CBS Sports analyst Peter Kostis…
Let’s spice things up. World’s top 10 at year end should be exempt on any tour anywhere in the world for following year. No restrictions.