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Tiger now favored to win The Masters?

Tiger Woods. UPI /Art Foxall

It’s been a long time, but Tiger Woods has finally won another PGA Tour event. Now the buzz shifts to The Masters, and Tiger is already listed as the favorite.

William Hill has Woods listed as the 4-1 favorite to win his fifth Masters title, with Rory McIlroy close behind at 5-1. Other bookies have similar odds, with Ladbrokes quoting the same numbers as William Hill. Paddy Power and Coral both have Woods as the 7-2 favorite with McIlroy next at 9-2.

If he puts like he did this past weekend, Tiger will probably be a force at Augusta. Perhaps we’ll see an incredible rivalry with Rory McIlroy after all.

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No fine for Tiger Woods

As it turns out, the report that surfaced yesterday about Tiger Woods being fined by the PGA Tour was erroneous. Tiger, although still peeved about what went down over the weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, said that the PGA Tour has not fined him.

From the Washington Post:

“I’ve heard from the tour, and there’s no fine,” Woods said. “That was an erroneous report.”

Ty Votaw, a spokesman for the PGA Tour, said the original report of a fine was “inaccurate.” Votaw said Commissioner Tim Finchem had read and considered Woods’s remarks.

“There has been no process started with respect to any disciplinary action,” Votaw said by phone.

“The commissioner has reviewed the reports, and based on the reports that he read, Tiger’s comments related to the impact of the decision. He did not read them as an unreasonable attack or as being disparaging.”

We linked to a report by the Examiner yesterday about Woods being fined, although we’re not sure where the original report came from.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the PGA received backlash for the supposed fine and decided to renege. But if Tiger is even saying that it was an erroneous report, then maybe there really was no fine to begin with.

Either way, it’s still a lame rule. You can’t have golfers worried about a game clock when they’re dealing with a tough shot in the rough. It takes away from the excitement of the tournament and it puts unnecessary pressure on the golfers.

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- Tiger Woods fined by PGA

Tiger Woods fined by PGA

Tiger Woods has been fined by the PGA after criticizing officials Sunday following the 2009 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger was critical of a rule that penalized competitor Padraig Harrington for taking too much time to hit from the rough and then off the green.

From the Examiner:

The wording of the rule is:

“It is an obligation of membership to refrain from comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage tournaments, sponsors, fellow members, players or PGA Tour.”

Tiger’s words were reported as:

“Like I was telling him out there, ‘I’m sorry that John (the course official) got in the way of a great battle,’ because it was such a great battle for 16 holes,” Woods said. “We’re going at it, head-to-head, and unfortunately that happened. Paddy and I will definitely do it again.”

“I don’t think that Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time, look at it, analyze it,” Woods said. “But he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it.”

What Tiger said could hardly be viewed as an unreasonable attack on the PGA Tour. He might have taken a pot shot at the course official, but that doesn’t seem worth a fine.

It’s amazing that the PGA Tour would fine Tiger for those comments, yet not after he lays down a barrage of curse words on national television following a bad shot. Seems kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

But what’s even more ridiculous is not allowing golfers to analyze their shots because the TV networks want to fit everything within a certain broadcast window. After all, this is golf – not football. Golfers should be allowed to approach their shots without being rushed in fear of breaking some pointless rule.

Update: The PGA is reporting that Tiger Woods has not been fined and that the originial report was erroneous.

Golfing legend offers Tiger a lesson

PGA hall-of-famer Lee Trevino believes he holds the secret to Tiger Woods regaining his dominance on the golf course. The Merry Mex has sent word through a mutual friend, Mark O’Meara, for Woods to contact him.

Here is Trevino’s solution to Tiger’s problems:

“Tiger needs to learn how to hit a power fade,” said Lee Trevino, a five-time major champion. “If he learns how to drive the ball, he won’t lose a tournament. He’s got nothing to lose, just call me. Heck, I’d go see him; he wouldn’t have to do nothing. Hank Haney knows what he’s doing.”

Trevino went on to add, “Haney helped Tiger a lot, but I’d like to sit down and have a session with Haney ’cause it looks like Tiger doesn’t want me to help him. I’d teach him a power fade, a go-to shot. Everyone has to have a go-to shot. He used to win majors with his stinger go-to shot. Last week he didn’t even look comfortable with a 3-wood on the tee; he was scared, trying to guide the ball.”

According to his doctors, Tiger is ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery. Having played very little competitive golf in the last eight months, Woods is having difficulty in regaining confidence in his swing. By playing at the Player’s Championship this weekend, it will mark the first time he has played in consecutive events since returning to the PGA tour.

Woods loses to Tim Clark in match play

Tiger was hoping for a better return than this.

Woods had no complaints with his game or his knee, but he had no answer Thursday for Tim Clark of South Africa, who played 16 holes without a bogey and knocked the world’s No. 1 player out of the Accenture Match Play Championship.

His swing looked as good as it did eight months ago when he won the U.S. Open. His knee felt so strong that when Woods discovered his tee shot into the desert on the 15th hole hit a cart path and went out of bounds — a shot that ended any hope of a rally — he chose to walk 350 yards back to the tee instead of accepting a ride in the cart.

“I knew I had to play out of my mind to beat him,” Clark said.

And he did, pouring in six birdies and constantly putting the pressure on Woods throughout a sunny day in the high desert. Clark won, 4 and 2, when he hit his tee shot to four feet that Woods conceded for birdie after failing to chip in from off the green.

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