Tiger Woods surging ahead at U.S. Open

After shooting a 5-under par in the third round at Pebble Beach on Saturday, suddenly Tiger Woods is right back in contention at the U.S. Open. He’ll head into Sunday’s final day in third place on the leaderboard.

From ESPN.com:

After bogeys on the second and third holes, he ran off birdies on the next three and made the turn in even par. Birdies on the 11th and 13th holes got him closer to the conversation, and the final three holes set off a series of cheers that could be heard from all corners of the peninsula.

He rolled in a 12-foot birdie from the 16th, then made the downhill 15-footer from the fringe of the 17th, raising his index finger in the air.

The old Tiger showed up on the 18th hole.

Blocked behind a pair of cypress trees and hitting into an ocean breeze, Woods hit a 3-wood toward the Pacific and urged it on toward the green. “C’mon! C’mon!” he screamed at it, and followed that with a “Yes!” when it stopped in easy two-putt birdie range.

“I was hitting shots like this every now and again,” Woods said. “I would get into two-, three-hole stretches, but I haven’t strung it out for more than that. And today, I did.”

It was certainly vintage Tiger on Saturday, although keep in mind that he has never won any of his 14 majors when he wasn’t at least tied for the lead going into the final round. That said, the power fade from behind the tree on 18 might turn out to be the shot that propels him to a victory this weekend.

Even if he doesn’t come back and win, it was an epic performance by Woods on Saturday.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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Tiger out of therapy, getting back into shape

ESPN.com is reporting that Tiger Woods is back home after undergoing a week of family counseling in Arizona. Woods’ next mission is to get back into shape so that he can return to golf.

Woods returned to his home near Orlando on Saturday and has been hitting balls on the range at Isleworth, not far from where he ran his SUV into a tree in a middle-of-the-night accident on Nov. 27 that set off revelations of his extramarital affairs.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only Woods is authorized to release information about his schedule, said there is still no timetable for golf’s No. 1 player to return to competition.

News of him getting back into a routine is sure to begin speculation when he might return to the PGA Tour. Woods announced on Dec. 4 that he was taking an “indefinite break” to try to salvage his marriage.

Does anyone else smell an April 8th return for Tiger? That’s the first day of the Masters and while I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him playing in a smaller tournament or two before then, I’m willing to bet that Tiger would want to create some good publicity for himself on a big stage.

Of course, no matter what tournament he decides to play in, his return will be front-page news. But what better way for the PGA to draw viewers than to have Tiger make his return the week of the Masters? It’s all too perfect.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Tiger Woods to take break from golf

The official website of Tiger Woods announced that the golfer will be taking an indefinite break from professional golf.

Here’s the full article:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

There’s a good chance that more things will be revealed about Tiger’s, uh, escapades. So taking a break from golf is probably a wise decision and it’s a good time given that there’s nothing going on in the sport right now.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Tiger Woods plays in Masters. Angel Cabrera wins Masters.

It’s official. I don’t have to write an article about Tiger Woods. Oh wait, what have I done? My apologies Mr. Cabrera, now that Tiger’s back, it’s impossible to keep him out of a golf conversation.

But let’s not take away from Cabrera’s accomplishment, after all, he played better than Tiger and of course better than everyone else on the course. His green jacket is also an important first as posted on Golf.com:

Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open at Oakmont two years ago, finally earned a green jacket for Argentina.

“This is a great moment, the dream of any golfer to win the Masters,” Cabrera said through an interpreter during the green jacket ceremony. “I’m so emotional I can barely talk.”

Sweet. Awesome. I can really get behind a player like that, bringing home a major award, and being the first from his country to do so. But, I’m still reading all about how Tiger also played, and how Tiger also might have won.

Is it wrong that I’m so happy that Tiger didn’t win? When I was living in South Korea I heard that certain pop stars there had something called, “anti-fans.” These were people who were obsessed with certain celebrities just because they didn’t like them. I wonder if I’ve become something of an anti-fan for anybody at the top for too long. I admit to getting much more interested in tennis after Sampras started losing, and again after Federer lost the number one spot.

I suppose it’s only natural that we have a certain amount of enmity towards people dominating their respective fields. I think my particular problem though, is when a sport becomes more-or-less a one man show. It’s hard to care when there’s no competition in the competitions I’m watching. Growing up a Bulls fan was great until their final season with Jordan. It seemed they couldn’t lose, and they hardly ever did. I barely paid any attention at all.

But it’s not any athlete’s fault if they’re too good, if anything it should motivate others to work harder to improve themselves. Should we make Michael Phelps swim an extra lap just to make it more interesting? We can’t handi-cap people for being too good, but I wonder if we can’t focus on them slightly less than we do. Maybe the reason I’m tired of Tiger Woods is because I’m constantly hearing about him. How often was Michael Phelps shoved in front of me last summer?

There’s only so much anyone can take of the same thing. Perhaps we should focus more on what happened and what’s important, and less on the A-list also-rans. I can understand that it’s necessary to grab people’s attention, and using a big name to get that attention is an easy way to chalk up hits on a web page. But there’s got to be a better way. Of course, this article was supposed to be about Angel Cabrera wasn’t it? Not Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods. I’ll try harder (Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan) next time.

Is Tiger Woods a poor sport?

Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post writes that Tiger Woods is a ‘poor sport’ and a ‘sore loser’.

Miss a shot and Woods tosses the offending club in anger. It is a wonder he has not taken a divot out of the shin or forehead of caddie Steve Williams.

Is that how Jack Nicklaus or Ben Hogan or Bobby Jones believed in playing a game for gentlemen? Should we care?

The competitive fire in Woods’ eyes burns so hot they can burn a hole through the chest, and Tiger is so intense he has been known to walk past his own mother on the golf course and be blind to her presence.

On the opening day of the Masters, a sea of red numbers on the leaderboard posted by everybody from Chad Campbell to 50-year-old Larry Mize turned Woods green with envy.
After an inconsistent round of 70 in which his frustration showed when he slammed a club after airmailing the green on the final hole, Woods was asked what it was about him and the first round at this prestigious tournament, where in 15 tries he has never posted a score in the 60s.

“Yeah,” Woods said Thursday, barely concealing his disdain, “that’s how I won it four times too.”

Kiszla goes on to write about how competitive Woods is and whether or not we as sports fans should care whether or not he can be kind of prickly when he’s playing.

Personally, I could not care less. I think Tiger has been such a phenomenal presence in the sports world over the years that writers are trying to drum up new storylines. That’s not to say Kiszla doesn’t make good points in his article, but it almost seems nowadays that writers are finding ways to criticize Woods’ game anyway they can. The bottom line is that most great athletes have egos the size of Saturn (the planet, not the car company) and they buy into how good they are. Tiger is no exception and considering how competitive he is, it’s no surprise that he’ll toss a club after a bad shot or give a snarky comment from time to time. Most of the great ones hate to lose and Tiger is no exception.

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