PRESS PASS
18th at Pine Valley 
 
Tiger clears up rumor
Monday, May 10, 2010
By Joe Logan

During his press conference for AT&T National, Tiger Woods cleared up one rumored factoid once and for all:  He has never played a round of golf in the Philadelphia area.

 

"I have not," Woods said, when asked directly.  "No, I have not.  This is the first time."

 

"This" being the AT&T National (July 1-4), assuming he is back to playing by then.  Tiger did not play a round of golf during Monday’s media day.

 

Having never played here is curious, almost inexplicable, considering how well-traveled Tiger is and we have two of the Top 10 courses in the world in our back yard, Merion GC in Ardmore and Pine Valley GC in Clementon, N.J.

 

Other great golfers have made time for Merion and Pine Valley when they were in the area.  I remember a few years ago at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock, Annika Sorenstam mentioned that in the days following the tournament, she intended to play both.  She couldn’t miss the opportunity while she was in the area.  And she did play both of them, and she loved them.

 

What makes Tiger’s failure to make the time for Merion and Pine Valley all the more curious is his professed respect and love for classic courses, which certainly describes both.  And considering the history of Merion and the mystique of the cloistered Pine Valley, you’d think his curiosity would have gotten the best of him.

 

Evidently he had other things on his mind.


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Steve[5/13/2010 6:02:44 AM]
And heís a golf course designer too. I guess playing the top rated course in the world and a perennial top 10 course couldnít be fit in to his busy schedule back in the day. Now, he has more time as his endoresement time committments are down.

Bob Rotella 
Bob Rotella on Tiger
Thursday, May 6, 2010
By Joe Logan

If the whole Tiger Woods scandal left you disappointed, dismayed and in disbelief, you are not alone.  So was Bob Rotella, the sports shrink to many PGA Tour stars, as well as most of the players themselves.

 

"The guys on Tour were as shocked as the rest of us," Rotella said recently. "I haven’t talked to anybody on Tour who had a clue."

 

Rotella, who was in town to speak to the annual fundraiser for Women Golfers Give Back at Whitemarsh Valley CC, feels bad for golf and the PGA Tour.  But he feels even worse for the millions of youngsters who idolized Woods.

 

"Every time somebody comes along that looks like they are going to be a great role model, too many of them just end up being nothing like who we thought they were," said Rotella.  "It‘s heartbreaking.  I mean, we need some people to be role models."

 

For Rotella, like many of us, the revelations about Tiger’s infidelities forever changed how he regards at the golfer. 

 

"I have great respect for how he plays golf," he said.  "But I have totally changed my perception of him as a person, or at least as a husband and father."

 

After finishing tied 4th in his return to golf at the Masters, Tiger missed the cut at his next tournament, the Quail Hollow Championship, where he shot 79 on Friday.  But Rotella doesn’t believe for a moment that Tiger won’t soon be back to his old winning ways.

 

"My guess is, he is going to go on to play great golf," said Rotella.  "He now has the incentive of people like Phil catching him for the top of the World Golf Rankings.  He’s got three majors coming (U.S. Open, British Open, PGA) up that he wants so badly, and he loves those golf courses (Pebble Beach GC, St. Andrews, Whistling Straits)."

 

Even with all the upheaval and distractions in Tiger’s life these days, Rotella wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls off major victory No. 15 this year.  The big reason is Tiger’s amazing capacity for mental self-discipline and self-control on the golf course, if not off the course.

 

"He has always been great at separating what is going on on the golf course from what it going on off it," said Rotella.  "It is the one place in the world where he is totally comfortable.  This has been his thing since he was three years old."

 

Watching Tiger’s now-famous 13-minute apology statement back in February didn’t clear up anything for Rotella.  For starters, once he found out Team Tiger had hired a PR consultant to help with the speech, Rotella decided he wouldn’t believe a word coming out of the golfer’s mouth was actually his.

 

And then there was what he couldn’t help but notice as Tiger delivered the mea culpa.  The whole thing made Rotella think back to his daughter’s wedding a few years ago, when he, a man who speaks regularly to large gatherings, was left speechless by the emotion of the moment, when he stood up to toast his daughter and her new husband.

 

Yet, there was Tiger, admitting to his humiliating transgressions before the world and his sainted mother in the front row, and he was as cool as a cucumber.  "There was no emotion," said Rotella, amazed.

 

Rotella shook his head, reflecting on that moment and on what we all thought we knew Tiger.

 

"All I know is I bought the whole Tiger image hook, line and sinker," he said.  "I bragged about him and his family, about how it was just so wonderful that we have this role model that we have.  And I loved what he was doing with the Tiger Woods Foundation.  To me, he just ruined that."

 

How will Tiger’s career fare going forward?  Rotella fully expects he will win again, and win big, because he is that confident in himself and his golfing ability.  He came to that conclusion watching the way Tiger handled himself at the Masters, especially his post-round interview on Sunday with CBS’s Peter Kostis, in which he registered disappointment in his own performance, never congratulating Phil Mickelson.

 

"A lot of people had trouble with Tiger’s interview, and I understand that," said Rotella.  "But the other side is, he can’t believe he wasn’t going to win that tournament.  What it really tells you is that the absolutely believed he was going to go there and shock the world and win that tournament.  And he couldn’t believe that he didn’t.  That probably means he hasn’t changed a whole lot."

 

 

 


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Steve[5/6/2010 3:56:30 PM]
Tiger should read Rotellaís book: Golf is not a Game of Perfect.

The panel around board table at Aronimink 
State of Golf in Philadelphia
Monday, April 26, 2010
By Joe Logan

In the past hour I posted six stories from a project I am calling the State of Golf in Philadelphia.

 

There is a lot of stuff there, and I hope it helps shed some light on where things stand right now.

 

I cannot write another sentence without thanking the folks who lent their time and expertise thatt enabled me to pull this thing together:  Mark Peterson at GAP, Geoff Surrette at the PGA Section, Donna Horvath at Honeybrook GC, Tony Gustaitis at Whitemarsh Valley CC and Dick Naumann at Aronimink GC.

 

I went to Mark Peterson first with the concept.  He liked it, and so we began to kick around ideas for a format and who we might invite to participate.  Geoff,  executive director of the Section, was obvious.   Tony has been a reliable and articulate source for me for years when it comes to the maintenance side of the game.  Dick is a real pro at one of the top clubs in the country, let alone in Philadelphia.  And Mark and I almost simultaneously suggested Donna because we know her to be smart and forward thinking, plus she is one of the few women at or near the top of a golf course or club. 

 

Once we all convened around the board room at Aronimink (thank you very much), each member of the panel delivered exactly what I was hoping for – their particular perspective on where the game stands going into the 2010 season.

 

You’ll notice that in their presentations, some were brief succinct, some were longer and more detailed.   That was fine by me.  All were good.

 

Again, thanks to everyone involved.


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Tiger Woods 
Tiger at Aronimink
Thursday, April 22, 2010
By Joe Logan

Even with Tiger Woods’ severely stained image, the announcement that he will play in the AT&T National over the July 4th weekend is great news for the tournament, Aronimink GC and sports fans in the area.

 

Say what you will about him as a husband, father and man, but Tiger is still the best golfer in the world and the biggest attraction in the game.  Without him, the AT&T would have been like throwing a party and having the guest of honor be a no-show.

 

With Tiger in, the buzz around the tournament will increase, ticket sales will get a good bump and whatever hospitality packages remain unsold will become a lot easier to sell.  Best of all, for the first time in his storied 14-year career. Philadelphia sports fans will finally be able to see him do what he does up close and personal.

 

If you’re wondering where Tiger will stay during the tournament, don’t expect him to occupy the Presidential Suite of a luxury hotel.  The talk is that he has already rented the home of an Aronimink member in the vicinity of the course.   That’s fairly common for Camp Tiger.

 

An unannounced visit to Aronimink by Tiger in the coming weeks is not out of the question.  So far as I can tell, he has never played the course, and he might like to sneak in a preview round or two.

 

Staff and members at Aronimink talk of only one previous visit by Tiger.  That was more than a year ago, shortly before the announcement that the AT&T was temporarily relocating to Aronimink for 2010 and 2011.

 

That, too, was unannounced, catching even Aronimink staff off guard.  Tiger and a staffer from the Tiger Woods Foundation, which runs the tournament, showed up at the Newtown Square club, took a tour of the course in a golf cart, then left as quietly as they arrived.


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Steve[4/22/2010 2:34:09 PM]
This will be a difficult trek to get to with offsite parking(for a fee) or public transit not very close to Aronimink. Iíll have to parachute from a helicopter.

Brian Davis and rules official 
The unforgiving rules of golf strike again
Monday, April 19, 2010
By Joe Logan

I’m a big believer in the rules of golf and the honor of golfers, but what happened  to Brian Davis on the first playoff hole against Jim Furyk in the Verizon Heritage leaves me shaking my head.

 

If you haven’t yet seen the videotape, in his quest to claim the winner’s check and that hideous plaid jacket, Davis left his approach into the 18th at Harbour Town Golf Links short and left of the green, in the waste area hazard.

 

Considering how nasty that waste area can be, Davis caught a break.  He had a little flip wedge shot up and out of the sand and weeds; saving par was definitely not out of the question.

 

That didn’t happen, however, because Davis, an Englishman looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour, called a two-shot penalty on himself for grounding his club in the hazard.  Game over.

 

As Davis told the rules official, he wasn’t positive he deserved the penalty.  Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he might have seen a piece of grass or straw move slightly as he drew back his club to begin his backspin.

 

Davis and the rules official reviewed the videotape and, sure enough, a piece of grass that was nestled just behind the ball did move slightly on his backswing.  If that piece of grass had been growing out of the ground, no problem, no penalty.  But because it was loose, it was technically a "loose impediment," meaning Davis had a problem under the unforgiving rules of golf.

 

As much as Furyk wanted the win, he felt awful for Davis, and he said so.  Today, Davis is being hailed for his honesty and integrity, as he should be.

 

Me, I realize the rules of golf see the world only in black and white, no shades of gray.  You broke the rule or you didn’t, regardless of whether you meant to or not.  No excuses about the "rub of the green," the unwanted intervention of Mother Nature or extenuating circumstances.

 

I don’t know, it just seems heartless and unfair to me.  And I sure hate to see such a minor infraction determine the finish of a golf tournament.


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Gus[4/19/2010 1:37:40 PM]
I also agree with you, Joe. Itís not like Brian Davis tried to touch the twig, or like it had any affect whatsoever on the outcome of the shot. Of course, this rule is no dumber than that rule that penalizes a player when a gust of wind causes the ball to wobble while he is addressing a putt.
mjs[4/19/2010 12:27:07 PM]
Joe: I couldnít agree more. I am an avid golfer but one who thinks there is no honor in applying the rules of golf blindly. There was obviously no advantage gained from this inadvertent touch of a broken reed. I think a no harm/ no foul policy is "honorable" approach. All this harrumping about the nobility of this tight-assed, inflexible, application of the rules of golf is silly.

Phil slipping on Green Jacket No. 3 
Best Masters in years
Monday, April 12, 2010
By Joe Logan

Wow, what a Masters.  Best in years, maybe since Tiger won in 1997.  A few other thoughts and observations about this week:

 

--Golf doesn’t get any better than that 45-minute long thrill ride during Saturday’s third round, when Phil went eagle-eagle-birdie. 

 

-- If this week demonstrated nothing else, it was that people are sick and tired of hearing about the Tiger Woods’ sex scandal.  For a lot of people it was TMI (too much information) from the get-go, and now they just want it to go away.  They want to get back to golf.

 

-- Just because people have had it up to their earlobes with details about Tiger’s infidelities doesn’t  mean they ever will forgive him.  The revelations about his infidelities – and by extension about his character – have cost Tiger a ton of fans permanently, especially among women. He can win all the golf tournaments he wants, but they will never look at him the same.

 

-- On Wednesday, on the eve of the Masters, I sat down to write a blog post picking Phil to win.  But the phone rang, I got distracted and I never finished it.  Seriously. I’m not kidding.  I had Phil to win.

 

-- There was a time when Sergio Garcia was part of any discussion of "best player who hasn’t won a major."  Not any more.  Now 30, Garcia is no longer an up-and-coming kid – in fact, he’s neither a kid nor up-and-coming.  He finished next to dead last.

 

-- Lee Westwood is going to win a major sooner rather than later; I’m betting on the British Open at St. Andrews in July. 

 

-- Anthony Kim won’t be far behind him.

 

-- I’m no fashion expert, but I don’t know whose hats look more ridiculous: Ryan Moore and Ricky Barnes in those goofy-looking painter’s caps or Rick Fowler with his cap pulled-down-over-his-ears.

 

-- As long as we are on the subject of fashion, Phil Mickelson needs a fashion intervention.  Those shirts he wears now are not only ugly, they are way too form-fitting.  They only accentuate the fact that he is a middle-aged man in a losing battle against gravity. A few days ago, he wore one that had white piping, one step removed from wearing a 1970s pastel leisure suit.  Not even Tiger could look good in Phil’s shirts.

 

-- What to make of the fact that when he walked off the 18th green after winning, Phil immediately found his wife Amy and gave her a big, tearful hug, but he didn’t seem to even acknowledge his mom and dad (wearing the Sportscope cap), who were standing next to her?   But moments later, he did hug his swing coach, Butch Harmon.

 

-- If you thought this year’s Masters was more exciting than any in recent years  -- Phil finished at 16-under par --  credit the softening of Augusta National to allow birdie fests on Sunday.  One story called it the de-Hootification of the golf course.

 

-- If one shot can define a player’s career and style, for Phil it will be his second shot at 13 on Sunday: From behind a tree, on pine straw, 6-iron from 207 to four feet.

 

-- Despite all his smiles, swashbuckling style and stellar career, Phil Mickelson has a lot of detractors.  The most common knock on him is that he is a phony.  One major piece of evidence to the contrary is his long and lasting relationship with his caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay. 


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Bill[4/14/2010 8:20:05 PM]
Phil is a phony but Tiger is a philanderer.
Steve[4/13/2010 12:13:56 PM]
Phil is now the "good guy" and Tiger is the "bad guy,"particularly in light of his terrible interview with Peter Kostis. He hasnít learned how to be gracious in defeat.

Nikeís new ad 
That new Nike ad just ainít right
Thursday, April 8, 2010
By Joe Logan

Come on, that new Nike commercial with Tiger staring into the camera, with straight-from-the-grave voice-over by his dad Earl is downright creepy, not to mention in poor taste.

 

They turned this whole tragic, humiliating, disgraceful episode into just another marketing opportunity.  It just ain’t right.


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Steve[4/14/2010 8:47:01 PM]
Elin didnít like the commercial either.
Flynnís First[4/9/2010 10:08:58 AM]
Joe, couldnít agree with you more. Attempting parlay the events of the past 5 months into a NIKE aided comeback story is in poor taste and disingenuous. Exploiting his dead father to do it is grotesque. To make it even worse, Woods compared himself to Hogan during the interview after thursdayís round. When the wounds are self inflicted, you donít get to make that analogy.


 
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