Artemis, thanks for posting those covers! I saw that People one of Felin and couldn't believe how harsh, reptilian, and non-Elin that woman looks. Either Elin aged ten years and climbed up the ugly tree during her travails with Tiger/Figer/whoever, or this is Felin.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2010 16:09:04 GMT -5 by feliciag
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods returns to golf under a new set of circumstances.
He no longer has the caddie he employed for the last 12 years, having fired Steve Williams a month ago. He no longer is among the top 20 in the world, his lowest ranking since Allen Iverson was an NBA rookie. And he might not even be eligible to play on the PGA Tour after a couple of weeks.
After missing two majors during an 11-week break to make sure his left leg was fully healed, Woods announced Thursday evening on Twitter and on his website that he would return next week at the Bridgestone Invitational.
"Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!" he tweeted.
By missing three months — but only four tournaments he would typically play — Woods has gone from No. 81 to No. 133 in the FedEx Cup standings. Only the top 125 players qualify for the opening round of the playoffs at The Barclays, likely leaving him only the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship next week to make up ground. Otherwise, he would have at least five weeks off without being able to play on the PGA Tour.
This was the third-longest layoff of his career, and there is as much uncertainty as ever about his future. He has gone more than 20 months without winning, and was last seen in golf shoes on May 12 at The Players Championship when he hobbled off the course after a 6-over 42 on the front nine and withdrew.
He already has had four surgeries on his left knee, and the left Achilles' gave him just as much trouble. He hurt both of them during the third round of the Masters, although the injuries were described as "minor" when he first mentioned the pain in May.
Along with his health, there has been change off the golf course. Woods left IMG when the contract of longtime agent Mark Steinberg was not renewed. The only endorsement deal for Woods since he returned from a devastating sex scandal was with a Japanese company to promote a heat rub.
Then came the firing of Williams, who caddied for Adam Scott at the U.S. Open, then angered his boss by working for the Australian again at the AT&T National without seeking permission.
The Golf Channel reported Thursday night that Bryon Bell, a childhood friend and president of Tiger Woods Design, would caddie for him at the Bridgestone Invitational. Bell has caddied for Woods three times — a win at the 1999 Buick Invitational, a tie for second at the Buick Invitational when Woods gave him a chance to help defend, and a tie for second in 2003 at the Disney Classic when Woods gave Williams the week off for a car race in New Zealand.
Steinberg declined to confirm Bell would be on the bag, saying in a text message that "no long term been discussed yet as he just decided tonight he was fit and ready to go next week."
Bell would bring a level of familiarity to Woods, although Bell was implicated during Woods' sex scandal as allegedly arranging travel for one of his mistresses.
Woods has plunged to No. 21 in the world — his lowest ranking since Jan. 26, 1997 — and he could not get back to No. 1 even if he were to win his next three tournaments.
During his absence, Luke Donald rose to No. 1 in the ranking and 22-year-old Rory McIlroy shattered his scoring record in the U.S. Open at Congressional. Woods had said in July, when he appeared at the AT&T National because it benefits his foundation, that he learned his lesson and would not play again until he was fully healed.
Swing coach Sean Foley said he has talked with Woods twice in the last few weeks, although he has not been with him on the practice range. Woods said on his website that he only recently began practicing.
At least he is returning to a friendly course — Woods has won seven times at Firestone, matching the most he has won on any course as a pro. However, he was at his low point on the course in the Bridgestone Invitational last year when he finished 78th in an 80-man field with the worst 72-hole score of his career. Before that, Woods had never finished out of the top five.
Woods missed the second half of the 2008 season following reconstructive knee surgery, then sat out five months after crashing his car into a fire hydrant on Thanksgiving night in 2009, changing his career on and off the golf course. His image tarnished, he lost four major corporate endorsements and still has not found an endorsement for his bag. He was divorced in August 2010 and shares custody of his two young children.
On the course, Woods has lost the aura he built while becoming the sport's most dominant figure in the last 40 years. He remains stuck on 14 majors — the last one was in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — and he nearly missed the cut the last time the PGA Championship was played at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001."
"Tiger Woods wins first golf tournament in two years
When Tiger Woods used to be Tiger Woods, The Man Everyone Feared, he had an incredible ability that not many professional golfers possess. He could fix his golf swing during a round. Sure, there were times when it just wasn't clicking or the shots weren't going as he wanted, but at times he'd be struggling until the last few holes and then just dial it in, find the right stuff and make it happen. It was truly an art form.
No, we're not here to talk about the Tiger of old. On Sunday at the Chevron World Classic at Sherwood Country Club in southern California, Woods struggled like he had over the last 749 days — the time between trophies. A two-shot lead was turned into a one-shot deficit with two holes to go, and it looked like another tournament would slip away from the once-great Woods. But a funny thing happened. Tiger found it again. At first, with a 9-iron on the par-3 17th, where Tiger kept the ball below the hole, rolled in a must-make birdie and fist pumped like it was 2001. The second instance came on the final hole, when Tiger pulled a move from Harding Park when he walked after his second shot, watched as a gritty Zach Johnson couldn't find the bottom of the cup with his birdie bid, and then finally, thankfully, dropped in a putt to win his first event in two years.
We could fill up DVD after DVD of celebrations by Tiger Woods. He has run after putts, thrown down his cap, high-fived multiple caddies and even shed tears. But no fist pump in his career looked as genuine as the one when that putt dropped on the 72nd hole at Sherwood. Tiger finally had an opportunity to do something, and did it, not on someone else's terms but on his own. He won that golf tournament, and his reaction was made to remind you of that.
A lot of people will talk about the time between wins and what was different then as opposed to now, but the story isn't really that. It's just that a guy played good enough golf to beat some of the best players in the world, and when the opportunity presented itself for Tiger on Sunday, he took it.
The golf world needed it, Tiger needed it, and to be honest, his competitors needed it. An NBC camera intelligently caught a glimpse of Johnson watching as Tiger's birdie putt dropped on 18 and the look he had said it all.
"Yup," Johnson appeared to nod, "he's back." I think we can all agree about that."
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – “It’s a process,” Tiger Woods allowed in familiar tones. Not that the golf world has any interest in the slow and steady.
For the better part of 17 months Woods has preached patience, urged all to take the long view. In a wireless world, on-demand results are an occupational hazard.
For Woods the fast track to success has taken detours, first at the Masters in 2010 and again last year, then at the Australian Open and now at the hands of a converted driving range pro from England with arguably the game’s best mane.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was going to be the quick fix the collective has been awaiting since Woods teamed with Sean Foley before the 2010 PGA Championship.
His victory at last month’s Chevron World Challenge was prologue to this week’s breakthrough against a marquee field, but on a quiet Sunday Woods struggled to hit fairways, greens and any meaningful putt on his way to a closing 72 and a third-place finish at his 2012 season opener.
As Woods took to the first tee just before lunch it was the same red shirt, same steely glare, but not the result we’ve come to take for granted when the former world No. 1 enters the final turn with at least a share of the lead.
He birdied No. 2 from under a Eucalyptus tree, kept pace with someone named Rob Rock with another at the third but then didn’t build on his fortunate start.
He was three back after back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 4 and 5, cut it to a one-stroke deficit with five holes to play but didn’t hit a fairway and just two greens the rest of the way to finish two strokes adrift.
“I just felt I was a touch off,” Woods said. “I played well enough I thought to win the golf tournament, unfortunately I just didn’t get it done.”
He putted well enough to win, posting 24 putts on Sunday including nine one-putts. Just three of those one-putts, however, were for birdie and he spent much of the day playing defensive golf from surprisingly penal rough.
Part of Woods’ misgivings were about distance control. Three-woods flying 320 yards, drives bounding through fairways, pleas of “bite, bite . . . bite” from Woods filling the air ultimately nixed Woods’ chances at his first official victory in two years.
But if Woods was concerned with any of this as he wrapped up his stay in the desert it was his newfound length, not a worry that the “process” has been upended. “I’ve got to figure that out because I was hitting the ball further than I normally do,” Woods said.
What Woods wasn’t doing on Sunday was moving toward the emergency exit. The “process” doesn’t change whether he lifted the Abu Dhabi hardware or faded into a desert sunset.
The path Foley and Woods embarked on in 2010 was dramatic, some would even say bold or needless. But for four days there were too many good shots than not on a tight, winding golf course to make his long flight back to south Florida via London not a sleepless journey.
On Saturday, Foley texted Golf Channel that he was happy with what he was seeing in Woods’ swing, and even following Sunday’s struggles Woods was surprisingly upbeat heading into his first PGA Tour start of the season in two weeks at Pebble Beach.
“There’s plenty of big events to go, but I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. Basically since Australia,” Woods said. “I just need to keep building. Keep getting more consistent.”
In short, this is the new normal, at least in the short term.
Instead of invincibility, we have indecision. The guy who was undefeated with 54-hole leads in a major until Y.E. Yang in 2009 now leaves the door open for doubt.
Perhaps it is simply part of the rebuilding process and on some level the aura was still there, just ask Rock, an emotional sort who overcame a penalty drop at the last for his second European Tour title.
“It doesn’t get an awful lot harder than playing with Tiger Woods other than maybe playing in a major,” Rock admitted. “I’ve watched pretty much everything he’s done. Everybody is a fan of Tiger Woods.”
And everybody expects wins and they expect them now. It is the nature of our society, but not the nature of Woods’ process."