Here’s hoping Tiger wins the British Open
I’ll come right out and say it, I hope Tiger Woods breaks out of his majors drought and wins the British Open today.
Woods has changed the game of golf in a positive way. Because of his success, TV ratings are way up when he’s playing well. I can’t imagine golf without Woods. It would be horrible, and the TV ratings would suck. There would a lot of robotic types walking around in fancy clothes.
I truly believe that Woods will surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. I still believe that Woods has a lot of good golf left in him. But I also believe that players don’t fear Woods anymore. Before his extra-marital affairs became public, I always felt that Woods’ opponents believed they couldn’t beat him. It was like the old Clippers playing the Boston Celtics. The Clippers knew they were going to lose before they took the court.
I think dynasties are good for sports. I loved it when UCLA rattled off several NCAA tournaments in a row under John Wooden. I loved it when the Lakers dominated the NBA. Nobody wants to watch a league full of teams that are a little over .500.
I liked it when everybody was chasing Tiger. It was good for the game to have a whole bunch of guys chasing Tiger.
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Hank Haney has been a regular at the American Century Championship in recent years. Three participants – comedian Ray Romano, basketball star Charles Barkley and Olympian Michael Phelps.
Haney, who used to be Tiger Woods’ swing coach, was asked about Rory McIlroy and the problems the Irish-born star is having since changing equipment from Titleist to Nike this year.
“You can argue about the equipment,” Haney said. “I think probably the biggest issue would be the ball because it’s quite different. But I don’t think the biggest problem is the equipment. I think the biggest problem is people asking you about the equipment. That’s the biggest problem. If you change equipment and don’t get off to a good start everybody is going to ask you about the equipment.
“And they’re going to keep asking you about your equipment and keep asking you about your equipment. And then you start trying different pieces of equipment because even though you don’t want to admit it to the media you state this driver isn’t quite right maybe because of your swing or whatever, but now there might be some self doubt that goes in there. That’s the bigger issue, the attention everybody brings to it. It has to have some impact on you. I think another problem is that awful high expectations based on how he finished last year. Rory is a player who has missed a lot of cuts. He’s missed way more cuts than Tiger Woods has his whole career.”
Haney believes that McIlroy’s issues on the golf course have more to do with his putting.
“He’s a phenomenal player, but make no mistake about it, but he’s no Tiger Woods,” Haney said. “I mean that’s not even a close comparison. His (McIlroy’s) ball striking has been good. He’s the best he’s ever been in greens in regulation, but he’s 100th. He’s way up there in putting. You’ll have to look it up, but I think he’s 150 or something. There ain’t a No. 1 player in the world ever 150th in putting. It just doesn’t happen. His putting is not well at all.”
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Haney also shared his thoughts on Romano, who is playing in his 10th ACC tournament.
“Ray is as passionate as anybody about the game of golf,” Haney said. “I love him, but he’s a little hard on himself. So in golf that doesn’t usually work out so good.
“I remember the first day we worked, and I told Ray that he has to be a little more positive. He told me that’s how he made his money, making fun of that and of course himself.”
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I spent Friday walking the front nine with Jack Wagner, Billy Joe Tolliver and Dan Quinn. On No. 3, Quinn got a bit steamed because there was a guy talking on his cell phone on the cart path. Quinn yelled at the spectator twice, and the spectator started walking back toward the tee. I was surprised that Quinn could hear the guy, because I was 20 yards closer to the guy than Quinn was, and I couldn’t hear him talking.
Maybe it was bothering Quinn and maybe it wasn’t. Maybe he got mad because he caddies on the PGA Tour and that’s a definite no-no. Cell phones are supposed to be silenced at all times at Edgewood. This is a fun tournament, but there still has to be some etiquette that needs to be followed.
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I like Tolliver. In good times and bad, he interacts well with the spectators. He has a good time out there which is what this tournament is supposed to be all about.
Tolliver openly poked fun at himself in the media tent earlier this week for having choked away a few more opportunities to add to his ACC win total, and that’s good to see. Tolliver is a good golfer, but I don’t think he takes himself or golf too seriously. He likes to win like any athlete, but at the end of the day he’s not going to lose a whole bunch of sleep over it.