Under The Microscope: Tiger Woods
Born December 30, 1975 in Cypress, California
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Nationality United States
Residence Windermere, Florida
Spouse Elin Nordegren (m.2004)
Children Sam Alexis (b.2007)
Charlie Axel (b.2009)
His driving accuracy was questioned. His ability to close out tournaments was under scrutiny. Some said his knee would never recover. His relationship with swing coach Hank Haney has been under the spotlight. What did Tiger do? He whispered to the media, then roared inside the ropes. Aside from his stunning come form behind win, Woods hit all 14 fairways off the tee at Memorial, completing one of the strongest driving performances of his career. He missed only three in the first two days and his 18 fairways hit in a row is his longest such streak since 2003. If he wins at Bethpage, it will truly be one of the most amazing comebacks from injury in world sport.
What’s In Tiger’s Bag:
The Who, What, When Quiz
Thanks to all who entered our quiz last week. For those who don’t know, the good folks at Setanta have given us a free one year subscription to Setanta Sports (including Setanta Golf) to give away to a lucky SpinDoctor reader. We need one more winner this week to go into the draw for the big prize. To win, just e mail email@example.com with the answers to the following questions. Clues are on www.golfspindoctor.blogspot.com
Q1. Who won the last US Open staged at Bethpage Black?
Q2. What venue will stage the US Open in 2010?
Q3. When was the last non-US winner of the US Open?
Congrats to last weeks winner Jayne Hogan, Ovens, Co Cork who goes into the final draw!
Bloggy Underfoot: Winner Alright
Only two days now until the US Open, the greatest test of a professional golfer, begins at Bethpage Black. We put out the call for your tips for the US Open and thanks to all who replied. Boy do you guys love Tiger! Here are the pick of the bunch.
“Tiger Woods, not very original, but if he could win it on one leg last year you would have to fancy him to do it with two this year. Stenson seems to have slipped under the bookies radar but he could be a good bet for top European.”- Chris Ablett.
“I believe that 2006 winner Geoff Ogilvy has a great chance. He has been in excellent form this year winning his third WGC event. Putting is a key factor in the US Open and Ogilvy can certainly perform on quick greens. The slicker they are the better he likes it. He knows how to play Par Golf when he has to. His short game is very good and this combined with his wonderful touch on the greens gives him a great chance. He is very cool under pressure.”- Eamonn Hughes
“Tiger will win because he's the best. The course should also suit Angel Cabrera.”-Dion Breen, La Cala.
“A friend of mine played Bethpage Black in April [ 22nd] and he said the rough was almost eight inches deep around the greens, so if they allow that to thicken and grow more, then as always, scrambling will be the biggest test at the US Open. My pick is Phil Mickelson; if his wife hadn't fallen ill I'd sell my cobra s9's and put the money on him to win here. We all know the short game is top notch, but another factor are his three second place finishes in New York based US Opens. If his head is in the right place, he has to be the man this year, the crowd will be rooting for him, like they were for Darren Clarke at the K-club.”-Brian O’Callaghan
“My heart says Phil Mickelson. My head Says Geoff Ogilvy. Geoff showed some form at The Memorial after a recent lull having won two events earlier on the year.”-Brian Quinn, Setanta Golf.
“Tiger and Ogilvy aside, my outsiders are Kjeldsen and Dougherty, at 175/1 and 200/1 respectively, they are good value!”- Kieran Murphy.
“One has to put Tiger in as favourite but I feel Paul Casey has a real shot. He has the length and more importantly he hits his irons very high. Bethpage is very long and has small greens. Casey is in a good place mentally at the moment. He showed his class in the way he closed out the PGA at Wentworth.”-Brian Shaw, Doonbeg.
“Obviously Tiger will be there or there abouts but there has to be each way value and I like Justin Leonard and Luke Donald - two plodders that will keep it straight! Each are playing fairly well and have some course form Tied 12 & T18 in 2002.”-Gavin Kelly
“Big Phil will be emotional, 'it can go both ways' so lets say top ten for him. Casey is in great form so he’s my top European. Rory McIlroy will make the cut and will win in 2010. Back on form Tiger to win!”-Bill Donald, K Club
“My outside bet for the US Open is Steve Stricker. He is one of those players that promised a lot but has failed to deliver so far. His form at present would suggest that he is not too far away from a major win this season.”- Seamus Walsh
“ABT anyone but Tiger. Sadly I get more enjoyment when Tiger is beaten by someone else (which is not very often) than to see him winning by a wide margin. I accept he is the best golfer on the planet. Instead of making the courses tougher which is playing into his hands, should they not try and make them a little more user friendly which might give us a better and more exciting finish with maybe any one of six or seven players in with a shout in the last few holes? Retief Goosen is my choice, he is too good a player not to win another Major. If he gets into contention on the back nine on Sunday he will be more than a match for Tiger or anyone else.”- Mike Barrett
“It’s hard to look past Tiger. His mind-blowing final round finish to win the Memorial tournament proves he is coming back to his best. This pre-US Open win has an eerily familiar feel to 2002, when he won the Memorial before heading on to Bethpage and triumphing there.” Eoin Hahessy, Director of Communications for the 3 Irish Open
Is the winner listed above? Whatever happens get the recliner oiled up, the pizzas in the freezer and those handy twisty top beers chilling in the fridge because Bethpage is going to be awesome!
Dr. and The Medic: US Open Type Bad Lie
One option is to go for it but you could end up taking more strokes overall because you did. Considering how unlikely you will be successful at this, you should try to find the closest, safe way to get the ball back on the fairway.
Do not allow your fellow golfers or even yourself make you feel as if you are a chicken if you do not take the difficult shot. So, step back several yards and look to see which direction you should hit the ball in order to provide a better second shot. Can you hit it diagonally to the left or right? Off to the side might not get you closer to the green but you will save strokes overall because you can get the ball in a better position for a good shot. You might even find that you have a better approach to the green if you hit the ball a few yards behind you, onto the fairway. So look at the green and decide which side you want the ball to land on it and it might change the way you play this shot.
I Want One Of Those: Wilson TW9 Satin Wedge
This TW9 Tour Milled Satin Wedge from Wilson Staff is the very same that Padraig Harrington used to win the 2008 British Open within one week of seeing them, and then the PGA Championship just weeks later. The new, lower-lofted cavity back options bridge the gap between the modern pitching wedge and sand wedge for improved gapping. The tour milled grooves provide shot stopping spin while the wedge has a classic satin finish. Priced at €99 in GolfStyle, Galway
Odds from Boylesports.com
No European tour event this week
last week: Winner Alright! Brian Gay 45/1; David Toms (2nd) 22/1
US Open Bethpage Black
USA Pick: Jim Furyk: 16/1
As long as Brian O’Driscoll can fall out of bed in the morning, he will be the first name on any teamsheet. The same applies to Jim Furyk in the US Open. With the exception of Tiger, Furyk’s record in the toughest major is stellar. Winner of the lowest scoring US Open of recent times (-8) at Olympia Fields and two second places since, in 2006 and 2007. Runner up also to Tiger also at The Memorial so expect to see the swing like an “Octopuss falling out the tree” producing pin-seekers at Bethpage.
Rest Of The World Pick: Geoff Ogilvy: 16/1
This was a toss up between Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera, neither can be disregarded but the recent formbook suggests the Aussie. I believe Geoff Ogilvy to be the only man in the world who can go toe to toe with Tiger and win. A talented all rounder as a kid, he won several state and national athletic accolades before finding golf as a teenager. Twice a winner already this year in the Mercedes Benz and the Accenture matchplay and some signs of form in the Memorial with an amazing third round 63. Some fine tuning on the practise ground should see him right for a tilt at his second major, having winged home in 2006.
Elder Lemon Pick: Kenny Perry 50/1
This one came down to Steve Stricker (40/1) and Kenny Perry. There is a case for Stricker following his recent win at Colonial and his accolade of being the best scrambler on the PGA tour. However, I loved Perry’s attitude at The Masters, the manner in which he played that major and the dignity he displayed in defeat. He attributed his form that week to 18 hours spent on the practise green at Augusta and stated he wished he had discovered that method of major preparation years ago. It’s almost a given that he will mirror that build-up at Bethpage, for what may be his last big tilt at a major. Without a top twenty since the Masters, time is running out for my favourite player.
European Pick: Ian Poulter 66/1
I’ve agonized over Poulter, Stenson and Paul Casey for this slot. None have any form to speak of in the US Open- Casey’s is best with a 10th and 15th. However, the betting value lies with Ian Poulter. Second behind Stenson at TPC (the fifth major), second in last years Open and the pick of the European’s in the Ryder Cup, Poulter is increasingly becoming the rock solid character for the big occasion. That allied to his scrambling ability (ranked second) make him an educated each way shot.
Stats Pick: Tim Clark 80/1
Bethpage is extremely long, tree lined, with dangerous bunkers and small slick greens. Accuracy is the key here as proven by Jeff Maggert and Nick Faldo with top five finishes in 2002. Maggert’s current incarnation is Tim Clark, ranking fourth in driving accuracy and sixth in putting. The news that Bethpage is firming up will also be music to the ears of the South African. Bottled a fantastic chance to win at Colonial, but at least it shows he is on form. Clark’s stats are too good to ignore. Don’t say you were not warned about the man who tied third in Pinehurst in ’05.
Less than 24 hours after winning the Memorial with birdies at three of the last four holes Tiger Woods was back at work at Bethpage. He played seventeen and a half holes with caddy Stevie Williams, swing coach Hank Haney and two police officers. After hitting his drive on the last, he laid up with an iron in the middle of the fairway. Woods got into a golf buggy and exited via a service road, leaving his ball in the fairway and disappointing the 100 fans who had gathering after getting word that he was out on the course
The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, measures more than 7,400 yards of wooded Long Island countryside. It is a public course, one of five in the park. Golf carts are not allowed. Bethpage Black has changed since its last hosting in 2002, adding another 212 yards, plus the longest par four in US Open history (the 525-yard seventh), an extended green at the par-three eighth that now brings a water hazard into play and a dangerous new fairway bunker on the 460-yard, par four ninth. The big news however is that the rough has been eased considerably since 2002. In the aftermath of Woods win then, USGA came under heavy criticism for the unplayability of the rough. Bethpage now has a graduated rough that still gives players who stray offline only slightly, a fighting chance.
Celebrities take on US Open Test
In what has become something of a tradition nowadays, celebrities and a member of the public took on the US Open Layout in the Golf Digest sponsored challenge. This year, Michael Jordan, Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Timberlake were joined by a Larry Giebelhausen, the contest winner. Jordan played badly on the front nine but was a respectable four over on the back. Roethlisberger fared the best of the group, shooting an 81 with impressive birdies on 10 and 15. Timberlake had an 88. Rocco Mediate was on the bag for Roethlisberger, Anthony Kim for Timberlake and Fred Couples for Jordan.
Fun aside there have been whispers that Bethpage is not playing as tough as previous US Open venues.
Fun with the Pairings
Sergio, Camillo and Adam Scott:- if your looking out for beautiful women in the gallery, follow this group. Woods, Harrington, Cabrera:- I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner came from this group. Watch out for their grandfathers, Rocco Mediate, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman coming nine minutes behind! Ogilvy, Furyk, and Casey:- second, third and fourth in this bunch? JB Holmes, Alovaro Quiros, and Nick Watney:- Would not want to be in the group in front of these bombers. Michael Campbell, Boo Weekley, Rod Pampling:- an interpreter may be needed with these guys accents. We’ve noticed that the USGA have got a bit lazy with some pairings too, check out the surnames in these three groups:- (1) Soren Kjeldsen, Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson; (2) Vijay Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh and K.J. Choi (3) Andres Romero, Eduardo Romero and Miguel Angel Jimenez.