Hate to be Rude: Wake me up when . . .
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods is back home from a week of family counseling and is hitting balls again. So let the speculation about his return begin, ad nauseam.
Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it: Someone please tap me on my tired shoulder and let me know the next time he’s on a PGA Tour first tee.
Then we’ll pay attention.
• Highlights (or lowlights) from John Daly’s 456-page disciplinary file kept by the PGA Tour over 18 years, as reported by the Florida Times-Union: JD was suspended five times, cited 21 times for not giving his best effort, placed on probation six times, ordered to go to counseling or alcohol rehab seven times, cited for conduct unbecoming a professional 11 times and fined nearly $100,000.
Hate to be Rude: Ian Poulter
Four-hundred fifty-six pages? That’s not a rap sheet. Or a rap song.
That’s a rap book.
• Tiger question of the week: Do you feel any of that extracurricular activity ever infected a round or cost you a tournament victory?
• Mental coach Bob Rotella says student Padraig Harrington, a three-time major winner, might be more into sports psychology than he is. Harrington doesn’t dispute it. He told me Tuesday that he rereads Rotella’s book, “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect,” regularly and takes notes. Then he pares his notes down to one page so he can reread the notes often and memorize.
Harrington’s thing is to get into the next target. That’s what golf is to him. Focus like a champion on the next target 30 seconds at a time. Not just for the next shot. “For the rest of your life,” he said emphatically and then repeated.
• Lee Westwood, No. 4 in the world, doesn’t believe in using a mental coach. At least for himself. He has listened to a couple over the years but has decided to stay away. Why? He considers himself “normal,” with a “glass-half-full” mentality.
“I’ve got a good grasp on reality,” Westwood said. “I like my vision and don’t want it tinkered with.”
• Asked the candid Stephen Ames what change he would make to the Tour if he were Czar for a Day and he didn’t hesitate: Eliminate yardage books. Why? Because they make the rounds take far too long. “What, they can’t do the math?” he said.
• Are Tour players spoiled? Paul Goydos says “absolutely.” The reason: “Because we can get anything we want, and for free.”
• Greg Rita, R.I.P. Cancer took a good man and dependable caddie far too soon. Hearts everywhere should ache for wife Kelley and 4-year-old son Nicolas.
As someone who knew Rita and his late looper pal, Bruce Edwards, said, “It’s a good bet those two are playing a quick nine together today.”
• If you are Brandt Snedeker, who shot a final-round 78 Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, don’t read this entry from stat man extraordinaire Sal Johnson. Of the 2,352 players who have led or co-led Tour events going into the final round since 1970, only one finished worse than Snedeker’s tie for 43rd.
Not that you’re wondering, but Dick Rhyan’s closing 77 dropped him to T-45 at something called the Shrine-Robinson Golf Classic in 1973.
• It’s Honda Classic week, and the wind has been blowing. That means one thing: Drama down the stretch Sunday, particularly at the 17th. It was the most difficult par 3 on Tour last year, averaging 3.395 strokes. For the week, there were more double bogeys or worse (45) than birdies (27).
• A long-lost member of the worst U.S. Ryder Cup team ever – the one that got spanked in Ireland in 2006 – is back in action this week. That’s right, bomber Brett Wetterich is making his first start since the 2008 U.S. Open. Torn tendons in his right wrist have finally healed.
• If golf had a Tinkerer’s Hall of Fame, Bob Estes would get in on the first vote. There have been times Estes would change shafts and clubs more than some people change underwear. But he has pretty much settled on things these days and doesn’t switch with the wind.
Estes has played the Tour for more than 22 years using three different grips: overlapping, 10-finger (baseball) and, for the past two years, interlocking. He won three of his four Tour titles using the 10-finger but says he now wishes he had always interlocked.
He says there was a time when he went to the range and hit a ball using each of the three grips. One ball went right, one ball went left and the swing made with an interlocking grip went straight. Winner.
What’s more, he interlocks while wearing a glove. He played much of his career using no glove.
There will be a midterm exam on all this.
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Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday, the same day as his video show of the same name.