Reciprocal Golf Problog by Peter Baumann

Tiger Injured?

OK. I would like your opinion.

1) Who thinks Tiger Woods could have finished his final round at The Players Sunday if he really wanted to finish, instead of withdrawing after six or seven holes? Did he take the attitude, "I'm not contending, so why take a chance on hurting myself.?

2) Who thinks he quit because his neck really was hurting, and he physically could not finish?

One or two?

To set the stage for those who did not watch the finish to The Players Championship on Sunday:

A. Lee Westwood led going into the final round, and I predicted that he would not finish as the winner. He did not win.

B. The odds makers gave Tiger a 7/1 chance of winning the day before the tournament started; I gave Tiger a 25/1 chance of winning, since Wednesday. He dropped out on Sunday, did not finish, and (obviously) did not win.

Tiger quit playing on the front nine on Sunday, had not played well all week, and withdrew.

Before I say any more, I would like to hear your opinion. Please reply with #1 or #2, then add your comments if you like.

We'll continue this discussion tomorrow.
Comments (4)

The Sunday Final Round at The Players

I'm going to continue going against the grain and say that Lee Westwood, although he is leading the Players Championship, will not win on Sunday afternoon. I have yet to see the look in his eyes that tells me he knows he is going to win. By the same token, Tiger's attitude this week is the worst I have ever seen in his professional career. It seems that every question he is asked, he replies with one excuse or another excuse as to why he is not preforming.

Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, can win, even though he is starting Sunday's final round from five shots back, and he has ten players in front of him. Mental attitude is everything in professional golf. In fact, I can't remember the last time I heard so many comments by the tour commentators about the mental attitude of those in contention.

Look at Rory McIlroy at Quail Hollow last week. He ran away with the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, setting a new course record by two shots on Sunday. Then he celebrated his 21st birthday Tuesday night, then missed the cut this week. Too much partying Tuesday night? I don't think Rory even drinks, does he?

The ultimate winner on Sunday will be the player who makes the most putts, and as the greens dry out from the wind, putting will be difficult. The player who puts his approach shots below the hole consistently, and then putts uphill will be the winner.

The winner at The Players has never hit his tee shot in the lake at 17, so watch to see if the wind is gusting on 17 on Sunday afternoon.
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Same problems for Tiger at The Players!

Tiger Woods had the same problems at The Players on Friday that he had on Thursday, hitting it everywhere and scrambling to save pars! He finished -3 to par after the second round, which at least should make the cut as compared to last week.

Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson teed off late on Friday. He also finished -3 after Friday's round. But unlike Tiger's current mental state, Phil has what it will take to come from nine shots back to win on Sunday, just like Rory McIlroy did last week at the Quail Hollow Championship. McIlroy celebrated his 21st birthday last Tuesday, after winning last week, only to miss the cut Friday at The Players.

What has changed from last week to this week? Mental attitude. Professional golf, just like amateur golf every Saturday morning, is all about attitude, not talent.

Lee Westwood was in the lead after Friday's round. I'm sorry, but Westwood doesn't have what it takes between the ears to win a major US tournament. He will remain close to the lead through Saturday, then on Sunday, but he will blow the lead on Sunday afternoon.

When I give a golf lesson to my students, I stress basic weight shift, and mental attitude. With those two thoughts, any amateur can play great!
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The first round of The Players Championship was interesting Thursday. I have predicted that Phil Mickelson will move into the World's Number One position this week, and that Tiger Woods will not play well. They both shot 70 yesterday, two under par.

Tiger said he was happy with his 70, because he hit it crooked, but scrambled great. Johnny Miller watched Tiger practice before the tournament , and then said Tiger needs a new swing coach, and needs to take some time off!"

Phil was not happy with his 70, because "I wasted too many shots out there today. I hit six iron on two par-5's for my second shot, and only made pars."

But it is a long time until Sunday afternoon.

Both No. 1 and No. 2 are only four shots behind the leaders. In fact, if they cut to the top 60 players and ties after Thursday's first round, which is what the PGA Tour will do on Friday afternoon, Tiger and Phil would just barely make the cut right on the number!

And no one has pulled ahead of the field. All 60 players in the top 60 are only four shots apart. Which means it is anyone's tournament at this point in time.

According to the weatherman, the weather will be the same the first three days, with mild winds blowing in the same direction. Sunday the wind is supposed to turn in the opposite direction. That might make things interesting if it happens, but since when has any weatherman correctly predicted the weather three days in advance?

Calm weather at The Players makes for a dull tee shot at 17, the island green. Perhaps that is good, because a single last second gust of wind on 17 can make or break a round, or can make or break the winner! I think I watched about two hours of golf on Thursday, and I only saw two tee shots go into the lake on 17.

That is compared to two years ago when Sergio Garcia won, including his one and only tee shot in his sudden death playoff with Paul Goydos, which started on 17. A gust of wind caught Goydos' tee shot at 17, and the playoff was over before it began! I wish the Tour would start any sudden death playoff on either 18 or 16 at The Players, so a single gust of wind doesn't determine the champion.

Most tour events start on the 18th for any sudden death playoff, and they should do so at The Players as well.

It will be interesting to see if anyone pulls away from the field in today's (Friday's) round.
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I was watching the Golf Channel yesterday (Wednesday) morning, and the tournament commentators were discussing the upcoming Players Championship that starts today. They were talking about the tournament entrants, their recent poll of viewers, and who the viewers favored to win. They chose Tiger Woods to win, with odds of 7/1. WHY?

Phil Mickelson is ranked second right now at the Players, with odds of his winning at 8/1. In my opinion, Phil should be favored to win, and not just slightly over Tiger.

If Mickelson wins this week’s tournament, which starts on Thursday, and Woods finishes outside the top five, Mickelson will become the No. 1 golfer in the world rankings, ending a five year reign for Woods.

The odds are a little closer this week than usual, but Woods is still favored to win the tournament this week. I do not understand why that is.

Woods has been given 7/1 odds to win. Other short odds to win are Mickelson (8/1), Jim Furyk (20/1), Ernie Els (22/1), and Rory McIlroy (22/1), who won last week's Quail Hollow Championship by finishing with a 62, and recording a new course record by two strokes!

Woods won this event in 2001 and finished eighth a year ago, but he finished outside the top 20 the previous two times he competed in the tournament. Woods is coming off one of the worst outings he has had as a pro, as he missed the cut in the Quail Hollow Championship.

If it was up to me, I'd give Woods odds of winning this week closer to 25/1. Like I mentioned a few days ago, I don't think Woods is over his problems with the crowds yet. I think he is still worried about his image at this time, and wants to please the crowds after what he did to his wife, Elin, more than he thinks about winning.

Late yesterday the Golf channel commentators were still talking about Tiger's chances this week. After beating around the bush all day, Nick Faldo finally answered the question about Tiger's chances of winning the Players.

"Tiger is going to have problems this week."

I agree.
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Phil to Pass Tiger as No. One!

Last November, before the world learned about Tiger Woods' extra dozen or so women, I predicted that Phil Mickelson would pass Tiger in 2010 as the world's No. One golfer. With Tiger missing the cut at Quail Hollow last Friday, and Phil's second-place finish, Phil is now close to passing Tiger.

This week's Players' Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach may just do the trick. Neither Tiger nor Phil are hitting a lot of fairways off the tee these days. But Phil has the better short game of the two, recovering from bad tee shots better than Tiger.

And as I pointed out last week, Tiger has to overcome his temper, and his concern about what the crowd thinks of him, and his temper, before he will win again.

I'll make the same comment about tempers on tour as I made last week. The PGA Tour has occasionally fined players money for cursing, or for throwing clubs, but that has never had any effect on such behavior. What is $5,000 to a multimillionaire? But tell a player he just incurred a one-stroke penalty for slamming his driver into the ground and watch his reaction!

I have played golf for 48 years, and have taught golf to kids since they were three years old. I tell them there is no room for temper on the golf course. When I consider doing business with someone new, the first thing I do is play 18 holes with them. I'll learn more about their honesty, integrity, or ability to handle adversity (temper) in thirty minutes than I'd learn in five days over a conference table.

I once entertained a golfer from Cincinnati who wanted to be my PROBE GOLF distributor in Ohio, on the Lake Shastina Golf Resort near Mt. Shasta, CA. On the seventh hole he missed a two-foot putt for par, and he threw his putter that clipped my right ear, and flew another fifty feet into the nearby water hazard! One inch closer and he might have killed me.

I told him to fly back to Ohio, that there was no room at PROBE GOLF for him.

For Tiger to get back in the graces of most attendees at this week's Players Championship. Tiger will have to concentrate on his behavior. If his behavior is on his mind, concentrating on each shot will not be on his mind. And that is all it will take for him to finish far behind the ultimate winner.

Congatulations Phil Mickelson, the Number One golfer in the world.

Tomorrow I am going to show you how to buy the best performing golf equipment you can acquire to best support your own, individual golf swing, and at about 50% off what you would pay anywhere else. I hope you catch the conversation.
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Tiger's Mental Attitude Responsible for Missing the Cut?

Tiger Woods missed his first PGA Tour cut in what, five years? He missed the cut at the Open Championship in England last July, and I already commented that I think it was his "female problems" that were responsible. I told my brother at the time that something was bothering Tiger. It was just four months before the rest of the world learned about Tiger's dozen or so extra women!

This week at Quail Hollow I think Tiger was thinking too much about how to win back the crowd by not throwing clubs or cussing too much, and not thinking enough about picturing each shot in his mind before swinging.

After he had missed the cut, the commentators were mentioning the fact that Tiger had "behaved himself" this week despite missing the cut, cussing very little and not throwing a single club. I have a feeling that his concern about his behavior and what the crowd thought/thinks of him is what was foremost on his mind, instead of concentrating on his swing.

I saw Tiger hit several poor shots on Thursday and Friday this week, and his facial expression looked like he was steaming on he inside as he smiled outwardly.

Tiger has two things he must overcome before he will appear in the winner's circle again. First and foremost is controlling his temper. I don't care how many women are on his mind, there is no room on the golf course for a temper tantrum. It is childish, and it will not allow any golfer to relax and hit a smooth shot. I would like to see the Tour impose penalty strokes to any tour player who cusses or throws or slams down a club during play.

I remember watching last Summer's Big Break on the Golf channel. I wish Pat Perez's brother had not won, because his childish behavior of slamming and throwing clubs is not something we need to see on television. It is a poor example for our children.

The second thing Tiger has to accomplish is concentration. You can't play good golf when you are worried about outside influences, such as the crowd. When he conquers the first, temper, he won't have to worry about the second, what the crowd thinks of him.

Tiger won't win again until he learns to laugh off a bad shot, and concentrate on the next shot, and not about what the guy outside the ropes is thinking.

Do you agree?
Comments (5)

Security Is Tight At Quail Hollow Championship!

Today marks the beginning of the Quail Hollow Championship golf tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina . Players took to the course today for the beginning of the pro-am tournament.

Security is tight at the tournament. Police officers and independent security personnel patrol the course, and stand at the front gate, checking bags and purses and using metal detecting wands on visitors.

The tournament must provide security for more than 150 players. Most of us golfers who will watch the tournament on TV, or even attend the tournament in person, seldom realize all the work that is involved with operating a professional golf tournament.

The Quail Hollow Championship, like any PGA Tour event, cannot operate without volunteers. The Quail Hollow Championship is one of the premier stops on the PGA Tour, placing a national and international spotlight on Charlotte, NC.

Probably the most exciting fact about the tournament this year is the presence of both Tiger Woods and Phil Michelson in the competition. Many TV golf commentators did not think that Tiger would compete again so soon after the Masters, especially when Tiger ducked the question when he was asked the final day of the Masters when he would compete again on tour. His comment? "I'm going to take some more time off...."

I believe another very popular player, Fred Couples, is also planning to play at Quail Hollow, instead of playing in this week's Champions' Tour event.

Overall, this tournament should make for good entertainment, but it will be hard to surpass last week's Zurich Classic winner's story in New Orleans. I was touched by the story of Jason Bohn winning the $1 million + first place prize, 18 years after he entered a charity Hole-In-One event as a freshman in college and won $50,000 per year for twenty years. He has two payments left to go. Now he is over $1 million richer, and has a two-year exemption on tour, and an invitation to next year's Masters.

His birdeying three of the last four holes yesterday was the finishing touch to a great story all week long.

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Tiger and Phil in the Limelight Again

After Phil Michelson won The Masters this year, Tiger Woods, who finished fourth, complained about how poorly he had played in his first tournament since leaving the PGA Tour last November. When asked when he would play again, Tiger indicated he was going to take some more time off from the tour.

It was speculated that he might not play again until the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June. But Tiger has evidently reported that he will play in next week's Quail Hollow Championship, where Phil Michelson is supposed to be playing as well.

The world's number one and number two will once again be favored to win at Quail Hollow. Which one has the better chance to win? I believe it will be the player who has the best attitude about himself at the time of the tournament, since we all know that golf is played in a five inch wide area, the space between the ears.

I commented right after The Masters that I witnessed quite a few spectators whose body language indicated they were not in Tiger's corner. Those viewers probably thought Tiger had returned to competition too early, and that he should have taken care of his marital problems first.

The crowds at Quail Hollow will be more spontaneous than the attendees at The Masters, and may show more animosity toward Tiger than did the usually subdued crowds at The Masters.

Remember how poorly Tiger played at last year's Open Championship, when he didn't even make the cut. I commented to my brother at the time that Tiger must have had some problems on his mind during that poor play, possibly women problems that preceded the public learning about all of his women later on in November.

If Tiger has his marriage on his mind in two weeks, Phil may have an edge in the competition between the two. I suggest we all watch Tiger closely, to see if his head is clear, or if he seems still troubled. I assure you it will make a difference in his performance.
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Will Tiger and Elin remain married?

The rumors surrounding Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin, seem to imply that their marriage is over. When Tiger returned to the PGA Tour last week and the Masters, the year's first major, Elin was not present.

Since last November, when reports of his infidelity became public knowledge, Tiger has been busy trying to show his wife that he has changed, and is seeking help. But in my opinion, many viewers at the Masters showed me body language that indicated they felt Tiger did not deserve to be there.

Many in the crowd seemed to indicate from their reactions to some of Tiger's shots that he should have taken care of his marriage before returning to competition.

So what does the future hold for Tiger's and Elin's marriage? It has been reported over the internet that Elin has been talking to her attorney about filing for divorce, and is just calculating when will be the best time to announce her decision to file.

Do you think she will file, or do you think they have a chance to stay together?
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Tiger Woods's Return To The PGA Tour

Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf at the Masters last week in a carefully orchestrated plan to minimize media involvement.

The Masters only allowed 96 entrants, compared to the usual 156 players at regular tour events. And the size of the crowd is always limited at the Masters compared to most PGA tournaments, with weekly badges sold out many months in advance.

Although the press announced that Tiger was welcomed with open arms by the media and the viewers, that was not completely accurate. While most television viewers watched Tiger hit shot after shot, I was busy watching the crowd reaction to many of his shots. I was surprised how many viewers showed body language that did not indicate they favored Tiger's appearance back on tour since his infidelities became public knowledge last November.

When Tiger hit his second shot on one par-4 on Sunday, and his ball rolled sideways over 30 feet on the green into the hole for an eagle, I watched one man behind the ropes with his arms folded across his chest and shaking his head side to side. I could read his mind; he did not think Tiger deserved to score an eagle on the hole.

After Tiger finished fourth in the tournament, I felt his comments smelled of sour grapes. All he did was talk about how badly he played, instead of complimenting Phil Michelson for his win. When he was asked when he would play again on tour, he said he was still going to take time off from playing, as if he sensed that many viewers felt that he came back too soon, without taking care of his marriage first and foremost.

Did Tiger come back too soon, and will his marriage survive? Let me know what you think.
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The 2010 Masters

The opening round at this year's Masters was exciting, to say the least. Tiger showed that his game is as good as it ever was, even though he took five months off from competitive golf. In fact, Tiger's 68 yesterday was three shots better than his best Masters start ever!

Tom Watson's round was as magical as his leading last year's Open Championship after three rounds, at the age of 59. Tom is now sixty year's old. Another pleasant surprise was Fred Couples' 66 to top the leaderboard after 18 holes, at the age of 50.

Today's round should balance out the field, since early players yesterday will play late today. As long as the weather today is similar to yesterday's, the course conditions should balance out for every player.

Once the weekend arrives, and players at the same score will play together, the course conditions will be fair for the entire field.

Tom Watson is not as long off the tee as he was when he was younger, so it will be interesting to see if he can hang in there against the younger, longer hitters as the tournament committee toughens up the course going into Saturday and again on Sunday.

Let's all watch the play today to see who makes the cut for the weekend.

Phil Mickselson has the Upper Hand Now!

I came across this article yesterday, and wanted to share it with you. It was written by Jack McCallum:

When it comes to Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, it's clear who has the upper hand now.

The world's two best golfers stare out at me from two quite different places. Over here, a tabloid newspaper carries an action shot of Tiger Woods splashed next to a photo of — if I'm not mistaken — Bimbo No. 4, though it could be Bimbo No. 2, unless it's Bimbo No. 7. And over here, from a full-page ad in the New Yorker, Phil Mickelson gazes squarely into the camera with a CEO's self-assuredness, arms folded, hair coiffed, left sleeve casually rolled up to display a Rolex. "The People's Champion" reads the ad copy.

Mickelson is indeed that, though it is an encomium I never quite understood. The fact that Lunch Bucket Larry related to Lefty, a multi-millionaire who seemed a little whiny, a little smug and a lot prone to collapse whenever a Tiger prowled nearby, (and even when he didn't), was, as far as I was concerned, one of the mysteries of sport.

What is easy to understand, though, is that — with the exception of the tabloids, the artificially-enhanced, show-me-the-money mistresses and the phalanx of attorneys — no one stands to gain more from Tiger's fall than Lefty, his eternal foil. Indeed, despite Woods's constancy (we're talking about on the course) and Mickelson's roller-coaster inconsistency over the years, they remain 1 and 1-A, the one rivalry that has outlasted Woods v. Els, Woods v. Garcia, Woods v. Harrington and Mickelson v. his own foolish shot selection. Woods v. Mickelson truly mattered, not just because of their primacy as players but also because they were, like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird once were, the archetypes of record. Woods the steely-eyed master of his domain, Mickelson the gambling, smiling, club-twirling man of the people.

As a fan, you were to some extent either a Phil Guy or a Tiger Guy. If you were the former, you liked that Lefty signed more autographs, made more eye contact and was willing to try more high-risk shots than Tiger. In other words, you liked that a human heart apparently beat under that famously un-sculpted chest. But Phil Guys had to accept the limits of their man. Mickelson has had his moments against Tiger — two of them came last season when he overtook Woods for victories at the Tour Championship and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, a World Golf Championship event — but you knew which one had the eternal edge, which one was Mozart and which was Salieri.

Tiger never let anyone forget it either. Their feelings toward each other have warmed over the years; witness their bonding at the President's Cup. (Witness, too, that they were not paired together.) But the most enduring snapshot of their relationship remains the dagger look that Eldrick flashed Lefty at the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills in Michigan. Mickelson had just deposited his drive at the 18th hole somewhere near the Canadian border, thereby ensuring that their afternoon alternate-shot pairing would be as disastrous as their morning four-ball pairing had been. I knew this guy would choke, Woods's look seemed to say.

To the extent that I was either, I was a Tiger Guy, solely out of respect for his talent because I don't know the man. My resistance to Mickelson was not based on outside observation, though. I understood the guy's-guy part of him. We tossed around a baseball (he pitched, I caught), did card tricks (they were his), rode around at high speed in his rented sports car (he drove), and thankfully we never reached the point where he took me for everything I was worth in high-stakes NFL bets. But what prevailed, as far as I was concerned, was the I'm-smarter-than-you part of Mickelson's personality, the self-satisfied smugness. This was before he had won a major, too, and his air of bravado rang hollow.

My feelings have evolved over the years, though. Say what you want about him, but Lefty has remained Lefty. He has won majors (three of them), just like he said he would. He might have a plastic smile crazy-glued on his face, but, dammit, he signs every post-round autograph and meets every post-round gaze, just like he said he would. He loves his wife and children and makes sacrifices to his golf game to spend time with them, just like he said he would. Contrast that with what Woods said about himself. Make that, with what Woods seemed to be saying about himself.

Clearly, we have reached a new intersection in golf's most fascinating pas de deux. The contrast in their respective images stands in clear relief, the one a serial womanizer starring in a soap-opera domestic tragedy, the other a dedicated family man helping his wife, Amy, and his mother, Mary, fight brave battles against cancer.

Even before all the Tiger Tales came to light, one of the story lines going into the 2010 season was whether this was the year that Lefty could challenge him for the top spot. Maybe it will happen and maybe it won't, but, to a degree, Mickelson doesn't have to reach No. 1 — there were a lot of Phil Guys even when he was looking up at Woods. We're five years removed from their disastrous Ryder Cup in Michigan, and look whose lie is unplayable now.


Just one more comment, in Tiger's defense.

For years, Tiger has reaped the financial rewards of his family-friendly image, in the form of sponsorships, but so has the golf business in general. Every pro on the PGA tour is now making more money, because Tiger's rise to fame brought increased audience attendance. And, now, they're turning on him.

After news of the affair broke, Tiger's long-time friend Jesper Parnevik said he "probably thought [Tiger] was a better guy than he is." Charles Warren, a six-year veteran of the PGA Tour, hinted that Elin Woods might have known about Tiger's extramarital affairs all along. "She's no fool." He said she probably "turned a blind eye because of the money and the kids and the lifestyle he provides." Ben Crane, who has two wins on the PGA Tour, said "This is no surprise to anyone who knows Tiger. He's a phony and a fake, and he can't retain that squeaky-clean endorsement deal any longer."

It seems to me that jealousy could be at play here. If it's true that these fellow pros new about Tiger's indiscretions, why didn't they say anything about it until now? I'll tell you why: money. They knew that Tiger's image was helping THEM make money. Like I said, their pay is higher since he rose to super-stardom and ushered in the most lucrative era in golf history.

Let's not forget that we're talking about a man's personal life. We all sympatize with his family, but it does not help to put them all in the spot light, especially if the press further degrades Tiger's reputation. In the long term, if fans stop watching the tournaments, this could mean less pay for all PGA pros. Let's not take one family's personal tragedy and turn it into a catastrophy for the golf industry.

Now that I've spoken my mind, I promise not to blog about Tiger again for a while. Let's hope next time he's in the news it's because he's back on a winning streak. After all, he still has a family support.

What caused Tiger's Marriage problems?

I hate to continue dwelling on Tiger Woods' personal life, but he and Elin need professional help with their personal lives. Once the press gets ahold on a famous sports figure, they don't let up.

In Tiger's defense, I have "been there, done that!" I'm not famous, of course. I'm just a "+2" handicap father who had thoughts of giving the Senior PGA Tour a try, but I decided to raise two fantastic sons instead. Their mother and I divorced, because she critiqued my business endeavors so frequently that I felt as if I didn't have her support. I remember taking Dale Carnegie's sales class in college, where he argued that if a woman insists that a man put his wife ahead of his career, it usually ends in divorce. On the other hand, if she supports her husband, he will put her on a pedestal.

If Elin has put pressure on Tiger by insisting he cut back on his businesses to be with her, some of the blame for their problems could be placed on her. That would explain Tiger's strange absense from so many tournaments during the weeks preceding the late-night car crash.

What is your opinion? What do you think caused Tiger and Elin's marriage problems? Is Tiger just a plain old cheat or does it take two to keep a marriage strong?
Comments (3)

Tiger and Elin in the news again, not due to golf

Tiger is in the news again, after another 911 call, this time because Elin's mother had to be rushed to the hospital from his home in the middle of the night.

When Tiger and Elin fought at their home over a week ago, why did it take the press over 12 hours to report it? I believe it was because the press has known for years about Tiger's other women, but the media "in the know" protects him so they can remain within his inner circle.

It took over twelve hours for a reporter who was not "in the know" to learn about the 2:25 A.M. fight at their home outside Orlando, and then report the story.

The public is now outraged. To be honest, any man who is famous is hit on by women who want the spotlight, fame, and money from being with him, or around him. If Tiger were not married, he'd be well within his rights to have many women friends. But as a married man, he does not have that option. Especially if he has made hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsements from his public image.

What do you think about my assessment of the media in this case? Do you think they have known for years about his other women, or do you think they were as surprised as the public to learn about the other women eleven days ago?

What happened to Tiger Woods this week?

What happened to Tiger Woods this week? He was supposed to be playing in the Dubai Desert Classic. In fact, last week, during the Australian Masters, the commentators mentioned many times that Tiger's last tournament of the year would be this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

What about Tiger's own tournament every December, The Target World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club near Los Angeles? A month ago I predicted that Phil Mickelson would pass Tiger as the World's Number One player because Tiger was too preoccupied with outside interests.

Where is he this week?

Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson

Will Tiger Woods maintain his #1 standing in the world in 2010, or will Phil Mickelson overtake Tiger next year?

Many sports writers have commented that Phil is becoming more motivated to become the world's Number One golfer at this time, while they feel Tiger is placing more emphasis on his "outside" interests!

Tiger, the world's first sports "billionnaire", has received more and more requests for appearances recently, taking him away from his long, daily practice sessions! He has tried to get more into a 24 hour day than ever before, and it is showing (believe it or not) in his game.

His driving off the tee is nowhere near as consistent as in previous years, when he was winning almost every time he teed it up in a tournament. One week, he will win, or come close, and the next week he won't finish in the top ten!

Tiger's putting also has been inconsistent in 2009, often his excuse for not winning.
Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, has found a new putting stroke in the last month which, if carried over to 2010, could be the difference in how the two finish at the end of 2010!

I know that many golfers will disagree with my assessment, because they have jumped on the Tiger bandwagon, and think Tiger is not human! But look at Phil's newfound motivation to become Number One, and Tiger's increased distractions, and that may make the difference in 2010.
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