Tuesday, August 6, 2013
A father-and-son moment for Woods
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods had a tender moment after destroying the competition at the Bridgestone Invitational. His 4-year-old son, Charlie, was in the gallery and Woods scooped him into his arms when he walked off the 18th green at Firestone.
He later had a personal photo taken of the two of them and the trophy.
Whether his son follows in his footsteps remains to be seen, though Woods said he would not push him in that direction.
"If he did decide to play golf, so be it," Woods said Tuesday. "If he decides to play another sport or not play any sports -- as long as he's happy and he enjoys his life, I'm there to support and guide him in his life, and that's what it's all about."
Woods' father, Earl, placed him in a high chair as the father swung a golf club. Woods one day crawled out of the chair and copied the swing, and before long a star was born.
Woods was on the "Mike Douglas Show" when he was 2 to putt with Bob Hope, and at age 3 he shot 48 for nine holes.
As much as his father was a major influence in his golfing career, Woods said he was never pushed.
"It was the exact opposite," Woods said. He was trying to get me not to play it. `Go play baseball.' OK, I'd go play baseball, I pitched. I can't wait to get out of this so I can go play golf. I would run track and cross country, and I would run home fast to get to the golf course. ... I fell in love with golf at an early age. That was just my deal."
He said he loved golf because his father made it fun, and he enjoyed being on the golf course.
"That's what I want to do with (daughter) Sam or Charlie," he said. "If they play golf, no lessons. We are just going to go out there and just have fun, hit it around, laugh and needle each other. He's only 4 years old, but he still gives me a little bit of grief, which is good stuff."
FRESH SPIETH: Jordan Spieth certainly is a lot more rested than the last major he played.
Spieth won the John Deere Classic and he was on a charter to Scotland for the British Open. That was his eighth tournament in nine weeks. He wound up withdrawing from the Canadian Open, and the surprise was that he withdrew from the World Golf Championship at Firestone.
"I didn't expect to be in the World Golf Championship ahead of time," Spieth said. "I'll never skip one again. I was worn out, very tired. I didn't feel like I had anything with me. I want to be 100 percent every tournament I play in."
The decision to skip Firestone wasn't to rest up for the PGA Championship, but for the final stretch. Spieth is at No. 15 in the FedEx Cup standings, meaning he is a lock for at least three playoff events, and could become the first player since Tiger Woods in 1996 to start a year with no status and make the Tour Championship.
True, the WGCs offer free money because there is no cut.
"But I'm not going to chase a free check," said Spieth, who celebrated his 20th birthday the week after the British Open.
And there was one other factor. His caddie, Michael Greller, got married last Saturday.
"He's like family to me," Spieth said. "So it was very important."
VIDEO WATCHING: What do players chat about during a practice round?
If you're Zach Johnson, it's humorous videos on the Internet.
Walking up the 13th fairway with Matt Kuchar, Johnson brought up an NBC promo starring comedian Jason Sudeikis as an American coach trying to grasp the differences between the NFL-style football and English soccer.
"Have you seen that?" Johnson asked Kuchar. "It's sooo funny!"
Johnson shouted up to his caddie.
"Have you got your phone?"
Then, as they walked to hit their next shot, Johnson furiously worked the phone to locate the video so he could show it to Kuchar.
SPANISH DUEL: There's always a few friendly wagers during the practice rounds, though usually the money changes hands after the players get back to the clubhouse.
Miguel Angel Jimenez paid up right away.
After fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal wrapped up whatever bet they had going at the 18th hole, Jimenez handed some money to his friend. Larrazabal proudly held up one of the bills for the fans in the stands.
As he signed autographs, Larrazabal wouldn't say how much he took off Jimenez. But he patted his heart and said, "It's always a pleasure to beat Miguel. It's not easy."
TOP RANK: The PGA Championship stands to be the third-strongest field since the world ranking began in 1986. The tournament has 99 of the top 100 players in the world this week, matching the record set last year at Kiawah Island.
The difference in strength is the player missing this year -- Louis Oosthuizen at No. 16 -- was higher ranked that the one player missing last year, Ben Crane.
The strongest field was in 2002 at Hazeltine. Even though it had only 98 of the top 100, those two players were toward the bottom of the ranking. The PGA Championship had the top 96 players in the world that week.
As for the other majors this year, the British Open had 89 of the top 100 players. The U.S. Open, which offers the most spots through qualifying, had 73 of the top 100. The Masters had 63 out of the top 100 in the world. Then again, the Masters only had a 94-man field.
FEELING LIKE HE BELONGS: As the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years, it's clear that 20-year-old Jordan Spieth is not intimidated by the big names on the PGA Tour.
That might just be the biggest key to his early success.
"You have to think of them as your peers," said Spieth, who won the John Deere Classic last month while still 19. "When you're out on the course and looking up to anybody, saying `Wow, that's so and so,' that's when you get into trouble.
"In order to get where I want to go, I'm going to have to beat them on a regular basis."
AP National Writer Paul Newberry contributed to this report.