Sports Outside the Beltway

Tiger Woods misses cut at Quail Hollow Championship

He was 17 shots behind the leader after 36 holes. From ESPN-

For just the sixth time in his PGA Tour career, Tiger Woods has failed to qualify for the weekend rounds of a tournament.APTOPIX Quail Hollow Golf

Woods shot his second-worst round as a professional on Friday, a 7-over 79 during the second round of the Quail Hollow Championship, to miss the 36-hole cut by a whopping eight strokes.

Billy Mayfair birdied his final hole for a 4-under 68 and was the 36-hole leader at 8-under 136. He had a one-shot lead over two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, who played in Woods’ group. J.P. Hayes matched the Quail Hollow record with a 64 that put him in the group at 6-under 138 along with Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Paul Goydos.

Playing in just his second tournament since returning from a self-imposed leave after disclosures of marital infidelity, Woods’ difficulties are understandable and yet still surprising given his tie for fourth at the Masters — where he broke par all four rounds — three weeks ago.

“I didn’t play well,” Woods said. “More importantly my short game wasn’t very good.”

Woods put himself in a bind by shooting an opening-round 74 and then compounded matters by being unable to take advantage of three birdies on the front side Friday because he also made three bogeys.

When he bogeyed the first three holes on the back nine — including the par-5 10th, which he would have expected to birdie — it was unfamiliar territory.

I never felt the length of Tiger’s break from golf would affect his game but the off the course distractions could. Still, one really bad tournament isn’t sufficient basis to form a conclusion.

Update- Golf Observer’s Sal Johnson has a good take on Tiger’s current situation.


Tiger Woods interview with ESPN

Here it is and without comment-

Update- Sal Johnson at Golf Observer has a good take on the interview.


Tiger Woods to return at The Masters

When he plays at Augusta it will be his first tournament action in almost five months. From ESPN-

Tiger Woods will make his highly anticipated return to competitive golf at the Masters.

The world’s No. 1-ranked player, who has never missed the year’s first major as a professional, announced in a statement Tuesday that Augusta National Golf Club will be the site of his comeback.

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta,” Woods said in a statement.

“The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it’s been a while since I last played.”

The Masters is scheduled for April 8-11, with the first and second rounds airing on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Woods last played on Nov. 15, when he won the Australian Masters in Melbourne for his 82nd career victory. His world then unraveled less than two weeks later; he was involved in a one-car crash outside his Florida home that required a hospital visit and let to a series of revelations about his personal life that included a later admission of multiple affairs.

I always felt The Masters was the most likely place for Woods return but didn’tmake a fool out of myself like much of the golf media and bloggers waste bandwith by speculating on it. You’re going to hear countless descriptions of the Masters being a media circus, but its really going to be and here’s why. One- Woods is conservative with the media and will remain so and Two- The Masters has always been taken a low key approach even when controversy swirled around it(The no women members scandal of a few years back). The 2010 Masters will be the same, Woods will not answer personal questions but the media will give you THEIR version of the answers nevertheless.


Tiger Woods- No set time for his return to golf

From his public statement* today-

As for coming back to the PGA Tour, the world’s No. 1 player said “I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out it will be this year.

So we can expect many more columns written by sports writers saying they know when Woods will be back. One absolutely certain Australian writer had Woods playing in Tuscon this week.

Woods will play again and I think it will be by summer of this year. That’s an opinion only.

Tiger’s wife Elin wasn’t there today. Woods mother was, and IMHO she looked to be in a lot of pain from what her son did.

I haven’t commented much on the Woods scandal. Mainly because it has gotten over saturation from the media, golf bloggers, and more importantly what’s been written has been so pathetically wrong time and time again, I don’t want to throw myself into that cesspool. Woods was dumb on so many levels. How he thought would never learn about his deeds or not possibly care is beyond me.

*- While there were members of the press permitted to be there when Woods gave his statement, the golfer took no questions. That makes it not a press conference IMHO. Yes and I’ve been to golf press conferences.


Tiger Woods doesn’t enter WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

He is still on indefinite leave. From ESPN-

The field for next week’s World Golf Championship is set and it does not include Tiger Woods.

The world’s No. 1 golfer had until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to commit to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the deadline passed without a word.

England’s Ross McGowan, who has never played in a World Golf Championship event, is the beneficiary, earning the final spot in the field because he was ranked No. 66 at the close of the qualification period last week. No. 2 Phil Mickelson is also skipping the event to take a family vacation.

Steve Stricker will be the No. 1 seed in the 64-player match play event, which begins Wednesday.

Woods has won the tournament three times and made his highly anticipated return to golf following knee surgery at last year’s event in Arizona, winning his first match before being defeated in the second round by South Africa’s Tim Clark.

This will he won’t he saga will continue for every tournament normally on Tiger’s schedule till he plays competitve golf again. I don’t expect Woods to play before the Masters.


Are Corporations Insuring Endorsements Against Athletes’ Scandals due to Tiger Woods?

A NY Times article headlined ‘Insuring Endorsements Against Athletes’ Scandals Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir write-

In the wake of the Tiger Woods scandal, insurers are being inundated with inquiries from corporations seeking to protect their investments, their brands and even their sales when their celebrity endorsers suffer public embarrassment.


Dan Trueman, who runs the enterprise risk department at R J Kiln & Company, the managing agent for Lloyd’s, said his firm had seen an eightfold increase in inquiries into this type of insurance between September and December, the bulk from pharmaceutical and financial service companies. “It’s more than just the flavor of the week,” he said.

Is one source proof that companies are insuring their endorsements? Note the things in bold. The Tiger Woods scandal started on the last Friday in November.

But the article cites insurers as making more inquiries going as far back as last September. Or a full three months before the Woods scandal went into full gear.(The beginning of December) So if what Mr. Trueman is saying is true, then how much of it is really Tiger related?

Also note the word ‘enquiries’. Asking about possible insurance isn’t the same as actually taking out the insurance. The Times headline and article are therefore out of sync.

The article also says-

An increasingly common strategy for companies to better protect themselves is to change the language in their morals clauses to cover more contingencies. The more specific the language, the more expensive the insurance becomes, according to executives in the industry.

A change in the wording of contracts isn’t the same as actually taking out insurance.

One more thing.

Indeed, the stock prices of the seven publicly held companies that have or had sponsorship deals with Woods lost $12 billion in market value in the month after Woods’s statement in December that he was taking a leave from golf, according to a study by Chris Knittel, a professor of economics at the University of California at Davis.

The Study by Dr Knittel has been seriously called into question by both the Wall Street Journal and Ryan Ballangee at the golf blog waggleroom, and has seen its authors backtrack from their original figures. Let me quote from the WSJ article-

The Woods study appeared online, accompanied by a university press release, barely two weeks after Mr. Woods stepped away from the links. It isn’t unusual for universities to trumpet studies before they undergo peer review, but this one made some rushed shots into the rough, researchers said.

Prof. Stango acknowledges, in an interview and in the paper, that several challenges may have undermined his findings. Some of Mr. Woods’s sponsors are part of large conglomerates, and news of his infidelity trickled out slowly — both factors that made it tougher to interpret investors’ decisions to buy or sell. “It’s just a very difficult thing to disentangle,” Prof. Stango* says.

From today’s article I have to conclude NY Times editors and reporters don’t pay much attention to WSJ or Waggleroom. That’s just pitiful when it causes them to put out nonsense like the above.


Crystal Ball Time

My annual sports predictions for the upcoming year. Due to some unknown reason, I skipped doing this a year ago. What matters is I came back, right?

1 Cleveland beats the LA Lakers for the NBA Championship
2 Indianapolis defeats Arizona in the Super Bowl Crystall ball
3 San Jose defeats Washington for the Stanley Cup
4 St. Louis beats the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series
5 Tiger Woods returns to golf, wins at least one tournament but no major championships. That is a risky prediction in light of the fact that Tiger has won majors on 3 of this year’s host courses.(Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews)
6 Phil Mickelson wins the US Open
7 Michelle Wie wins at least two tournaments, one of which is a major championship
8 Ji Yai Shin is LPGA player of the year
9 A non-Korean golfer will be LPGA rookie of the year
10 Yu-Na Kim wins figure skating gold at the 2010 Olympics
11 The Miami Dolphins don’t make this year’s playoffs but have a winning 2010 season
12 The Miami Heat make the playoffs but lose in the 1st round
13 The Florida Marlins have a winning record but don’t make the playoffs
14 Urban Meyer doesn’t return as coach of the Florida Gators
15 Joe Paterno announces his retirement after the 2010 Penn State season is complete
16 The Florida Panthers don’t make the playoffs
17 The Florida Panthers trade Goalie Tomas Vokoun
18 Manny Pacquiao loses to Floyd Mayweather
19 Kansas defeats Purdue for the NCAA Basketball Championship
20 Texas defeats Alabama in the BCS Championship game
21 Army has a winning football season and gets a bowl invitation
22 Washington Redskins fire Coach Jim Zorn
23 Serena Williams wins at Wimbledon
24 Versus and Directv finally settle their dispute
25 A North American horse racing track closes its doors.
26 Sebastian Vettel wins the Formula World Drivers Championship
27 New York Rangers fire Coach John Tortorella
28 The New Jersey Nets don’t finish with the worst record in NBA history
29 Connecticut defeats Tennessee for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship
30 At least half these predictions are wrong

We’ll come back on December 31st 2010 and see how I did.


Tiger Woods taking hiatus from golf

He was in an auto accident two weeks ago. From -

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Tiger asked for privacy for he and his family. I don’t expect the media or bloggers to stop the silly gossiping they have indulged in over the last two weeks. Rumors and innuendo have been reported as news, and they have been wrong as often as they were right. This just being one such example. I love certain sports but care little about celebrities and that includes what sports stars do when not on the playing fields. There are some standards for what I will blog about.

Hat tip- Ryan at Waggleroom


Tiger Woods accident story- Will it ever be reported right?

Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald sums up the last 36 hours of Tiger Woods news.

The news-gathering landscape has mutated so quickly and so absolutely, at once enhanced and contaminated by the immediacy of everything from texts to Twitter to TMZ, that America’s most famous athlete this weekend went from suffering a serious injury in a car accident . . . to suffering a minor injury in a car accident . . . to being “fine,” according to his agent . . . to reportedly being unfaithful to his wife . . . to maybe having his face scratched by his angry wife . . . to being rescued by his helpful wife from his crashed car with a golf club . . . to having his car smashed up by his betrayed wife and her golf club . . . to not being any kind of “fine” at all.

Not all of that can be true, obviously, but who cares?

Truth is one of the many things that gets trampled today when boring facts can’t keep up with the media’s need to feed instantly and the public’s appetite to be fed faster than that.

Actually sports celebrity news bores me. I blogged about the news of Woods accident but refrained on speculating about its cause. That kind of restraint is not normal in either the news business or blogging now. I rather not make a fool out of myself by talking about 2nd or 3rd hand error prone news.

If someone wants to make the case I’m a fool, there’s over 4 years of blog posts out on the internet ready and waiting for them.


Tiger Woods seriously hurt in auto accident

He hit a fire hydrant near his Orlando Florida home early Friday morning. From the Orlando Sentinel-

Professional golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident early this morning, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Woods, 33, pulled out of his driveway in the Isleworth community about 2:25 a.m. when he struck a fire hydrant, and then drove into a tree at his neighbor’s property, FHP reported.

Alcohol is not related to the accident, FHP said.

Woods was transported to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee in serious condition, FHP said. No other information about his condition has been released.

A Health Central hospital employee said at 2:30 p.m. that Woods was not a patient. A hospital operator would not say if Woods had been treated and released.

Hippa prevents hospitals from giving out patient information. I’ll update the post when more information is made available.

Update- Woods agent says he is fine.

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