No matter how Woods fares, book to win big
If TV ratings, Internet articles and column inches in print media are any indication, “The Big Miss” should be a huge hit when it goes on sale March 27, a week before the subject shoots for his fifth green jacket at Augusta National.
Tiger Woods hasn’t won the Masters since 2005, a major championship since 2008 or an official PGA tournament of any kind since 2009. In his last five PGA Tour events, he has tied for 17th, tied for 15th, tied for 30th, missed the cut (at the PGA Championship) and tied for 37th. He’s at the Honda Classic this week, a tournament he hadn’t deigned to play since 1993, three years before he turned pro.
But we not only remain fascinated by Woods, we’re arguably captivated like never before.
The upcoming book by his former swing coach will only increase the magnification on Woods since that fateful Thanksgiving night in 2009, back when we couldn’t imagine him as a more compelling figure. Yet, stuck on 14 majors with Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 looking safe once again, Woods is even more intriguing, thanks to the turmoil in his personal life and his struggles on the golf course.
Whether it’s his swing, his putter or Hank Haney’s take on those subjects and more, the scrutiny grows while the wins stagnate.
“It’s part of who I am and what I’ve accomplished,” Woods said during Wednesday’s press conference at the Honda Classic a day before he shot 1-over-par in the first round. “I think it would have been probably similar if Jack was probably in my generation. Didn’t quite have the media scrutiny that they do now. And it’s just a different deal, and I know that a lot of players don’t get the same analysis with their games that I do. But it’s been like that since I turned pro.”
Manager Davey Johnson wondered about the disadvantage the play-in winner would face in the divisional round if it threw its ace in the game. But Johnson, in professional baseball since 1965, prefers to focus on winning the division. Only when that’s removed from the picture does he consider other avenues to the postseason.
On the other side is infielder Anthony Rendon, who hasn’t known anything but baseball’s expanded postseason. He was 5 years old when the first wild card teams made the playoffs.
“They’ve had a couple debacles in the past with the Rays and Yankees [and the wild card],” Rendon said. “It makes it more fair now and there won’t be any question marks or asterisks next to them.
“The more the merrier. You have those Cinderella stories, those teams that explode at the right time.”
But surprise was the biggest reaction, as players gobbled plates of eggs and digested the changes before ambling to the breezy field.
“We were all a little surprised,” starter Edwin Jackson said. “The game is full of surprises. It definitely puts a different stroke on things.
“It’s a chance for another team to have a chance.”
NOTES: Bryce Harper will start in right field and hit third in Friday’s 1:05 p.m. exhibition game against Georgetown. . . . Matt Purke will start and throw about 40 pitches. ... Adam Laroche (ankle/shoulder) didn’t participate in workouts for the second straight day Thursday. ... Johnson reported that Derosa (wrist) and Chad Tracy (knee) had no problems Thursday.