“Hello World?”

It has been reported for a while but Rory McIlroy was officially introduced as a “Nike Athlete” earlier today. This puts the two biggest names in golf under the Nike umbrella and predictably Nike already has a great commercial with them.

When Tiger Woods first signed with Nike this was the commercial Nike released.

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Sports story to follow today

This week in golf started off as being all about Tiger Woods but he ended up dropping out of contention in a hurry but coming into the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, 19 year old rising star from Japan Ryo Ishikawa is just one stroke behind the leader.

Why should the casual fan or even someone who doesn’t like golf care? Earlier this year Ishikawa announced that he would be donating all of his prize money from 2011 to help relief efforts in Japan in the aftermath of the Tsunami from earlier this year. According to ESPN he has earned $247,636 so far on the PGA Tour this season. He is not a member of the PGA Tour and a win here would also help him earn a spot there. The winner here will get $1.4 million which will obviously go a long way towards helping relief efforts in Japan. A win here for Ishikawa would also make him the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since 1911.

By the way, Rory McIlroy is also in contention here.

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VIDEO: Kevin Na shoots a 16 on the 9th hole

Kevin Na shot a 16 on the par 4 9th hole at the Valero Texas Open today. Yes, you read that part right, he shot a 16. I just saw this on Sportscenter and am trying to find the ESPN highlights online. If one of you finds it please send me the link. In the meantime watch the clip from the PGA Tour.

Card

Here is the play by play from the PGA Tour.

Shot Shot/description
1-2 Tee shot right. Went down and found ball and declared an unplayable lie.
3 Went back to the tee box and hit another tee shot which went right in to the woods. Then hit a provisional left (Abandoned provisional). Found second tee shot on the right and played it.
4-5 Played ball in the woods and hit a tree and the ball hit himself and took a one shot penalty.
6 Took unplayable where ball came to rest.
7 Hit ball in woods.
8 Hit ball in woods (Left-handed and missed ball).
9 Hit ball in woods (Left-handed and advanced ball).
10 Hit ball in woods (barely moved the ball).
11 Hit ball in woods and did not get out of the trees.
12 Hit ball in woods and advanced to the rough.
13 Hit ball from woods in to rough.
14 Played from rough to the fringe.
15 Played from fringe on to green.
16 Made putt from 5 feet, 10 inches.

One of the craziest sights I have ever seen in pro sports. Na, finished 39th on the PGA Tour money list last year and 19th in 2009. Have to be impressed with him going out and having a pretty decent back 9. He gave an interview to PGATour.com after his round.

4/15/11 EDIT: I can’t find the SportsCenter clip from last night with John Anderson and Scott Van  Pelt anchoring but here is one with Stan Verrett and Neil Everett.

The craziest part of the story might be that there were three other golfers who shot worse than him for the round.
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Augusta National to be part of Tiger Woods ’12 video game – ESPN

Augusta National to be part of Tiger Woods ’12 video game – ESPN

This is great news. Despite not being a Tiger Woods fan I am a fan of this series and have bought a couple of these games in the past. Part of the appeal for me is playing real courses like TPC at Sawgrass and Pebble Beach through the game. Adding Augusta National to the list is a great step forward. Heck, it is the closest most of us will ever get to playing one of these courses!

According to the ESPN article the game goes on sale March 29th just before the 75th Masters tee off. 

Augusta National Chariman, Billy Payne had this to say, 

“Our desire to help grow the game of golf throughout the world is sincere, and it is that commitment that first led us to EA Sports more than three years ago, EA Sports, Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour have developed an extremely successful franchise that responds to one of the popular entertainment choices of kids today.”

“We hope our inclusion will foster an appreciation for the history and traditions of the Masters and inspire the next generation of golfers. Equally important is its ability to help further the mission of the Masters Tournament Foundation with the entirety of its proceeds.”

According to the ESPN article, 100% of the proceeds that the Masters receives will be given to the newly established “Masters Tournament Foundation”


Interestingly, for the first time since the series started, Tiger Woods will not be on the cover. The game is available to be pre-ordered on Amazon (who is also giving codes to a bonus putter in game with your purchase.
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Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters

Tiger Woods

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Tiger Woods saga. Has your view of Tiger Woods changed in the past year? Has he already been forgiven by the court of public opinion? I figured I’d share three of my posts from the past year on this topic.

4/7/2010   – Nike Commercial starring the voice of Earl Woods
2/19/2010 – His return speech
12/2/2009 – Tiger Woods only has himself to blame

Doug Ferguson of NBC Sports has an interesting article on the topic.
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Jean Van de Velde – 18th Hole Carnoustie

Watching the US Open today I remembered a name I haven’t thought of in years.


July 18th 1999 is a date that will be remembered by golf fans for a long time to come. It was the final round of the 1999 British Open, held that year at Carnoustie. A French journeyman by the name of Jean Van de Velde held a 2 stroke lead going into the 72nd hole. Under normal circumstances that is a relatively safe lead in golf. What followed was disaster. 


I ended up searching for the video on Youtube earlier today after I saw Dustin Johnson throw away his lead on the 2nd and 3rd holes of the US Open at Pebble Beach. It is also appropriate since Frenchman Gregory Havret is currently in 2nd place at the US Open. By the way, has a Frenchman won or been those close to winning a major since Carnoustie? I can’t think of one. 


When you get the chance go back and watch both of these clips. For anyone who watched that live or has seen clips of it since it really is hard not to feel bad for the man. 


Part 1:

Part 2:



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U.S. Open: Erik Compton embarks on another journey – ESPN

If you’re like me and like to root for underdogs and usually latch on to one or two at every sporting even, why not pick Erik Compton? He is a 30 year old professional golfer who has gone through two heart transplants. Yes, you read that correctly. Two heart transplants.

He’s playing in his first major championship this week at Pebble Beach. Gene Wojciechowski wrote a piece on him for ESPN
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Nike Tiger Woods Commercial

Have you seen the new Tiger Woods ad Nike released today?

 I’m not usually one to support using people who have passed on to your advantage and making money but you have to agree that as creepy at this is, it is still powerful stuff. Darren Rovell of CNBC reported earlier today that the ad was shot a couple of weeks ago on Tiger Woods’ home course in Orlando.

Tiger Woods’ returns to the golf course on Thursday at The Masters. ESPN’s coverage starts at 4 PM Eastern tomorrow but they will air Tiger Woods’ tee shot at the first hole live at 1:42 PM on Sportscenter. While Woods has been away from the golf course his ability as a pitchman apparently hasn’t been tarnished that much, sales of Tiger Woods merchandise are actually up at Golfsmith this year.

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Tiger Woods Speech

Just got done watching the Tiger Woods speech. It was pretty much what I expected it to be. Completely scripted. Don’t get me wrong, there was some powerful stuff in their about “feeling entitled”. Him taking an extended break is definitely important. I understand the need for a written statement but couldn’t someone at Team Tiger get him a teleprompter or two?

Here’s a transcript from PGA Tour’s website.

Notable in her absence was his wife Elin. Good for her. Tiger’s mother was sitting in the front row though and was used as a prop by Tiger at the end. Did someone want to tell Tiger that no one cares about his charitable work today? What did speaking in front of his “friends” accomplish? He’s going to have to answer questions sooner or later, why didn’t he just start that process today? Did you notice the dramatic shift to looking at the camera when he was speaking to “his fans?” Who directed this? I seriously want to sit in one of these P.R meetings one of these days. What goes through these guys heads?

I was actually surprised to hear him say he doesn’t know when he will return to the PGA Tour. I think this layoff will cost him chance to catch Jack Nicklaus. Darren Rovell of CNBC wrote a good piece today on the sponsorship issues. Darren Rovell appeared on ESPN today as well to talk about the Tiger Woods brand. . Some PGA Tour golfers did issue statements in support of Tiger Woods. I loved Bill Simmons’ take on this. I disagree with Rick Reilly’s take on this. How can you say he accomplished something today? How can you say this was really well done? Is he angling to get an exclusive? Commissioner of the PGA Tour, Tim Finchem also made comments in front of a camera

If you hadn’t yet heard there is a book coming out on the Tiger woods affairs called, Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger’s Most Tumultuous Season. Just in case you needed to reminded, MSNBC has a timeline up for the last 2-3 months.

Haven’t caught much of the analysis yet. Will get around to it eventually. The networks treated this as a big deal. Katie Couric anchored CBS coverage. Matt Lauer anchored NBC’s coverage while Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos anchored ABC’s coverage. Did you hear that Charlie Rymer of The Golf Channel actually cried on the air!

I don’t understand the Tiger Woods apologists though. I don’t understand the, “50% of married men do this” attitude either. This isn’t a man who just had an affair (not saying that would make the situation right), this was a man who did this as a hobby. There is a big difference. I don’t understand the people who say, “this is a private matter” either. Sure, parts of it is. But he does need to come clean in public. You lose the “privacy” argument when you have your name plastered on billboards across the world. You lose the “privacy” argument when you have your own clothing line. You lose the “privacy” argument when you appear in advertisements around the world. You lose the “privacy” argument when you are the cover man for a video game franchise named after you. You lose the “privacy” argument when you make a living off of your name.

I don’t agree with the paparazzi standing outside his kids schools but Tiger Woods does need to come out and answer questions. I don’t have an ounce of sympathy for Tiger Woods. As I wrote previously, he brought this on himself.

I truly believe he cost himself a shot at Jack Nicklaus with this break he’s having to take. The Majors were lined up perfectly for him this year. Courses where has dominated in the past. One of the biggest advantages Tiger has had over the years is intimidation. Golfers have been afraid to play him and it has showed down the stretch of big tournaments as they have melted one by one. That aura is gone now. We’ve seen golfers and the golf media FINALLY speak up against Tiger. How will he handle the galleries? He had temper issues in the past and that was with with really friendly galleries. How will he handle comments from the galleries now?
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GWAA votes not to participate in Tiger Woods public statement – Press Tent

GWAA votes not to participate in Tiger Woods public statement 

Great to see. Neil Best of “Newsday” was the first to suggest this yesterday on Twitter. Why don’t we see this more often, especially in politics? This will be a sham. A sham that will be carried live on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC. As I mentioned earlier, him not answering questions tomorrow makes no sense whatsoever.

Not that the whole world didn’t know already, but we finally got some confirmation that Tiger was and is returning to rehab.

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