Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Progress for Tiger, but still a long way to go

By
From page B3 | December 05, 2012 | Leave Comment

THOUSAND OAKS — Ian Poulter finished his final round at the World Challenge and was chatting next to the clubhouse at Sherwood when he stopped in the middle of a sentence and changed his tone to one of grave concern.

“What is Tiger doing in a buggy?” he said.

His eyes were fixed on a large video board down the hill and across the 18th fairway that showed Tiger Woods being driven away from the green in the back of a golf cart. The scene was eerily reminiscent to the start of the season at Doral, when Woods withdrew in the middle of the final round because of swelling to his left Achilles tendon.

Moments later, Poulter realized this merely was the shuttle that took players to the 14th tee at the top of a steep hill.

Exhale.

“I was like, ‘Hang on a minute.’ I thought he might have slipped down a bank and done himself in,” Poulter said.

All things considered, it was a reasonable rush to judgment.

Woods has endured some strange seasons during the last few years, and this would qualify as one of them.

Go back to that Sunday afternoon at Doral when Woods was taken off the course in a cart, and the TV shot from a helicopter that showed him driving away in what might as well have been a white Bronco. It raised questions about whether he could ever be the dominant player he once had been.

And then he won his very next tournament at Bay Hill, his first PGA Tour title in more than two years.

Woods’ mystique looked as if it might be returning when, at one tournament (Memorial), he faced an impossible shot and chipped in for birdie that carried him to victory. In another, he was on the ropes late in the final round until his challenger threw away a chance to beat him (Bo Van Pelt at the AT&T National).

Then there were the majors.

Woods had at least a share of the 36-hole lead in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. Not only did he fail to win, he didn’t even finish in the top 10.

For years, Woods said it could not be a great year without winning a major, and he still believes that. Throw in some extenuating circumstances, such as his physical health, and he considers 2012 to be a “pretty good accomplishment.”

He won three times, which would have been considered a down year against his old standard.

So where is he now?

In about the same spot he was in this time a year ago, only for different reasons.

Going into 2012, what appeared to be holding him back from being the dominant player was his own game. Going into 2013, he doesn’t look like the dominant player because of someone else — Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy was voted PGA Tour player of the year Tuesday, presumably by the kind of margin that routinely once belonged to Woods. McIlroy won a tour-high four tournaments, including a major, the money list and the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. That’s a dominant year.

There have been 11 changes among four players at No. 1 in the world since Woods abandoned the spot toward the end of the 2010 season, and it has looked like a game of musical chairs. That’s no longer the case. McIlroy found another gear in August, and he now has the largest margin in the ranking since the glory days of Woods.

The player Woods is trying to beat has that beautiful blend of balance and power, and he can putt. That’s tough to beat. Plus, McIlroy is still only 23 and doesn’t have four knee surgeries behind him.

Then again, there has never been another player like Woods in the modern game, so he can’t be ruled out.

Jack Nicklaus set the standard with 18 majors, the record Woods is trying to catch. Not even Nicklaus won as prolifically as Woods at this stage in their careers, however, which is why it’s foolish to write off Woods — not only in his pursuit of Nicklaus in the record book, but of McIlroy on the golf course.

Woods still points to his health, and he is quick to note that this was his first full season since 2009 (even that one didn’t start until Match Play in late February because he was coming off major knee surgery).

“I still feel I have some of my best golf to play, and in order to do that, I had to be healthy, and this year is headed in the right direction,” Woods said. “I’m very excited about next year. Rory is ranked No.1. He deserves it. He’s won tournaments all around the world. He’s had high finishes on top of that, and that’s how you do it. … He should be very proud of the season he’s had, and I’m sure he’s excited about what next year holds for him, as well.”

Woods finished his season with five straight finishes in the top 10, his longest streak since the spring of 2009, though he didn’t win. He planned to put the golf clubs away until after Christmas, except for messing around with his son, Charlie.

The list of improvements is a lot shorter than it was at this time a year ago.

“It’s not a laundry list like it was the last couple years,” Woods said. “I’ve already made the big changes. They’re already in. It’s the little tweaks here and there.”

But the question remains:

If Woods and McIlroy face each other down the stretch, where is your money? That used to be easy to answer no matter who was challenging Woods.

It’s a question U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson wasn’t willing to tackle.

“I’m not going to pick because obviously you’ve got the greatest player of all time versus the guy who’s playing better than anybody in our sport,” Simpson said. “What Rory has done this year is remarkable. … But again, to choose a player over Tiger would be tough given what he’s done.”

Perhaps a clearer answer will be revealed in 2013. Woods and McIlroy both start the new season Jan. 17 in Abu Dhabi.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

 
Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 19 Comments | Gallery

Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 7 Comments

 
Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15, 3 Comments

.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 4 Comments

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7