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November 02, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Tiger Woods says he’s had ‘lean years’ before

Posted at 12:45 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Butch Harmon, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods, Truth & Rumors

Tiger Woods, who recently lost the No. 1 ranking he held for more than five years after a winless 2010, said in an interview with the BBC that he’s gone through slumps before and he hopes to start winning soon once his new swing changes take hold.

"I'm rebuilding my game, making a number of different swing changes. I've done this before. I had lean years with [former coach] Butch Harmon. I won the Masters in '97, changed my swing - then went from the middle of '97 to the middle of '99 with only one win.

"It's a matter of staying the course, believing in what I'm doing and eventually when it kicks in hopefully I'll win some tournaments."

Woods also said that winning more major championships than Jack Nicklaus is still his goal. Woods has 14 major championships, while Nicklaus won a record 18.

"It's a career. It took Jack over 20 years and I haven't been playing that long," he reasoned. "No-one has done better than Jack with 18... at the end of the day, hopefully I'll have more than 18 major championships.

"I'm only 34 -- Ben Hogan didn't start winning his [majors] until after my age - all nine of them - so I'm looking forward to it."

Woods admitted it had been a "tough 12 months" following revelations about his private life but stated: "I'm in a much, much better place.

"I'm much happier, much more balanced. I've gone through a lot and thank God I did, because I needed to put my life back into an order and a balance.

"It was rough going, but boy I'm glad I'm at the spot I'm at now. It feels good."

Golf-ranking guy defends No. 1 system after Butch Harmon criticism

The Official World Golf Rankings have replaced Lisa Pavin’s Ryder Cup fashion choices as the most-criticized subject in the game since Lee Westwood replaced Tiger Woods as No. 1 despite hardly playing since August. Butch Harmon weighed in Monday, saying the “system sucked” and that PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer should be No. 1. In an interview with Reuters European Tour statistics expert Ian Barker defended the ranking system, which uses the previous two years of results to rank players.

"What Butch is effectively saying is that the rankings should be done over a shorter period. "If we just prepared it on the points won so far this year Woods would not be in the top 50 and Martin Kaymer would be comfortably the world number one," Barker, the European Tour's director of information services, told Reuters.

How Lee Westwood got in No. 1 shape

We always thought Lee Westwood trained like one of those boxers who switches to light beer before a big fight, but James Corrigan of The Independent (UK) talks to the fitness guru behind Westwood’s remarkable run to the top spot.

The Englishman's fitness coach is also seeing his stock rise still further as the reports continue to emerge of the expert with the power to rebuild the multi-million dollar man.

Except labeling Steve McGregor a mere "fitness coach" is a bit like calling Ross Brawn "a mechanic". As Westwood himself points out, what McGregor preaches has "a lot more to do with science than sweat". Since his moment of self-realization on a range four years ago – "I looked at Tiger, Ernie, Phil and Retief and said 'I am way too heavy'," – Westwood has been transformed, shedding almost three stones and seven inches off his waist. The scientist judges it in different terms.

"In the four years we've been working together he's probably lost more than 50 per cent in body fat, which is a big mass," McGregor told The Independent yesterday.

Stray Shots: Stuff we saw while thinking that Shanghai probably has lots of great spots for a young professional golfer and his posse to have fun...

If you’re keeping score at home, Jiyai Shin has taken over the No. 1 ranking from Cristie Kerr after finishing fourth at LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea. Kerr had held the spot for one week after taking it from Ai Miyazato in a preview of what’s coming on the men’s tour. (Via UPI)

Will Wears, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, is competing in the Pennsylvania state golf high school playoffs. Wears is a sophomore at Greater Latrobe High School. (Via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

The PGA Tour has taken over operations of San Francisco’s storied Harding Park municipal golf course, and city and Tour officials are expected to announce the course’s new name on Wednesday: THC Harding Park TPC Harding Park. (Via The San Francisco Chronicle)

 

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