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June 09, 2011

Truth and Rumors: McDowell concerned for Woods

Now that Tiger Woods has announced he'll skip next week's U.S. Open to rest his injured knee, it's time for another round of player reaction to the latest news on Tiger. First up is defending U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who stared down Woods and won his charity event in December.

"Of course it's a massive blow for the U.S. Open -- to not have one of the greatest players that's ever lived is massive," McDowell said.

"There have been question marks over his health for the last couple of months. When I saw him hobbling through the locker room at the Players Championship the warning signs were there. We all hope as golfers that his health can come back. We thought he'd be ready for the U.S. Open."

He added, "Tiger plays his cards close to his chest and it's pretty difficult to know what's going on, but obviously this is a lot more serious than we thought. His quest to beat Jack Nicklaus's record is one of the great golf stories and we hope he gets better soon."

Not Vijay's Day
Reaction continues to come in on Vijay Singh's decision to withdraw from Monday's 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier in Columbus, Ohio. ESPN's Bob Harig makes a great point: what's the point of hitting all those golf balls if you're not trying to play for history?

Singh, 48, said after the final round of the Memorial on Sunday that he'd be taking a pass on the 36-hole sectional the next day.

"I'm just tired," Singh said. "I'm tired of shooting 71, 72 all week. I'm just going to go home and come back and try to win Hartford."

Hartford? With all apologies to the Travelers Championship -- an excellent tournament on the PGA Tour schedule that follows the U.S. Open -- is that really what Singh cares about at this point?

He has won 34 PGA Tour events, all after joining the tour in 1993. He has won more than $64 million in official prize money. But he's not thinking about adding to his streak of 67 consecutive majors played, dating to 1994? Or, more important, adding to his three major wins? And he just came off shooting 65 on Sunday.

Singh is one of just four players to shoot 63 at a U.S. Open. He has finished in the top 10 on seven occasions. He has missed just one cut, back in 1993. And he doesn't want to play?

Rock and Rolling Putts
Hunter Mahan raised some eyebrows when he appeared on the Golf Channel sporting a plaid shirt, bow tie, vest and glasses. In short, not typical golf attire. I happened to like it. Mahan looked like a well-dressed roadie for the Kings of Leon

It was fitting then that Mahan was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland this week for a First Tee event and to promote the upcoming WGC event at Firestone, which Mahan won last year.

Larry Dorman of The New York Times has the details:

“I wanted to do something different, didn’t want to wear a blue blazer and khaki pants like all the other guys,” Mahan joked, looking up at the photo and back at his audience, some of whom were wearing exactly that. “Just a different side of me people don’t see. They see me in golf clothes all the time. I like doing different things.”

Mahan is a study in differences, an outwardly cool competitor who, the noted Australian mental coach Neal Smith said, can be “extremely passionate and pretty emotional.” He is a seemingly quiet and retiring guy who owns a Bentley along with a collection of muscle cars and is married to a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

So it was not that surprising to see him at a golf media day at the I. M. Pei-designed Hall of Fame, where fans of Elvis and the Beatles rub shoulders with devotees of Aretha Franklin and Grandmaster Flash alongside other folks who dig Metallica and AC/DC.

Tweet of the Day

Iowa native Zach Johnson caught up with former Florida coach Urban Meyer at the pro-am at the St. Jude Classic, and apparently they talked about the controversial 2006 bowl game between the Hawkeyes and Gators.

Zach  @ZachJohnsonPGA: Oh...all Hawk fans...coach Meyer said it was a BAD call in 2006 Outback bowl! But, said they still would've won! #goodstuff

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