Golf.com's Kevin Cunningham is live blogging Tiger Woods's opening round at the Honda Classic. Join the conversation below.
Mobile users can follow along by copying and pasting this link in their mobile browser, http://bit.ly/ytze2Q
Golf.com's Kevin Cunningham is live blogging Tiger Woods's opening round at the Honda Classic. Join the conversation below.
Mobile users can follow along by copying and pasting this link in their mobile browser, http://bit.ly/ytze2Q
Shortly after that, Kuehne's back pain began to prevent any such heroics, and the 1998 U.S. Amateur champion lost his game. He missed the cut in seven of nine starts in '06, and in all three of his Tour starts in '07. He began seeing back doctors in hopes of reviving his once-promising career, but even though he saw 13 specialists, nothing helped. A year went by, and then two, and Kuehne made news only in his choice of girlfriends, tennis star Venus Williams (they've since split). His Tour career was kaput.
"I gave up," Kuehne said from the Honda Classic at PGA National, where he will make his first PGA Tour start since 2007. "I was done."
Fate intervened to bring him back. Kuehne's dad, Ernie, was seeking a remedy for his own aches and pains in 2008 and came upon a cutting-edge doctor in Dusseldorf, Germany, named Peter Wehling. Wehling had pioneered a blood-spinning procedure to relieve inflammation called Orthokine therapy, and Ernie was so impressed that he told Hank. The son was skeptical but went to Germany in March of last year. (The procedure is similar to platelet-rich plasma therapy, which Dr. Anthony Galea used to treat Tiger Woods, among other prominent athletes.)
"I didn't want to go to Germany," said Kuehne, 36, who has been getting in as many holes as daylight allows at the nearby Medalist Club. "I thought, 'What is this quack going to tell me that all the others haven't?'"
Wehling's message: Kuehne's problems were not the ones doctors were trying to treat in the U.S.
"It's basically pretty simple," Ernie Kuehne said. "These guys all have structural problems out here on Tour. But they also have, a lot of them, arthritis. The doctors here all want to operate. There's a lot of misdiagnosis. Dr. Wehling said, 'These structural problems are not keeping your son from playing golf. Your son has arthritis.'"
According to Ernie, the blood-spinning procedure isolates healing proteins, which are then reinjected into the patient. It has not yet become available in the U.S. but has been given the green light by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez were both treated by Wehling. With nothing to lose, Kuehne flew to Dusseldorf.
"We got there on a Sunday," he said. "Monday morning you're in the doctor. They do the blood draw in the morning. You come back, and I took eight injections a day for five straight days and then came home. When I went back in January, I did the same thing. Actually, I took nine in January, a day, for five straight days. And then come home. For somebody that hates needles, it's obviously not fun, but I'd much rather do that than -- if I had to do it every day, I'd do it, let's put it that way."
Back home in Palm Beach Gardens, Kuehne did some work in the gym and hit 30 balls a day for a week. Then he hit 60 balls a day, and then 90. He could tell something was different.
"It's been like a life‑changing experience," he said. "I mean, my golf game has been really good. I had one little setback I guess just over the holidays, but went back over and saw the doc and we got everything taken care of. I feel healthy as I've ever felt, and I'm just extremely excited and grateful to be able to play again."
Playing this season on a major medical extension, Kuehne will have 18 starts to earn $636,221. Much has changed. His pal Tiger Woods is ranked 21st in the world and has fallen even further in popularity. If there's a favorite at the Honda, it's not Woods but Rory McIlroy, 22, or Lee Westwood. The International, where Kuehne got his last top-10 finish, hasn't been a Tour stop since 2006.
"There's still a bunch of old guys out here," said Kuehne, who kept in touch with a handful of players, including Woods, with whom he plays practice rounds at Medalist. "I've seen them. A bunch of the guys I know. I've also seen some guys that I'm not sure were driving a car the last time I was out here."
(Credit: David Walberg/SI)
Michelle Wie apologized for her on-course behavior during the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions LPGA event in Singapore last week, according to Spencer Robinson of the Asia Pacific Golf Group.
To the embarrassment of dozens of men, women and children gathered around the tee-box at the Tanah Merah Country Club, Wie slammed her hybrid club into the ground after watching the shot veer way right. She then screamed out a four-letter expletive.
As she strode off the tee ahead of her playing partners Christina Kim and Singaporean Koh Sock Hwee, barely under her breath Wie muttered ‘f ___ing idiot’.
Following her round, Wie was contrite. She said: “I absolutely apologise for that. It’s unacceptable behaviour. Sometimes it’s just really frustrating and I was at the point where everything kind of boiled up. But you know, obviously I apologise. It was unacceptable.”
Wie finished the tournament 59th in a 60-woman field, shooing 22-over.
Butch Harmon says Tiger Woods doesn't have the yips
ESPN's Rick Reilly talks to putting Daves, Pelz and Stockton, for a State of the Tiger column, but the most telling comment comes from Tiger Woods's former coach Butch Harmon.
I hate to even broach this, but is it possible we're seeing the start of the yips?
"I wouldn't say the yips, no," says Harmon. "But I definitely see nerves. It started at Augusta last year, on the back nine. He had a chance to win and he suddenly started missing short putts. They weren't on line, they didn't touch the hole. It's understandable with everything he's been through off the course. I'm not making excuses for him. He brought that on himself. But his confidence just seems gone on the greens."
It's happened to great players before: Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan. They were never the same afterward.
Meet the new boss: Trump to attend WCG-Cadillac Championship at Doral
"Rory, you're fired."
Anything's possible now that Donald Trump owns Miami's Doral resort, the site of next week's WGC-Cadillac Championship. The Miami Herald says that Trump is expected to attend the tournament:
Trump, an avid golf fan and golfer, will be hob-nobbing with some of the best golfers in the world because the Cadillac Championship begins its field by offering invitations to the top 50 golfers in the world — and seldom do any of them turn down a chance to play in this prestigious event.
One of the reasons for almost-universal acceptance to play at Doral: Money speaks, with the total purse being $8.5 million and the winner getting $1.4 million.
Padraig Harrington to give sponsorship money to cousin injured in accident
Good guy Padraig Harrington has come up with a creative way to raise money for the husband of his wife's cousin, Gerald Byrne, who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. The Irish Times has the story:
“This is why I never want to complain about golf,” Harrington said in Palm Beach Gardens yesterday, where is playing alongside Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in this week’s Honda Classic on the US Tour. “Obviously Gerard will need a lot of assistance in his life – a wheelchair-enabled car, renovations to his home and other things – so my current sponsors have agreed to allow me to offer all the branding on my clothing and bag to the highest bidder for three tournaments in March and April.
“If somebody wants to have their branding on the front on my hat or if they want the golf bag or any other place, it’s up for auction for that three-week spell when I am playing the Shell Houston Open, the Masters Tournament and the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head."
If you're interested in contacting Harrington to advertise your new social media company, be prepared to pay.
"We already have a bid of €100,000 ($134,430) for the front of my cap and €50,000 for the space on my chest. I am auctioning all my spots for that period and all my sponsors have agreed to give them up. It’s all for charity.”
Tweet of the Day
@si_golfknew there would be different opinions on my writing The book but the memories of the 6 yrs I coached Tiger aren't his exclusively— Hank Haney (@HankDHaney) February 29, 2012
Tiger Woods looks to be on the right track with his golf game, winning the Chevron World Challenge in December and playing well in Abu Dhabi and for the first three rounds at Pebble Beach, but his golf-course design business hasn't been so lucky.
The Cliffs real estate development in North Carolina and South Carolina, which was to be the site of Woods's first U.S. golf course, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription required].
The golf course and housing empire developed by Jim Anthony in the Carolinas is unraveling.
On Tuesday, Mr. Anthony's company filed for U.S. bankruptcy court protection in South Carolina. The Chapter 11 petition said that Cliffs Club & Hospitality Group Inc. had estimated liabilities between $100 million and $500 million.
A former telephone-line repairman, Mr. Anthony made it big by developing high-end communities around golf courses. His crowning achievement was the Cliffs communities—eight residential developments on 20,000 acres in the Carolinas attached to golf courses designed by pros like Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus.
But sales of the land to home builders and individual buyers were slowed by the economic downturn. Prices fell, and two of the golf courses still haven't been completed, including one designed by Tiger Woods.
According to The Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, development of the Cliffs at High Carolina, the site of Woods's proposed course, had stalled due to lack of demand in the luxury home market.
Its Tiger Woods-designed golf course is unfinished. Only two homes have been built. Fewer than 50 of a planned 1,100 lots have been sold.
The Wall Street Journal said the fate of Woods's unfinished course is uncertain.
Woods's first golf-course-design project, Tiger Woods Dubai, was never finished. His other project, an oceanside course on Mexico's Baja Peninsula, has been beset with delays.
Could the U.S. Women’s Open be coming to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.?
Donald Trump mentioned the possibility in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Gary Van Sickle on Golf.com on Monday. Trump had just announced his purchase of the Doral golf resort in Miami for $150 million, and he was talking to Golf.com about his plans to renovate the longtime PGA Tour stop, as well as the success of his other golf clubs.
During the PGA at Baltusrol, I played your course in Bedminster.
We just got the Women's U.S. Open at that one, which is phenomenal. The one in Florida is great. One of the other things I'll be having is a brand new Sikorsky helicopter that'll go between my course in Palm Beach and my course in Miami. ...
However, there is no official agreement between Trump National and the USGA about hosting a U.S. Women’s Open, according to representatives of the USGA and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
“The USGA has an invitation from Trump National to host a future U.S. Women’s Open championship,” the USGA said in a statement. "Discussions are ongoing, however it would be premature to comment further.”
The USGA has announced its sites for the U.S. Women’s Open through 2015. This year’s U.S. Women’s Open will take place at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc., followed by Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. In 2014, the U.S. Women’s Open will be played at Pinehurst one week after the men’s U.S. Open, and in 2015 the Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pa., will host the event. If Trump National is awarded a U.S. Women’s Open, it would likely be in 2017. Representatives from Trump National said the Bedminster course was unlikely to be chosen in 2016 because the area already has a major championship that year, the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in nearby Springfield, N.J.
A representative of Trump National in Bedminster confirmed that the club had made a formal invitation to host the U.S. Women’s Open but stressed that the club had no formal agreement with the USGA about the event.
Woods's fascination with the military is well known. After the 2004 Masters, Woods took part in four days of military training at Fort Bragg, where he also hosted a golf clinic for juniors. Woods's late father, Earl Woods, trained at Fort Bragg and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
"It's an honor to walk in my father's footsteps by training with the service men and women at Fort Bragg," Woods said in 2004.
The AT&T National, a tournament Woods used to host and one that still supports his foundation, honors the military and their families. In a book excerpt posted on GolfDigest.com, Haney sheds new light on just how serious Woods was about enlisting.
I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan....I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.
Haney also reveals how Woods's physical therapist was concerned about the impact military training, and his infamous workouts, could have on Woods's injured knee.
"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel. Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee...One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he'd worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. 'I beat my best time,' he said."
Haney's book, The Big Miss, will be released on March 27, one week before the Masters.
[Photo: Tiger Woods arrives in a Humvee for a golf clinic at Fort Bragg in 2004. Credit: Ellen Ozier/Reuters]
The small company started by Ely Callaway, which originally sold hickory shafted golf clubs, has come a long way since it officially became Callaway Golf in 1988. Over the years some of the company's most successful products, like the original Big Bertha driver and the titanium Great Big Bertha, have had enormous effects on both the golf industry and the way the game is played. Callaway's acquisition of Odyssey putters and the Top-Flite and Ben Hogan brands, as well as the launch of Callaway golf balls, have helped transform the Carlsbad-based company into one of the biggest in the world.
In recent years, however, business hasn't been booming for the former leader in metalwood sales, as Callaway reported net losses of $171.8 million in 2011 and $18.8 in 2010. For the past eight months the public company has been looking for a new leader to replace interim president and CEO Tony Thornley, and it has finally settled on industry veteran Chip Brewer, according to PGA.com. President and CEO of Adams Golf since 2002, Brewer is widely credited with transforming Adams from a niche company known largely for fairway woods and hybrids into a significant player in the industry.
"Chip has extensive knowledge of all facets of the golf business, particularly in the sales and marketing area, and has a real passion for the game of golf. Chip also has great relationships with customers and others in the golf industry and he has done a great job turning around and leading Adams Golf," said Callaway Board Chairman Ronald S. Beard. “We believe he is the right leader to entrust with our valuable brands, and the board looks forward to working with him to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."
Brewer, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, will officially start his tenure at Callaway Golf on March 5th.
"Having been around golf my entire life, I know Callaway and its products very well and I am very excited about joining such an iconic company and being part of its great heritage," said Brewer. "There is a lot of opportunity ahead for Callaway and I look forward to working with the board and senior management team to build upon the strength of its brands to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."
Callaway currently has sponsorship agreements with a number of notable players including Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Alvaro Quiros, J.B. Holmes and Tommy Gainey, among others.
Tiger Effect Felt at Honda Classic
The mere presence of stars like Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer and Dale Earnhardt, among others, brought a certain extra excitement to their sports, but never has there been an individual who could make or break an event like Tiger Woods. Clearly, the officials at the upcoming Honda Classic were aware of this fact when the 14-time major winner confirmed he was in the field this year, but it still seems they may have underestimated his power, according to The Palm Beach Post.
“We were ready, so we haven’t been overwhelmed,” tournament executive director Ken Kennerly said, “but Tiger’s impact has exceeded our very high expectations.”
In fact, Kennerly is now considering halting ticket sales not only for the famed Bear Trap, but for the entire event. Last year the Honda drew approximately 110,000 fans, but this year attendance may exceed 160,000, and tournament officials are concerned about overcrowding having a negative effect on fan experience as well as security.
“We’ll make sure extra security attention is paid to entry points away from the main gate and along the perimeter of the course,” Kennerly said. “We don’t want anyone jumping a fence to get in. We’ll have two and three times the route flow from our lots with special attention paid to Tiger’s tee times when we expect the greatest increase in attendance. We’re well aware of the fact that we’ll have more people arriving and departing at certain times than we’ve had in the past.”
TWEET OF THE DAY
PGATOUR: Tiger Woods out practicing on back nine at The Honda Classic, where he's playing for the first time as a professional. About 150 following.
Each week, 15 staffers from SI Golf+, Golf Magazine and GOLF.com vote for their top 10, awarding 10 points to their first choice and proceeding in descending order to the 10th player, who gets one point. The points are then added and the ranking calculated. This ranking aims to be an of-the-moment measure of who’s playing the best right now. Tell us your top 10 in the comments field below.
RANK (TOTAL VOTES, FIRST PLACE VOTES, LAST WEEK'S RANK)
1. Rory McIlroy (146, 11, 2) - Last three finishes: 2, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T5, Omega Dubai Desert Classic; 2, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship; -Official World Golf Ranking: 2
2. Phil Mickelson (125, 3, 1) - Last three finishes: T2, Northern Trust Open; 1, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am; T26, Waste Management Phoenix Open - Official World Golf Ranking: 11
3. Lee Westwood (106, 0, 6) - Last three finishes: 4, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T2, Omega Dubai Desert Classic; T12, Qatar Masters; - Official World Golf Ranking: 3
4. Hunter Mahan (103, 1, NR) - Last three finishes: 1, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T24, Northern Trust Open; T15, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am; - Official World Golf Ranking: 9
5. Luke Donald (58, 0, T3) - Last three finishes: T33, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T56, Northern Trust Open; T48, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship; - Official World Golf Ranking: 1
6. Bill Haas (55, 0, T3) - Last three finishes: T33, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; 1, Northern Trust Open; T19, Waste Management Phoenix Open; - Official World Golf Ranking: 13
T7. Kyle Stanley (53, 0, 5) - Last three finishes: T17, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T24, Northern Trust Open; 1, Waste Management Phoenix Open; - Official World Golf Ranking: 48
T7. Mark Wilson (53, 0, NR) - Last three finishes: 3, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; MC, Northern Trust Open; T19, Waste Management Phoenix Open; - Official World Golf Ranking: 24
9. Steve Stricker (34, 0, T9) - Last three finishes: T9, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T38, Sony Open; 1, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; - Official World Golf Ranking: 5
10. Keegan Bradley (33, 0, 7) - Last three finishes: T17, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship; T2, Northern Trust Open; T15, Waste Management Phoenix Open; - Official World Golf Ranking: 20
Others receiving votes:
Brandt Snedeker (15)
Webb Simpson (13)
Sergio Garcia (10)
Padraig Harrington (5)
Johnson Wagner (5)
Nick Watney (4)
Matt Kuchar (2)
Bubba Watson (2)
Tiger Woods (2)
Dustin Johnson (1)
It's official: The Donald is coming to Doral.
Donald Trump's $150 million bid for the property has been approved, ending months of speculation over whether the billionaire real estate developer's offer would prove to be enough to land the property. Trump plans to overhaul the resort, which is home to the Blue Monster and the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Below is an excerpt from Trump's announcement on Monday, and here is a Q&A with SI's Gary Van Sickle.
The Trump Organization today announced that it will purchase Miami's iconic Doral Hotel & Country Club for $150 million. Doral is legendary for its four championship golf courses, including the world-renowned Blue Monster; 700-room resort; vast ballrooms and meeting facilities; sprawling Pritikin spa; and the highly regarded Golf School and teaching facilities. The Trump Organization plans to make a major investment in the resort and golf courses with the intention of restoring Doral to its former grandeur. The TRUMP HOTEL COLLECTION™, the wholly owned hotel management division of The Trump Organization, will take over the management of the property and expects to assume operations by June 2012. The property will remain fully operational throughout the renovation, which is expected to conclude in Fall 2013.
"When Doral first opened, it was considered the best resort in the world," stated Donald J. Trump, chairman and president. "The combination of the property's incredible location in the heart of Miami and our very significant investment in upgrading the resort will enable us to return Doral to its former glory if not surpass it. When completed, Doral will be the finest resort and golf club in the country."
The Blue Monster, one of the most famous golf courses in the world, has been home to a PGA TOUR event every year since its opening, with the Doral Open from 1962 to 2006, and the highly regarded WGC (World Golf Championship) since 2007. The WGC invites only the world's top 75 tour professionals; past winners include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.
The almost 800-acre Doral Country Club includes 700 hotel rooms across 10 lodges; four golf courses; more than 86,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 25,000-square-foot Ballroom; a 50,000-square-foot spa with 33 treatment rooms; six food and beverage outlets; extensive retail; and a private members' clubhouse.
"It would be impossible for a developer today to replicate a property of this size in Miami at any cost," noted Trump.