Golf

The Slam: The Tiger Woods news none of us wanted to hear


Tiger Woods gave the world a live progress report of his comeback on Sunday – and it’s not looking good. Alex Perry wraps up the week’s biggest talking points in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to another edition of The Slam. Just the one event this week – and it was one of the more popular PGA Tour stops in the Genesis Invitational. Plenty to get through, including the Tiger Woods update – that’s why you’re here, right? – so let’s crack on…

Bubba opens up

The week started with a fascinating interview with Bubba Watson, a three-time winner at Riviera, who discussed at length his battle with mental health problems, ADHD, and anxiety issues.

Watson had a three win season in 2018, but he hasn’t won since as he began struggling to sleep, weight loss, and a heart scare.

“I thought I was going to die,” he said. “My mental issues had a good hold on me for a while.

“I went down to 162 pounds (just over 11 stone) and then I quit checking my weight because it was also stressing me out.

“But I fought out of it and came back from it.”

Watson cuts a polarising figure among golf fans, particularly on this side of the Atlantic, but it takes serious guts to speak openly about a subject that still carries a stigma. A stigma that is, thankfully, on the decline.

On the criticism he’s received, he added: “I’m at a point where I can say, ‘Let’s just talk about it.’ I don’t need to hide that I’m a man who sometimes cries. I’m a man with issues just like everybody else. There’s ups and downs to life, no matter if you’re a tour golfer or a person that nobody ever sees.

“It’s OK to not be OK sometimes.”

In a time where the majority of courses across the British Isles are closed and millions of golfers are denied their chance to play a sport that offers so much in the way of mental and physical health, it’s pleasing to see a player of Watson’s profile speak out.

The Match we all want to see

On a lighter note, the funniest golf film ever made (don’t @ me) turned 25 – in case you needed another reason to feel old.

Happy Gilmore star Adam Sandler treated us to a trip down memory lane by teeing up and showing us that he’s still got it…

It got a response from Gilmore’s nemesis, Shooter McGavin, played by Christopher McDonald…

Shooter then suggested a showdown between him and Tiger Woods against Sandler and Phil Mickelson.

Lefty’s replied to the tweet to say he’s in, so you know it’s going to happen.

Finally, an edition of The Match we can get on board with.

Beware the injured golfer

Tyler McCumber had an entertaining week, after having surgery on his left index finger ahead of the Genesis.

I’ll let him take up the story as to what happened, but it’s not for the faint hearted…

It certainly didn’t seem to do him any harm at the start of the week, opening with rounds of 67 and 68 to put himself well in the mix before weekend scores of 77 and 74 saw him finish in a tie for 52nd.

The Tiger Woods news none of us wanted to hear

Tiger wasn’t in action at Riviera, but he was there as tournament host. During a brief pause in play on Sunday, he joined Jim Nantz on the live broadcast to answer the three questions everyone wanted answering.

“I’m feeling fine, I’m a little bit stiff,” he started, then he revealed he has one MRI scan left before he can start hitting balls again.

“But I’m still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff you have to do for rehab.”

So no golf?

“I’ve lengthened my putter,” he joked, before Nantz hit him with the reminder that the Masters is just seven weeks away.

The mood of the interview quickly changed. Will he be there?

“God, I hope so,” Woods replied. “A lot of it’s based on my doctors, and surgeons, and therapists. This is the only back I’ve got.”

It wasn’t comfortable viewing for anyone that is desperate to see Woods back playing again – let alone at Augusta – and at the end even Nantz cuts a sombre figure as he wishes the 18-time major champion well.

You get the feeling Woods knows this is his last shot at a Green Jacket.

So who won at Riviera?

When Tony Finau took the clubhouse lead thanks to a final-round 64, it felt like it was finally his time to get that elusive second PGA Tour victory.

Max Homa had other plans.

He did it the hard way, though. Homa, level with Finau at 12-under, had a chance to win it after stiffing his approach at 18 before inexplicably missing the putt…

And it really looked like the Golfing Gods had backed a Finau win when Homa’s tee shot at the opening play-off hole ended up here…

But Homa saved par to force a 74th hole, where par was enough to win after Finau failed to get up and down from the sand.

And, as you’d come to expect from Homa, his winning interview was thoroughly entertaining…

Right, that’s enough from me. You can follow me on Twitter if that’s you’re thing, and don’t forget to…

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