Devil Ball Golf

  • NASSAU, Bahamas — Forgot about what Tiger Woods could do, didn’t you?

    Forgot how he could grab control of a leaderboard. Forgot how he could make a better shot than you could even imagine. Forgot how he could singlehandedly take down an entire tournament, nothing but him, his putter and that stare.

    Woods started the first two days at the Hero World Challenge by hitting every realistic mark. Saturday, he got ridiculous.

    With all the conditionals about this being an easy setup and a small field, the facts remain: Woods opened his third round with four birdies in the first five holes. After being nine strokes off the lead after the first day, by his fifth hole on Saturday he was just two strokes behind Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson atop the leaderboard.

    [Tiger Woods: ‘Not quite there, but it’s coming’]

    From his opening tee shot, a dead-bang bomb right down the middle of the fairway at the Albany Golf Club that led to a birdie, Woods appeared locked in, focused in a way he hasn’t

    Read More »from Tiger Woods brings even more momentum to his return
  • Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback. (Getty Images)
    Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback at the Hero World Challenge, and he is thanking an old friend for helping him.

    Woods put in his bag this week the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter he used to win 13 of his 14 major championships. It’s a move he made quickly after Nike Golf announced in August that they would be getting out of the golf-club business. How quickly?

    “The day that we (Nike) were no longer a part of the hardgoods side,” Woods said Friday.

    Woods said earlier in the week that the Newport 2 and the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Teryllium Newport he used to win the 1997 Masters are the only two putters off-limits to his son, Charlie, in his home putting studio.

    “These two, Daddy only,” Woods said, referring to those putters.

    Dating back to 2010, Woods had been using varying Nike Method putters, but he didn’t win a major championship using a Swoosh-branded flat stick. And now we know he likely never will.

    Read More »from Tiger Woods wasted little time switching back to his Scotty Cameron putter
  • Peyton Manning carries a 4.4 USGA handicap index. (Getty Images)
    Peyton Manning carries a 4.4 USGA handicap index. (Getty Images)

    Pey-ton in a green jack-et.

    Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is apparently set to become a member of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, according to a report from Austin Rhodes of the Augusta-area radio station, WGAC.

    Augusta National does not (and is under no obligation to) discuss membership matters, so it’s not like there will be confirmation or denial. However, according to Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Manning was playing golf at Augusta National recently.

    “Peyton’s at Augusta [National] playing golf,” Manning’s father, Archie, told Paige. “I think he’s really enjoying his retirement, but I know he misses the game.”

    Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl in February with the Denver Broncos, his second Super Bowl win.

    The Tennessee

    Read More »from Report: Peyton Manning invited to join Augusta National Golf Club
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Losing your grip on a golf course is like losing your grip on a snowy road. When things go awry, they can go very bad, very fast.

    Tiger Woods had been picking apart the Albany course Friday at the Hero World Challenge, taking advantage of calm winds and generous pin placements to post a seven-under round through the 15th hole of his second round. As he stood on the tee at 16, he was riding a four-birdies-in-five-holes run, a fist-pumping, putter-slapping streak that could make even the cynical wonder, what if

    The 16th at Albany is the toughest hole on the course, a 485-yard uphill par-4 that victimized Woods on Thursday to the tune of a double-bogey. The clubhouse was virtually in sight, a fine round all but in the books. Woods, playing solo after Justin Rose’s withdrawal, had been blazing through the course at a pace of 9 minutes, 40 seconds per hole, and he was less than half an hour from capping off a

    Read More »from The story of the hole that could hold the key to Tiger Woods' return
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — You believing yet?

    Tiger Woods followed up a decent enough return performance on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge with an outstanding one on Friday, throwing another layer of beach sand on the doubts about his return from a long layoff. Yes, yes, the usual caveats apply: easy course, small field, benign conditions … but still, shooting 7-under 65 on the day is quite an achievement for a guy on the cusp of retirement this time last year.

    Thursday’s round was all about sizing up the course, and Friday’s round was all about picking it apart. Woods opened the front nine Friday with the exact same score, 33, but this was far different than Thursday’s start-hot, collapse-late run. Woods birdied the first, sixth, and ninth holes, his drives long, his approaches accurate, his putts true.

    The true test of a golfer, though, is how well they respond when the narrative turns, when the shots and lies turn ugly. On Thursday, Woods withered at the ends of both

    Read More »from Tiger Woods roars with phenomenal Round 2
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — It’s just one round, and you can take from it what you wish.

    Tiger Woods returned to the world of competitive golf Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man event, and finished his opening round at 1-over 73.

    If you’re pulling for Woods, as are many fans, most of his competitors, and pretty much every golf executive, there’s plenty to build on, including a front nine in which he carded four birdies, three of them in a three-hole stretch. For a time, he even held a share of the lead.

    If you’re sick of Woods/ready to focus on the next generation, there’s this: after his hot start, Woods gave back two strokes in three holes, bogeying two par 5s. Then he double-bogeyed two of the last three holes to finish 17th of 18 players. And he’s playing in the friendliest environs imaginable: a small-field, no-cut event at which he’s the host. It’s like Springsteen singing in Jersey, or LeBron shooting in Cleveland – total homefield

    Read More »from Tiger Woods finds plenty of good and plenty of bad in first round since 2015
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — At long last, Tiger Woods is once again a professional golfer.

    Woods began his comeback at high noon on Thursday in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, a no-cut, small-field event at which he’s the host. He teed off alongside Patrick Reed, hero of the recent Ryder Cup, a guy who wears red and black on Sundays in honor of Woods … but on this day, Reed was merely the opening act.

    Reed teed off first, his drive accompanied by several calls of “Nice ball!” Woods’ tee shot, which drifted left, sailed into the air in uncomfortable silence before someone shouted an awkward “Get ’em, Tiger!” And then they set off over the blinding white Bahamas sand en route to the fairway, dozens of cameras in tow.

    As it turned out, Woods outdrove Reed by a couple yards, but Reed was in the fairway, whereas Woods narrowly averted a fairway bunker. From there, Woods chipped onto the green and rolled his birdie putt just past the hole. Woods’ par putt brought back a familiar scene: the

    Read More »from Tiger Woods returns to golf with an opening-hole par
  • The men's Olympic golf tournament was one for the older guys. (Getty Images)
    The men’s Olympic golf tournament was one for the older guys. (Getty Images)

    Days after a dire report from Brazil bemoaned the potential early demise of the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro, a conflicting account suggests there’s some gamesmanship involved in the future handling of the Gil Hanse-designed track.

    However, the Brazilian Golf Confederation disputes an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report that the course was on life support and could fall into disrepair if course maintenance isn’t paid for moving forward. The report claimed the course could be ruined — returning the land to nature — in less than a month.

    Brazilian Golf Confederation president Paulo Pacheco told Golf Channel that the course is currently in a “soft opening.”

    “The field will not die ‘in 3 or 4 weeks,’ as some sources indicated,” Pacheco said in the statement. “We are not promoting the OGC (Olympic Golf Course) with great publicity precisely because it does not yet have the structure at the international

    Read More »from Brazilian golf officials dispute dire reports about Olympic golf course
  • This
    This “Make Tiger Great Again” shirt caused a stir at the PGA Championship. (Keith Leventhal/Golf News Net)

    It worked for Donald Trump, so why not for Tiger Woods?

    That must have been the idea Zach Johnson had before the Ryder Cup, trying to get a rise out of the 14-time major champion in the team room at Hazeltine National. After a successful Friday that saw the U.S. take a 5-3 lead over their European foes, Johnson spoke up to the assembled team.

    “I just want to pay tribute to one of our assistant captains,” he said, according to ESPN. “A man who has done so much for this game.”

    And that was the cue for the entire team — and we mean the entire team — to get up, unzip the tops of their Rickie Fowler-presented red, white and blue onesies and reveal red T-shirts with the phrase “Make Tiger Great Again” on them. Johnson had bought the shirts.

    Woods loved it.

    “I thought it was awesome,” Woods said. “For them to come together and do something like that, it unified all of us. It was great.”

    Read More »from Zach Johnson got the Ryder Cup team 'Make Tiger Great Again' shirts
  • Jordan Spieth’s 2016 is going to be remembered most for what didn’t happen. He didn’t win the Masters, despite heading to the back nine at Augusta National with a four-stroke lead. However, Spieth has also won three times this year, including an eight-shot rout at the Tournament of Champions, a dramatic win at Colonial in his native Texas and, recently, a playoff win at the Australian Open.

    While 2016 hasn’t been nearly as mind-blowing as his two-major, five-win, FedEx Cup-taking 2015, Spieth has enjoyed a good year.

    Jordan Spieth was a winner his last time out at the Aussie Open. (Getty Images)
    Jordan Spieth was a winner his last time out at the Aussie Open. (Getty Images)

    “I would say a B, B-plus,” Spieth said Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “I wish I was in contention more than once in the majors, so that was a bit of a letdown.”

    Spieth wasn’t a factor in the final three majors of the year, going T-37 at the U.S. Open, T-30 at the British Open and T-13 at the PGA Championship. Spieth, in his view, did

    Read More »from Jordan Spieth rates his 2016 as a 'B-plus'
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — As one of his playing partners chopped a low liner across the 18th fairway, another shanked a shot wide left into greenside water, and a third just gave up entirely and dropped his ball where he felt like he had a better lie, Tiger Woods remained serene and drained a 15-foot-long putt for par. Well, after taking a practice putt to get the roll of the green.

    Welcome to Tiger’s Return, Day -1: The pro-am. Woods, playing with four amateurs in advance of this week’s Hero World Challenge, carded a (very) unofficial 70 with two eagles, two birdies and a rather loose approach to golf etiquette. Don’t read much — or, indeed, anything — into this performance, but Woods looked comfortable and at ease.

    At 8:30 a.m. local time, a course announcer uttered words not heard for well over a year: “Now on the tee, please welcome … Tiger Woods.” A smattering of applause, and then Woods stepped up and laid into his first shot with his always-suspect

    Read More »from Tiger Woods plays strong golf ... in a pro-am, yes, but still
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — It was a quick moment, a quick flash. The American Ryder Cup team was lining up for photos prior to its eventual thrashing of the European team. Woods, a vice captain, had lined up in the back row of the team when a photographer told him to move. Woods simply walked around to the other end of the row, but then the photographer motioned for him to get out of the frame entirely. Woods didn’t belong in this photo at all.

    Oh, sure, everyone had a fine laugh about it, the world’s onetime finest golfer banished like a child sent to the kids’ table at Thanksgiving. But it had to burn, getting shamed like that in front of players he’d once stepped over on his way up the leaderboard, and players who were still in elementary school when Woods was stocking his closet with green jackets.

    Woods, who returns to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, got a Christmas Carol-esque glimpse of his future, a time when

    Read More »from How the 2016 Ryder Cup lit a fire under Tiger Woods
  • Tiger Woods is starting his comeback this week. (Getty Images)
    Tiger Woods is starting his comeback this week. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods is back this week, as he makes his return to competitive golf after a 15-month absence at the Hero World Challenge. Woods is one of just 18 players in the field at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, where Bubba Watson is defending champion in an event in which 25-under total won last year.

    So, who are the five best players in the field? Here’s our Tiger-less ranking.

    1. Brooks Koepka — Love Koepka here. A winner in Japan in his last start, and this is a course where he should be able to bang it around and make plenty of birdies.

    2. Jordan Spieth — Spieth won the Aussie Open without his best stuff, showing the grit that is the core of his talent. Was fourth here last year.

    3. Henrik Stenson — Stenson won the Race to Dubai with a T-9 in his last start in Dubai. He does well on courses where he can use the bionic 3-wood to make plenty of par-5 birdies.

    4. Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama won the WGC-HSBC Champions and has

    Read More »from Power rankings: Hero World Challenge
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — The Hero World Challenge is this weekend, an event featuring the most prestigious field of the young 2016-17 PGA Tour season. But with no disrespect intended toward the Bubba Watsons and Patrick Reeds of the field, for most of the sports world this event is about one story, and one story only: the return of Tiger Woods.

    The greatest or second-greatest player ever to swing a club, depending on when you were born, Woods has not played a competitive round of golf since August 2015, back in the days when neither the Cubs nor the Cavaliers nor Donald Trump had won anything of significance. Woods has spent the last 16 months, the longest layoff of his career, in everything from cereal-eating seclusion to practice-range grinding to Ryder Cup vice-captaining, and finally makes his return to the game this weekend … and the venue couldn’t be more comforting.

    Woods is the host of the Hero World Challenge, and he’s won the event five times.

    Read More »from The return of Tiger Woods: What you need to know
  • The 898th-ranked player in the world intends to hold up the trophy on Sunday.

    It just so happens that player is Tiger Woods, the host and five-time champion of the Hero World Challenge.

    “I’m entered in this event and I’m going to try and win. I know that’s a tall order,” Woods said Tuesday from Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

    Woods, who will turn 41 at the end of December, is making his return to competitive golf on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, with his first round of consequence in 466 days. The last time we saw him play, he faded to a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. It was his best finish of the season. However, weeks later, Woods learned pain he experienced that week was attributable to the same spot on his back where he had a microdiscectomy performed in March 2014. So, it was done again. A month later, another, otherwise-not-detailed follow-up procedure was done on Woods’ back.

    It was at this tournament last

    Read More »from Tiger Woods is back, but what kind of player will he be now?
  • This is what the Olympic golf course looked like in August. (Getty Images)
    This is what the Olympic golf course looked like in August. (Getty Images)

    The Olympic golf course was a thing of beauty. Designed by Gil Hanse, the players in both tournaments raved about how well it played, how it invited creativity, was imminently fair and looked like it had been there for decades instead of just a little less than two years — the result of a tumultuous and public process.

    Now, just three months after Rio de Janeiro finished as Olympic host, that golf course is in peril.

    According to AFP, the $19 million golf course is not attracting golfers, or even curious Brazilians, to play where the Olympians did. The course still lacks a pro shop, or a head pro for that matter. The clubhouse is practically empty, although there’s a cafe. It’s difficult to even find the course, as there’s no sign at the entrance and no website to give any information.

    At a minimum of $74 per round to play, the green fee is too high for most Brazilians. At $192 per round for foreigners, the only

    Read More »from Report: Olympic golf course on life support, falling into disrepair
  • It’s for real this time, and that has Tiger Woods a little nervous.

    Woods isn’t pushing a false start this time, planning to go through with his return to competitive golf this week at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Woods owns a home at the host club, Albany, and his newly announced TGR companies run and benefit from the event. And, unlike the Safeway Open, which he backed out of playing as his comeback start just days beforehand in Napa, Calif., Woods is a superstar in a very small field of superstars — Woods is one of only 18 players in the field. There’s no cut, either, meaning Woods has no excuse not to finish out the tournament, at least as far as the rules go.

    This is what Tiger Woods' follow-through looked like the last time he played in 2015. (Getty Images)
    This is what Tiger Woods’ follow-through looked like the last time he played in 2015. (Getty Images)

    All eyes are on Woods this week.

    “I’m nervous for every tournament I play in, whether it’s after a layoff, or six in a row, or a major. I care. If I care, I’m nervous,” he told

    Read More »from Tiger Woods cops to nerves before return at Hero World Challenge
  • The Danes took the World Cup of Golf on the back of a second-round 60. (Getty Images)
    The Danes took the World Cup of Golf on the back of a second-round 60. (Getty Images)

    The Danes are the champions of the World Cup of Golf.

    The duo of Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen won the biennial two-man team event at Kingston Heath in Australia on Sunday, holding off a trio of teams for a three-shot win at 20-under 268.

    The U.S. team of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, the French duo of Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque and the Chinese team of Wu Ashun and Haotong Li all finished tied for second place.

    The final day of the competition — just as the second round — was played as a best-ball competition, with the Danes shooting a 6-under 66 to hold off the surging Frenchmen, who shot 63. The Swedish duo of Alex Noren and David Lingmerth had the low final round, shooting 62 to finish alone in fifth place.

    Kjeldsen said he reveled in the opportunity to play in a two-man team, drawing on emotion he didn’t previously experience.

    “I think the psychology has been really interesting

    Read More »from Denmark wins the World Cup of Golf
  • The U.S. duo of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler are hanging in at the World Cup of Golf. (Getty Images)
    The U.S. duo of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler are hanging in at the World Cup of Golf. (Getty Images)

    The United States duo of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker are just five shots back heading into the weekend at the World Cup of Golf. Tied for fourth place, the Americans say they’re yet to play their best team golf.

    “A few more [birdies] would have been nice to go into the weekend with, but we’ve done a good job with what we’ve had,” said Fowler after a second-round, 5-under 67 in the best-ball format that has them trailing the Danish duo of Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen at Kingston Heath in Australia.

    “We haven’t had any of our best golf yet, or anything close to it, so we’ll get our run here very soon.”

    The Danes were on point on Friday, shooting a team 60 that got them to a 12-under total. In a six-hole stretch, the Danes made two eagles and three birdies, boosting their round. The scoring conditions on Friday, where the team average was just under 67, were much better than a

    Read More »from U.S. in contention at World Cup of Golf as Denmark goes low
  • Peggy Kirk Bell (right) was one of the great champions and teachers of women's golf. (Getty Images)
    Peggy Kirk Bell (right) was one of the great champions and teachers of women’s golf. (Getty Images)

    Golf legend Peggy Kirk Bell passed away on Wednesday in North Carolina. She was 95 years old.

    Bell, who was born Oct. 28, 1921, in Findlay, Ohio, took up golf at the age of 17, and it came to her naturally. Bell won three Ohio Amateurs in the 1940s before winning the 1949 North and South Women’s Amateur and Titleholders Championship for her only LPGA major. She was also a member of the 1950 Curtis Cup team before turning pro.

    As a touring pro in the early days of women’s professional golf, Bell became close friends with Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Bell played with Zaharias in her final round before dying from cancer at age 45 in 1956.

    Shortly after she married her high-school love, professional basketball player Warren Bell, the couple purchased the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C. The Bells and their family have operated the resort ever since, and it has hosted a variety

    Read More »from Golf legend Peggy Kirk Bell dies at 95