Check out unfiltered opinions each week from our writers and editors covering the hottest topics in sports, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @golf_com. This week we discuss Tiger Woods’ first press conference and the state of his game, the shocking TGL postponement, and the 2023 PGA Tour results.
1. This week’s Hero World Challenge will have extra eyes on it, as tournament host Tiger Woods will be among the 20 players in the no-cut event in the Bahamas. It will also essentially be the first time Woods has answered questions from reporters since the 2023 Masters, which was also his last start. A lot has happened since then. What are the top two topics you’d like to hear Woods answer candidly about?
James Colgan, News and Features Editor (@jamescolgan26): Fusion! As crazy as it may seem, we still haven’t heard from this man since the golf world turned upside down. I want to know what he thinks about the prospect of joining forces with the Saudis. I’d also like to hear Tiger talk about the list of demands submitted to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan that resulted in him becoming the Tour’s sixth chief player officer. This story – and the resulting fallout from a considerable shift in power at the PGA Tour level – appears to be one of the most underrated elements of 2023.
Josh Sens, Senior Editor (@joshsens): What does he think professional golf will look like in the years to come? And since he will have his say, what does he want to want what does it look like ? Higher events? Less than? Could he himself bear participating in events as part of a Saudi partnership? Would this tarnish the sense of heritage he holds so dear? Underlying all of these questions is the issue of the growing divide between professional golf’s biggest stars and the grassroots. Does he think more needs to be done to appease these stars? What about the rest of the players who increasingly feel like they’re being left behind? Where would Tiger find the balance? Yeah. I know. That’s more than two questions. At this point, security ushered me out of the press room.
Jack Hirsh, Associate Editor (@JR_HIRSHey): I think my colleagues above have covered many of the most important questions, with one notable exception: his health. I’m not sure I’m more concerned about his health than I was two years ago, but certainly more so than last year. Following the fusion surgery he underwent on his ankle last spring, he probably had to learn to walk again. I want to hear about that process and how he had to rework his golf swing to accommodate it. Tiger is normally shy when talking about his injuries, but he is also more insightful about the golf swing than anyone. I bet his press conference could serve as a clinic for golfers dealing with leg injuries.
2. Woods has played sparingly in recent years as injuries and a condensed schedule have limited his starts. But what happens if his game isn’t up to his standards? Could Woods’ play this week provide an idea of how much he will attempt to play in 2024?
Colgan: I think we already know How much Tiger Woods will play in the future: minimally. The biggest question is how well Will Tiger Woods play golf in the future. This week we’ll get a much clearer picture of how the subtalar fusion surgery he underwent in April affected his ability to walk and swing easily. His scoring, saved for something crazy, doesn’t matter next to how comfortable he seems shooting it.
Sense : I think we can count on Tiger’s game not being up to his standards this week. How is it possible? But I doubt the quality of his play this week will determine how often he plays this season. As James says, we know Tiger is going to pick his spots. The majors. Maybe Jack’s event. Maybe the players. Maybe Genesis. Ultimately, the deciding factor will be his health, not how well he swings or putst this week.
Hirsh: This week is all about one thing: can he still go 72 holes? He’s only done it twice since his car accident. I don’t think his play means anything this week and I think it’s probably a safe bet that he finishes 20th out of 20. But if he can go 72 holes without limping too severely, it’ll still be a victory.
3. Speaking of Tiger, it was announced last week that its tech-infused TGL golf league, which was supposed to launch in January, will now be postponed to 2025 after its roof collapsed. Why such a long delay? And will this setback have lasting consequences on the league, particularly on player commitments?
Colgan: My gut tells me the delay has more to do with the golf schedule than the repairs needed to get the arena up and running. The problem here is timing: bringing in the pros for a Monday or Tuesday match, then having them compete in a 72-hole tournament starting Thursday. This is a big ask! Having it overlap with the major season was too much to ask.
Sense : Okay, James. There was a window to begin with, and it closed when the roof collapsed. As for what happens in the future, like so many things these days, that seems to depend largely on what happens overall, with the proposed merger. What if the framework deal fails and other big names join LIV? Would they be welcome on the TGL? Would they even want to join us? And Tiger himself? What if he gets injured again and can’t compete? What does this do to the prospects and appeal of the league? There’s so much up in the air, to the point that I don’t think it’s stupid to ask: Is there a chance that the TGL will never take off at all?
Hirsh: I think the cause of the 12 month delay is actually very simple. Monday nights on ESPN are busy from April through December with Monday Night Baseball in the spring and summer, followed by Monday Night Football in the fall. TV is where all the money is, so it’s up to them to take the lead. If the league were pushed back a month or two for dome repairs, ESPN would not be able to broadcast April or May games on its main channel. I’m sure there was more to the decision than that, but money talks and that’s where the majority of the money is. I am still optimistic that we will see the TGL in 2025.
4. PGA Tour 2023 results are in! Rory McIlroy walked away with a huge bonus with a group of other players also cashing in. In the meantime, Nate Lashley was the last to object, calling it “ridiculous” that $100 million was spent on just 20 players. “It’s time for new leadership on the PGA Tour,” he wrote. “It’s an absolute kick to the rest of the PGA Tour players.” What are your thoughts?
Colgan: Patrick Mahomes’ cap hit this year is $37.1 million. Jerrick McKinnon – a tough, seasoned veteran running back – has a cap hit of $1.1 million. Can anyone understand why we haven’t heard Jerrick McKinnon complain about Patrick Mahomes making 37 times his salary?
Sense : Lashley is not wrong. This is crazy money, lavished on a small number of people. Then again, we live in crazy times in professional football, fueled by irrational competition for top talent. So yes, it is difficult to make sense of PIP money. At the same time, if you told an average person on the street, anywhere in the world, that a guy named Nate Lashley has made almost $7 million playing golf since 2018, they would say that’s it. is also pretty crazy.
Hirsh: Nate Lashley wants a piece of that $100 million? Cool! Play better and it’s yours! The PIP is intended to reward players who contribute the most to the PGA Tour product. Fans pay hundreds of thousands of dollars every week to see Rory McIlroy. Nate Lashley just isn’t selling tickets.
That said, the PIP will be reduced to $50 million next year, with the difference going to the FedEx Cup bonus pool and the Comcast Business Top 10. So if Nate Lashley wants a piece of that, and I m Separately, he needs to play better because he missed the FedEx Cup playoffs this year.
5. Black Friday, Cyber Monday – there are currently a multitude of golf offers. What’s the best club, gadget or accessory you’ve added to your bag in the past year?
Colgan: I started to play Titleist’s new T100 series irons and I started shooting the 5 lowest scores of my golfing life. So I would say that.
Sense: I left on the Golf Forever Fitness Program, which I can do from my home office, with a bar and strips that easily hang on the door. Quick and easy exercises that helped immensely in terms of strength and flexibility. Too bad my swing is the same fragile assembly of extremely moving parts.
Hirsh: I have to try it Garmin S70 golf smartwatch earlier this fall and I loved it so much I bought one for my dad for the holidays. I never thought I was a GPS guy rather than a rangefinder, let alone a watch wearer, but it’s super quick to use and the other smartwatch features, like sleep tracking, are perfect for me.