State of the Hogs: Tiger wows in pro-am

I watched Tiger and son Charlie in the PNC pro-am today. It was must see TV, including a practice session with Charlie afterwards that included fun with Lee Trevino. The Tiger interview along with others on Tiger’s play was terrific. I guess I know what I’m going to be watching this weekend that might also include some John Daly-Little John golf.

Here’s a column that breaks up the football/basketball routine:

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I’m pulling for Tiger. I’m pretty sure my tibia break wasn’t as bad as his ankle but it was a nasty spiral fracture that required some hardware to fix. Nearly two years out from it, the leg doesn’t hurt but my ankle and knee get pretty sore. It’s noticeably worse when I’m at the cabin in Newton county and I do a lot of walking around on the uneven ground. I am sure Augusta will be a challenge for him.

Tiger benefits from the best rehab team available I’m sure and I know he tackles it with tiger ferocity. PGA is better with Tiger in the field, even if it isn’t a full schedule.

I can only imagine the terrain you are talking about in Newton County. Yikes.

The players know what Tiger means and was worth to them in the past. They want him in their field even if he beats them. In fact, him winning (or just contending) would be an unbelievable tonic to the Tour. I don’t know if that is going to happen, but I now feel comfortable saying he is going to play a Tour event (his for sure) and the majors. And as long as Charlie is still interested, he will be at the PNC every year.

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So true, when Tiger is in the field and playing well… ratings go up north of 30% for the weekends. Other players certainly want to beat him, but all want to say they played with the Tiger King in their career. Little John is hitting it out of sight and something special for all Arkansas fans.

I know I am in the minority, but have just never been a Tiger fan.

Jack has always been my golf idol. And as far as I’m concerned, Tiger is not a fraction of the Sportsman Jack was.

In what way is Jack a sportsman? I am curious what that means.

I pulled for Jack. But I am not sure what he did that made him a sportsman. Never heard that about him.

As a player, Jack was tough and did not have much of any encouragement for his competitors.

Tiger was the same way, until lately. Tiger is completely different now.

Nicklaus in retirement is warm and helpful to most. He was not until in his 40s. So now Tiger is in his 40s.

Now Palmer, that was a different guy than either of them.

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No truer words typed… Tiger and Jack were snarling dogs on and around golf courses and no one better get in the way.

Just brought a huge smile to my face to be able to see Tiger back out there! He means so much to the game of golf… I can see by watching him he’s going to be able to get back on to the tour, just a matter of him getting his strength and flexibility built back up.He looks a lot better than I thought he would… Just a breath of fresh air to see him back out there…

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It’s what made them the best. Some who have worked with Jack building golf courses say he was NO fun at all.

I guess your dislike for Tiger is because you did not want him to break Jack’s record. At least I hope that is the reason,

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I didn’t say I disliked him
Just never was a big fan.
And I hope your veiled implication of my reason was not hinting racism on my part, because nothing could be farther from the truth.

I remember one tournament in which another golfer was leading after shooting the low sixties. One reporter questioned him “what did you think about Tiger’s round?”.

Undoubtedly one of the most gifted and driven athletes in history.
Just got tired of having it force fed.

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I thoroughly enjoyed watching this tournament Saturday and Sunday, since I couldn’t see the Hog basketball games (for which I should be thankful, at least on the men’s side). But even if I could have, I’d have watched the golf as well (I frequently record multiple “games” or matches, then rotate watching them and speeding through commercials until I catch up, then switch to the other).

I’ve never been a big Tiger “fan”, but have always had great respect for his talent and when he’s around, he’s one of those competitors you just can’t help wanting to watch. But in this context…with his “mini-me”…and his current health, I was mesmerized by Team Woods.

Then there was the Daly team, with legendary John and his Razorback son - that’s the team I pulled for to win (as they did). For good measure, there was the guy who first drew my attention to the PGA and is responsible for 50+ years of interest in the sport - Lee Trevino. Plus, it’s always interesting to see some of the other pros and their chosen family members competing alongside them in a totally different context than you normally see them. Yep…I was all in on this one.

It was great to see the Daly’s repping the Hog logo and hearing the announcers mention our elite golf program multiple times each day. Young John showed a really strong game, and it bodes well for our program that he hardly saw any tournament action at all this past fall…competition has to be at a very high level. I expect our men’s (and women’s) teams to compete for championships this spring.

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Or, like myself, was a Mickelson fan.

I enjoyed seeing Gary Player (86) playing with his grandson

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Arnold Palmer was my first favorite, hated Billy Casper and did not care for Jack when Arnie was in the field. I liked the style of Doug Sanders and my favorite golfer of all time was Tom Watson. Then came young Tiger and the young Tiger was captivating, but his off course exploits were legendary and leaked out when I was in both Florida and here in Nashville. He could philander better than he could play golf which says a lot. That tempers my hope for him to pass Jack, but that does not mean he is not the best of all time and he is good for the business of golf entertainment. I definitely liked Charli the best of that team. I’ m glad Charli was too young to be embarrassed by the Tiger headlines.

I am a fan of Tiger’s. And it was heartwarming seeing his recovery and his being out on the course with his adorable son. But I am not a fan of driving 45 mph above the speed limit. Him or anyone.

Grew up as a huge Arnold Palmer fan. Didn’t like Jack in those days. As a young man I began following Tom Watson. Followed him around the coarse in New Orleans in the spring of 83. At that juncture Tom was having putting issues but his irons kept him going. Followed Tom from the driving range to #12 at the Masters in 2006 (I think). He was near the lead and dunked his first two shots into the water at 12. Took him out of the tournament. Got to watch John Daly that day too. But the highlight of that visit to the Masters was having Arnold walk right by me and looking me in the eye and smiling. He made golf popular with the masses. Arnold only played one more year after that Friday round and everyone knew it. That day Arnold holed a long, long putt and the crowd went crazy. You could hear it all over the coarse. We were standing near Tiger and he and every other player stopped, turned toward Arnold and clapped. It was a wonderful display of love and respect. I’ll never forget it.

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The way I watched was pulling for Tiger and Charlie to birdie out and hope Team Daly would still win. They both shot 57 and did just that. Tiger’s miss from 8 feet at 18 kept them from making 12 straight to finish. But they still would have lost by 1 had he made it.

They have a tough time handicapping the field for this one. Old John has length for a super senior so he gets an advantage from his tees. Young Charlie is long for a 12 year old and is long for those tees. Makes for fun viewing.

I was pleased to see Tiger elect to walk the 18th fairway to the green to allow the gallery to applaud them.

This had to be sweet for Team Daly. His bout with cancer must reduce the number of times they can play in the PNC.

They did not show Nelly Korda enough for me. Her swing is out of this world. Otherwise NBC showed me what I wanted although I would have enjoyed some story telling from Lee Trevino, Nolan Richardson’s buddy.

Tiger has a limp and lacks endurance but his game isn’t far off. The course was easy. Fairways wide and pins were mostly easy. By that I mean they were in flat spots and not terribly close to trouble. They wanted birdies and got them. I thought it was great.

But what I’m saying, this was not a test for Tiger in a tournament way. He can handle 370 par fours and 172 par threes. He did hit a few long irons and did ok.

He has yet to walk a course. He said he won’t ride in a regular Tour tournament even if allowed. The PNC allows it to accommodate the seniors. However, I saw enough to know he will play tournament golf in a few months. He will build up more strength and endurance. Whether that is 4, 6 or 12 months, not sure.

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John dated one of my Little Debbie distributors daughter when he was on the Hog golf team. She was his HS flame in Dardanelle. I visited with John a couple of times at their house. Had the chance to play some golf there with him but I declined. He smoked a lot even then. And drank a lot then. My distributor told me some stories about John’s excesses and his upbringing (which was sad). I’ve always rooted for John. His win at The Open at St. Andrews was a thing of beauty. We visited St. Andrews several years ago and seeing John walk down #18 kept running through my mind. He’s 100% Hog. Like a family member who struggles with certain things, I’ll alway support him.

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Just wish John didn’t look like a clown out there.