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Tiger's Latest Update


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By Tiger Woods

 

First of all, it's been a very difficult time for our family. All the support we've gotten since my father's death has made this time so much easier for me, my mom and our family. We all say thank you so much for your cards, emails and well-wishes.

 

As for my golf game, I don't really know what to expect next week at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. I've never had to experience anything in life like this and never had a nine-week layoff before, so we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully, my game will be sharp. No matter what happens, it won't be from lack of effort on my part.

 

I started grinding a few weeks ago and recently played a practice round at Winged Foot. I was actually going to play two rounds, but got sick and had to cancel the second round. I can tell you this: the course will play a lot harder than it did for the PGA Championship in 1997. When I played it last week, the greens were slow because of rain, but the course is a lot longer, the rough is deeper and the USGA will put the pins on the edge of the greens.

 

I love the place, but it's the hardest member's course I've ever seen. The greens are brutal. They have a lot of undulation and you have to try and keep the ball below the hole. And it's long. You can hit driver on just about every hole you want. It will be quite a test.

 

And no, I won't carry two drivers. I can shape my driver both ways, so I don't need to carry two, although I can understand where Phil Mickelson is coming from. With today's equipment, the ball goes straighter and it's hard to move it from right to left.

 

I haven't played competitively since the last round of the Masters, where I putted poorly and still managed to tie for third. It was just one of those weeks where I couldn't make anything and it cost me. After the tournament, I sent my putter to Scotty Cameron for an adjustment. He restored it to its original state and I've been putting great ever since. I just had a bad putting week, but we're friends again. You're going to have spells when you don't putt well. It's not the putter's fault; it's the dude putting it.

 

The week started off well with the annual Champions Dinner on Tuesday night. Other than Byron Nelson not being there, it was a fun evening and the players seemed to enjoy my Mexican food theme. Byron usually serves as the Master of Ceremonies and asked Ben Crenshaw to take his place. It was the first time since 1934 that Byron was not involved in the Masters as a player, starter or host of the dinner and he was definitely missed.

 

Following the tournament, I spent some time with my dad, then flew to New Zealand for the wedding of my friends, Steve and Kirstie Williams. It was nice to get away, although I didn't know if I was going to make it. I kept thinking, `Should I go? Should I not go?' After a lot of thought, I decided dad was healthy enough and he told me to go.

 

While I was there, I won a stock car race and went bungee jumping with my wife. Both experiences were a rush and I'd do them again. Hey, you have to live your life.

 

When I returned, the Tiger Woods Foundation hosted Tiger Jam IX at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Sting was absolutely incredible and we raised about $1.5 million for the new Tiger Woods Learning Center and local charities. I think it was one of our best concerts ever. Special thanks to all our sponsors for helping make the event such a success.

 

While I've been gone, there have been several interesting developments in the game. Charlie Sifford, who has been like a grandfather to me, will receive an Honorary Degree from the University of St. Andrews on June 22nd. I think it's much-deserved and he's certainly had to earn it. It's really neat that the birthplace of golf has decided to give him that honor.

 

Casey Martin, my former teammate at Stanford, was named the men's golf coach at the University of Oregon. That's absolutely incredible and I couldn't be happier for him. He's going to be a great coach and a great motivator. I think he'll get the most out of his players, but more importantly, he'll bring a great attitude to the team. I'll root for him against everybody but Stanford.

 

Michelle Wie almost qualified for the U.S. Open. Obviously, she's a tremendous talent. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before she makes the cut in a men's event if she keeps improving and enjoying the game of golf.

 

During my trip to New York, I spent a couple days hanging out with Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. We went out to dinner a couple times. He's a real mellow guy, but intense when he puts on the uniform. It's always fun to watch him play and I got to see him get his 2,000th career hit as a Yankee.

 

I'm pulling for Shaq O'Neal and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals against Dallas. Shaq is a neighbor and we've had lunch a few times. I've never seen him swing a golf club - I don't think there's a grip big enough for him. His hands are so big! He's just a big kid and super nice. He just loves life and is very comfortable in his own skin.

 

Without a doubt, I'll be thinking about my dad a lot the next two weeks, especially with Father's Day coming up. He's always with me. When I was in high school, he gave me an old gold filling from his teeth that he had flattened out; it kind of looked like a ball marker. It was like a going-away-to-college kind of thing. I never use it, but I always travel with it.

 

That's it for now. Take care and I'll talk to you again next month.

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I chuckled at the part about two drivers.....

 

Wonder how long he had to wait for his putter to be refinished by the Studio. My guess, not long at all. Wonder if SC did it himself......

 

I find myself starting to warm-up a little to TW. In the past I didn't care for him, but now that he's shown he is human and does struggle at the game and he's cut down on the swearing in front of the cameras and microphones in the fairways, I am starting to like him.

 

I wish him all the best next week.

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I think what Tiger was saying his father was in no danger of passing away in the next few days and his dad wanted him to go to New Zealand for Steve's wedding and Earl would still be alive when Tiger Returned. Yes Earl did pass away but it was a couple of weeks after tiger returned home. I'm sure if Earl was in danger of dying within a day or two Tiger wouldn't have even thought about leaving him.

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