That’s your Transitions Championship victor Gary Woodland running the show at Washburn where he dabbled in a little basketball before jumping to golf and eventually the PGA Tour. I mentioned Woodland the other day, because he seems like a version of Dustin Johnson with a little more street cred. Plus, I don’t like Dustin Johnson-not even a little-might as well go with full disclosure, so I’ll take the media fawning over anyone but him. Woodland seems like a reasonable candidate. The creative minds at the PGA Tour and the Arnold Palmer Invitational have conspired to bring this wave of athleticism together for the first two rounds at Bay Hill. Woodland and Johnson can try to out-drive and out-athlete each other. The third guy in the group is a decent athlete in his own right, but he’ll probably have other thoughts on his mind. Maybe you’ve heard of Tiger Woods?
I was playing a round of golf over the weekend and the topic of Tiger eventually came up, and then we started wondering about his personal life. It doesn’t make me proud to speculate about these things, but what can I say? A little low brow gossip never hurt anyone. One thing we brought up was that if Tiger ever brought a new woman into the public eye, she’d have to be bulletproof. It might also help if she never looked at a computer or a cell phone, and walked around in ear plugs. Well, as it turns out, Tiger may have a new woman in his life. The brave soul? The media hungry gold digger? Whatever interpretation you care to make, well she doesn’t appear to be exactly bulletproof.
Tiger’s new girl is Alyse Johnston, who happens to be 22 years old and also was a onetime Woods neighbor in Orlando. She’s the step-daughter of an IMG big-wig. Seems a bit incestuous. I’d say this rumor was out for only a couple of minutes before Ms. Johnston was stripped bare. There was news and a photo of her DUI arrest and any number of anonymous sources materialized ready to attack her character. There have been denials, some insiders say they’ve suspected as much for a while, and really for me this is something I certainly can’t ignore, but I wonder too what it is going to do to Tiger’s on-course performance–which has already been lacking.
For the last several months as Tiger struggled he’s been fielding questions on his game for the most part. No one has the gall to ask him if he’s met a nice lady and it really isn’t news until there is a name or report out there. The journalists now will have to decide whether or not to probe Tiger on this one. Surely he won’t respond, but do you ask the question anyway? Tiger is never revealing, but he seemed to have found some balance with the media recently. Do we want to go back to, “that’s a personal matter,” over and over again? And, it’s obvious, swing change or not, that Tiger did not fare well on the course when the spotlight on his personal life was brightest. Is he ready to balance his worlds now?
Tiger did seem to be making a bit of progress, and slow as it may have been it was something. A top-ten finish was a guarantee for the old Woods and now it is newsworthy, but we are closing in on the end of his spring wheelhouse. Match Play/Doral/Bay Hill/Augusta, he has more wins at these places than most people get in their career. He hasn’t found any magic at his old stomping grounds, and this week will be the latest test. It’ll be the last chance to see Woods before The Masters and probably the last chance for the media to question him about a possible relationship before then as well. Will anyone ask? And, how will Tiger’s game respond? The return of his power that Sean Foley has been talking about will surely get a big test in this pairing with Woodland and Johnson. I guess I’ll be pulling for the kid up there who looks likes he purchased the Duke guard starter’s kit.
Quiz of the Day: Movie Roadtrips. Category: Movies and Whatnot. My Score: 15/20.