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Tiger Woods questioned about Haney book, putting stroke

blog_tiger_shedloski_0229.jpgPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Just about the last thing Tiger Woods wants to talk about these days is his strikingly poignant problems with his putting stroke. But he grudgingly acceded Wednesday at PGA National Resort because he maintained a steadfast intransigence on the subject of the upcoming book written by former swing instructor Hank Haney.

Excerpts of Haney's book, "The Big Miss," written with Golf Digest senior writer Jaime Diaz, were published on Tuesday, but during a press conference on the eve of the Honda Classic, Woods declined to say anything about it, except to say he had nothing to say. He elaborated with laboriously terse deflections.

Related: Five revelations about Tiger Woods in The Big Miss

The first question for Woods, even though in reference to the book, was a softball that he simply chose not to swing at.

Q. Obviously several weeks ago, you expressed your disappointment about Hank's book. Now there's some stuff that's come out since. Where would you say your disappointment level is based on any of what's come out and to this point?

WOODS: Bob, It's still the same. Nothing has changed in that regard at all.

Then a few questions later:

Q. To follow up on Bob, I know Mark (Steinberg, Woods's agent) responded to the fact that the excerpts are out from Hank's book, but I'm wondering, what's your reaction?

WOODS: Well, I've already talked about it. So... sorry, Tommy.

Then there was a specific inquiry as to the accuracy of Haney's contention that Woods, whose late father Earl, was a Green Beret in the Army, was prepared to walk away from golf to pursue a career as a Navy SEAL.

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News & Tours

Video: Tiger reacts testily to questions about Haney book

A day after excerpts of Hank Haney's new book, The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods debuted online and in Golf Digest's tablet editions, the 14-time major champion was inundated with questions about the book's contents in a pre-tournament conference at the Honda Classic.

Related: Five Revelations About Tiger Woods In The Big Miss

Most notably, Woods was asked to address Haney's assertion that Woods was prepared to leave professional golf from behind to join the military. Is it true? Woods wouldn't say. Nor would he say much at all about the book by his former coach. And if this exchange with the Golf Channel's Alex Miceli is any indication, he prefers not to be reminded that such a book even exists.

Translation: Alex Miceli, don't hold out for an invititation to Tiger Jam just yet.

-- Sam Weinman
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News & Tours

Texas men stay atop Golf World/Nike Golf coaches' poll

Voters in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I coaches' poll looked past Texas' T-6 finish at the Puerto Rico Classic, focusing on the Longhorns win at the Amer Ari Invitational to start the spring as they kept UT in the No. 1 spot of the first poll of the spring semester.
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News & Tours

Still Bruin: UCLA remains No. 1 in Golf World/NGCA poll

The loss of senior Stephanie Kono to the LPGA Tour in December hasn't put a damper on the UCLA women's outlook this spring. The Bruins won their fourth title of the 2011-12 season at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and remain the top squad in the first spring edition of the Golf World/NGCA Division I coaches' poll, earning 22 of the 24 first-place votes.

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News & Tours

Harrington selling advertising space to raise money for family tragedy

paddyharrington.gifYour name could appear on Padraig Harrington. And it's for a great cause.

To raise money for his wife's cousin, who was recently paralyzed for life from the after a recent car accident in Ireland, Harrington is offering companies the chance to advertise on any part of his attire, the Irish Times is reporting.

The three-time major winner and Ryder Cup player, who's currently 87th in the world, said he'll be sporting the new endorsements for three weeks, from the Shell Houston Open, through the Masters, and ending the week of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island.

That means a company will have rare sponsorship opportunities at Augusta National during one of the world's most watched events, which will go to support Gerard Byrne, a 35-year-old father of three who is the eldest son of Harrington's wife's aunt.

Related: Can Paddy Find His Way Again?

"This is why I never want to complain about golf," Harrington told the Irish Times yesterday. "Obviously Gerard [Byrne] will need a lot of assistance in his life - a wheelchair-enabled car, renovations to his home and other things - so my current sponsors have agreed to allow me to offer all the branding on my clothing and bag to the highest bidder."

--Stephen Hennessey

(Photo courtesy of Brian Keogh/The Irish Times)

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Gear & Equipment

TaylorMade RBZ brand adds bags, accessories

RBZ Stand Bag.jpg

TaylorMade Golf's RocketBallz (or RBZ) brand already enjoys a measure of prominence on which the company expects to build with golf bags and accessories bearing the name and logo, and, of course,its green, black and white color scheme.

Among the products it is introducing are two lightweight bags -- the RBZ Stand (shown above) and the RBZ Cart (prices $170 and $180, respectively). The Stand bag weighs in at 4.9 pounds, while the Cart bag is 5.2 pounds.

The Stand bag features five dividers and six pockets, including a velour-lined valuables pocket and an insulated beverage sleeve pocket, and a cart-compatible base. The Cart bag has a 14-way divider top as well as an integrated putter tube. It has eight pockets, including two velour-lined valuables pockets.

Three RBZ headwear designs, men's and women's gloves, umbrellas and towels are also being introduced.

The company also is introducing its Pure-Lite 3.0 bag ($180), successor to its popular Pure-Lite 2.0 bag and featuring upgraded materials and hardware. It weighs 5.1 pounds and comes in eight colorways.

-- John Strege
Follow me on Twitter @JohnStrege

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News & Tours

Trending: Leap Day golf

One would assume connecting golf with the extra day that occurs every four years--commonly known as Leap Day (more commonly known as February 29)--would be a rather simple task. You know what they say about assuming...

Believe it or not, the search query "Leap Day golf" delivered few exciting results. I can tell you there are numerous courses offering $29, all-inclusive rounds of golf today, along with the occasional tournament, but little else. So with that knowledge--or lack thereof--at hand, I was forced to include certain variables of today's theme: notably, connections to leaping and frogs. Here's a quick look at what the information superhighway has to offer.

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Courses & Travel

Idaho’s Circling Bargain

When I visited the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort two summers ago, I came away thinking it was one of the better bargains around, with peak-season green fees maxing out at $95 on its Circling Raven Golf Course.

Circling Raven.jpgManagement has announced a new deal that makes it even more attractive, in my view. Its All Inclusive Stay and Play Package costs $299 a person (double occupancy) for two nights, a round of golf each, a $50 per person spa credit, $25 a person dining credit and $15 of “casino cash.” Pretty good deal!
Or if you’re just interested in golf, basic stay-and-play packages start at $99 a person double occupancy. That includes a round of golf each on the Gene Bates-designed course, plus use of a GPS-equipped cart and the course’s expansive practice area.
I’ll admit I wasn’t DAZZLED by the casino’s accommodations when I was last there; I preferred staying at the more upscale Coeur d’Alene Resort just up the road (it’s the one with the famous island green). The casino was busily adding 100 higher-end hotel rooms, known as the Spa Tower, during my visit. They’re finished now and, on the website at least, they look like an improvement. This is where you stay as part of that All Inclusive deal.
The resort’s web site doesn’t have a lot of details about the All Inclusive Stay and Play deal as of this writing, but you can call 208-769-2600 and they’ll know what you’re talking about.

--Peter Finch

(Follow Pete on Twitter @Pete_Finch; follow me @Matt_Ginella.)

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Gear & Equipment

'Butch Harmon About Golf': You, too, can learn from him

Butch Harmon About Golf.jpg

Butch Harmon's curriculum vitae suggests that, more than most (or all) instructors, we should listen when he is talking about golf and instruction, as he is doing in his new instructional videos, "Butch Harmon About Golf."

His clientele through the years has included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. He, too, is the son of renowned teaching pro (and former Masters champion) Claude Harmon.

Related: "Like" Golf Digest on Facebook to get 20 percent off the Harmon video

"You think about Stewart Maiden with Bobby Jones. That's great," said Terry Jastrow, whose Jastrow Productions produced Harmon's videos. "You think about Jack Grout with Nicklaus. You think of Harvey Penick and Ben (Crenshaw) and Tom (Kite). But in the aggregate, on any matrix you want to use -- number of players he helped get to number one, number of majors his players have won, number of tour events won, international players -- you cold argue that he's the greatest teacher of all time."

"Butch Harmon About Golf" includes two DVDs with more than four hours of instruction, as well as interviews with many of those with whom Harmon has worked, including Tiger Woods.

"When we first talked about it, I said, 'how do you make it great? How do you make it different? There are hundreds of these out there,'" said Jastrow, who through the years has produced instructional videos with Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Curtis Strange and Phil Mickelson, among others.

"Just doing it with Butch is a giant step. But he said, 'I think I can get my guys. I'll bet they'll tell you how I helped them.' My God, I thought, that would be gold."

They all agreed to do it, including Woods, who said this: "No one understands the golf swing nor has more knowledge about the game than Butch. He can help any golfer, amateur or pro. He is a great communicator and motivator. Simply put, I think that he is the best instructor in the world."

"The lineup he's touched, nobody could deliver like that," Jastrow said. "I said, 'really?' Butch said, 'yeah.' He talked to Tiger and said Tiger will do it. They were all happy to do it. Every single one said the sweetest things about Butch, how he's a great communicator, how much he's helped them."

The videos can be ordered through the website for $79.95, plus shipping and handling.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Trending: Celebrating National (Brooke) Pancake Day


Please excuse me for making the obvious reference to Alabama Crimson Tide phenom Brooke Pancake on the national "holiday" that shares her surname. It was either her, or the much vaguer pancake reference to a flop shot. Why spend endless minutes trying to connect a meaningless holiday to golf with six-degrees of separation when only one is needed?

For those of you not in the know, Brooke Pancake hit the national scene during last year's U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, falling to Danielle Kang on the final hole of the semifinal match. She is currently a senior at Alabama coming off a first-team All-American junior season, both on the course and in the classroom. She is a three-time NGCA Scholar Athlete and was awarded the 2011 Edith Cummings Munson Golf Award for the All-American with the highest GPA, winning the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the year for women's golf in 2010 and 2011. With an above-average GPA, Pancake carried a below-par average through the first-half of the 2010-2011 season before finishing in the top-10 with a 72.29 scoring average. She equaled the school 18-hole record 65, not once, but twice, and ranked second in the country in putts and GIR (she led the nation in fewest three-putts). 

She also dominates all Google search results for "golf pancake."

While the list of Brooke Pancake's accomplishments are long, videos of her game are not. This shaky, hopefully-not-shot-by-a-stalker, look of her playing an entire 6th hole (the course is not listed) is the most-watched. It's followed by a GolfWeek preview of the 2011-2012 women's collegiate season and an ESPNU look at the 2010-2011 Alabama squad prior to the 2010 SEC women's golf championship.

Side-note: Though we have no evidence to suggest she is a fan of the food or the holiday, we are fairly certain she's sick of the pancake references. Sorry Brooke.

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