Sunday, March 26, 2017

After Further Review: Doubts growing around Tiger

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here’s what’s weighing on our writers’ minds.

On the doubts surrounding Tiger Woods’ comeback:

Tiger Woods pointed to the Masters as his real target in his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines two weeks ago, and there was hope in that for anyone eager to see him make one more push at a meaningful comeback. His withdrawal from the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic because of back spasms didn’t just remove those events from his preparation for the year’s first major. They pretty much removed any hope he will be competitive at Augusta National – if not all hope he’ll even be able to play there. Forget Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy as Tiger’s toughest foes. There’s a growing legion of demon doubts to beat before he can worry about them. – Randall Mell

 On Patrick Reed’s decision to play in the conditions at Pebble Beach despite “respiratory infection”:

Patrick Reed has some ‘splaining to do.

The Ryder Cup hero was set to headline next week’s Super 6 Perth in Australia, a tournament that used his likeness to promote a brand-new event with a unique format. Tickets were sold, and Reed’s face was splashed on magazines in Australia.

But more than two weeks ago, Reed announced that he wasn’t going to be able to play because of a “respiratory infection” that led him to withdraw well in advance of the event.

“I have done everything I can to make the trip possible, but my health and the advice of doctors is not something I can overlook,” he said in a Jan. 25 statement.

It was a curious sight, then, to see Reed back in action this week, battling through some dismal conditions over the first two days en route to a T-23 finish at Pebble Beach. Now admittedly, a trip to California is far different from a plane trip halfway around the world, but it’s not a good look for Reed, as the tournament is left to kick off without its leading attraction. – Will Gray

On even more U.S. Ryder Cup selection process changes:

For the better part of two years the U.S. Ryder Cup task force was an easy target. Pundits denounced the sweeping changes to the American selection process and opponents offered only light-hearted skepticism.

The outcome provided all the justification those who spearheaded the changes needed. But this week the tinkering continued, with ’18 captain Jim Furyk unveiling next year’s selection criteria that included a move away from the final captain’s pick following the Tour Championship.

Instead, Furyk will make his final pick after the BMW Championship, a week earlier than last year. The U.S. Ryder Cup system was broken in 2014, which made the changes necessary. But after the American victory last fall, these recent adjustments feel like change for the sake of it. Rex Hoggard

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