Each month, Tiger Woods posts a newsletter on his Web site. Here’s the latest addition, which was posted today. There’s also a golf tip each month, too.
By Tiger Woods
It’s been nice to have some time off and hang out with my family. We had a good trip on the boat and did a little fishing. Mostly, it was just fun to get away.
Obviously, it’s been a great year on and off the course. My eyes light up every time I see my new daughter. Sam Alexis is four-months-old and growing every day. She can grab things now and has held a golf club in her hands. I didn’t start swinging a club until I was 11 months, so she’s got seven months until that happens.
For Elin and I, it’s all about the little firsts: Our first Halloween with Sam; our first Thanksgiving; our first Christmas. I’ve never been much of a holiday guy, but this is a pretty cool feeling. Everything has changed since we had Sam.
For once, I won’t be traveling or competing on Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends, and plan to watch some football on television.
On the course, I finished strong and won seven tournaments, which isn’t too bad. Other than my putting, it was a pretty consistent year. My ball-striking was solid, but I was hot and cold with my putter, which is kind of unusual for me. At times, I struggled with my pace.
Contrary to rumors, I have not split with Hank Haney, my friend and swing coach. He’s spent more time at home helping his wife deal with health issues, which is the way it should be. Besides, I’ve become much better at correcting my swing flaws, and that’s ultimately where you want to get to with a coach-pupil relationship. Hank is still going to be my coach; that’s not changing.
Our annual Block Party in Anaheim, Ca. was fantastic and raised more than $1 million for program expenses at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. John Mayer was incredible and the food by Giada De Laurentiis was excellent. Everyone in attendance was pretty fired up.
The auction started a little late because I was back stage watching Stanford upset USC in football. I definitely stirred up the pot by coming out and announcing the final score to the crowd, but I couldn’t help myself. Stanford’s win was pretty special and definitely one of the highlights of the year.
Thanks to Fred Couples and John Cook for helping out with our golf outing earlier in the day. Freddie helped pump up our live auction by offering to play golf with the winning bidder of our Masters item at Augusta National Golf Club. His only stipulation was that the winner had to be a good player because they were going to play from the back tees. Fred also offered to pick the guy up in his jet and fly him to Augusta. Good fun was had by all.
Congratulations to Cookie for winning on the Champions Tour in only his second start. He’s one of the all-time nice guys and I sent him a funny text message. He was thinking about getting into college coaching, but obviously he still has game. Most of the golf courses on the PGA Tour are too long for him now, but he should do well on the Champions Tour. He’s still one of the best iron players around and drives it on a string.
I’m very excited about my new partnership with Gatorade. I’ve never done a licensing agreement before in the industry and really believe in the product. I have been drinking Gatorade for a long time and honestly think our new energy drinks will make your game better.
I’ve got one more event on my schedule this year: the Target World Challenge Presented by Countrywide, Dec. 13-16 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Ca. I look forward to hosting another strong field and have always thought my tournament is a reward for guys who have had good years or careers. It’s my way of saying thank you for helping make the PGA Tour so successful.
Take care and I’ll talk to you soon.
By Tiger Woods, Golf Digest Playing Editor, Edited By Pete McDaniel and Mark Soltau
Focus on the landing
Try this practice drill for delicate pitches
Little pitches and chips from the first cut require soft hands and great technique. You also have to factor in roll-out. The trick is to judge how far to carry the ball.
I practice these short shots by sticking a tee in the green for both my landing spot and hole location (if I’m not chipping to a flag). I also vary my trajectory depending on the slope of the green by either shutting the club down through impact for lower shots or holding it open for higher, softer shots. I maintain my spine angle, start to finish.
Solid contact is critical, so I always set up the same way — ball slightly forward in an open stance with most of my weight on my forward foot. I use a slightly more vertical takeaway so the ball pops out of the grass. After one last look at the spot I want to land the ball, I try to feel the distance. The roll-out takes care of itself.