In Tiger’s words

Here’s Tiger Woods’ monthly newsletter that he posted on his Web site.
November 5, 2008

By Tiger Woods

This has been a busy stretch for me between rehabbing my knee, helping out with my foundation, keeping up with my three golf course design projects and fulfilling sponsor obligations. There hasn’t been a lot of down time, although Elin and I took Sam to a Halloween party, where she dressed up as Tigger.

The knee is progressing. I’m working hard every day and there have been no setbacks. I’ve actually started to do a little chipping and putting, but no full swings. That’s not going to happen until early next year.

We held our fourth annual Block Party and raised about $700,000 for our Learning Center. I want to thank Fred Couples and Chris Riley for helping me with the morning clinic at Pelican Hill. Freddie also helped out with our live auction and is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I also want to thank world-renowned chef Mario Batali for preparing a three-course gourmet meal – yes, I ate two steaks – and special thanks to Seal for putting on a great concert. Just seeing him perform again was absolutely incredible. He’s a nice guy, too.

Mario is so fired up about his cooking. I didn’t learn much, but told him I would drop by some of his restaurants instead. I boil water really well and can make eggs in the morning.

I’d also like to thank one of the most important guests of the night – Eric Leos, a TWLC student who spoke about how much the Learning Center has helped him. His story is pretty amazing and hearing how the Learning Center completely changed his life really hit home. I’d like to extend by heartfelt thanks to the Orange County community for their continued support of the TWLC and students like Eric. It’s important work, and we’re making a real difference.

I also announced my third golf course design project, Punta Brava in Ensenada, Mexico – about 65 miles south of San Diego. Like my other design projects, Punta Brava fits all the criteria I’m looking for when deciding to design a course. The site is spectacular. I knew during my first visit it would be an amazing project. I also found a great partner in The Flagship Group, and I’ve really enjoyed working with them.

Now it’s up to me to create a fantastic design and take full advantage of this unique site. I like working with the land to design a course that is a good fit. So walking the site and thinking through the strategy and shaping of each hole are really important elements of my design process. Punta Brava is my first oceanfront design, and there are 17 tees and greens on the water. It’s awesome.

One of the things I love most about golf is thinking my way around a course, and it’s a lot of fun incorporating this into my course designs. Each project is unique – the desert oasis, a mountain meadow course and now an oceanfront course – but all of them have been designed to be fun for all skill levels and reward smart thinking.

I did sneak in a Dodgers playoff game while I was in Southern California and had a great time. I’ve been a life-long fan and was disappointed they didn’t win it all.

While I was down there, I did a Buick outing at Torrey Pines, and it was the first time I returned since I won the U.S. Open last June. While it was great to be back, it was a little harder to reminisce than I thought. I was shocked to see what the course looked like without grandstands. I hadn’t seen it like that since junior golf.

I also did outings for Nike and Gillette. During the two Nike days, John Cook and Anthony Kim helped me conduct a couple golf clinics. Both are outstanding players and interacted really well with the guests. Also with Gillette, Derek Jeter and I filmed a commercial together. Derek and I are also participating in the Gillette EA SPORTS Champions of Gaming Tournament which is going to be the biggest global multi-sport gaming competition. Gamers from around the world will compete against each other for the chance to play against me and other Gillette Champions. I’ll probably get killed by these experts, but we’ll have fun. Entries have begun, and it wraps up in February. During the filming of the TV commercial, we played a new EA boxing game “Facebreakers,” I beat him the first time; he got me the second. The crew had plenty of video and pictures, but we weren’t leaving. You can’t have a tie! He won the last game and gave me a hard time, but that’s okay. I would have done the same.

I’m looking forward to hosting the Chevron World Challenge presented by Bank of America. It’s Dec. 17-21 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. We’re excited about our new partnerships and celebrating our 10th year. We have a young, competitive field, so it should be a great week.

One last thing: Congratulations to my friend John Cook for winning the AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour. We play a lot of golf together, and I think the only reason he won was because he wore a red shirt on Sunday.

Thanks for reading. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tiger

TIGER’S TIP

By Tiger Woods, Golf Digest Playing Editor, Edited By Pete McDaniel and Mark Soltau

Rip It Out Of The Rough

Golf course superintendents are going to great lengths to protect par, including narrowing landing areas and growing rough thick enough so you can’t see your shoes. Hitting even a short wedge shot from this thick stuff requires strength and know-how.

Assuming you have adequate strength, the keys to advancing the ball from heavy rough are having a decent lie and keeping the clubface from turning over at impact. To accomplish this, I grip the club a little firmer than normal. It’s not a death grip, just tight enough to keep the hosel from getting twisted in the long grass surrounding the ball.

I set up in a slightly open stance with the clubface also open a bit. Then I make a little steeper backswing so I can hit down on the shot, catching the ball first. I try to really fire my right side into the ball, powering it out with the big muscles in my legs and back, while keeping my lower body stable.

Beware: Even with proper execution, it’s tough to judge how far the ball will go. Pick your target and club accordingly.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.