Tiger gives us the answer we've all been waiting for

The Scoop

Is Tiger Woods in or out? And why isn't Rory Mcllroy a fan of viral sensation Ho-sung Choi? Alex Perry explains all in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam. As it’s too cold to play, why don’t we kick back and enjoy what the stars are doing on tour? They’re in the rather warmer climes of Dubai and California this week.

Here are a couple of little nuggets you may have missed this week…

Flagged up

Finding out what the European and PGA Tour pros think about the new Rules of Golf has been our jam for the past three weeks.

We had Bryson DeChambeau going deep, Dustin Johnson being quite the opposite, and some players suggesting we need separate rules for pros and amateurs.

But, let’s be honest, all we’ve wanted to know is WHAT DOES TIGER WOODS THINK?

Speaking ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open, his first tournament of the year, Woods revealed there is one rule which he’s particularly keen to take advantage of…

On some of the longer putts, I like having Joey there as a reference point, so the flag will be there.

He explained further:

Some of the putts where the hole is kind of visible, as it comes up over a rise, I can see it. But it would be nice to have a reference point, so I’ll probably leave it in for those kind of putts.

But he’s not going into it blindly, oh no…

I’ve been experimenting trying to hit putts downhill at home and see how that feels, and I didn’t find that I hit better putts. It just felt like I could hit it more aggressively, which I did. Then I started running it eight or nine feet by.

And, the question on everyone’s lips, will he leave the flag in at Augusta?

It might be more advantageous when we get on faster greens, a little bit more slope. Where you have that sense of security on a three-footer, a four-footer down the hill, you can just take a cut at it.

But what about shorter putts?

I’ve been experimenting, but it’s just kind of weird.

So there you have it: the greatest golfer of all time is leaving the flag in for long putts. Expect people to be changing their stance on this at your club over the weekend…

Pizza the action

Sticking with Tiger, there is a wonderful clip doing the rounds from Torrey Pines where the 14-time major champion wanders over to a pizza stand for a slice of the action and, well, see for yourself…

Hands up if you’re a little bit gutted that Tiger didn’t give it the “Don’t you know who I am?” treatment.

Just me?

Who-sung Choi?

Who doesn’t love Ho-sung Choi? You know, the Korean player with the so-called “fisherman’s swing” who has been invited to play at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Well, it seems Rory McIlroy isn’t a fan. Here’s the video of the full exchange from the Northern Irishman’s press conference ahead of Torrey Pines, or scroll past it for the transcript…

Journalist: What goes through your mind when you see Ho-sung Choi swing a club and his follow-through?

McIlroy: Who?

Journalist: The Asian player who’s doing all the gyrations.

McIlroy: Oh, the guy who’s playing Pebble?

Journalist: Yeah.

McIlroy: I mean, I mean, technically his swing is good. If you watch it up until impact, he’s technically got a pretty good swing. He’s obviously a pretty good player. Whether that means he should be taking a spot away from a PGA Tour player at a PGA Tour event, I’m not so sure. But yeah, I mean, it’s gained a little bit of notoriety, and he’s a good player. I’m not sure a golf shot should mean that much to you that you’re doing that after you hit it, like it’s just trying a little too hard. You have to try hard at golf, but that’s taking it to an extreme.

On that final point, this is the same Rory McIlroy who made headlines for slinging his 3-iron into a lake at Doral during the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Otherwise it’s difficult to disagree with McIlroy’s assessment of Choi’s swing. As much as we all love the show he puts on, it is completely unnecessary. But it’s getting him noticed and it’s getting him places – like Pebble Beach. And fair play to McIlroy for not pandering to the masses. It’s why we love him.

But McIlroy’s point about “taking a spot” from a PGA Tour player is misjudged. You often hear this argument when it’s a celebrity – think basketball megastar Steph Curry or NFL legend Tony Romo – but to say it about a fellow professional is a bit off-brand.

Choi has four wins to his name, including two on the highly-acclaimed Japan Tour, where he plies his trade. Last week he finished 12th at the Singapore Open, an event that carries four qualifying spots for The Open, so he’s hardly  a chopper.

So, PGA Tour, you know what to do when selecting the pairings…

That’s enough from me. Play well this weekend and enjoy Woods being back in action at Torrey Pines. And if you’re one of those people who constantly message me saying “Who cares about Tiger Woods?” then answer is you. You care.

Before I go, some recommended reading from my fellow and far more talented scribes. Mark Townsend spoke to Ryder Cup vice-captain Robert Karlsson and it’s fascinating, while Steve Carroll entertained us all with his reasons for not playing matchplay. And he might not be with us for much longer, but equipment editor James Savage has shown why he’s the best in the biz with what feels like endless reviews of new gear for 2019.

Enjoy!

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