March 11, 2016

Tiger’s Blog: Ryder Cup dinner with Jack brings group closer

On Feb. 25, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus graciously hosted a dinner at their home in North Palm Beach, Florida, for 22 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team hopefuls, captain Davis Love III and vice captains Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk and myself. Most of the guys I already knew, and it was fun to catch up and rib each other.

I was the first one there and chatted with Jack. We mostly talked about fishing and how I’m progressing.

Jack, Davis and Tom talked about their experiences and what to expect. Jim asked questions, and it was good to hear from the younger guys who are on the cusp of making the team for the first time. It was nice to get things out in the open, so they understand what the atmosphere will be like. I think the dinner was a great idea and brought a lot of guys closer.

It is a very different experience being out of the spotlight. What I tried to explain is that a lot of times you don’t have the same rhythm of playing like you do in a PGA TOUR event. You don’t know how much you’re going to play, and that uncertainty requires an adjustment. In the Presidents Cup, you play in every match.

Sitting around with the younger guys made me think about my early years on the PGA TOUR. I left Stanford after my sophomore year and was the only one my age (20) out there. That was tough. Eventually, guys I played with in college trickled out.

Now, there’s a core of younger guys, like Rory (McIlroy), Jason (Day), Rickie (Fowler) and Jordan (Spieth). It’s a talented group that will compete against each other for a long time.

Although I’m not playing competitively, I’ve been pretty busy lately.

Last week, I was at Bluejack National, just north of Houston, for the grand opening of our new 10-hole short course called The Playgrounds and the Nike Performance Center called The Place. It was a great day, and quite honestly, I couldn’t have scripted it any better. Taylor Crozier, Ceci Lococo and I comprised the inaugural group, and on the 81-yard, par-3 first hole, 11-year-old Taylor of Corpus Christi, Texas, aced it. How cool was that? The fans went wild, and I bear-hugged him. It was a moment we won’t forget.

This week, I spent some time with a couple of my partners. I had a fun day Wednesday with the great people from Rolex. They encourage me to try different styles of watches, but I always come back to my Deepsea. I can wear it anywhere, whether I’m diving or out to dinner. Yesterday, I worked with Nike shooting some advertising. There are always a lot of talented people involved in these production days and some very cool products.

Congratulations to my friend Peyton Manning on his Hall of Fame career. I look forward to playing more golf with him, and right now, getting more shots. Hopefully, this will translate to more wins for my Raiders!

Health-wise, I continue to improve. I’m working hard on my short game at my outdoor practice facility and on my indoor Full Swing golf simulator. Still no timetable on my return, but I’m excited to get back out there with the guys.

Best to all.