Travelers players express support for Tiger Woods

By Tom Yantz
Published on
Travelers players express support for Tiger Woods

There was plenty of support from players in the Travelers Championship Wednesday for Tiger Woods, who's in a clinic to help him deal with prescription medications.

"I think we all want him to do what's best for him. I think if he feels -- I haven't spoken much (with him) recently since probably the Ryder Cup here or there," Jordan Spieth said. "But we all want him to be better. We want him to be healthy, and we want him to be back out here."

Jim Furyk, who served as a vice captain on the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team with Woods, said the most important thing is that Woods "be happy."

"I want him to be healthy," Furyk said. "Golf is, as we get older in this game, golf is so far down the list on what's totally important in life. ... If he has an opportunity in the future to come back and play the game and play it competitively, great. If not, he accomplished pretty much more than anyone in the history of the game did anyway."

Rory McIlroy said he had "reached out" to Woods when the police video appeared of Tiger's DUI.

"Just making sure he was OK," McIlroy said. "I felt I built up a good relationship with Tiger over the last few years. He's OK. He's gone through a rough time the last few years with injuries and being in pain and not being able to sleep. I totally understand how that can happen. So it's good that he's getting help. It's good that he's on the road to recovery. ... Everyone in golf and around the world just wishes him the best."

Berman Embraced

Chris Berman said he was on a course that felt like home, in front of fans who felt like family. The longtime ESPN personality was making one of his first public appearances since the death of his wife, Kathy, in a May car crash.

"I'm going to feel my home state, home area -- I don't want to leave out Massachusetts and Rhode Island -- feel them saying, 'How you doing?' I think," he said.

Berman is a fixture at the Travelers Championship and an annual participant in the tournament's celebrity pro-am. "This will be a little different," he said.

Berman's tee shot was solid, a couple of hundred yards down the fairway. It went just how he had hoped, making good contact after a warm reception from the thousands surrounding the first tee.

"They announce your name and then it gets quiet, and the quiet is loud," Berman said. "Does that make sense? I know I sound like Yogi Berra. You get over the ball and you don't hear anything and you have to hit. You never get used to it. ... I just want to hit it in the air and I don't care where it goes."

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Thomas, Spieth On Board

Justin Thomas said of Furyk's PGA Tour record round of 58 last year: "Not often do you shoot a 62 and get your butt handed to you."

Thomas loves TPC River Highlands.

"It's a fun course, because I mean it sounds crazy, but I feel like every time you tee it up, you have a chance to shoot in the 50s," he said. "... If you get your putter rolling and you're driving it well, you're going to have so many wedges and so many short clubs in your hands where you can make a lot of birdies and you can really post a low number."

He and many others recommended the course and the tournament to Spieth.

"I've heard unbelievable things about this tournament," Spieth said. "I've watched it. I've watched the exciting last seven holes where anything can happen, and that's always fun for us."

He had to play here after hearing so many good comments about the event.

"It was (unanimous)," he said. "It was all positive comments from every player I asked."

Chip Shots

The Vijay Singh team with Will Shupe, Bruce Gifford and Steven Palasek posted the lowest score (54) in the celebrity pro-am. ... The UConn team of associate women's basketball coach Chris Dailey, hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh and football coach Randy Edsall won the Celebrity Mini Golf Tournament, earning $2,500 for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. ... Rebecca Lobo wore a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame golf shirt. She will be inducted in September and Geno Auriemma will walk her across the stage. "I mean, it's not a surprise," Auriemma said. "The only thing you think about is 'what took so long?' ... Who's more synonymous with women's basketball over the last 27 years than Rebecca? I'm so happy for her, I'm proud of her and I can't wait to be part of the celebration. ... I was honored, thrilled for her to ask me. I said one of two things has to happen. Either she can't wear heels or she has to let me borrow a pair of hers. One or the other." ... Former UConn men's coach Jim Calhoun on the Huskies, coming off a 16-17 men's season: "We kind of got off track there a little bit, from what we have been doing. There's no reason to believe we can't get better. ... We're going to be fine. We've got to blend early. We've got to be injury free. And the young kids have to take care of the frontcourt. But we'll be fine."

Thomas, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Cantlay, Bud Cauley, Tony Finau, Smylie Kaufman, Patrick Rodgers, Brandt Snedeker, Jonas Blixt and Jamie Lovemark have signed endorsement deals with Massage Envy, which announced its four-year partnership as an official sponsor of the tour. ... John Huh won the Umbrella at 15 1/2 challenge Tuesday when he hit his shot 6 inches from the cup. Huh, who hit his shot about 85 yards to the floating green, donated his charity check of $10,000 to the tournament's two honorary co-chairs: the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain.

Courant staff writers Mike Anthony, Matthew Conyers and Paul Doyle contributed to this story. 

This article is written by Tom Yantz from The Hartford Courant and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to