Tiger Woods PGA Tour notebook: Tiger Woods says case is closed over Kelly Tilghman's "lynch" comment

Whether or not the rest of the golf world is ready to follow suit, Tiger Woods says he considers the matter of Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman's "lynch" comment closed.

"It was unfortunate," Woods told the Associated Press Monday, speaking publicly about the matter for the first time since Tilghman received a two-week suspension. "Kelly and I did speak. There was no ill intent. She regrets saying it. In my eyes, it's all said and done."

Woods, who will make his first PGA Tour start of the year Thursday in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines near San Diego, offered his comments at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif., where he unveiled a bronze statue of his late father, Earl Woods.

Tilghman made her controversial remark during TGC's coverage of the second round of the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship. As Tilghman and golf analyst Nick Faldo discussed possible challengers to Tiger Woods this season, Faldo jokingly said that the rest of the players should gang up on Woods.

"Lynch him in a back alley," Tilghman added with a laugh.

Woods, who said he considers Tilghman a friend, told the AP that he didn't feel compelled to immediately make a public comment about Tilghman's choice of words. He said he felt the issue was basically "media driven."

"I've known her for 10 or 11 years now," Woods said of Tilghman. "We all say things we do regret, and that's certainly a moment she does regret."

Mickelson to make season debut

After media reports questioning whether or not Phil Mickelson would be able to make his 2008 debut in the Buick Invitational due to illness, the three-time major champion said on his Web site that he expected to play in both Wednesday's pro-am and the first round of the tournament Thursday.

Mickelson's press conference Tuesday was postponed as his doctor suggested he remain in bed for two days due to a respiratory illness. However, after taking antibiotics and getting some rest, he's apparently ready to go.

"I'm feeling much, much better," Mickelson said on his Web site. "I'm happy about that and looking forward to working with Butch [Harmon] to make sure everything's in order for this week."

Following this weekend's Buick Invitational, Mickelson is scheduled to play in the FBR Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the Northern Trust Open and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Choi on the verge of a major?

After a strong 2007 campaign and his early season win at the Sony Open in Hawaii, K.J. Choi's name is once again being bandied about in conversations of the best players not to have won a major.

Could this be the year for the 38-year-old South Korean, who now has seven career victories?

"You know, I never really want to say I'm really that close to winning a major, but I feel like I am improving more than ever," Choi told reporters Tuesday at a press conference for the Buick Invitational. "I think it's really a fight within yourself as opposed to worrying about the other players or what they're doing. I still feel that I need to improve a lot. Like I always say, you always have to fill the cup — it's never full."

Choi is coming off a first-place finish in the Sony Open, where he shot 14-under-par 266. Last year, the world No. 9-ranked player posted 17 top-25 finishes in his 21 starts, including two wins, a runner-up finish and seven top 10s, while making more than $4.5 million in earnings.

Trahan's reason to smile

D.J. Trahan couldn't help but smile last Sunday when he was informed that he had led the field in putting on his way to winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Trahan, who is the first to admit that his putting has probably held him back in his professional golf career, rallied from a four-shot deficit to win by three strokes over Justin Leonard at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif. A big reason for his victory was his putting prowess, including a 40-foot birdie putt in the final round.

"I don't know how to tell you how happy I am about that," Trahan told reporters. "Usually I'm right around 115 or 130 — somewhere around there — in putting every week. So it means a lot to me because obviously I set a goal for myself to work on my putting, and it obviously went in the right direction this week.

"I can only hope that it will continue to go in that direction."

January 23, 2008

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