Tar Takes 5.14.18: Celtics/Cavs, Warriors/Rockets, Tiger Woods, Sports Gambling

LeBron James vs. Boston Celtics – David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Watch the Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!

We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today, we take a debate the following topics! (Click on links for segments)

Are the Boston Celtics a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Should the Boston Celtics move Kyrie Irving?

Who will win NBA Western Conference Finals: Rockets or Warriors?

Reactions from Tiger Woods’ T-11 finish at Players Championship

Should sports gambling be allowed in professional sports venues?

For more Tar Takes click the links below!

Should Tiger Woods fans be excited or worried after Players Championship?

Who is your NBA rookie of the year?

Who is your NBA coach of the year?

Is Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan deserving of his new contract?

Duke lands another 5-star recruit, should Tar Heel fans be worried?

Tar Takes Photo Credit:

Chris Paul vs. Golden State Warriors – Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

LeBron James vs. Celtics – David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods at Players – Photo via Lynne Sladky, Associated Press 

Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier – Photo via Getty Images

Sports Gambling – Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes: Should Tiger Woods’ fans be excited or worried after Players Championship?

Tiger Woods at the Players Championship (Photo via Getty Images)

Tiger Woods finished T-11 this weekend at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Woods finished the tournament at -11 after shooting a 69 (-3) on Sunday.

While Woods was on the fairway at 14, he was in a prime position to birdie the fourteenth with a wedge shot at an attackable pin. If he birdied, he would have moved to -15 and just three shots behind Webb Simpson. Instead, he spun the wedge off the front of the green and ended up with a bogey. Simpson then birdied and Tiger was six shots back and the comeback was over.

After Tiger’s weekend, should Woods’ fans be excited or worried after his performance at the Players Championship?

Ryan Lipton discusses Tiger Woods below on Tar Takes presented by The JR Report and Relevnt.

For more Tar Takes click the links below!

Who is your NBA rookie of the year?

Who is your NBA coach of the year?

Is Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan deserving of his new contract?

Duke lands another 5-star recruit, should Tar Heel fans be worried?

Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tiger Woods’ 2017 Comeback Story is Over


A few months ago I wrote two positive articles on Tiger Woods. One was before the Hero World Challenge and the other was after. The first discussed that Tiger wasn’t that far removed from being number one in the world. Yes, that Tiger wasn’t the dominant Tiger of old, but he was still the best player in the world, which, in my opinion, is still reachable. I then went on, in the second article, to discuss how he played in the Hero World Challenge. It was an impressive display, giving hope for the future. He played well throughout parts but lacked consistency. Something that could be fixed.

However, all that confidence has quickly faded. He came back a few weeks ago and played abysmally where he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. He then followed it up with another terrible performance at the Dubai Desert Classic. He shot a 77 and withdrew before his 2nd round because of back spasms. However, according to this timeline (courtesy of Golf Channel), Tiger Woods told the media that he was pain-free after his first round, despite Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, saying he experienced back spasms. It is not entirely clear what is going on with Tiger Woods. Are the back spasms an excuse for his poor play? Or are there actually issues with his back impeding him from playing? Obviously, both don’t look good, but for Tiger’s sake, let’s hope the complications with his back prove to be minor.

Injury Concerns

Tiger’s injury creates multiple concerns. The first makes us question if Tiger Woods will ever be healthy again. It is such a bummer, but it is the reality of sports. We have seen it happen to almost every elite athlete. Just recently, we saw Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning have to deal with it. They gave the impression that their careers would last forever, but at some point, they hit a wall. Whatever happens, they are not the same player they once were, and are just an everyday athlete. It doesn’t come gradually, it happens like an avalanche. Tiger Woods has always had injury issues, but we have seen him bounce back every time. However, as time goes on, this looks like the one injury that will catapult him face first into that wall.

The back injury is recurring. It doesn’t seem probable that he will ever be able to take on any sort of heavy workload, like playing in multiple tournaments in a row without his back acting up. It is worrisome because he obviously needs to be healthy to play, and with the recent news, the chances are higher that we may never see a healthy Tiger Woods again. If we do, it may not be for very long.

“There is no chance in hell that he is going to make the cut at the upcoming Masters.”

Lack of Reps

Secondly, Tiger’s injury prohibits him from being able to take necessary reps. It was apparent he needs all the reps he could get after watching him struggle through the last two tournaments. The only way he comes back is IF he stays healthy. Even IF he can stay healthy, there is no guarantee he becomes good again. The bummer is that Tiger has to miss the next two tournaments. Even if the injury is minor, which it seems like it is, it is costing him two chances to play, which are huge in the scheme of things. Without these valuable reps, there is no chance in hell that he is going to make the cut at the upcoming Masters. Tiger needs all the reps he can get, but with the recent struggle to stay healthy, it looks more and more likely there is not going to be a 2017 Tiger Woods comeback story. And if there is not one this year, then there probably won’t ever be one.

Hero World Challenge Recap: Tiger Woods

Photo via Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Tiger completed his first tournament in over 15 months and it came with many ups and downs.  Coming into the tournament, no one expected him to win, but with his -4 (through 8 holes) start on Thursday, people started thinking that was possible for him to win.  Expectations (my own included) skyrocketed.  But we have to remember that those expectations are absurd.  He is coming off a 15-month layover, 3 back surgeries, and he has a 40-year-old body.  Being able to maintain consistent play for 72 holes is almost impossible.  Whatever we saw out there we have to take with a grain of salt.


    First, I’ll start with the negatives of Tiger’s round because I think there were much fewer negatives than there were positives.  The big negative was Tiger’s inconsistent tee shots.  For years he has had issues with controlling his tee shots, and it was no different this week.  No matter if he was hitting with his 3-wood or his driver, his shot was erratic.  In the old days, Tiger was so dominant in every other aspect of his game that he was able to overcome hitting his tee shots all over the course.  However, he will not be able to be that dominant at the age of 40 to make up for the erratic play off the tee.  Secondly, his only other negative was his inconsistent play overall.  This probably stems from his inaccurate drives making him have to scramble often and early, which is no recipe for success after a long layoff.  His primary negative was inconsistency.  He is leading the field in birdies (at the moment depending on what Matsuyama does the rest of today) with 24 birdies, but he finished the tournament only 4 under par, which shows that he was +20 on all the other holes.  It shows what is still left in Tiger, but there is still a lot of work left to do.


    The positives are many.  The most important was Tiger’s ability to score.  He had 24 birdies throughout the 4 days, and as I mentioned above, it leads the field.  Scoring is the most important thing in golf, and he was able to do it at an elite level with 15 months off.  Just think about that for a second.  He led the field and hadn’t played in 15 months.  Absolutely incredible.  His short game looked very good (the most important aspect of golf), which is what people worry about the most when they comeback from a long layoff. His putting has some work to do. He still had some long birdie putts and some long par saves, but overall consistency is needed. Tiger has also adjusted his swing in his 15 months layoff.  He has a much calmer swing and it doesn’t rely on rotating with extreme force on his left knee.  This is a good sign because he realized he couldn’t have the same swing he had when he was in his 20’s and 30’s for two reasons.  One, he doesn’t have the body to swing at the pace and power necessary for the swing to work.  Secondly, his body will deteriorate in a matter of months if he kept swinging like he did.  The swing should provide him with more accuracy and help him off the tee.  If he can consistently hit fairways, then he will easily become the number one player in the world again. Lastly, most of Tiger’s mistakes came from fatigue and from the long layover.  He would go on strings of birdies, but just couldn’t stop himself from falling down the leaderboard.  He strung together bogeys, which is almost never the case for Tiger.  Once he gets his footing under him and starts playing more, those strings of doubles and bogeys will become pars and only bogeys.  He just didn’t have the mental sharpness to will himself to pars and bogeys when he found himself in tough situations.  His “Tiger” attitude will come back, helping him limit the bogeys. Therefore, his fire power (24 birdies) will be able to shine through once he eliminates the bad holes, which will lead to future tournament wins.

Last Note

    I said in my last article to never doubt Tiger Woods.  If anyone can do anything it is him.  He talked about how tough his recovery was in his post-round interview today.  He discussed how there were days he wanted to stop and couldn’t move, but he powered through it.  It was mentioned that he had to spend 3 hours doing daily rehab just so he was able to play the next day.  He is as motivated as any person in sports, and the results are going to show.  This tournament showed me that Tiger Woods is going to be an elite golfer and will make it back to being number 1 in the world. Hopefully, his return comes with a major win, but there is no guarantee on that front.  The 2013 Tiger Woods we saw will be back (that Tiger didn’t win a major, but was the #1 golfer in the world).  Everyone stay tuned and hopefully we can see him hoist another major trophy in the coming years.

Does Tiger Woods Have Anything Left in the Tank?

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Now that we know when Tiger will play next, December 1st in the Bahamas, we can discuss whether or not Tiger will be back.  Yes, he is  “back” playing the first week of December, but I mean back to being Tiger.  The dominant golfer that people were afraid to play.  Supposedly, so dominant that him being on the course increased other player’s performances by a stroke.  Just because of his intimidation.   That Tiger may never be back.  However, a Tiger that we saw in 2012 and 2013 who was the number one golfer in the world and won 5 times in 2013 is definitely plausible.  This Tiger woods competed in majors and held many leads going into weekends, but would falter late, a sight that was more uncommon than the Cleveland Browns winning a football game in 2016.

Why Tiger will not be back to being Tiger:

The first and most obvious reason why Tiger will never fully recover is because of his plethora of injuries.  He is coming off his third back surgery.  Most golfers know that there is nothing harder than playing with an injured back, and a third surgery on a back usually marks the end.  He also had reconstructive knee surgery and had to heal from a broken leg all coming from his Hollywood finish in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.  He has gone through it all when it comes to injuries, including a past achilles surgery, which will make his 40-year-old body feel closer to 50.

His body isn’t the only issue that may stop him from reaching the top.  The generation that he inspired is now old enough to compete and have become maybe one of the most competitive generations ever with Rory Mcilroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Ricky Fowler and Dustin Johnson.  These guys not only have incredible skill but also, like Tiger, are in great shape making it so they can compete at the top of their game for decades to come.  Most importantly, this generation’s confidence is impeccable.  In the past, Tiger would have a shot on everyone in the field because of his intimidation.  However, this field will not be intimidated at all and would most likely relish the opportunity to play against a great like Tiger.  The new generation is energetic and bold, so the Tiger effect will not be present what so ever.

In addition to intimidation, he may lose the mental edge he had on the field.  This is not quite the same idea as intimidation because that was outwardly felt by the field.  However, this is more of an inward trait.  The idea that he will not be himself between the ears.  The greatest attribute about Tiger Woods was his focus and discipline (which was taught by his father, who threw tees and tried to do anything possible to distract him while he was practicing).  No matter what was happening around him, he would have a “tiger” like focus on his one objective, hitting the best shot possible.  This manifested itself in never losing a 54 hole lead in a major (until YE Yang in 2009), his jaw-dropping shots, and countless clutch putts (Bay Hill 2008, 2009 and the US Open 2008).  Ever since the YE Yang moment, his mental edge has disappeared.  He has won tournaments, but in majors, he seems to fall out of contention early.  He used to be able to grind out solid rounds to stay in contention at majors, but now it seems his bad rounds lead him to fall out of contention by Friday or just missing the cut.  Even when he had a good start he would falter and become irrelevant by the time he would tee off on Sunday.

Why Tiger Could Comeback:

Firstly, I must say this.  If anyone could come back, it would be Tiger Woods.  He is at the level of a Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Michael Phelps.  People at this level often shatter expectations, so even though it is a long shot, people at this stature have been doing this their whole lives.  Luckily for Tiger, golf is a sport where people can still achieve greatness at an old age.  Jack Nicklaus won a major at 46, so that means Tiger would still have 6 more years of possibly winning a major, and with technology being greater than it was when Nicklaus played, it is possible he could consistently contend until the age of 50.  Tom Watson was one hole away from winning the 2012 British Open at 59 years old, so it is already been shown that it can be done.

Everyone seems to forget that Tiger was still a top player only 3 years ago.  Not 7 years ago like many people say (the end was thought to be 2009 and YE Yang), but he still won The Players, had the incredible chip in to win The Memorial and still won many other big tournaments.  The biggest major he missed out on was the 2013 Masters.  He seemed to be back to his old form, but on the 15th hole on Friday his approach hit the flagstick and kicked into the water.  It was extremely unlucky.  It was a beautiful approach and should have led to a tap-in birdie.  However, he had to re-drop and then later got penalized for an illegal drop (a spectator watching on his tv called in to penalize him) and he finished with a triple bogey instead of a birdie, which could have catapulted him into first place and probably what I think would have been his first major win since 2008.  Sadly, he was penalized and that seemed like the end of Tiger Woods competing in majors and like I have said, if he got that one major, it would be an entirely different story right now.  We would probably be talking about a great career comeback and him having more majors than Jack.  Nevertheless, none of that happened, but it is important to realize that it was not that long ago that he was competing as the number one golfer in the world.

After watching the interview with Charlie Rose he seems to be at peace with his past, but also looks extremely motivated.  He not only wants to get back out there, but he wants to dominate the field. Since he is at peace with his past, he will be able to solely focus on playing golf, which should do wonders for his game and his psyche. In addition, he talked about having to adjust his swing because of old age.  He is a smart player and will make sure he has the right swing.  He will do the research necessary to find the best technology, and most importantly work as hard as anyone to stay healthy for as long as he can. So if anyone could rehabilitate, adjust his swing and stay healthy for another decade, it’s Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods has taken more than a year off since he last played.  Before he tried to come back too early from past injuries and I think this time off, even though frustrating, will do him well when it comes to his future and present health.  This is his last chance, if he hurts his back again then that will be it, so it was very smart for him to take his time.

One last thing to consider is that Tiger stated that he is going to finish with more majors than Jack.  I don’t think Tiger would say this if he didn’t believe he would surpass him.  Tiger Wood’s newly found inner belief (which may have been gone since 2009) could be the missing ingredient for his success.  So if you have learned from the past, do not bet against Tiger Woods.

My Take:

I do not see him being able to get back to Jack’s record.  I just don’t see his body being able to sustain a dominant level for a 5 year period, which is probably what he would need to be able to break Jack’s record and win 5 more.  In addition, the competition is so stiff right now.  Even if he is able to be a top golfer again on the tour there is no guarantee that he will be able to win a major even if he is able to contend at a high level for a few years.  However, I’m telling you, if he is able to get that first one.  Whether it be domination, or him being lucky, he will rattle off a string of majors.  That one major will unlock the Tiger Wood’s of old and I would almost guarantee that he would go on to tie or break Jack’s record.  When it is all said and done, Tiger will either finish with his 14 majors or get to Jack’s mark of 18 and maybe 19.  There is no in-between.