We Got To Talk to Tiger! Pictures And More From Aronimink

We Got To Talk to Tiger! Pictures And More From Aronimink

Alert: Tiger Woods is sort of, maybe, kind of trying to grow a beard. And members of the media could be overheard scoffing at it. No respect, I tell ya', no respect...

During his Tuesday afternoon press conference from inside the AT&T National Media Center, the fourteen-time Major Champion expressed that while his recovery from injury is going well, he remains unwilling to set any form of a timetable in regard to a return to golf.  Woods was quick to admit that he knew there existed a 50-50 chance of further damaging his still-healing knee and Achilles tendon when he chose to participate in the Players Championship in May. After re-injuring both areas during his first nine holes, Woods was forced to withdraw from The Players. He has played neither a competitive nor practice round since. Still, he was nice enough to drop into Newtown Square and help promote this week's tournament.

What we asked Tiger, practice round anecdotes and pictures from inside the Aronimink Golf Club after the jump…
Believing his own stubbornness has cost him valuable time and health, Tiger insisted that he will not make the same mistake of "rushing back too soon" during this particular rehabilitation. As such, Woods' participation in next month's British Open remains a mystery even to him.

As for his progress, Woods traversed the grounds yesterday without crutches or a walking boot, and claimed he is no longer using either at any point in the day. Instead, he's been in the gym working on regaining the strength and "explosiveness" he needs to play golf at the level to which he's accustomed.

"We're in the gym every day, most of the time two times, sometimes three times a day, and it's the whole chain. It's not just the leg, it's the whole body," said Woods. "We're testing [the leg] every day to see what it feels like...And each day it's gotten better. We haven't had any setbacks, which has been good, but still, it's not as explosive or as strong as I'd like it to be."

In terms of practice, Tiger clarified that the only golf balls he has hit since May have been those struck with his putter. As such, we hopped in to ask him about the state of his game prior to the injury and where he thinks it will be moving forward.

The700Level: "Tiger, prior to the injury, the talk was mostly about you implementing new swing changes. At the time, you kept saying you were 'close' to putting it all together. How close were you prior to the injury and how much has this set you back for when you are ready to hit balls again?"

Tiger Woods: "Well, I was close to putting it all together, but I didn't have the reps. That's going on now. I haven't had the reps. The only thing I've been able to do is work on it mentally, which as people have already proven, and scientifically has been proven is how you get better anyways, but then I also need the physical reps. [Swing coach Sean Foley] and I, we've worked on a game plan of what I need to do when I come back and progression I need to make, and I just can't wait to be able to do it, to try and actually implement all those changes and put it together and then come out there and do it. That's the fun part. I just need to get to that point."

Unfortunately, due to time and demand, we were unable to ask him a follow-up, as it's still sort of puzzling me as to how one works on their golf swing "mentally." Oh well, I guess that's why he has fourteen majors and I spend time blaming my clubs.

As for those actually playing in the tournament, practice rounds on the PGA Tour are shockingly awesome, at least for the gallery. Since the bulk of the crowds won't be pouring in until the tournament's official start on Thursday, fans can walk nearly anywhere unencumbered and even interact with the pros during their work on the course. For example, Chris DiMarco, a veteran and three-time winner on the tour, told us he hit a four-iron of the 218-yard, par-3 14th tee.

We asked, he told. Say what you want about golf, but it's rare to have that kind of access to professional athletes and have them be so overwhelmingly cordial toward those in attendance. The signing of autographs is actually quite the big deal on the tour, and a responsibility enough the pros take seriously. So next time a frustrated power forward spits on your kid, think about getting them interested in golf.

Plus, you should see the gear these guys fool around with. The practice green is surrounded by dozens of every model putter currently manufactured (picture below), and the driving range is stocked with different golf balls from different manufacturers. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but these aren't your ordinary range balls we're talking about here with a Titleist logo stamped on the side. No, these guys are pounding brand new Pro-V1s right off the range, while the rest of us slapping around decade-old scraped and scratched yellow rocks off artificial mats in need of repair. Yes, yes, I'm blaming the equipment again.

Anyway, for those of you planning on making your way to Aronimink this weekend, the Smucker's "Uncrustable" appears your cheapest option in terms of food ($2.50), while the Morton's Steak sandwich remains the most alluring (if you have to ask, you can't afford it). On the beverage front, unless you can find shade, beer remains a dicey proposition ($6.50 and up).

If you keep scrolling, you'll see were able to snag some pretty cool pictures of the grounds at Aronimink. Thanks to Jonathan Burns for being handy with the camera.

We'll be out at the AT&T National all week and checking in with reports. The tournament officially begins Thursday morning. The gates will open at 6:30 a.m. and the first tee shot is scheduled for 7:10 a.m. This will be the last PGA Tour stop in the Philadelphia area until the playing of the 113th United States Open at Merion in 2013. Enjoy yourselves.

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

The struggling New York Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, ending his tenure in the middle of its seventh season.

General manager Garth Snow named assistant GM/coach Doug Weight as Capuano's interim replacement. Snow told reporters Tuesday that the Islanders weren't where they wanted to be in the standings and that everyone's disappointed in their performance his season.

"At the end of the day organizationally I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back," Snow said, adding that the team will begin a full-time coaching search now.

Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of firing Capuano a day after beating the Boston Bruins 4-0. The Islanders were 17-17-8 and are in last place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.

Capuano had been behind the Islanders bench since 2010 and was the fourth-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins, Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Dave Tippett of the Arizona Coyotes. Capuano's 482 games and 227 wins rank second in franchise history behind four-time Stanley Cup-winning Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour.

"I don't know that Jack fell short of expectations," Snow said. "When you're a coach in this league sometimes you're a victim of different circumstances."

Snow signed Andrew Ladd to a $38.5 million, seven-year contract in July and the winger has been a disappointment with 12 points in 41 games. The Islanders have also dealt with some injuries and waived veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak to send him to the minors.

The Islanders under Capuano went 227-194-64 and made three playoff appearances. They have not lived up to playoff expectations this season and new majority owner Jon Ledecky is expected to consider major organizational changes this offseason.

Snow said he takes "100 percent" responsibility for the underachievement but that he doesn't worry about his own job security. He said he has full confidence in Weight, the coaching staff and players to "turn this ship around."

Weight, 45, has been with the Islanders in an executive and coaching capacity since retiring in 2011. Snow said his relationship with all players, including Ladd, was positive and that he called captain John Tavares and others to inform them of the "organizational decision" to fire Capuano.

Snow said assistant coach Bob Corkum would move down from the press box to the bench as part of the restructuring.

Mike Tomlin: Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for locker room live stream

Mike Tomlin: Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for locker room live stream

PITTSBURGH — The father in Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown's opted to livestream on social media after a taut playoff victory over Kansas City.

The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with one of his team's biggest stars forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts.

A characteristically blunt Tomlin called Brown's decision to broadcast more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh's giddy locker room to the world -- a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities -- over Kansas City "foolish," "selfish" and "inconsiderate."

"Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows," Tomlin said Tuesday.

"So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won't punish us."

Tomlin took responsibility for his choice of words, though he was unaware of being filmed as he spoke.

During Tomlin's brief remarks he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day's head start on the Steelers by virtue of beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh outlasted Kansas City 18-16.

"The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, it's something that I personally embrace," Tomlin said.

"It's something that we as a team and organization embrace. So that's why the language, specifically, in terms of the content, is regrettable."

So too is the action of the talented if sporadically diva-like Brown. The former sixth-round pick has evolved from raw project into one of the NFL's best wide receivers.

This season he became only the second player in league history to post four consecutive 100-catch seasons.

His work ethic is universally lauded even as his Q-rating has skyrocketed. Brown can be found on TV pitching everything from soda to credit cards to video games.

The player who -- for reasons he hasn't yet disclosed -- occasionally refers to himself as "Ronald " also has a devoted social media presence, with more than 1.5 million following on Instagram and another 650,000 on Facebook, many of whom got an eyeful and an earful as the Steelers celebrated their first trip to the AFC title game in six years.

While Tomlin has "very little concern" about the content of the video, he has plenty of concern over Brown's lack of judgment.

"You wear on your teammates when they routinely have to answer questions about things that aren't preparation or football-related," Tomlin said.

"It's our desire for him and for everyone to be great teammates, as well as great players. He is a great player. He is a hardworking player. He is respected, largely, in the locker room for those things. But incidences such as this, don't help him in that regard."

The Steelers have grown accustomed to Brown's flights of fancy, whether it's posing for the Mannequin challenge while meeting with reporters, wearing eye-opening (and fine threatening) cleats or his over-the-top touchdown celebrations.

The fallout this time around has been mixed. Long snapper Greg Warren said Monday "AB is AB, he can do what he wants to do."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed disappointment in Brown during Roethlisberger's weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan.

Either way, the fact they were forced to respond to questions about Brown before the biggest game of the season only reinforces Tomlin's point, though Tomlin stressed Brown is hardly the only athlete capable of becoming a distraction.

"Those things don't apply exclusively to Antonio," Tomlin said. "It's a global thing in regards to professional sports. I think that's why oftentimes you see great players move around from team to team.

"And I definitely don't want that to be his story. I am sure he doesn't want that to be his story. So, he has to address these things that put him and us in positions from time to time, in settings such as this, where it needs to be addressed."

Tomlin didn't outline the internal discipline Brown faces other than to say it will not affect his availability this weekend.

New England (15-2) pulled away from the Steelers (13-5) in the second half of a 27-16 victory in Pittsburgh on Oct. 23, a game Roethlisberger missed while recovering from surgery on his left knee.

Roethlisberger will be around this time. And so will Brown, who will almost certainly have his phone turned off late Sunday evening regardless of the outcome.

"He has to grow from this," Tomlin said. "He has to."

Notes
LB James Harrison is dealing with shoulder and triceps injuries and could be limited early in the week. ... TE Ladarius Green remains in the concussion protocol more than three weeks after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit against Cincinnati.