The Other Side of the Tiger Issue
A column I wrote implored Tiger Woods to play ' at least once ' everywhere possible on the PGA Tour. But the majority of you disagree, as I guessed you would. Most were very polite, a few were very rude, but almost everyone who had a contrary opinion was very thought-provoking.
One thing needs to be cleared up here ' I wasnt beseeching Tiger to stop playing in Asia. Consider this e-mail from Bob Scott in Idaho Falls, Idaho, who has an excellent point:
As you know, Tiger is half-Asian, Thai specifically. Thais have a pride in their country, their King, and their culture. Having a Thai wife myself, and half-Thai children, I see this affinity for things Thai, and Asian to a lesser degree, every day. Though overshadowed by the relationship with his black father, I know Tigers Thai Mom has an influence on him and has instilled this same sense of pride in the Thai/Asian side. I would suspect she likes to travel with Tiger to some of these Asian-venue tournaments and encourages him to play in them.
Moreover, she comes from Northeast Thailand, a rural and generally economically depressed region. Her status among Thais has risen beyond imagination. I would suspect there are some important Thais at these tournaments, people from a gentried Central Thailand social class, which she could only have dreamed about seeing, let alone socializing with, in the past.
The American media tends only to see the black in Tiger and probably overemphasizes that because of the commercial and cultural consequences. Yes, its great for young black kids to have a super role mode in a traditionally white sport. Nevertheless, Tiger is revered as a near god in Thailand. I think that topic could be an interesting story for us golf fans.
So suffice it to say that I would never suggest Tiger stop playing in that part of the world. He does so generally after the tour season ends. Woods is an excellent world ambassador for the sport of golf, in fact for Americans in general, and his trips to the land of his mother, or indeed to the region where his mother was raised, is truly admirable.
Many of you feel that Tigers American schedule is plenty sufficient. Some said that television is the only way to see him anyway ' it is virtually impossible to see him at the actual site where a tournament is being played. And that is at least partially correct. Of course, that is true when a rock star makes a public appearance ' a person who is stuck in the back row of an auditorium or football stadium must do most of their viewing via large screens. No more than 2,000 people can see a hole on a golf course, and when 50,000 people are clamoring for the opportunity to get up close and personal, something has got to give.
Bryce Nicol views the situation from an interesting vantage point ' New Zealand.
Tiger will play around 20 events in the States (if you include Skins and The Grand Slam), he writes. Surely that is plenty of opportunity for fans to travel to an event and view the best player in the world currently and possibly the world will ever see if he continues achieving what he is.
Just to give you an idea, if Australia gets the 2011 Presidents Cup, I will travel from NZ to Australia to see that as it is a opportunity to see the worlds best at the time. I also would love to travel to a major one day and there are many of us worldwide who are prepared to travel to see the best in the world playing in the States or Europe. So surely people in USA can share these players for a couple of events a year
Golf is a global game and there are fans worldwide that would love to see the worlds best players live, it would appear only Ernie, Retief and Tiger are prepared to travel to any extent. This, I believe, is the responsibility of all players to grow the game - not only in the USA but globally.
Most of you who agreed with me ' yes, there were some ' believe Woods should be required to play each event on the tour schedule every three, four or even 10 years. There are certain legal ramifications in regards to the players being independent contractors, which the tour insists is the case. But I believe this would be an excellent idea.
Now, I believe perhaps every five years would be ideal. It would be near impossible to do every five at tour stops where fields are just, say, 132 strong, but certainly tournaments which contain 156 players, or 144 players, would be able to handle the demand.
Finally, some of you made a very good point that the Milwaukees, the Houstons, the Hartfords, the John Deeres, etc., should not have a compulsory attendance requirement. Tigers repeated absences, many of you noted, have meant that more players have a chance to win that particular event
Finally, I did not mention Vijay Singh, Ernie Els or Phil Mickelson because they are not in the same class as Tiger ' and no one probably has been since Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer 40 years ago. Its possible that no one has EVER captured the worlds attention like Tiger Woods has since golf came here 100 years ago. Golf has never seen the over-all popularity that it has since Tiger came aboard. Palmer was as popular in golf circles, but golf simply did not enjoy such as wide a following as it does now.
One reason why this plea will probably fall on deaf ears ' in order for Tiger to occasionally add one of the lesser tournaments to his schedule, he would probably have to eliminate another place where he is accustomed to playing. And this is just not going to happen.
Email your thoughts to George White
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry