Tiger a Benefactor Not a Host

By Mercer BaggsAugust 28, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTON, Mass. -- The tournament doesnt bear Tiger Woods name. He has nothing to do with its operation. But, in essence, this is Tigers PGA Tour event.
This $5-million championship is in fact sponsored by Deutsche Bank, a company which has strong ties to the worlds No. 1-ranked player.
Woods has played in the European Tours Deutsche Bank-SAP Open the last five years, winning on three occasions. He receives, purportedly, in excess of $2 million just for showing up in Germany.
That, of course, is not the case in this event, as the PGA Tour does not allow appearance fees. The only money Woods will see will be whatever he wins this week, and the charitable contributions distributed to his Tiger Woods Foundation, which is the primary beneficiary of this event; hence, the Woods affiliation.
The tour came to me and asked me if I wanted to be involved in a tour event. Yes, to a certain extent. Yeah, to have my foundation involved, thats fantastic, Woods said. But to be personally involved in the event, theres so many different responsibilities that come with it.
Making money for his foundation pleases Tiger; running an event first-hand ' like Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill, Jack Nicklaus at the Memorial, or Byron Nelson in Dallas ' to do so does not.
Woods is already directly involved with the Target World Challenge, which is played out of Sherwood Golf Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif. ' Woods home state.
The unofficial tournament, contested in December, is in its fifth year of existence, and also benefits his foundation. And each year, its Tigers job to secure 15 ' not including himself ' of the top players in the world to make up the elite field.
It's not something he enjoys doing for such a small contingency, let alone for a field of 156 like this week.
I dont want to have to do that, he said. They have other things to do that specific week, whether its taking time off because its their scheduled time off or its their family or whatever the reasons are ' I understand that. I dont want to be put in a position where I have to ask guys to play ' its just not me. I feel uncomfortable with that.
This week, Woods only worries circle around golf. And if youre one to listen to critics there is a fair amount to worry about.
The major season is done and Tiger doesnt have a cup, a jug, a jacket or a gold medal. In fact, hes won only one trophy ' at the Western ' over the last five months ' a span of 10 events.
His frustrations have boiled over the last two weeks. He twice bypassed the media at the PGA Championship, and has cursed and slammed his clubs into apparent submission.
He says his game is gradually getting better. I hit my irons really well (last week at the NEC Invitational). Just didnt make enough putts, he said.
The Deutsche Bank Championship will be his 15th tour event of the season ' and his last for a while.
Having played four of the last five weeks, Woods said he will take a month off following Mondays tournament conclusion. He will next be seen outside of Atlanta for the WGC-American Express Championship in early October.
It will be nice to kind of put away the sticks for a little bit and just get some rest. Ive been going pretty hard this summer, he said.
Even when Ive been away from the tour, Ive been at home practicing and preparing. So I havent really taken a big break, and its nice to be able to take the big break.
Woods enters play at the TPC of Boston a four-time winner on tour this season and still in contention to capture his fifth straight Player of the Year award. Hes also about $400,000 behind Davis Love III at the top of the money list.
Still, he said regardless of where he stands in either race it is unlikely that he will alter his remaining schedule.
After the AmEx, he is likely to play in the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World in late October, and the Tour Championship two weeks thereafter. In between the two is the Chrysler Championship in Tampa, which could be a possibility.
It would be hard to add one in there. I have a busy fall, he said in reference to both his on- and off-course responsibilities. Weve got three million-dollar first-place prizes coming up: This week, AmEx and the Tour Championship. I mean, if you play well in all three of those, then that should take care of itself.
This weeks winner ' in a field which features three of the top five players in the world and five of the top 13 ' will cash a $900,000 paycheck. Woods saw the par-71, 7,415-yard course, which was opened in June and has been renovated since then to meet tour standards, for the first time Wednesday.

'I thought the course would be in a little bit better shape than it is,' he said after playing the front nine. 'But considering how much play they've gotten, it's understandable. It'll be interesting to see how we handle some of the shots out of the divots, that's the key, you can't stay out of them.'
Thursday, he got in the full 18 in his pro-am.
The back nine is much more of a driving nine than the front nine. The front nine has got some weird angles and stuff, and you can tell where they put some of the tees, the hole wasnt designed for that, for that specific tee box, he described.
Woods said when he approaches a new venue that its all about feel. And he has tried these last two days to acclimate himself to the layout, particularly around the greens.
Every green has its own specific quadrants you need to get the ball into. And if you hit the ball in that quadrant, a lot of balls will funnel towards the holes, he said. But if you miss, obviously, you are going to be in a world of hurt trying to get up-and-down in 2.
With all that said, I think the guys are going to shoot some pretty good numbers this week.
And if Tiger can get his putter working properly, then the man whose name is not officially on the tournament label can be the first to put his name on the tournament trophy.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -- Deutsche Bank Championship
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.