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.
 
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