We were always told Tiger Woods would propel golf into the mainstream, we just didn’t anticipate how brazen and bold the mainstream would be. Forget missing the cut at a meaningful tournament, the collateral damage pilling up in the wake of the Woods saga has now reached beyond the gates of Isleworth and into the rank-and-file.
Remember the days when the sports pages, not page 3, were where a fan would go to get their golf fix?
Adam Scott. It was the worst of times and there is nothing else Charles Dickens could pen to shine up this clunker prior to last Sunday.
The Aussie missed (10) more cuts than he made on the PGA Tour in 2009 (9), had one top-10 finish, and took a beating in the press when Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman made him a dubious pick for the Harding Park matches. But his Australian Open victory on Sunday salvaged his season, if not his career
Talk about Bizarro World, Woods started the year by winning and Scott started with his picture on the cover of the tabloids. We end it with Woods on the cover and Scott in the winner’s circle. Stranger than fiction, indeed.
Rickie Fowler. “The Main Event” willed himself to a Tour card, finishing tied for 15th at Q-School, and – along with the likes of Michelle Wie, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy – gives us a reason to look forward to 2010.
Not that the phenom needs any advice, but just in case: don’t let any swing gurus “fix” your swing or any fashion gurus “fix” your look. As Boo Weekley would say, you gotta dance with who brung ya.
Waste Management. There was a slice of good news coming out of Camp Ponte Vedra Beach last week when officials announced Waste Management would step in to title sponsor the circuit’s Phoenix stop, aka the world’s largest co-ed mixer (Insert your own house cleaning joke here).
Next up is Torrey Pines. A scenic seaside muni, good date on the schedule and a regular tee time for Woods and Phil Mickelson sell itself, right?
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Joe Baca. The California congressman pulled the plug on his push to honor Woods with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Although we certainly understand a politician’s desire to duck and cover given the current state of Woods’ world, but we have to question the original premise of the award.
The medal is the highest award Congress has to honor civilians for achievements and contributions to society, and while we applaud Woods’ charity work, to say nothing of his competitive accomplishments, we’re not sure he qualifies as an agent for social change.
Truth is, Woods has taken a page out of Michael Jordan’s playbook and largely avoided speaking out on controversial issues that don’t involve John Paramore’s stopwatch or the green complexes at Liberty National.
Democracy. Ballots for next year’s Player Advisory Council were mailed to Tour members on Friday. While some will dismiss the item as junk mail, the 16 players who will serve on next year’s PAC, and more importantly the two co-chairs, could have a significant impact on the future of the Tour.
Next year’s co-chairs will join two other player directors on the 2011 Policy Board, a group that will be faced with a new round of network television negotiations, a sluggish sponsorship environment and possibly a search for a new commissioner depending on how much longer Tim Finchem wants to occupy the big office.
Tim Finchem. Speaking of the commish, Sports Business Journal reported last month that Finchem took home $5.24 million in 2008. According to the report, $1.3 million of that was salary and the rest was performance-based bonuses.
Not a bad year considering only two players on the 2008 money list (Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods) made more on the golf course.
Tabloid press. The surreal lapsed into the sad this week when a magazine reportedly quoted two Tour regulars, Charles Warren and Ben Crane, taking shots at Woods’ “transgressions.”
Both golfers have denied ever being interviewed by the magazine and the story looses even more steam considering that Crane did not attend last week’s final stage of Q-School, where the magazine claims the interviews took place.
If the tabloid press was going to go full fantasy on us they may have wanted to pick a more believable duo. Crane is one of the nicest, and spiritual, players on Tour and Warren is among our regular answers to the question: Who is your favorite Tour player?
If the tabs wanted to make us think they should have fictitiously quoted Rory Sabbatini.