Tiger Woods as James Bond
The Germans have long held an appreciation for fine automobiles, and so when Woods, 10 shots back at one point, went to Formula One mode on the weekend and left Michael Campbell standing in cement, they cheered wildly. Standing tied with the New Zealander at 19-under on the 13th hole, Tiger dunked a seven iron from 175 yards and broke the backboard, effectively ending the game and expanding the legend.
Tiger banked a better than two million dollar appearance fee on top of the winners check, and hes worth every deutsche mark because he never, ever fails to put on less than a great show. Unfortunately for the folks at venerable Colonial Country Club, that show doesnt play in Fort Worth, where the tournaments sponsored by MasterCard, a competitor of American Express, which Tigers paid handsomely to endorse. Will there come a time when appearance fees will be allowed on The PGA Tour? One official told me that its an idea most players would frown upon because its simply anti-competitive. The Tour is based on merit, with nothing guaranteed.
In the end, even with Tiger playing the odd event abroad, hes ultimately putting money in the pockets of fellow players because he continues to raise the profile of the sport. The next TV package is expected to jump from $650 million to better than $900 million, meaning the 125th ranked player on the money list might earn in the neighborhood of three quarters of a million in a year versus some $400,000 right now. Earlier this year when Tiger played Dubai opposite Doral, I asked Billy Andrade if he thought players were concerned that Tiger was in a sense competing against the PGA Tour.
Look, the winner here is going to collect a check for $810,000, he explained with a smile. I dont think anyones thinking about Dubai.
Obviously, Tigers helped to make life pretty cushy for everyone on Tour. So while players wont likely ever vote for appearance fees in the U.S. to potentially draw Woods to more tournaments, neither will they begrudge him the huge sums hes able to command on a global basis. Whats more, Tiger sponsors like American Express and Nike certainly benefit when he pushes their brands on a worldwide basis.
Is Woods tainted in any way when he eschews the historic venue like Colonial to chase the big dollars? Absolutely not. Business is business and the demand for Woods is intense. Perhaps when Woods deal with Amex expires someday, MasterCard will make a competitive offer. Is that not how capitalism works?
Weve heard often that to the victor go the spoils. And arent we reminded of that at the end of every Bond movie?
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18