The Other Side of the Tiger Issue


You have spoken. And what you have said, basically, is butt out of Tigers schedule-making duties.
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.
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