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Should Tiger be playing in Dubai or at Pebble Beach

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Tiger Woods is playing in the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic this week. Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is contesting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Where should Woods be playing? Rex Hoggard and Mercer Baggs weigh in with their takes.

By REX HOGGARD

As a rule, the PGA Tour is always better with Tiger Woods. But there are exceptions, like Augusta National and this week’s stop at storied Pebble Beach Golf Links.

If the comic schtick of Bill Murray and friends isn’t your cup of Irish coffee, sweeping views of Stillwater Cove and the iconic 18th hole is enough to warm any snowed-in Midwesterner’s heart.

Last year that vista got even better with the addition of Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course and Chamber-of-Commerce weather that seemed very un-Crosby-like.

There are a handful of events – the majors, TPC Scottsdale, the Heritage – that transcend marquee, and Pebble Beach counts among that set. More importantly, however, it is best for the growth of the global game that Woods jumped a G4 to this week’s European Tour stop in Dubai.

For the first two rounds officials have paired Woods (world No. 3) with Nos. 1 (Lee Westwood) and 2 (Martin Kaymer), a headline grabbing three-ball that will draw the attention of even the most casual golf fans.

Would the Tour be better off if Woods was making the rounds on the Monterey Peninsula this week? Sure. Is golf better off with him in the high-profile head-to-head in Dubai? No doubt.

By MERCER BAGGS

I have no problem with Tiger playing in Dubai this week. He's made countless millions of dollars in his dealings with the country and officials stood by him when many others bailed.

But even if Dubai were contested at a different date – one weeks removed from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – it's doubtful Woods would still compete on the Monterey Peninsula.

Despite winning the AT&T in 2000 and his historic U.S. Open triumph the same year, Woods has expressed his disdain for the 5+-hour rounds on multiple courses, the consistently bad weather and the inconsistent putting surfaces.

Even if his schedule permitted an appearance at Pebble – where he hasn't played since 2002 – Woods would likely pass. And that's a shame.

The PGA Tour can make millions of dollars – and players can make sponsorship money as well – by playing nice with the corporate bigwigs. It's not the lame 'celebrities' in the Pro-Am, it's the CEOs that the Tour caters to.

This is an important financial week for the Tour and all hands should be on deck.

If Dubai and Pebble are ever held on separate dates, Woods should compete in both. He won't. But he should.

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