NAPLES, Fla. – The scene at the Shark Shootout Saturday was familiar but with a surreal twist.
We’ve seen players before parade out of the scoring area a little dazed by what Tiger Woods was doing.
We saw it when he was beating them by 15 shots at the U.S. Open and 12 shots at the Masters and when he was winning four consecutive major championships.
We’ve never seen it quite like we saw it after the second round of the Shark Shootout.
Friday night’s news that Woods is going to take an “indefinite break” from professional golf to tend to his personal problems was the big buzz here. Players have been mostly limited in their comments about the Woods' controversy the last two weeks, but they spoke more freely in the wake of the statements Woods released Friday
“I think there’s a little bit of shock,” Graeme McDowell said of the two-week saga. “Humans make mistakes, but I’m really just shocked. He’s had such a clean-cut image for so long. For it all to explode like it has is scary. Really, it’s shock as a reaction, not disappointment in him, as much, but in what it has caused. It’s an unbelievable, amazing story.”
Players aren’t sure what “indefinite” means. They aren’t sure what it means to title sponsorship renewals in a tough economy.
“It’s a scary word,” McDowell said. “I think we all agree it’s scary for sure. Golf without Tiger would be a lot less prosperous for all, I would imagine.”
Nick Price was asked how a lengthy absence by Woods might effect the Tour's bottom line after fluorishing for so long with Woods out front.
“I don’t think it’s going to help, especially in a recession,” Price said. “It’s hard enough now to find sponsors. Not having Tiger in the field, for however long it is, that’s going to be a challenge.”