Five Hopes for the Holidays


Sitting here this week thinking about the absence of Tiger Woods in the stroke play winners circle this year and questioning the whereabouts of Annika Sorenstam this week at the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions has me wishing for things already during the holiday season.
First - If Hank Haney is going to be Tigers swing guru for the foreseeable future, then can they find some magic before the Mercedes Championships so Woods can find his way out of the woods off the tee and get back to his winning ways? Im one of those who is amazed by a second place finish despite hitting only 37% of the fairways for the week at a tournament set up as tough as the Tour Championship, but Ive always liked it better when hes winning.
It doesnt have to be every week like the old days, I just want Vijay, Ernie, Retief and Phil to sweat their way to the finish line.
Second - If Annika Sorenstam is going to take a week or two off, fine. But lets make sure we play each and every event that the LPGA deems a big tournament. Her absence this week at a tournament called the Tournament of Champions hurts the event badly and hurts the tours image as well.
Annikas the best thing to happen to womens golf since Nancy Lopez. Maybe its not all Annikas fault. Is the LPGA massaging its best piece of gold in the best way possible? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the case, given the uncertainty of her longevity from here on out, lets get together and make sure Annikas schedule works for everyone. Sometimes the facts hurt. If Annikas not playing - I take it that its not a big enough event.
Third - If John Daly truly enjoyed his rebirth on the PGA Tour then lets stick with it shall we?! Face it, you can love John or leave John, but a John Daly who challenges the superstars for victories (remember Vijay and the Buick Open?) is as good for the game and its ratings as Tiger Woods is carrying a 3-shot lead into Sunday. John was fun to watch this year because he was really WORTH watching this year. So John, work out, work on your game and work on making 2005 your best year yet!
Fourth - Please...every American PGA Tour star who dreams to play in next years Presidents Cup or the 06 Ryder Cup...find some guys at your home club with game and play some alternate-shot and best-ball matches! It certainly cant hurt.
These Cup matches are beginning to taste as bad as a cup of four day old coffee. Again, make it a part of your daily thought process. Say it with me...FOURBALLS...FOURSOMES. Maybe then it wont be a FORE-gone conclusion that the USA leaves with their heads down.
Fifth - Message to all those who know Greg Norman, Loren Roberts, Jay Haas and others with big name recognition who have or will soon find their way to 50. Tell them, beg them to play some Champions Tour events next year. Jacobsen and Stadler did wonders during the weeks they played. Jerry Pate was a breath of fresh air as well. Its not that the Champions Tour is bad...its just that these guys will make it better. And if new blood isnt a given on the Champions Tour (as Haas seems to be indicating in this instance), then the tours future will be a bit cloudy.
One final thing...Heres hoping Haas son Bill makes it through PGA Tour Qualifying so he and his Dad can tee it up together next year. Keep in mind that Craig Stadlers win at the B.C. Open in 2003 keeps him exempt on the PGA Tour through 05 so with son Kevin earning his way as a Nationwide Tour grad, next year could be a weekly rendition of The Father-Son Challenge! And wouldnt that be fun for fans and ratings.
Enjoy the holidays yourself...and thanks for your support in reading this column!
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann