The PGA TOUR comes to the classic Riviera Country Club this week and on the question of whether or not Riviera has lost some luster over the years, John feels it has because the West Coast schedule has become so busy with the presence of the WGC-Accenture Match Play. For many years, the Bob Hope Classic, AT&T Pebble Beach, and the L.A. Open were the must-play events with the L.A. Open being on the list because of Riviera but now that there are so many high quality events on the West Coast schedule, the Northern Trust Open has inevitably lost some luster.
He felt that Tiger Woods should have putted out before Phil Mickelson to get out of Phil’s way because Tiger knew he was going to lose and he knew Phil was going to win. In the 1996 Masters, Greg Norman got out of Nick Faldo’s way on a day when Norman shot 78 to lose a six shot lead in the final round. In John’s opinion, Tiger did not get out of the way in a move of gamesmanship to say that he was still Tiger Woods and he was not going to get out of anyone’s way for any reason. Tiger is someone who is conscious in every decision he makes and this was no different.
Tiger Woods deserves a lot of credit for adding The Honda Classic to his schedule because it helps his new hometown and the fact that he is playing three straight weeks helps the PGA TOUR because he will be playing in their events, he will be helping himself because he is going to get some important reps before The Masters, and everyone involved benefits from this.
To be fair to Tiger and everyone else, you cannot play every week and every event. That being said, he does not agree with big-name players skipping PGA TOUR events to chase appearance fees around the world. Tournament organizers extend invites to young amateurs in order to build relationships but they understand that if they become big stars, those players will not necessarily express loyalty to those early invites. If he could pick another event that Tiger will add to his schedule, he would pick the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and actually thought that Tiger would add the event in 2011. Tim Finchem has wanted Tiger to play in New Orleans for many years and John hopes that Tiger will play there at some point.