These are strange times in golf. The two biggest names in the game say no to a PGA Tour mainstay which is essentially in their own backyard ' Doral - and instead travel to Dubai to tee it up. Of course its about money and sponsorships, but what isnt in sports?
Yes, golf fans, the run up to Augusta National begins in theMiddle East?
Ive heard some talk show barkers suggest that what Davis Love III did in having the heckler ejected was questionable, that maybe golfers are pampered, living in a protective bubble. Please. The idea that golf should join the United Nations of so-called real sports with its raucous fans and macho posturing is idiotic. Golfs about the last bastion of sanity in the world of fun and games. No steroid freaks, no drug busts, generally educated athletes whod sooner call a penalty on themselves than call attention to their exploits - those may not be the ingredients Vince McMahon or dare I say the NFL or MLB might extol, but they continue to work exceedingly well in golf.
Theres a scene in the upcoming movie, Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius in which Jones is asked by a jealous agitator why he doesnt cash in on his stardom. Jones, eyes burning, explains that the word amateur is rooted in Latin, meaning to love, in his case, to love the game. Once you play for money, says Jones, you cant love it anymore.
Among the many virtues of Tiger Woods is this unassailable one: no matter how much money they pay him, no matter how much he has in the bank, he never, ever, ever tanks it, whether hes playing Dubai or Doral or Dallas or Deutsche Bank.
While were on the subject of healthy perspective, check out the story of Champions Tour competitor Vicente Fernandez. He grew up north of Buenos Aires with six brothers and two sisters. His father managed a pig farm until an accident involving a horse forced him to leave the job. They moved into the city, near a golf course, where Vicente caddied. His earnings helped feed his family. Vicente grew up and would win five times on The European Tour and four more on The Champions Tour. With due respect to the great Bob Jones, Vicente Fernandez played for money because he had to. And Vicente Fernandez loves the game for all its given to him.