Tigers Injury Causes Headaches for Others

By Associated PressJune 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
PGA TourTiger Woods was must-see TV at the U.S. Open, making birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, another clutch birdie the next day to extend the playoff and winning his 14th major on what amounted to one good leg.
 
Halfway across the country, ticket sales were brisk in St. Louis those two days.
 
Woods is the defending champion in the BMW Championship, a PGA TOUR playoff event in September that will be held at Bellerive. Fans in St. Louis havent seen him in person since a practice round for a World Golf Championship on Sept. 11, 2001. The tournament was canceled the next day.
 
Everything was going great'until yesterday, tournament director Jon Kaczkowski said Thursday. If youre a golf fan in St. Louis, youve got to feel snakebit.
 
That goes for everyone else in a golf industry that will have to do without its biggest star the rest of the year. Woods said Wednesday he would miss the remainder of the season to have reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
 
Television networks no longer can count on higher ratings driven by the worlds No. 1 player. Woods had planned to compete nine more times this year, and organizers must try to put a positive spin on any tournament that no longer has him as a headliner. His departure even affects bookmakers, who are making refunds on wagers that Woods will win two majors this year.
 
Maybe the biggest reminder that Woods is done for the year is that British-based William Hill lists Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia as the betting favorites for the British Open at 12-to-1.
 
A week ago, Woods was listed at 5-to-2.
 
When he plays, everyone in golf benefits, Kaczkowski said.
 
This is not the first time Woods has been on the disabled list. He missed two months in 2006 when his father died, and two months this year when he had surgery on his left knee to clean out cartilage.
 
His absence is most strongly felt in St. Louis, a golf-hungry town that again had dessert snatched away.
 
Weve had a few callers to our office that have asked for a refund, which is to be expected, Kaczkowski said. Im surprised we havent had more. Theyre deflated a little bit. They understand we have a great field and a great tournament. But they thought they would have a chance to see the greatest player maybe ever in their town.
 
The tournament typically is played in Chicago, but moved to St. Louis for this year in an experimental rotation. Kaczkowski said ticket sales are still double what they had been at Cog Hill, and corporate sales also doubled.
 
Even so, with weekly tickets still available, he estimated Woods absence will cost the tournament $500,000.
 
Its hard to say how much this is costing us in ticket sales, but the tickets feed into concessions and merchandise, he said.
 
A year ago, Woods won the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta to capture the first FedEx Cup. Ticket sales already were 20 percent ahead of last year, but daily tickets wont go on sale until August.
 
Thats a big time, the last eight weeks leading up to the tournament, said Todd Rhinehart, the tournament director. From our perspective, this has not impacted us yet. But it will be interesting to see how we do in August and September.
 
The TOUR Championship already has sold about 17,000 tickets, meaning 8,000 will be available in August. Rhinehart is hopeful that a revamped points system in the FedEx Cup playoffs at least will allow for more possibilities'and more drama'in the season finale at East Lake with $10 million for the winner.
 
TV ratings likely will see the biggest change.
 
Woods spikes ratings when he plays, even more when he is in contention, with ratings more than 50 percent higher last year on the weekend in tournaments where he competed. The U.S. Open went prime time last week in San Diego, and drew the highest ratings for a U.S. Open in six years.
 
NBC Sports might have gotten off easy. It broadcasts a dozen PGA TOUR events. Woods played in four of them and won three'the Accenture Match Play Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and U.S. Open.
 
Theres no way to quantify it, NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said Thursday. Yes, he has an impact. Hes the most dominant figure in any sport in America. He has an impact on ratings. But when you construct a golf package, you dont know that Tiger is going to compete. And you dont know that hes going to be in contention.
 
The rest of NBCs tour events are part of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The other is the Ryder Cup, which was popular even before Woods turned pro and is the one event that can get by without him.
 
CBS Sports televises half of the tours regular-season events, but ends the year showing Woods just twice'at the Buick Invitational, which he won by eight shots to start his season, and the Masters. It will not have him at the Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won a record six times, or the PGA Championship, the final major of the year where Woods is the two-time defending champion.
 
But there are 20 weeks left in the season, and Woods was scheduled to play nine times.
 
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said Woods absence likely will be felt early, but he noted that other story lines emerged during his two-month layoff after the Masters when Anthony Kim and Adam Scott were part of a youth movement winning tournaments.
 
He also pointed to tournaments with large attendance (John Deere Classic) and those that raise the most money for charity (Valero Texas Open), as ones Woods doesnt play, anyway.
 
Does that mean Tiger being out the rest of the year isnt going to influence the casual fan from watching? There will probably be a negative impact in that regard, Votaw said. But its not going to prevent us from growing.
 
One area where Woods could boost business is gambling.
 
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said the bookmaker was refunding money to those who bet on Woods winning two or three majors because he wont be playing the British Open or PGA Championship. Anyone who bet on him winning one was paid off. Those who bet on Woods winning no majors or all four have already lost.
 
Sharpe, however, said the volume of wagers could go up now that Woods isnt playing Royal Birkdale.
 
Its an enormously wide-open contest now, Sharpe said. Before, what was the point of backing Tiger? Because the odds were too short, and there was no point betting the field because he was going to win. That prevented a lot of people from betting. Now the punters will say they have a reasonable chance of winnings, and theyll get good odds.
 
But he is worried about one man from Scotland who recently bet 10,000 British sterling on 10-to-1 odds that Woods will match Jack Nicklaus record 18 majors by the end of 2010.
 
Hes probably sending Tiger some special medication for his leg, Sharpe said.
 
Related Links:
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    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.