An Opinion on Tiger and Barclays

By Brian HewittAugust 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
FACT: It was reported first on GOLF CHANNEL Thursday night that Tiger Woods will not play in The Barclays, the first event of the FedExCup playoffs later this month. Woods confirmed the report on his website Friday.
OPINION: For starters, the people at Barclays cant be happy about this especially since, as recently as last week, Woods said it was his intent to play all four playoff events.
Moreover, if you view Woods decision as a defection, it is going to be more difficult, going forward, for PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem to sell title sponsorships for playoff events if he cant guarantee Woods participation to the big money boys.
My opinion on this is Woods is still an independent contractor. When the TOUR makes a deal with Barclays, it cant promise to deliver Woods. Certainly the TOUR had to have made this clear to Barclays.
It is also my opinion that Woods, for a long list of reasons, has earned the right to play wherever and whenever he feels.
Meanwhile, in a back-loaded kind of way, Woods absence at Barclays could turn out to make the final week of the FedExCup that much closer and more exciting.
Given a choice, you can bet the people at FedEx (who put up more money on this venture than anybody else) will be happier with a TOUR Championship at which the FedExCup outcome is still hanging in the balance than a FedExCup finale in which the winner is little more than a Woods victory lap.
The only bone I have to pick with Woods on all of this was his repeated use of the word my intent when asked if he would play in all four playoff events. Sounds to me like some pretty serious parsing of the language.
On the other hand, the heat was brutal at Southern Hills last week at the PGA Championship where Woods won his 13th major and Woods has always said that winning is draining. He has now won the last two weeks in a row.
My body is spent, Woods said on his website. And I need a short break.
Giving Tiger the benefit of the doubt here, perhaps it was his intent all along to play Barclays, but he knew, from experience, how wiped out he can feel after winning a major.

FACT: Woody Austin said he outplayed Woods on Friday of the PGA Championship even though the numbers begged to differ. Austin shot 70, Woods 63.
OPINION: The story of Austins all-over-the-map comments in his Sunday press conference at Southern Hills still has long legs.
A lot of people are still wondering what Austin was drinking. Or thinking. Or smoking.
You have to admire Austins bravado, compared to, say, Rory Sabbatinis trash talk. And you cant help but be happy for Austins gutsy second-place finish that earned him three quarters of a million bucks and a spot on the Presidents Cup team.
But Austin spent a good part of his time in the press room last week trying to convince us he wasnt a loose cannon. Then he strained our credulity like a bad hamstring insisting that a 70 was better than a 63.
That having been said, Austin is a better player than most people know. And he will be a welcome and determined breath of fresh air on captain Jack Nicklaus U.S. team next month at the Presidents Cup matches in Montreal.

FACT: Sabbatini has fan escorted from course at Firestone Country Club.
OPINION: Still think Tigers unbeatable? Those were the words a fan directed at Sabbatini while Woods was dissecting Sabbatini Sunday en route to an 8-shot victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Something smells here. Its all right for Sabbatini to talk smack in his press conferences when it comes to Woods. But its not all right for the paying customers to point out Sabbatinis folly to his face during a round.
By all accounts the fan was not inebriated or overly obnoxious. Maybe he didnt read the fine print on the back of his ticket.
But if Sabbatinis going to dish it out in the protected arena of the press tent, he needs to know he should be prepared to take it on the golf course.

Related Links:
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