The Other Side of the Tiger Issue
A column I wrote implored Tiger Woods to play ' at least once ' everywhere possible on the PGA Tour. But the majority of you disagree, as I guessed you would. Most were very polite, a few were very rude, but almost everyone who had a contrary opinion was very thought-provoking.
One thing needs to be cleared up here ' I wasnt beseeching Tiger to stop playing in Asia. Consider this e-mail from Bob Scott in Idaho Falls, Idaho, who has an excellent point:
As you know, Tiger is half-Asian, Thai specifically. Thais have a pride in their country, their King, and their culture. Having a Thai wife myself, and half-Thai children, I see this affinity for things Thai, and Asian to a lesser degree, every day. Though overshadowed by the relationship with his black father, I know Tigers Thai Mom has an influence on him and has instilled this same sense of pride in the Thai/Asian side. I would suspect she likes to travel with Tiger to some of these Asian-venue tournaments and encourages him to play in them.
Moreover, she comes from Northeast Thailand, a rural and generally economically depressed region. Her status among Thais has risen beyond imagination. I would suspect there are some important Thais at these tournaments, people from a gentried Central Thailand social class, which she could only have dreamed about seeing, let alone socializing with, in the past.
The American media tends only to see the black in Tiger and probably overemphasizes that because of the commercial and cultural consequences. Yes, its great for young black kids to have a super role mode in a traditionally white sport. Nevertheless, Tiger is revered as a near god in Thailand. I think that topic could be an interesting story for us golf fans.
So suffice it to say that I would never suggest Tiger stop playing in that part of the world. He does so generally after the tour season ends. Woods is an excellent world ambassador for the sport of golf, in fact for Americans in general, and his trips to the land of his mother, or indeed to the region where his mother was raised, is truly admirable.
Many of you feel that Tigers American schedule is plenty sufficient. Some said that television is the only way to see him anyway ' it is virtually impossible to see him at the actual site where a tournament is being played. And that is at least partially correct. Of course, that is true when a rock star makes a public appearance ' a person who is stuck in the back row of an auditorium or football stadium must do most of their viewing via large screens. No more than 2,000 people can see a hole on a golf course, and when 50,000 people are clamoring for the opportunity to get up close and personal, something has got to give.
Bryce Nicol views the situation from an interesting vantage point ' New Zealand.
Tiger will play around 20 events in the States (if you include Skins and The Grand Slam), he writes. Surely that is plenty of opportunity for fans to travel to an event and view the best player in the world currently and possibly the world will ever see if he continues achieving what he is.
Just to give you an idea, if Australia gets the 2011 Presidents Cup, I will travel from NZ to Australia to see that as it is a opportunity to see the worlds best at the time. I also would love to travel to a major one day and there are many of us worldwide who are prepared to travel to see the best in the world playing in the States or Europe. So surely people in USA can share these players for a couple of events a year
Golf is a global game and there are fans worldwide that would love to see the worlds best players live, it would appear only Ernie, Retief and Tiger are prepared to travel to any extent. This, I believe, is the responsibility of all players to grow the game - not only in the USA but globally.
Most of you who agreed with me ' yes, there were some ' believe Woods should be required to play each event on the tour schedule every three, four or even 10 years. There are certain legal ramifications in regards to the players being independent contractors, which the tour insists is the case. But I believe this would be an excellent idea.
Now, I believe perhaps every five years would be ideal. It would be near impossible to do every five at tour stops where fields are just, say, 132 strong, but certainly tournaments which contain 156 players, or 144 players, would be able to handle the demand.
Finally, some of you made a very good point that the Milwaukees, the Houstons, the Hartfords, the John Deeres, etc., should not have a compulsory attendance requirement. Tigers repeated absences, many of you noted, have meant that more players have a chance to win that particular event
Finally, I did not mention Vijay Singh, Ernie Els or Phil Mickelson because they are not in the same class as Tiger ' and no one probably has been since Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer 40 years ago. Its possible that no one has EVER captured the worlds attention like Tiger Woods has since golf came here 100 years ago. Golf has never seen the over-all popularity that it has since Tiger came aboard. Palmer was as popular in golf circles, but golf simply did not enjoy such as wide a following as it does now.
One reason why this plea will probably fall on deaf ears ' in order for Tiger to occasionally add one of the lesser tournaments to his schedule, he would probably have to eliminate another place where he is accustomed to playing. And this is just not going to happen.
Email your thoughts to George White
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.