Tiger Woods was fined by the European Tour this week for expectorating – it’s a word, look it up – on the 12th green Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic while Lee Westwood has turned a personal decision into an assault on the PGA Tour’s policies.
Both got calls they didn’t want, which seems about right the same week the PGA Tour rebrands itself officially cell phone friendly.
Hogan’s Alley. In the age of TPCs and 7,500-yard behemoths, Riviera Country Club is a testament to creative architecture and challenging choices.
At 315 yards, the Riv’s 10th played to a virtual par push in 2010 (3.932) and had 153 of the world’s best attempt to drive its wildly pitched putting surface with just seven managing to pull it off.
“It's just old-time golf at its best, and like I say, this is one of the best,” Steve Stricker said this week at the Northern Trust Open.
Let’s hope the PGA of America remembers that the next time they go looking for a West Coast PGA Championship venue.
Pop quiz: What do Davis Love III, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Larry the Cable Guy have in common, beyond an affinity for turkey jerky and detailed knowledge of how to skin a deer?
Answer: All three are said to have written testimonials for Boo Weekley’s new book due out on March 29. Truth is, of all the golf books that come across our desk, Weekley’s tome is the one we’re most interested in reading.
Back to the Black. According to reports, the Tour is considering adding Bethpage Black to an already solid rotation for The Barclays.
Although we’d hate to see Bethpage fall out of the U.S. Open rotation, it would be nice to see the Grand Dame of public golf play the way nature intended, without the aid of squeegees and Sub-Air.
Captain creative. We have not been shy in this space taking Corey Pavin to task for the United States’ loss last year in Wales, but the 2010 skipper went outside the box this week when asked about expanding the matches to four days, going one better and suggesting the respective PGAs add an additional match to each session.
“It would be great if you could play five matches each session (instead of four),” Pavin said. “The players like it a lot more because they get to play. When you have to sit eight guys down every session, it's hard. That's a lot of guys to sit down, and you're sitting down a third of your team.”
Of course, had they had to play an extra match each team session last year in Wales the event may still be going on.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
PDAs (Please Don’t Attempt . . . to take pictures). The Tour announced this week it was moving forward with its new cell phone policy, although to most tournament-goers it may come as a surprise they weren’t allowed to bring their electronic leashes on property before.
Although the policy has good intentions, expect some growing pains if previous experiments are any indication. On Friday at the Farmers Insurance Open officials confiscated 13 cell phones from the throng trailing Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines . . . on the first hole.
The Tour is being proactive, however, and has tinkered with its enforcement policy since Torrey.
“We went into this with a zero-tolerance approach to photography. What we noticed is that we were spending so much time trying to enforce a policy that is quite frankly unenforceable. When you’ve got 2,500 people walking with Tiger and half have cell phones to try and enforce a zero-tolerance policy you’d have to have 1,000 volunteers,” Andy Pazder, the Tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations, told GolfChannel.com.
“We changed our tact a little at Pebble and focused our efforts on pre-tournament education. The biggest impact was we had volunteers and mobile device task force members that would make announcements along the rope lines. It worked beautifully. It was a much better way to approach it.”
The new policy will only help grow interest in the game but be warned – some learning curves are more painful than others.
Tweet of the week: @PaulGoydosPGA “Getting ready to play (the Northern Trust Open). Set a goal of being better than last week. I like setting attainable goals.”
Goydos missed the cut at Pebble Beach with closing rounds of 79-79.
Magic Loogies. It seems strangely apropos that the same day “Spit-gate” goes viral is also the same day that pitchers and catchers report to major league camps across Florida and Texas, where spitting is a sport unto itself.
Which seems to cut to the heart of Tiger Woods’ recent faux pas. On Thursday, a friend from Australia blasted Woods’ actions on the 12th green Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic while a fellow American, and self-proclaimed non-Tiger fan, seemed to dismiss the act as childish but hardly a heinous offense. The divide seems to be cultural.
“I have quite a few players who would get fined in Europe for spitting, but the U.S. Tour doesn't care much about decorum, or enforcing any of its conduct rules,” said one longtime manager with players on both sides of the pond. “The attitude about spitting is completely different in Europe.”
Curious, however, that as egregious as Woods’ actions seem to be overseas, it hasn’t soured the powers on his singularly powerful draw. According to reports, Woods is close to penning a new deal that would bring him back to play the Dubai Desert Classic for three more years.
As offensive as Woods’ actions were, in the pantheon of etiquette violations, it was akin to jaywalking.
Tweet of the Week II: @TigerWoods “The Euro Tour is right – it was inconsiderate to spit like that and I know better. Just wasn’t thinking and want to say I’m sorry.”
We applaud Woods for the quick turnaround, but are not sure damage control is what the folks at Twitter had in mind for their social network.