Friday, February 27, 2009

The second coming

I freely admit that I’ve started my back nine on this planet, but I’m not old enough to have seen the first coming of the Messiah. However, if you listen to broadcast and read written reports, the second coming has occurred this week.

In case you missed it and I doubt that, Tiger Woods is back.

On Wednesday, The Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman yet again displaying her lack of knowledge of golf and golf history proclaimed that Woods’ return was the biggest “in the history of golf.” If she had an iota of an idea of what she was talking about, she may have recalled that in 1953 Ben Hogan returned to tournament golf following a 1952 near-fatal car accident to win the U.S. Open. Woods, on the other hand, is returning from a knee surgery that is performed on athletes every week of the year.

I would call for some perspective here, but that would suggest that the person I was calling to would have a clue about the subject she was speaking. I won’t waste my time.

Perhaps you could say that it’s unfair to pick on Ms. Tilghman because it appears the entire media, broadcast and print, swallowed the Kool-Aid on this one. However, I’ve never been one to avoid taking the easiest shot and in this case as so often happens, she’s a very slow moving target.

The fact is, with few exceptions, the media and moreover the PGA Tour has missed the point. Believe it or not, golf was played since the U.S. Open last year and played at a very high and entertaining level. However, the Tour and the media all but ignored it.

Case in point number one. Padraig Harrington won both the British Open (a successful defense) and the PGA Championship. He heads into the Masters with a chance to win three in a row and be the first to do it since … let’s see … Oh yeah, Tiger Woods. Should Harrington be successful in Augusta, what are his chances of getting the acclaim Woods did? Slim and none and Slim just left town. Trust me on this, any Harrington stories will be balanced by “What happened to Tiger” epics.

Case in point number two. Camillo Villegas wins the last two tournaments of the Fed Ex Cup series. On a Tour often bereft of charisma and star power (except Tiger of course) this Columbian is dropped into the Tour’s lap. With the growing Spanish-speaking population in this country, Villegas could bring a whole new segment of the population to the game and the viewing audience. Does the Tour do anything with this? Not yet. At the Bob Hope event Villegas stuck his hand into a cactus bush and came out with a handful of needles. A comely young lass in the gallery offered her tweezers to Villegas to remove the needles. She wasn’t the only one either. It reminded one of a day when a gallery removed a boulder from you-know-who’s line of fire.

Case in point number three. Remember the Ryder Cup? I thought you might. It was best golf theater in years. It had everything and everyone except whom? That’s right, TW himself. What it had were the players who will mold the future of the PGA Tour. Players like Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim (who isn’t lacking game or star power either), JB Holmes and Ben Curtis will be on radar screens for a long time to come. Yet, during Woods absence, it seems they never appeared on the Tours’.

Here is something the Tour and the media has to understand—Tiger Woods isn’t going to play forever.

Even at tender age of 32, the phenom has suffered more injuries than most golfers his age. This was his third knee surgery. He started having recurring wrist problems when he was a teenager. There will come a day when enough will become enough and he’ll limp away.

Another thing to consider is who’s to say he’s going to play another 10 years? Sure he’s perhaps the fiercest competitor in all of sports—now. What happens when there are no more mountains to climb, no more records to set? What will light his fire? It just may be hanging out with Elin, Sam and Charlie and who knows how many more children there will be.

I’ve got to believe that golf is only stage one of his career and it’s not forever. What then?

It’s time the Tour and, yes, the media get their collective heads out of their butts and take advantage of the resources that surround them before the Woods ride ends and they’re left looking at each other asking, “now what?”

Bartender, fix me an Alka Seltzer if you will. The sycophantic aura emanating from PGA Tour headquarters and press rooms everywhere has made me nauseous.

See you on the first tee,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Well spoken, as usual. Now how about a story on the greatest cover-up in golf history? What does the PGA Tour do with all its millions? And the golf media apparently have an unwritten rule to never, ever criticize Tim Finchem, the great pretender. When is Finchem going to disclose that the PGA Tour schedule will be cut in half in two years & so will the purses? Even some sponsors this year may not have enough in the bank account to clear the winner's check of $960,000 for four days of golf. (PS: I think the OBAMA plan calls for taking 20% and spreading it out to those players who missed the cut.)
And when does FED EX bail out? Their stock is tanking & the so-called playoff system is so phoney. Why is the PGA Tour copying NASCAR, since they are all a bunch of admitted thieves & cheaters?
To be continued....