Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tiger's return can't help as Yanks fall short at WGC event

To the amazement of so many people who were salivating over the Blessed Return of Tiger Woods in the Accenture Match Play Championship, the WGC event did play itself out to a fitting conclusion even after Woods was eliminated in the second round by South African Tim Clark.

I hope that the powers that be in tournament golf were watching what transpired before Australian Geoff Ogilvy defeated England’s Paul Casey in the 36-hole championship match and Stewart Cink (the lone American in the Final Four and with Justin Leonard the only two Yanks in the Elite Eight) defeated England’s Ross Fisher in the consolation match. The rest of the world not only has caught the American professional golfers; as a unit, they’ve surpassed them.

By the way, it’s going to be worse before it gets better. Perhaps the time has come to restructure international team competitions and why not.

The glitter and glory of this format is the Ryder Cup. Somewhere in the shadows rests the Presidents Cup, or Ryder Cup Lite as it’s known in this corner. Well, here’s a news flash for you. The rest of the world team is on the verge of being able to dust both the U.S. and European teams. Maybe it’s time for them to play on the grand stage.

It would be self-defeating plan in search of fairness to set up the U.S. against EVERYONE. There would have to be (many) strokes given our boys to make it close. However, the playing field might be leveled a bit if we add all of North, Central and South America to the mix. You’ve got to think that Camillo Villegas and Andres Romero, not to mention Mike Weir would add some quality depth.

The questions to be answered would be what is the fair format? How many matches per day? The Ryder Cup has undergone many format changes. There have been two days of singles matches. The Foursomes (alternate shot) format could be eliminated, or reduced to one round of matches and replaced with Better Ball matches.

Another question is with a European base, would the addition of South Africa, Australia and Asia upset the balance to a point where it just doesn’t work? It’s a possibility, but any format that would put a Hall of Famer such as Ernie Els on the big stage is worthy of consideration. Also, this could allow stalwarts such as Oglivy, K.J. Choi and Japan’s teenage “Prince of Golf”. Ryo Ishikawa a spot on the stage when he’s ready.

If you put these players into the mix with Euros such as Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Casey, then add in younger stars such as Rory McIlroy and Oliver Wilson, Paul Azinger couldn’t find enough pods to put players in an attempt to find a winning combination.

However, somewhere there is an effective formula. A draft from the World Rankings could build some interesting teams, but would ruin the loosely based nationality aspect currently in place. It seems to me that the European flag encompasses a dozen countries. I know, under one flag like the U.S. flag represents the states.

Another possibility is a mega-match with the world divided into thirds with a team representing three segments of the world. The only problem is the scheduling. Two teams playing matches while the third stands down is a long and drawn out format.

With the globalization of golf and the increasing high quality of play worldwide, the time is here to take advantage of the potentially tremendous showcase for golf that would involve the entire world.


We will forgo the usual toast that ends these musings to note with eternal admiration for Charley Stine, the founder of Golfweek at the age of 81. Charley was a newspaperman of the highest order. Golfweek began as Florida Golfweek, produced in his garage in 1975. He financed it with his paycheck he earned as the Managing Editor of the Winter Haven (Fla.) News Chief as well as from the paycheck earned by his wife Jackie a dental hygienist.

Charley had a vision of a publication that would be chocked filled with news. If you wanted tournament results, pro or amateur, you read Golfweek. A newspaperman through and through, he wanted his publication to be the pinnacle of pure golf news dissemination. He succeeded as Golfweek became the standard in the industry. True to his newspaper roots, Golfweek was under Charley’s edict, a “Golf Newspaper.”

In 1983, “Florida” was dropped from the title and Golfweek became a national “Golf Newspaper.” Any news a reader wanted from any state in the country could be found in Golfweek. It was their expressed goal to have news from every state in the country every week. They succeeded.

In 1990, Charley sold Golfweek to Rance Crain and the Turnstile Publishing Co. who still own the publication.

In 1975, Charley set out to create a “Golf Newspaper.” In the end, he created a “Golf Bible.” Eventually, all newspapermen have a -30- at the end of their lives. Thankfully, what Charley stood for and accomplished will live on.

See you on the first tee,


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