March 15, 2007

Just how out of touch with is your average card-carrying PGA Tour pro? One need only look at the so-called “controversy” surrounding Tiger Woods‘ plan to have his own invitational event, the AT&T National, scheduled for July 5-8 in Washington, D.C. [Ed. note: two weeks prior to this year’s Goodboys Invitational, BTW], with him playing host to an invited field of players.

One would think, this is Tiger, right? And, for all he’s done for the game, he ought to be able to host his own tournament, just like Jack and Arnie do, correct? Well, not so fast, says fellow tour player and virtual nobody Rich Beem, speaking on behalf of hundreds of other tour nobodies who, unlike Tiger, Phil, Vijay, and the rest of the game’s elite, have to scrounge for every morsel they can get on the PGA Tour schedule.

Saying he was “insulted” by the prospect of Tiger Woods’ new tournament being treated like an invitational, Rich Beem said he would rally players against the PGA Tour to make sure the event had a full field.

“…[Us tour nobodies are] trying to get back more spots throughout the year, and all of a sudden we have a limited-field tournament? It’s the most totally wrong thing I’ve heard of in a long time that’s sticking in to the players.”, Beem said Thursday.

Beem’s comments were echoed by another “giant” of today’s game, fan favorite Jeff Quinney (yes, THAT Jeff Quinney), who said (my boldings):

“It’s always a concern,” former U.S. Amateur champion Jeff Quinney said. “If I was a rookie and had limited starts and I hadn’t made too many cuts, you want to have as many starts as you can.

And finally, this from that legendary ball-striker who has brought so much excitement to the world of professional golf, Rod Pampling (yes, THAT Rod Pampling):

“Obviously, there’s 50 percent of the tour that thinks it’s a great idea; 50 percent don’t,” Rod Pampling said.

Of course, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem knows what side of his bread is buttered and who the goose is who is laying the golden egg, and he’s (surprise!) firmly in Tiger’s court:

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said that the AT&T National …likely would be considered along the lines of tournaments run by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer that have limited fields.

Finchem said several details have not been finalized for the tournament, which will be run by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

“I’ve had some preliminary conversations with our board and I have to believe that we will work with Tiger and the foundation to fine-tune it,” Finchem said at a press conference Wednesday. “But my guess is that at the end of the day, the field size will be commensurate with what you generally see in invitationals, which is a somewhat limited field.”

Kudos to you, TF. Here you have a messianic figure like Tiger, who: a) has revolutionized the game of professional golf; b) is largely responsible for the game’s current popularity; and c) has done so much to generate excitement and enthusiasm (all of which, BTW, are largely responsible for increasing the sizes of the purses at even the most lowly of Tour events), and here you have this cadre of bohunks, virtual nobodies, and prissy spoiled girly-men complaining of one less opportunity to perhaps make a cut. I mean, who do these clowns think they are, Michelle Wie?

Heck, even arch-rival Phil Mickelson gets it:

“All of the conflicting events cannot support themselves financially, and all of the excess revenue from the tour goes to support those tournaments, and most of that money is driven by Tiger,” Mickelson said. “So if you’re looking at 450 spots that Tiger is creating, and if he wants to take 20 away because he wants to have a prestigious event, I think we should not, as players, be narrow-minded.”

“If we look at the big picture, he does a heck of a lot more in this tournament … and it does an incredible amount for the tour and the game of golf,” Mickelson said. “I think we need to be careful on that.”

Mickelson has it right here. He, like Finchem, knows that Tiger Woods is the tide that raises all boats on the PGA Tour, and if he wants to have his own invitational event in the nation’s capitol on July 4th weekend, he oughta be able to. Personally, I think it’s a great idea, and one long overdue; I’d love to see them play it annually at Congressional.

Even if the Beems, Quinneys and Pamplings of the world aren’t invited to participate, you’d think they’d take the long view and understand the benefits to everyone associated with the PGA Tour. They can complain all they want, but the fact is they’re just little greedy nobodies who want a bigger piece of the pie without having to work hard for it. So typical of today’s generation…

Here’s my recommendation to Messrs. B, Q, & P: use that week to get out on the range and work on your game so you play better in tournaments and: a) make more cuts, b) make more money, and c) learn how to win tournaments more regularly, so that you: d) warrant an invitation to Tiger’s event. Now there’s a novel idea, eh? Otherwise, just shut up.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:24 | Comments Off on Hold That Tiger?
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