May 13, 2013

I’ll admit that the whole debate over whether THE PLAYERS (note I even capitalized it correctly this time) was something I always thought to be absurd. Maybe it’s because I’ve always thought (and still do) that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and his leadership to be a bunch of arrogant elitists and prima donnas. Finchem and his predecessor Dean Beaman have made no bones about the fact that they’re intent on making their tournament another major come hell or high water and have no shame in pressuring the suck-ups at Golf Channel to promote the debate as such.

OK, I’m calling off the dogs and am officially supportive of THE PLAYERS as worthy of major status. After, all when you hit your fortieth year, attract one of, if not the, best fields of any other golf event (including majors), and play it on a course as challenging as TPC Sawgrass if it looks like a major, acts like a major, and requires the patience and discipline of a major it must be a major. That’s not going to happen, of course – after all, with the explosion of golf across the world if there were to be a fifth major it’s likely to be in Australia or China before TPC Sawgrass or anywhere else. Whether Finchem likes it or not.

This year’s PLAYERS lacked nothing in intrigue and entertainment. Sure, the 17th island green is a tricked up hole, but you can’t deny the natural amphitheater Pete Dye created around the 16th green, 17th hole, and 18th tee makes for challenging golf and truly riveting television. Sergio Garcia certainly that found out – if you want to win THE PLAYERS you have to maneuver your way around all three closing holes, two out of three just won’t do.

Is there any doubt that, like him or not, Tiger Woods is more than “back” and has the best game on the planet right now? I’ll admit I’m not a Tiger fan by any stretch, but you sure have to respect the way he’s playing right now and marvel at how the swing changes he’s gone through have finally taken hold at every level of his game. Clearly, there seems little to stop him from winning at least two of this year’s remaining majors, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sweep all three. The only golfer with the same kind of raw talent that can beat Tiger head-to-head is Rory McIlroy, but he’s clearly lacking the maturity and drive to excellence Tiger has. Rory’s got golf and Caroline Wozniacki competing for his affection, all Tiger knows is that he needs five more major wins to better Jack’s 18 majors and that’s all that counts. Big difference there.

THE PLAYERS certainly made for a great weekend of golf-watching. And whether or not it becomes a major someday really doesn’t matter as far as long as it has TPC Sawgrass for pure entertainment value.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:29 | Comments (0)
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