TIGER EFFECT-Whether you’re disgusted with Tiger and never want to watch him play again or you’re ready to forgive and forget, the fact remains the “Tiger Woods Cocktail Waitress Tour Across America” has hurt the game of golf. No other professional sport had a player with Woods’ previous gold standard image. Woods’ fall from grace will affect the PGA Tour with attendance and sponsors, junior golf, which has lost a role model, and other aspects of the game. The bottom line is the golf industry has lost some of its luster. Hopefully, the adversity will only make the game stronger and less reliant on one dominant personality.
MICKELSON’S TIME—The person who stands to gain from Wood’s fall is Phil Mickelson. I just can’t wait for golf broadcasters to wax poetic about Lefty the same way they’ve done for Tiger the past 13 years. Hopefully Phil can deliver and live up to the hype that is sure to come. After all, the talking heads have to fill up airtime with something and you know they’re going to ramp down on the heroic Tiger speech.
FILLING THE TIGER VOID—I’m hoping for a breakout year from Michelle Wie or for a youngster like Rickie Fowler to have a great year to offset the Tiger scandal. Please, please, somebody step up and give us something positive to follow in golf. Enough about mistresses, wedge swings on SUV windows, $300 million pre-nups and sponsors jumping ship. What we need in golf is a certifiable “feel good” story. If it’s not Rickie or Michelle, how about Camilo Villegas, Sergio Garcia, Boo Weekly, Anthony Kim, Rory Mcllroy or some other interesting personality? John Daly? He’s lost weight and is tan, rested and ready but he might not exactly be the replacement role model golf needs these days.
AIR TRAVEL MESS—The botched Christmas day terrorism attack by the “panty bomber” will reverberate the rest of the year and beyond. Get ready to wait, wait and wait some more at the airport security line. At some point, people are just going to throw their arms up and drive to their destination or stay at home. As someone who has written about golf travel for more than two decades, I find the current environment very disconcerting. There are too many great resorts and courses begging for visitors that may never get out of the airport.
GREAT RYDER CUP VENUE—If you haven’t been paying attention, this year’s Ryder Cup venue, the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, South Wales, is a phenomenal 1,400-acre luxurious complex with three championship golf courses. The Ryder Cup Matches will be staged September 27th to October 3rd. What really makes the venue unique is that the resort built a course, The Twenty Ten Course, which opened in 2007, specifically to host the Ryder Cup. It will be one of the year’s most anticipated events.