Posted by: furmanbisher | March 6, 2011

A Chance to Act Above Par

It has been brought to my attention that Tiger Woods has seldom ever gone to a sports writer in search of advice, especially one who types with two fingers and plays golf  lefthanded—or did when he could play. Right there you have enough reason to suggest that I down a dollop of single-malt Scotch and drink it off—especially since the first thing I would suggest is that Eldrick rid himself of that pit bull caddie of his. But, I forge ahead.

The commissioner, Tim Finchem, has done well by Tiger. Good reason, of course, for there has been a big hole in the PGA Tour without him, whether in contention, or off  the board. It was Finchem who arranged Tiger’s re-introduction to the public with that funereal press conference—without the press—at Sawgrass. It was 13 minutes of a  sadly somber oration before a select audience of patrons and kin.

No questions. This is it, this is Tiger, take it or leave it. And in the long run, no wounds were healed, nor did Tiger turn the head of any critic, but forged ahead in a kind of mumbling stupor. So did the Tour, groping to fill the void.

Phil Mickelson won the Masters. An Irishman won the U.S. Open. A South African won the British Open. A German won the PGA Championship. Jim Furyk won the Tour Championship. There was, however you chose to look at it, something missing. It was Tiger. Unless you beat a field with Tiger in contention and charging, there was an emptiness in the triumph.

The rumor is circulating that he will play a “full schedule” this year, but just what is his version of a “full schedule”? Last year he played in championships in which he wasn’t the favorite for the first time as a professional. He was favored at odds of 12-1 over Thomas Bjorn in the first round of  the Accenture World Match Play. Bjorn won, 1-up. If he is of a mind to do something for his country’s PGA Tour, I’d like for him to consider some of the events he has never played, tournaments that he would give a shot in the  arm. Tournaments that do indeed, need him, as so many of his fellow pros have said. The Bob Hope was once one of the Tour’s celestial events. Presidents and corporate figures played in it. Nowadays, five-star Tour players dodge it, some taking off to foreign events. Now, I realize the Hope runs five days, and four of those days the pros are paired with a cast of amateurs. It’s a hassle and a bore, from one  course to two or three others. Sorry, but that’s doing something for your country, so to speak.

The Heritage at Hilton Head has been a star event following the Masters. It’s hanging on only through the intervention of the state legislature. The Colonial in San Antonio  has been fading, except for the year they were able to talk Anna Sorenstam into the field. And St. Jude’s, the Wyndham, the Zurich, the Traveler’s can all use a shot in the arm. Is it asking too much for Tiger, who is in the need of help, to play these tournaments that are also in need? That’s just a thought that flashes through the mind of an old warrior who grew into this game covering any kind of championship that granted him the privilege. Just think of the transfusion that Tiger Woods’ presence would give some of those that he might favor. That’s all, just a hunch, a hint that might ring Tiger’s bell. (And let him bring Stevie along, if he chooses. I was just kidding.)



  1. like it. nough said

  2. Mr. Bisher,

    There you go again showing how out of touch we are today with the ‘modern’ athlete. Tiger is not about the game as much as he is about spreading the corporate image. That image is himself. The game is just a tool to enhance and advance that image.
    It`s hard for those of us who just turned 53 on March 2 to relate to today`s athlete because in our day helping the sport that made you a millionare would have been a natural expectation. Now a player has as much to lose with a bad performance as he does to gain with a good one. Those lesser events you mentioned would welcome his star power but he would see it as tarnishing the corproate image if he doesn`t score well. Therefore until he knows his game is back he will not do any appearance that isn`t a top tier event which maximizes exposure for the corporate image no matter what he scores.

    That leaves you and I to pine for the good ole days when athletes had off season jobs to supplement there fantasy sports life the rest of us would give an arm and a leg to engage in. It`s hard to get behind a corporate logo, even if it is made of flesh and blood.
    Keep writing Mr. Bisher, we`re still listening……

  3. First off, Mr. Bisher, I 2nd Bill Wade’s last comment—‘keep writing, we’re still listening.’ The ‘Tiger and The Tour Chronicles’ of which you write here are hard to get a handle on, but you have done well with this piece. The lesser events on tour need an infusion of Tiger blood, or they may well go the way of sponsor-less events losing their spot on tour. Whether Tiger dominates them or not does not matter—his mere presence would do much in the way of bringing them off the mat. It’s my opinion that the days of Tiger dominance are over, anyway, but he will remain the top draw simply because of all the drama that surrounds him. The tour of today is moving into the same phase of 20-25 years ago, when Nicklaus and Watson stopped dominating, and were replaced by international stars Norman, Ballesteros, Faldo, Woosnam, Langer, Lyle, and Price. The dominating duo of today of Tiger and Phil is being replaced by another batch of international stars like Westwood, Kaymer, McDowell, McIlroy, Villegas, Poulter, and Ishikawa. Get used to the majors being won by members of this group for awhile, until the U.S. can come up with new Tigers and Phils.

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