The Overhyped new Tiger Woods swing gets its first real test.
As expected Pinehurst #2 has played remarkably tough in today's opening round. Phil Mickelson is 1 under par and in excellent shape. Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods are tied for 13th at Even par. All three got the job done today in the sense that they are in the Championship, and did not shoot a high score as Tiger Woods is so very capable of doing when he actually has to manage the course, and use his inferior Nike equipment. (As you may be able to tell, I am not a Tiger Woods fan, and do not believe he is anywhere close to being the top golfer in the world right now-guys who go out and shoot 80s in major championships as Woods has done very often the last few years cannot be considered truly dominant just because they win weekly tour events which mean nothing in the larger scheme of things.) I really expect to see some backward movement on day two, tomorrow, though the way Phil Mickelson is hitting the ball and managing the course, he could run away with this championship, which the fans would love. A USGA official stated earlier in the week that if the players that complained about the tough conditions at last year's Open, they ain't seen nothing yet. I personally feel that the conditions should be as tough as possible- this after all is not the Honda Classic, but the US Open. I like seeing the rough at 3 feet as it has been in many previous opens (it was less than a feet high last year when players whined about the conditions) and players have to manage the course. For my money, the Masters with its wide fairways and scoring opportunities is a beautiful course, but is not the test of wits and true skill that is the United States Open. This is among my favorite weekends of sports viewing all year long, and I'll be glued to my Television this weekend to see if Tiger Woods really is back. And being a fan of the US Open telecast on NBC means I'll get to hear the best analyst that covers sports, Johnny Miller call it like it is. When Tiger Woods shoots an 81 in the third round he'll say Tiger Woods "choked!," and his swing "stinks!"
Players prefer Singh to Woods: Is it because Tiger Woods is Corporate America?
A few weeks ago Tom Pernice Jr. who is a long time PGA Tour veteran and a pretty typical tour player made a very provocative statement regarding the rivalry between Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. Pernice said that the vast majority of players root for Singh who supports the PGA Tour and its events much more actively that Tiger Woods. Pernice said something along these lines (paraphrase) We appreciate that Vijay is there for us, and plays the events that don't get as much publicity to support the tour. Tiger Woods only plays when he get an appearance fee, and I speak for most of the players in saying we root hard for Vijay when they are head to head with the #1 ranking on the line.
Does this in fact mean that Tiger Woods only plays when he is guaranteed a big pay check? In a world where professional sports has become a mere extension of corporate entities, Tiger Woods could be most corporate driven athlete of all time. We're all supposed to be impressed by Tiger Woods golf game and his great record of winning weekly tour events, but are supposed to overlook his nasty temper, his poor play in National team events when no money is at stake and that Jack Nicklaus in his heyday never went two consecutive years without finishing in the Top 10 of a major played in the United States as Woods did in 2003 and 2004. Tiger Woods after all once referred to the Ryder Cup as practice. "If you don't get paid it's not an actual event, " he told the press in 1999. Woods used to skip the Ford Championship at Doral previous to this year because he was sponsored by Buick. Woods also skipped the Mastercard Colonial where Anika Sorenstam played two years ago because of his contract with American Express. Perhaps Tiger was ducking Anika? Or was Tiger merely collecting a big payday from Buick at some event in Germany?
From my unique and somewhat eccentric perspective, Tiger Woods is all that's wrong with sports. Then again, he's so fun to root against, it'll be no fun if he were as bad as let's say Notre Dame is in Football right now.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.