PGA Tour isn’t a one-Tiger show

first_img“If he shows, everything changes,” Vickers said. “You’ve got a one-man show out there right now that is the big difference.” He’s right about the PGA Tour being a one-man show. Woods isn’t simply driving golf, he’s perhaps the most famous athlete in any sport worldwide. When he plays, crowds are crammed behind the ropes of every fairway, TV ratings spike and everyone goes home happy. And when he doesn’t? “We’d love to have him,” Nutt said at Pebble Beach. “But it’s been four years since he’s been here, and our attendance is going up every year. This year with the weather, we’ll be off a little bit. But last year we did 70 percent in advance sales, and that was even before we knew if he was coming. You can’t build an event around any one person.” Vickers never realized that. Pebble Beach is a special tournament. Even without Woods, the crowd turns out to see the antics of Bill Murray, to hear one-liners from George Lopez, to coo over Kevin Costner. Vickers, however, believed the scenery was just as spectacular in the mountains, his course was good enough for a U.S. Open, and that his tournament was the best thing west of the Waffle House in Augusta. He wanted Tiger. He made excuses when Tiger didn’t show up, usually blaming the PGA Tour for his spot on the schedule, whether it was a week after the PGA Championship, a week before or even two weeks before. Too bad Vickers never made as big of a stink over who he had, not who he didn’t. Phil Mickelson played the International every year but one since 1992. Ernie Els only skipped in 2005 when he was on crutches. Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen only missed one year, and that was when the PGA Championship was held a week later at a new site. How many tournaments would love to have all those guys? Or any of them? Not having Tiger didn’t help the International, but the fact cannot be ignored that Woods plays only about 18 times a year – the same number as Jack Nicklaus at that stage in his career – and those tournaments he skips are still in business. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Ditto for the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head, an idyllic locale that Woods hasn’t been to since 1999. Stanford Financial has taken over sponsorship in Memphis, even though there’s a better chance of getting Elvis than Tiger. The world’s No. 1 player hasn’t been to the Honda Classic since he was a 17-year-old amateur. In fact, Woods never has played nine longtime events on the PGA Tour since turning pro, and all of them are still on the schedule. Jack Vickers might call that a miracle. The Denver oilman pulled the plug on his beloved International tournament, the one with the modified Stableford scoring system played on picturesque Castle Pines Golf Club. The problem was the tour’s price tag ($8 million) and no sponsor to pick up the tab for an event played around the Fourth of July. Vickers was quick to attribute the demise to Woods, the star attraction on the PGA Tour who last played there in 1999. PEBBLE BEACH – Tiger Woods did not show up at Pebble Beach. Attendance and other numbers used to measure success will be down this year, and tournament director Ollie Nutt won’t have to look hard to place the blame. center_img The weather. Woods hasn’t been to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 2002, yet officials somehow have managed to hand out a trophy, pay out more than $5 million in prize money and still provide for their local charities. last_img