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Tiger and Phil: Making the Wrong Call

Oct. 30, 2006     By     Comments (9)

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are skipping the Tour Championship this week, but more than that, they are putting the PGA Tour in a tight position.

Deutsche Bank LogoA story broke in the world of tennis this afternoon: tennis great Roger Federer was withdrawing from the Paris Masters Tournament one day before his opening-round match.

Why does this matter to the golf world?

Well groups of fuming tennis officials have promised to start taking the necessary steps to make sure that tennis stars like Federer don't have the chance to pull out of tournaments they headline because they're fatigued ever again.

It's one of many problems the tennis world has had recently with stars such as Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Roddick deciding to leave with little notice. Until just recently, the problem was only hurting the tennis world; however, that was before the golfers on the PGA Tour decided to hop into a new problem that is leaving sponsors and officials wondering what they can do to stop players such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, in the PGA's case, from not keeping their word.

Last year Phil Mickelson made headlines at the end of the season for all the wrong reasons. Lefty, a favorite of many fans, decided a week prior to the season-ending Tour Championship that he wasn't going to be participating in the prestigious event.

It wasn't a surprise this season when Mickelson again decided to shut down his game after the Ryder Cup and forego the Tour Championship. Mickelson missing the Championship wasn't a big loss for the event that boasts the top 30 money winners on Tour. But that was before Tiger Woods decided to pull his version of a Roger Federer and skip the big event.

And what was his reason for skipping the event? Try the same reason every athlete has given lately: fatigue.

The loss of Mickelson was going to be a substantial one to ABC's television numbers on Saturday, but with the loss of Woods now, ABC might as well consider this another regular Tour event.

While ABC will suffer with television ratings all week without two of the top three golfers in the world, television won't be the one that gets hit the worst - you can leave that title to the PGA Tour.

Few people know it, but television ratings are just a small portion of how the Tour makes money. They also make revenue from the tickets they sell to their events, as well as the merchandise and vendor food that is purchased throughout the week.

Tiger Woods 18th BunkerThink about the pandemonium that goes through a city the week before an event with Tiger Woods in the field. You have the local media, national media, booked hotels, and rabid fans who want nothing more than a glimpse of the greatest player in the world.

The fact of the matter is, is that without Mickelson and Woods, the Tour is left with a semi-warm product few want to watch.

If you want a real answer as to the impact of Woods, try asking Britain how popular he was. Woods alone during the British Open and WGC Championship helped the national economy increase almost $317 million during his time in Britain.

That is a number that major tournaments like the Tour Championship can't afford not to have. Not only is the field only 30 players, but without two of the worlds best, you leave yourself in a very bad position.

Say all you want about it being OK for golfer and tennis players like Woods and Federer to pull out of events when they please; but it you think that their impact on the event isn't astronomical, well then you better think again.

Photo Credit: © Unknown, © Getty Images.

Posted in: PGA Comments (9)

Discussion

  1. Ross says:

    Well why doesn't the PGA shorten the season if they do not want their star players to drop events. Either take what you can get with the long drawn out season and have players drop events, or shorten the season to force those players to play most events.

  2. Ross, they are effectively shortening the season next year. Read up on the "FedExCup." Here's an article to get you started.

  3. Preston says:

    Hard to imagine Arnie, Jack, Player, Snead or Hogan in their prime ever pulling out of a tournament like this. Must have the "Big Three" shaking their heads...

  4. allin says:

    When growing business income is dependent on a fixed resource, Tiger and Phil, that can't be increased, these kinds of conflicts are inevitable. My profession is all about billable hours, really not that different. If a social worker, Dr., Lawer, engineer isn't at work the business loses income.

  5. Brad Chapman says:

    Wow!! I'm supposed to feel sorry about all that money rich people won't be making, huh? Tiger can do what ever he wants when ever wants. If you don't like it, get over it. And if you think these intrested parties will still not be making money your crazy. Yes, I am dissappointed tiger will miss this event, but I am a golfer and will watch and enjoy any way. The PGA and it's whoring out to corporate sponsers has been turning my stomach in the last few years.

    Ross, from the previous post, has a good point -- The season IS too long. The Tour Championship used to be in October and way back the season didn't even start until early Spring.

    And as to the Fed Ex Cup... we'll just have to wait and see, but it looks like a non issue. The top players allready make too much money and I don't think there's any benefit other than to the corporate clusterf*@k.

    See you next season Tiger!

    b.

  6. JPCorbeil says:

    I think responsibilities fall equally on the players (for being selfish) and the Tour (for not having a clear policy - tennis has a 9 "must play" tournaments rule for top 50 players, besides majors).

    You mention ticket sales. What about Mr Smith who bought 8 week-passes for his customers for $$$$?? 2 months ago. I wonder how he will feel when the tour tries to sell him passes to his company for future events.

  7. Baynative says:

    The tour has a rule about 15 or so tournaments being played to maintain status. Some of those should maybe be mandatory. The way it's going We may only see Tiger at the majors in a couple of years.

    PGA is between a rock and a hard place. Any fight with Woods is one they will lose.

  8. Lonnie Teague says:

    I will miss Phil playing this week because he is such a gentleman golfer and a great sport. I won't miss the stuck up better than any body else attitde of Tiger. Yes Tiger is probably the best but he is not a pleasure to watch. He is not better as a person than anyone else.

  9. Michael says:

    Didn't I just see a commercial on The Golf Channel about Tiger playing a couple of tournaments in Asia thie month?

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