Add Jeff Stein of The LA Times to the list of people who sound disappointed that Tiger Woods hasn't been heckled since his return to competitive golf last month. Reporting on Woods's pro-am round at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte on Wednesday, Stein notes the presence of six police officers on the first hole--with pistols and handcuffs, he adds--and says Woods got a "subdued" response from fans at his 7:30 a.m tee time.
The Quail Hollow Championship is the first "public" tournament of Woods' comeback from the sex scandal that turned his life into tabloid fodder. Though all went smoothly during his run to a fourth-place finish at the Masters, it seems the PGA Tour and tournament officials aren't taking any risks with a public given far easier access to tickets.
"We're not going to be scared to take somebody off the property," tournament director Kym Hougham had said one day earlier, later adding that he expected any untoward comments would be met with warnings and not ejections.
Quail Hollow patrons offered little cause for concern Wednesday, though the response from those who followed Woods' 7:30 a.m. group seemed rather subdued even by pro-am standards. Scattered cheers mixed in with the applause that greeted his introduction, good shots were acknowledged politely.
If you can't beat 'em, bribe 'em according to The Washington Post
Industry leaders say Congress too often treats the sport as a marginal luxury item rather than a major engine of economic growth, and wrongly tags the mostly middle-class sport as a pastime of the idle rich. Golf courses are also regular targets of environmentalists, the industry says. The business has not had a major lobbying presence in Washington in recent years.
The PGA reported no lobbying at all in 2009, although the PGA Tour -- representing the profitable professional golfing events -- spent about $400,000. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America spent $60,000, and the World Golf Foundation spent nothing in 2009, according to disclosure reports.
Open legend Jack Nicklaus has still not confirmed whether he will come to St Andrews this summer after shocking his fans with mercenary comments about the prestigious Champions Challenge event.
The Golden Bear is one of only two past Claret Jug winners still to respond to the Royal and Ancient's invitation to take part in the four hole event intended to celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Open.
Greg Norman has delayed to see if he is fit enough after undergoing shoulder surgery, but Nicklaus' silence is a worry for organizers, who saw him as a star attraction.