Truth and Rumors: Does Tiger matter anymore?

Wednesday June 8th, 2011

Tiger Who? Tiger Woods officially dropping out of the U.S. Open was certainly news, but the severity of his injuries and the poor quality of his recent play made the news somewhat predictable. After Woods's announcement was met with more shrugs than shouts, John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal wonders if we just don't care as much as we used to about Tiger.

The surprise is how little it seems to matter. There won’t be massive hand-wringing in Far Hills, N.J., the home of the U.S. Golf Association, which sponsors the U.S. Open. The likelihood of Woods not contending for the trophy at Congressional Country Club, whether he showed up or not, had already been factored into the price (to borrow a term from investing).
In fact,it’s a toss-up as to exactly whose non-participation at this year’s Open makes for a more intriguing story — Woods’s or Vijay Singh’s. Singh failed even to show up for his qualifying round Monday, and thus will miss his first major in 64 consecutive events (dating from 1994), the longest active streak in golf.
While Woods is still the biggest draw on Tour, it's hard to argue that both the media and the fans are going through a bit of Tiger fatigue. What remains to be seen is whether people are sick of hearing about Tiger, or just sick of hearing about Tiger not winning. Another "American" Tour? With golf set to join the Olympic lineup in Brazil in 2016, it's no surprise that South America is now viewed as an area of growth potential. But according to AP's Doug Ferguson, the PGA Tour might be looking to score bigger than anyone had predicted.
For the last 18 months, officials have been meeting with golf federations of several countries with hopes of starting a PGA Tour-branded circuit in South America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
It would help develop local talent and provide another avenue for any player to find his way to the big leagues. Think of it as a tour that would be one step below the Nationwide Tour.
And while there remain significant details to work out — not only finding an umbrella sponsor, but the number of tournaments and eligibility criteria — the plan is for this series to begin as early as 2012.
The most amazing part of the story: this Tour could be up and running by next year. Everything else seems to make perfect sense; as Ty Votaw points out in this piece, only 14 of the top 500 players in the world are from South America, so the area presents an abundance of untapped talent. The golfers are likely already there, the only question is, are the fans? Worst...Week...Ever. You may have heard about Scotland's Richie Ramsay's troubles last week, when he qualified for a playoff at a U.S. Open qualifier at Walton Heath, only to miss his chance because he left early to catch a flight to his friend's wedding. Ryan Ballengee reports that Richie Ramsay described himself as "suicidal" over his mistake ... but little did he know that his emotional roller coaster was just beginning.
On Tuesday, Ramsay was able to turn that frown upside-down – for a little while. And here’s where the story gets weirder.
In the morning, a report came out saying Ramsay got into the US Open after all by virtue of being first alternate from that qualifier. This afternoon, though, Doug Ferguson reports that was an error.
"USGA spokesman Pete Kowalski had said Tuesday morning that two extra spots were given to qualifying sites in England and Japan, and Ramsay would be going to Congressional for the U.S. Open next week. Kowalski later clarified that those spots already had been awarded, and Ramsay remains first alternate out of the England sectional qualifier. The extra spot already had been awarded to Andreas Harto of Denmark."
Well, he’s in, he’s out. Sounds like a guy at a wedding with cold feet.
Ramsay's still got a chance to get into the Open, so for the moment this is just a gut check, but the young Scot must be wondering what ladder he accidentally walked under last week. Tweet of the Day Courtesy of the always-amusing Luke Donald: MexzN_normal Not sure wives loves surprises Arnie!!
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