Tiger Woods says he's playing the best golf of his career and even talks about the prospect of a perfect season. Commentator Frank Deford takes a not-so-serious look at how the golf world is responding.
This a very important announcement, so please, everybody, turn off your cell phones.
The three American Grand Slam golf tournaments, the Masters, the United States Open and the PGA Championship, have just announced that for this year and for the immediate future, they have all been cancelled. Speaking for the three tournaments, Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National, said that it just seemed pointless to play the tournaments inasmuch as it was a foregone conclusion that Tiger Woods would win them all this year and for, as Mr. Payne said, "as far as the eye can see."
This action follows on the heels of two PGA Tour decisions. Just last week, as you know, it cancelled all the tournaments that Woods was not scheduled to play, because nobody cared about them. Then, yesterday, the Tour announced the cessation of all the tournaments Woods was scheduled to play. It was obvious he was going to win all those by several strokes, so what would have been the point? As one tournament executive said, "Golf is getting to be like the Harlem Globetrotters beating up on stooges, but at least that's fun to watch. Tiger winning is like watching global warming."
Please turn off your cell phones until this commentary is over. Then you can call your friends with the news. Thank you.
The PGA Tour said that the decision was also motivated by the patriotic desire to conserve energy. Now people won't waste money driving to tournaments that everybody knows Tiger will win anyway.
At least for now, the British Open is still going to be held this July at Royal Birkdale. There are two reasons for what is now being called the "Huckabee holdout of golf." First, the Scots are still hoping that their chubby favorite, Colin Montgomerie, might yet catch lightning in a bottle and actually not choke and finally win a major. Secondly, because the dollar is so weak and the pound so strong, there is some talk that even Woods may not be able to afford to leave the United States to play in Great Britain. Go, Colin Montgomerie!
The news of the cancellation of so many golf tournaments comes on the heels of a front-page New York Times article, which reported that the number of American golfers is plummeting. The reasons given were that golf is too expensive and it takes up too much time. (Fourteen and a half million American men admitted that they have never seen their wives and children in daylight hours during golf season.) Another reason cited is that cell phones are banned on many U.S. courses, and 6.3 million American men admitted they simply could not go without cell phones for that long.
But the largest reason cited for the alarming decline in golf participation was that Tiger Woods was so good that he was discouraging all golfers. Seventy-eight per cent of golfers cited the so-called "Woods perfection depression syndrome" for giving up the game.
Please keep your cell phones off when golf is being discussed.
Some hope for the Tour has emerged, however, as two congressmen, Dan Burton of Indiana and Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who made complete fools of themselves supporting Roger Clemens in House hearings last month, are proposing a change in federal law that would allow all professional golfers except Woods to use steroids and human growth hormone. It would be a way, Mr. Shays said, "of leveling the playing field."
Woods himself could not be reached for comment. He was in seclusion, working on improving his game . . . and how better to hold trophies high and kiss them for the photographers.
Thank you for reading. You can now turn on your cell phones.