Ryan Reiterman, producer, Golf.com: Is it even played for charity? I think it'd be less stomach-churning if they were raising some money for a good cause.
Herre: The Tavistock Group does a lot of community charity in the Orlando area and beyond, although I'm not sure if the Tavistock Cup is a fund-raiser. I would guess that it is.
Shipnuck: The point is, there is no point. Nothing is at stake, and no one really cares, which makes for bad TV. It's basically a couple of practice rounds they get paid for and we have to suffer through.
Van Sickle: Tavistock remains a TV show without a real purpose. I don't think there's any real estate left to sell at Isleworth, and there's one phase left (houses starting at $1 million, last I checked) at Lake Nona. What's it really all about, since these guys don't need the money or exposure, and the courses don't, either?
Shipnuck: It's time to move on. Tiger's $3 million appearance fee to play in Australia in November has created a lot of buzz, with apologists and shrill critics aplenty weighing in. No doubt his presence will be a huge boost to the event and generate a certain amount of economic benefit for the region, but does that justify a government body giving three million bucks to the world's highest-paid athlete?
Gorant: If things get worse over there, it would be interesting if Tiger showed up and got booed or picketed by protestors.
Van Sickle: It's capitalism at work. Does he deserve the $3 million? Someone thinks he's worth it, therefore he does. Hopefully, the money didn't come from AIG.
Friedman: Tough call when it's taxpayer money. If I were Down Under and economically down under, I'd vote no.
Herre: Not all the dough is from taxpayers, about half is. And Tiger will be leaving a chunk in Australia as he will be taxed there on the $3 million. The reality is that he isn't making that much off the trip. I think it's one of those "expanding the brand" things. Also, heaven knows the Australian tour could use a lift. It's been hurting for years.
Gorant: It's 48% in taxes. Interesting side note on Tiger's motivation: the event is run by IMG.
Shipnuck: My favorite part of the blowback was Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg, saying that his famous client was basically going because he really, really wanted to play Kingston Heath. I've been there, and it is indeed a great course, but I don't think that's why Tiger is getting on the plane.
Van Sickle: Tiger's trip Down Under should be a lesson to those trying to recruit Tiger for their own tournaments. The only way to get this guy to play is to buy him. Either a $3 million appearance fee overseas, or an endorsement deal (like AmEx and Buick) or have a tournament run by IMG (Deutsche Bank, AT&T). Judging by his last-minute entry even into the WGC event at Doral, he's not going to be pro-active on Finchem's request for the tour's stars to play more. Pay him and he'll play.
Shipnuck: I'm guessing in a year or so Tiger will announce a design project in Australia, and his motivations for this trip will be clearer.
Shipnuck: Other recent news items: Fuzzy Zoeller has said this will be his last Masters, and Annika has a bun in the oven. I'm not suggesting there is a correlation, but ...
Herre: Guess this means we won't be seeing Annika playing golf anytime soon.
Shipnuck: I never thought we would. She's not one to do things half-way. Please resist any pregnancy jokes here.
Van Sickle: Last I saw of Annika, she was racing a Lexus with Ray Floyd, Chi Chi and Chuck Howell. Next thing you know, she's pregnant. Maybe we need to see the rest of that video to find out what really happened.
Shipnuck: My money is on Raymundo. He had a way with cabaret girls back in the day.