Thursday, January 26, 2012

This week's Open, known as the Las Vegas Invitational when Tiger Woods won it for his first professional title in 1996, marks a milestone: One decade since the game was turned on its head.

Who's benefited? Who's lost out? The scorecard, please:

The trainer Keith Clearwater bulked up and burned out, but Woods re-introduced the once feared practice of lifting weights. "I see the same guys everywhere I go," says Jeff Handler, who worked with hockey players before Adam Oates introduced him to Mike Weir. "There's Vijay's guy, Phil's guy, the Australians have their own guy."

Paul Giamatti The voice of Frank the Headcover in a series of Nike ads, Giamatti has parlayed the role into a successful movie career. (Okay, perhaps "Sideways" had something to do with it.)

Ed Fiori, Curtis Strange Curtis Strange has become not just a two-time U.S. Open champion but the answer to a trick question: Who was the first Nike golfer to attain the top spot in the World Ranking? Frumpy Fiori, whose epitaph will include the day he dusted a wide-eyed Woods at the 1996 Quad City Classic, now has his own website. You go, Ed!


The Golf Channel

It used to be a joke, but in January it will begin its 15-year deal as the Tour's exclusive cable partner. "I joke all the time that I hitched my star to [Tiger's] wagon," says Scott Van Pelt, who joined the GC from its birth in 1995 and moved to ESPN in 2001.

Cyber Swingers

The Swoosh

Nike became a player in the golf biz. "We announced the [1996 Woods] deal at the same time we announced that we'd signed the Brazilian soccer team," says Nike Golf president Bob Wood, "and our stock went down 10%. There was less understanding in the community about sports marketing."

The Mercedes Championships

The Dubliner

The Tiger Woods Story

Sergio Garcia

Rupert Murdoch

ABC Golf

The Swoosh

The Mercedes Championships

Cameron Morfit covers the PGA Tour as a Senior Writer for GOLF MAGAZINE. You can read his column every Monday on GOLFONLINE. E-mail him your questions and comments at

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