You’d think it would be pretty easy to find a hotel room in Akron,
Ohio. It’s the rubber capital of the nation, not the tourist capital.
But since the Bridgestone Invitational was moved to the week
before the PGA Championship, a scheduling switch to accommodate the FedEx Cup playoffs, the tournament overlaps with the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in nearby
Canton. (Yet another example of the intersection of golf and the NFL.) Hotel rooms are scarce and, when available, expensive.
Hoteliers aren’t happy with the situation; what used to be two weeks of
brisk business has now merged into one.
Even though the PGA Tour was the latecomer to this date, Commissioner Tim Finchem said there isn’t much he can do about it, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
“This date works perfectly for getting every top player here,” he
said Wednesday after speaking at an Akron Roundtable Luncheon. “That’s
not so easy. This is the perfect week for the international players
because they’re coming in to play next week (in the PGA Championship).
Our difficulties are more serious than the NFL’s, but I can’t speak for
(NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell.
“We wouldn’t mind moving it, but we want to do what’s in the best interest of the tournament. That has broader implications than what’s happening here. It’s a global event. It’s a
prize event for our television partners and one of the reasons is because of the field.”
The Bridgestone used to work just fine when it was held the
week after the PGA Championship, but positioning it there now before the
four-week playoff run would create a whole new scheduling problem
for players. As the Beacon Journal noted, however, the event
does come with a nice perk. The first prize for this limited-field event is
$1.53 million, larger than any of golf’s four major championships. Tiger Woods fuels Ryder Cup speculation If you’re wondering whether Tiger Woods will play in the Ryder Cup, or if he’d be a wild-card pick if he doesn’t make the team on points, you’ll have to keep wondering. Woods wouldn’t offer any information or opinions Wednesday despite persistent questioning, and subsequent criticism, from Steve Elling of CBSSports.com:
Too many times to mention over the years, Tiger
Woods has bemoaned the notion that many speculative stories have been
authored about him with little basis in fact. Wonder why that is? Offered the opportunity to put an increasingly hot-button issue to rest on Wednesday, he waffled and only contributed to the speculation that he might not play in the upcoming Ryder Cup matches in Wales.
I asked him three direct questions about making the U.S. team as an invitee and not as an automatic selection. For your amusement and illumination, here’s the verbatim exchange: Q. There’s been a lot of speculation on the Ryder Cup.
We’re two weeks out from locking up the top eight. If you were asked to
go as a captain’s pick, are you all in? Woods: “I’m planning on playing my way into the team.” Q. If it doesn’t happen…. Woods: “I’m planning on playing my way into the team.” Q. That’s still kind of an equivocation. Woods: “I’m planning on playing my way into the team.”
Elling finished his column by blaming Woods for the speculation that surrounds him.
Woods drew laughs with his stubbornness, but with a simple answer, he could have cleared up the discussion and ended the questions. Let the conjecture continue. He rekindled the speculative bonfire himself.
Watson dines on award The late comedian Red Buttons relied on his “Never got a dinner” routine when he used to appear on the old celebrity roasts. Well, Tom Watson got a dinner when he was honored as this year’s Ambassador of Golf, awarded by the Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Watson has been very involved in fundraising for ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ever since it claimed the life of his long-time caddie, Bruce Edwards. Watson has also made several trips to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East.
You know you’ve made it when you finally get a dinner — and a painting. The Firestone clubhouse features paintings of previous award-winners, and Watson was impressed with the company he’s now keeping, according to the Beacon Journal.
“Everybody from Bob Hope to Bing Crosby to Jack Nicklaus to Barbara Nicklaus to Pete Dye, Deane Beman, there’s just a variety,” Watson said. “It’s the people that comprise the whole fabric of the game and to be included in that is a great honor.”
Watson capped off his special night with a special dessert.
Said Watson: “I saw the old waitress and I said, ‘Do you still have that butterscotch pie?’ And she said, ‘It’s not butterscotch, it’s crunchy cream.’ I said, ‘It sure is butterscotch to me.’ She came to me 15 minutes later and said, We’re making you one.”