Tiger, Arnold and Phil have their say on the Ides of March
Head for the hills, kids, the Ides of March are upon us!
Ok, actually the “Ides of March” just means the middle of March, which is, in fact, today. Any negative connotation of the phrase is just because Julius Caesar got whacked on March 15, some 2,051 years ago, 44 years prior to the great B.C. - A.D. changeover.
The only thing getting whacked today will be golf balls, as the Arnold Palmer Invitational kicks off. Yesterday, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Arnold Palmer spoke to the press. With Woods’ new D.C. tournament garnering some controversy by adding another invitational to the PGA Tour schedule, the three of them all pitched in their thoughts on the issue:
“It attracts more interest and it attracts a lot of interest with the players. If you’re able to do a good tournament, and we like to think that we do a good tournament. And it creates an interest among the players who want to come and win this golf tournament.
This year, we have had … over 100 letters to be invited to play in this tournament. And that makes it an attractive situation. When that many people want to come and play, no qualifying, nothing, they have to be invited. It’s interesting. And this does change the format of the general run of all the tournaments. And for that reason, the invitational is an attractive situation.”
“Oh, I always liked reduced fields, because obviously play moves along a lot faster. You get around in a much more rhythmical pace. You know, I think that’s important. … I just think that when we get enormous field sizes like we do 156, you know, sometimes you have a hard time finishing, and if you have any kind of weather delays, you’re definitely not finishing.
So ultimately, to be honest with you, a lot depends on the sponsors, what they want. This Tour is driven by the sponsors and TV, and that’s what drives our Tour.”
“You know, I’ve really tried to stay out of Tour politics in the last few years. But I will say this: I think that it’s important for the Tour to be in Washington, D.C.; I think that it’s important for the Tour to have a very strong relationship with Tiger, and that tournament does both.
And I think that we shouldn’t be narrow-sighted on the fact that Tiger creates so much excess revenue for the Tour, and those dollars go directly into conflicting events. So all of the conflicting events cannot support themselves financially, and all of the excess revenue from the Tour goes to support those tournaments, and most of that money is driven by Tiger.
So you’re looking at 450 spots that Tiger is creating, and if he wants to take 20 away because he wants to have a prestigious event, I think that we should not as players, as whoever, we shouldn’t be narrow-minded. If we look at the big picture, he does a heck of a lot more in this tournament, and his involvement – the tournament does, and it does an incredible amount for the Tour, for the game of golf, that I think we need to be real careful on that.”
Finally, ESPN and Golf Digest are running a story penned by Mickelson (with a hand from Jeff Bradley), that is, all hyperbole and snark aside, a must read. The lead is brilliant:
I’d hit driver again.
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