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I was interested in your comments about the golf commentators and Johnny Miller on the lack of competition for Tiger Woods. I have been giving this a lot of thought lately and have read a number of books about golf years ago in Bobby Jones' day and when Palmer and Nicklaus were head to head.
I do very definitely agree that the competition is not nearly as difficult as it was then. You do not find any 10 players constantly at the top of the leader board like you used to. You cannot name the top players in the world at present, like we used to be able to.
Tiger Woods is not setting scoring records for these tournaments as you would think he should. You could make a case for the lengthening of the courses, as you mentioned. However, the courses are far better. The equipment is better and far surpasses that of former years with hickory shafts, unfitted clubs, etc.
If you take Tiger Woods' name out of golfing today, we would be hard-pressed to name the routinely dominant players on tour who are always there in the thick of the action. Golf has become very lucrative for the mediocre pro. That is not to say that they do not work at it hard; but the desire to win, to excel, to be the best, is just not there.
As Ben Hogan said, you go out and hit practice balls until your calluses are down to the bone. You hit balls until your hands bleed and then keep hitting. The one thing I do like about Tiger Woods is he is determined to win and be the best.
I do wish there were lots of other golfers who had that desire. The pro golf tour would be much more fun to follow and there would be players to root for. But, at the present, no one but Woods is working at it with a burning desire to be number one. We need that drive back!
I miss the days of Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Fuzzy, Norman, and on and on and on. Golf isn't what it used to be as far as the professional competition. I miss it.
April 2, 2008
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
"It is a little far fetched that Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada only have a couple of Top 100 courses in the Golf Magazine list. I have played both We-Ko-Pa Golf Club courses in Scottsdale many times, and let me tell you, it compares with almost any of the Top 100 except the obvious few (Augusta National, Pine Valley, etc)."
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