Tiger Gets His Own PGA Tournament

Once again the Golf Blogger dons his tinfoil cap and ascends the grassy knoll …

A couple of weeks ago, the International, a generally well regarded tournament in Denver,  was forced to shut down for lack of sponsors. Jack Vickers, organizer of the tournament, said that the issue was that no one wanted to sponsor the tournament unless Tiger would commit to playing at least once every five or six years.

Unfortunately, the word from Tiger’s camp was that he would never, ever play in the International. Tiger’s people apparently had blamed the scheduling of the International, which was “too close to the PGA Championship.” (The Golf Blogger believes that it had to do with the Stableford Scoring).

Yesterday, however, the PGA Tour announced that the replacement for the International will be a new event in Washington, hosted by … The Tiger Woods Foundation.

Now, holding a tournament in Washington, D.C. is a very good idea (as I’ve written before here and here). But THIS is just too convenient.

The Rocky Mountain News has an interesting take on the story … and you can see the suspicion in their eyes:

Officials of the defunct International golf tournament at Castle Pines were tortured because Tiger Woods often bypassed their tournament.

The hurt likely became more painful Tuesday when the PGA Tour announced The International’s Fourth of July weekend date on this year’s schedule was given to an event in Washington – and that the Tiger Woods Foundation will run the tournament.

International officials were not available for comment Tuesday. But three weeks ago, in officially announcing the cancellation of the event, International founder Jack Vickers noted the significance of the absence of Woods, who played in the Castle Pines event twice (1998 and 1999).

“There is no question that (Woods) has a profound effect when he plays,” Vickers said then. “He would have had the same kind of effect here that he has everywhere he goes.

So El Tigre can’t get to the International, but he CAN make it to his own event. 

To be fair, it’s noted that Tiger might not actually play in this year’s event because of his wife’s pregnancy. But it’s a sure thing that he’ll be glad handing and pumping corporate sponsors. And you can bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be a regular in his namesake tournament.

Do you want an indication of just how important Tiger is to the PGA Tour? There are just three tournaments named after golfers: The Byron Nelson, the recently renamed Palmer tournament … and now the Tiger Woods Foundation Tournament (I haven’t seen a name yet, but there is no doubt his will be on it).

There are a couple of explanations for this turn of events: 1) Mere coincidence; 2) the PGA, desperate for a tournament that weekend, begged Tiger to step up to the plate; or 3) Tiger (or his people) deliberately crippled the International with the intention of getting their own tournament in its place.

Which is it? You answer is as good as mine. I want to believe the best. But it looks awfully suspicious.

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5 thoughts on “Tiger Gets His Own PGA Tournament”

  1. I’m happy that golf is coming back to DC.  I went to the Booze Allen last year (Friday)and mostly recall how absolutely devoid of fans the event was.  My father and I could have walked the rope around the 18th green and bumped into maybe 4 or 5 people.  There were more people working in the Booze Allen tent than fans (it was pretty hot so that was a good place to be).  It seems this would be a great place for Woods to court the politcal connections to make his charities the force that his father envisioned.  DC doesn’t have the California glitter we see at the pro-ams, but it really does have all the political and economic power.  I think this tournament can only succeed with Woods bringing his weight to the table.

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  2. It is good for both Woods and the PGA Tour to have face time with Washington power brokers. No doubt about that. The Tour has in the past gotten some sweetheart deals from Congress on retirement issues and I’m sure they would like to keep them.

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  3. If indeed the truth is behind door number three, I can’t imagine what legal grounds the International would have. No business interests were harmed … only Denver area charities … Tiger is under no obligation to play anywhere at all since he is an independent contractor …

    It may, however, serve as an object lesson to those who currently running tournaments …

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  4. The International’s format just didn’t catch on. Tiger doesn’t play in the FBR either, but it’s wildly successful.

    I have a hard time blaming Woods for the International’s demise. It’s a convenient, but misguided excuse. I think fans just never warmed up to it.

    Reply

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