Golfer Pacific


Horsham visit a no-brainer for Tiger

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Tiger Woods by golferpacific on April 29, 2009
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

THE Brumby government in Victoria will no doubt exercise all its political muscle to ensure the world’s best golfer, Tiger Woods, visits Horsham Golf Club when he comes to Melbourne to play in the Australian Masters later this year.

Whether it will be enough to get Woods to the regional club during his hectic schedule remains to be seen.

Woods’ management group, the head office of IMG in the US, will be pulling all the strings while Tiger is in Australia.

The Australian IMG office is simply processing requests for Tiger’s time and forwarding them to America.

It’s doubtful Tiger will feel like getting on a light plane and flying to north-west Victoria to see the progress that has been made at the club which lost its clubhouse and course in Victoria’s February 7 Black Saturday bushfires which claimed 173 lives across the state.

I have been assured by IMG’s Melbourne boss, David Rollo, the request will certainly be put forward.

Given the Victorian Government is picking up half the $4.5 million tab to get Woods to play at Kingston Heath, it should have some say in where the World No.1 goes and what he does in his time away from the golf course.

But I suspect it won’t. Woods already has shown some generosity by sending an autographed flag from one of the holes where he won his US Open last year to Horsham.

The club intends to auction it and use the money raised to help refurbish the clubhouse.

But what a fillip it would be to the morale in the area ravaged by drought for more than a decade before the fires struck, if the great man took the time and trouble to visit personally.

I commend The Member for Lowan, former AFL Essendon footballer Hugh Delahunty, for putting pressure on the Brumby Government for Tiger to turn up in Horsham.

The local paper, The Wimmera Mail-Times, deserves praise, too, for leading the charge by asking Woods to donate the US Open flag and then keeping up the pressure by supporting Delahunty’s call for a personal visit by Woods.

It’s all well and good for the financial boffins to say Tiger’s visit to Melbourne will generate $19 million for the Victorian economy (how they produce these figures for any sporting or cultural event always baffles me).

But a price cannot be put on the social wellbeing and health of a Victorian rural community ravaged by Mother Nature’s two toughest task masters – bushfires and drought.

The saddest thing about it all is that if Tiger’s spin doctors were more concerned about image than the almighty buck, his visit to Horsham would be classified a no-brainer.

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Should golf be in the Olympics?

Posted in Australian Golf,Golf,Olympics,Tiger Woods by golferpacific on April 23, 2009

olympic_rings1FORGET about handicaps and course rating systems for a moment.

There’s an issue in golf that is slightly more topical and what’s more, is yet to be resolved after 100 years of trying.

It’s always ticked me off why golf isn’t in the Olympic Games?

Not since 1904 in St Louis has golf been part of the greatest sporting festival in the world.

On that occasion, only the United States and Canada took part, which was probably the catalyst for its downfall.

But times have changed and it’s about time world sport crawled out of the ice ages.

My frustration comes not from golf’s Olympic omission, but the logic – or lack of – in the criteria that has allowed other sports to enjoy gold medal glory in its place.

I must stress I use the term ‘other sports’ very loosely.

Can you name the 2004 Olympic gold medallists in handball?

I didn’t think so.

For the record it was Croatia and that’s a couple of minutes of researching that I’ll never get back.

But has the penny finally dropped with the International Olympic Committee?

Is golf set for a triumphant return to the big stage in 2016?

If Tiger Woods and a growing army of the world’s best players get their way, the Masters green jacket could soon play a back seat to the prestigious gold medal on offer every four years.

World No.1 Woods recently wrote a personal plea to accompany a 32-page brochure sent to the IOC, outlining golf’s bid to return to the ranks currently shared by such glamour sports as synchronised swimming, archery and table tennis.

Okay, I like to play table tennis, but what part of the selection criteria has it passed that golf wouldn’t?

I’m wracking my brains too.

Golf is both an individual and team game that requires immense skill and concentration, draws large crowds, has no set time for completion and has a major professional and amateur playing base that would rival any sport around the globe – even soccer.

What’s more, it boasts the world’s most recognizable athlete in Woods, so the marketing takes care of itself.

Michael Phelps is internationally recognised as the world’s best swimmer through his exploits at the Olympics.

It’s only fair that Woods gets a chance to justify his undisputed title in the same capacity, is it not?

And what better way for our own Karrie Webb to return to the top of the tree in women’s golf than by singing the national anthem with the gold medal draped round her neck?

She would hand back her two US Open crowns in a heartbeat for that Kodak moment and why wouldn’t you?

It’s actually a refreshing thought to picture our best golfers playing for the pride of their country instead of a truck-load of cash.

The IOC could open the race for the gold medal to the five best golfers from each competing country and perhaps play a four-round stroke tournament on four different top class courses in the host nation.

Or maybe even hold the gold medal tournament in a match-play format, where individuals, pairs or four-man teams eliminate one another in a knockout competition similar to that of the prestigious President’s Cup.

Whatever the format, golf certainly has the potential to spark the Olympic flame again, and certainly on face value it’s hard to see how it doesn’t warrant serious consideration. Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia have all forced the issue with their respective IOC members.

Surely weight of numbers has to count for something?

With a decision to be made in October, one feels the next few months will be a case of ‘sink or swim’ for world golf.

Either way, just spare us the synchronised swimming…please!

 

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Is $3m a bargain, or too much for Tiger?

Posted in Tiger Woods by golferpacific on March 25, 2009

Tiger has every reason to be pumped up after agreeing to play in Australia later this year for a reported $3million.

Tiger has every reason to be pumped up after agreeing to play in Australia later this year for a reported $3million.

 

Reports suggest Woods will get $3million to play in the 2009 Australian Masters at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath – a tournament that will probably offer about a tenth of the purse he will command just to tee it up in the sandbelt.

And while Victorian Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding would not confirm the money involved, it is believed to be around the $3million mark.

Holding said the cost of bringing Woods to Melbourne for the third time would be more than offset by the benefit he brought to the economy, suggesting his appearance in Victoria could be worth as much as $19 million to the state. As a taxpayer, are you happy to be funding the biggest name in world sport to tour Down Under?