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« Awkward Family Photos: Greg Norman On Morning Drive Edition | Main | (A Few Great) Architects Week On Morning Drive... »
Monday
Dec022013

Tiger's Final Los Angeles Area Start?

In Golf World Monday I write that this week's final west coast World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club may also be the last chance for greater Los Angeles golf fans to watch Tiger Woods play.

Yes, he grew up in Orange County and Sherwood Country Club is two counties up from Cypress, but this was the closest L.A. area fans could get to Woods annually without driving the 405 to Torrey Pines.

With no majors coming to L.A. anytime soon and Tiger making it clear that golf at Riviera has about as much appeal to him as sharing a latte with Brandel Chamblee, I believe this is it.

After a relentless warm and beautiful fall in the area, the Golf Gods have intervened to make sure it's going to be a chilly send-off for the World Challenge in more ways than one.

Tickets are available here.

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Reader Comments (41)

Getting OWGR points for this....and for the SA Nedbank are golfs version of the rich getting richer and the poor....

There can b e N O reason for this, and smug Graeme Mclucky woud not have even been in the US Open had he not slinked in to the 18 who pad by a late pullout opening a hole ( double entandres? you make the call) But doe that, he would not have been top 50, etc, etc,,,,

We haven't had a series of discussions abou the OWGR in a while, and this is the moment in time where it makes sene to kick it off. So here goes. It sucks.

I will really miss seeing Sherwood and the MASH Mountains, maybe Ms soon to be DJ sunning herself on the NSA Golf cam.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
digger, an OWGR related question....how many players in the top-100 anchor? Any idea?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The ranking points given to the "World Challenge" are beyond absurd. First place last year was worth 44 points, which about (within 2 or 3 pts) equal to or more than the following PGA event, along with just about all of the "regular" Euro Tour events:
TOC (46 pts)
Sony
Pebble
Valero
Humana
New Orleans
Nelson
Crown Plaza
St Jude Fedex (the lowest regular season PGA Event, only gave 34 pts)
ATT nat
Greenbriar
John Deere
Canadian Open
Wyndham
All the domestic fall events.

With the exception of the TOC, all of these are full field events, with a cut, so the winner beat over 120 guys. Here there are 18.

Last place at the World Challenge = 2.4 points, which equated to about 28-30th place at a premier tour stop like Wachovia. And to get 30th there, you beat 100 guys and made a half way cut.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Dig South and Brian S...

Just Win Baby!
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAl
I'll miss the World Challenge at Sherwood CC. Was usually fun to watch and liked the course as seen on TV; the Florida courses just seem to flat and contrived.

I agree with all, however, who object to OWR points being awarded.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
In regards to the world rankings and small field events (world challenge, nedbank, ToC, world match play etc it's a long list): I don't have a problem with the winner and other high finishers getting a lot of points. Let's be brutally honest the field at the World Challenge is tougher than the field at the Australian Open, because their are more elite type players (a full field PGA Tour event is generally harder than both of those). So giving a player who beats 17 other top 50 guys owgr points seems reasonable.

My problem is giving the guy who finishes last owgr points. So here is the change I wish the owgr would adopt: no more than 50% of the initial (pre-cut) field will receive owgr points.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I always liked Fred Couples' explanation of why he did so well in the silly season - the Skins Game in particular - events - he said since nobody practices for these, and he doesn't usually practice for anything, then he had the advantage.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Tiger play in the storied Los Angeles Open? Why should he bother? After all, this is just another PGA Tour event that was generous enough to extend an invitation to him when he was a mere teenager so, come on... why should he even BOTHER to consider playing that rag-tag Riviera goat ranch? (This, by the way, is the same goat ranch for which Jack Nicklaus lobbied years ago when the tournament was content to settle in at Rancho Park municipal and other mediocre layouts. "Move it to Riviera and I'll come," said the Bear. And they did.

But why would TW play there when it would demonstrate at least a HINT of gratitude? Boys, if you can blow off Jerry West, you can ignore everything else. Still, isn't it funny how Jack eagerly took on the challenge of Riviera while TW runs from it.... content to play the same old tracks where he's seen the greatest success: Torrey, Firestone, Bay Hill, Muirfield, etc.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Since this comes up every year (and not just from Jill Painter), what is the term limit on gratitude from a sponsor exemption? or does it never end? Because since it gave Tiger his sponsor exemption it's changed sponsors and tournament directors. Plus he came back and played it nearly a dozen times.

Most sponsors would be pretty happy with that return on investment from a young player.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Del, no idea, but Scott and Web Simpson do, and Tiger has a boat, so that is at least 3.

Then VJ and EE do and don't, and and Claerk does, so assuming they are in the 100, that's up to 5. So I'd say 5 to 15% is a good guess, which is about all I'm good for today.

Hope you ddn't step in any piles of wspiderwebbing from the big balloon. I wonder if the horse followers, with shovels are paid or volunteer?
I've never shoveled xxxx, but I have bailed hay, and a full day of that is worthy of several cervezas. A full day of following a horse is worthy of a merit badge..
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
BenSeattle:

Just curious, how many times does he have to play at Riveria to pay them back for his sponsor's exemption? In perpetuity? He's got to have played there close to double digits, no?

I think the John Deere (formerly Quad Cities) has more of a beef, frankly. Would love to see Tiger pay them back although it will be a cold day in hell before he does, especially given where they fall on the schedule (week before the Open Championship).
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
BrianS that's a great one!

"...he came back and played it nearly a dozen times. Most sponsors would be pretty happy with that return on investment from a young player."

Hey elf, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?!? elf, you're gonna have to get with the plan here, come on now...
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
digger, wasn't quite sure what the other spiderweb reference was! I don't get anywhere near that sh*tshow ;) Below 14th street is very very quiet over Thanksgiving, a lovely time to be in the city. However, I will admit to going uptown and standing in line at the Frick for the Dutch Masters exhibit they have right now, some pretty awesome stuff.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Tiger played several times and he certainly owes the tournament nothing.

What is interesting though is his lack of interest in winning at certain courses. Phil struggled with this too, but now having won at Riviera and in Scotland this summer twice, he has come around to the undeniable satisfaction of having won at great courses, even if he wasn't so sure he liked them initially. Tiger doesn't seem to have much interest in that, and most modern players share his view. But I also think it's why Tiger's chase for 18 is so difficult: he's just very picky about where he feels his game shines.
12.2.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
This:

<< Just curious, how many times does he have to play at Riveria to pay them back for his sponsor's exemption? In perpetuity? He's got to have played there close to double digits, no? >>

Well, since you boys want to deal in "facts," why don't we? This is an obvious guess: "He's got to have played there close to double digits, no?"

Woody turned pro in late 1996 so his first chance to play L.A. as a professional would have been in 1997. He lost in a playoff to Billy Mayfair -- not staged at Rivera -- in 1998 but presumably he's been there enough to decide that he didn't like the course or the greens. Since there's been 13 events since 1998 and 2012, I think that since he's been turning down Los Angeles for YEARS, it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY that Woodhead has played the course "close to double digits." No? You're welcome to do some digging and prove me wrong.

Yes, he continues to turn down Quad Cities/John Deere (also early bestowers of an invite) but to turn down -- over and over -- Jerry West and the tournament that's played in his home town is simply bad form.

There: you now have your facts.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
@Ben, that's not hard to do: Tiger played the L.A. Open every year from 1992 until 2006. That's 15 consecutive starts - 10 as a professional - and that was double digits last time I checked. Besides, if you don't think giving him an exemption as a teen phenom/US Junior Champion/US Amateur Champion/second coming of whoever, was a net gain for the organizers, then I don't know where your head is.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Ben, as best we can tell Jerry never actually asked for the order, in person -- no ask, no turndown.

Also, in case you missed it, Jerry is no longer affiliated with the event and appears to have left in the midst of some sort of shakeup...sure looks like he disagreed with the direction the tourney was headed. In fact, one Lynn S. commented that "Knowing him, it sounds like he got pushed or miffed and quit."

I know how many times Tiger played the event from 1997...my question is, how many times did he need to play the event until the ledger was squared away and even, in your opinion?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@BenS - Living in Central NY I'm missing the importance of the Jerry West "asked" so its some form of disrespect for Tiger not to play. Jerry West is very accomplished and an admirable person but so aren't a lot of other tournament directors. Help me out here.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
Aside from the exemption debate...

...56* and sunny is considered "chilly"?!? We'd consider that downright balmy!
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@DTF - "56* and sunny" is considered July here.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
Figured it out.

We'll have the top 40 players in the world kick into a prize pool and we'll run a trounament that none of them play in--Call it the Journeyman Open. We'll put up a $6 mm purse and let everybody who can't play well enough to make the WGCs into the field.

Oh, wait. thats the Bob Hope Desert Classic...
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
<< Ben, as best we can tell Jerry never actually asked for the order, in person -- no ask, no turndown. >>

I'm not sure how you can say this. Every year Jerry West was interviewed about the possibility of TW competing and he would always answer something like, "We're working on it, we'd love to see it." I don't think either you or I know whether or not he made any kind of personal appeal. As for the East Coaster, former LA Laker Jerry West is a revered figure in the area... it's just hard to turn down an idol for the Lakers (you know, that's "Tiger's team.")

Somebody explain to me how the winter green at private Riviera are so much crappier than those at muni layout Torrey Pines.

Both Poa Annua, right?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Well, when I was a kid growing up in San Diego and playing Torrey North and South a couple hundreds times, I couldn't putt those green either. (Recall TW's final put at 18 in the 2008 Open to earn a spot in the playoff: bouncing, bobbling, rumbling and tumbling into the cup. I was there.)

<<The WGC's and the FedEx play-offs have done a great job of bringing the best in the game together more often, but the flip-side is that it means the elite players are playing in fewer "regular" stops. >>

Couldn't agree more: Tim Finchem's Folly. Designating a handful of tournaments as WGC events -- complete with no-cut, limited fields -- insures a nice top-100 turnout but has also decimated many of the most loyal, long-standing, traditional events on Tour. I'm sure Timmy couldn't be more proud. Unless, of course, he "designates" the venerable L.A. Open as a World Golf Championship. Let's see Tiger pass on THAT.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Ben, how many times did/does Tiger need to play before the ledger is squared?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
When Tiger sneezes Ben gets the sniffles all the way in Seattle, which produces nasal effluent and paragraphs of nonsense.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Ben is dancing around the question. Why doesn't he just answer what DTF is asking? In any event, I enjoy this meaningful golf in December.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdam S
<< When Tiger sneezes Ben gets the sniffles all the way in Seattle, which produces nasal effluent and paragraphs of nonsense. >>

I agree, it's completely my problem. I seem to have issues with sports stars who, due to their success, become disingenuous, arrogant, selfish, vindictive and surly.

Seriously, name one other ATHLETE, much less a professional golfer, that inspires articles that actually feature an "Enemies List."

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2013-10/tiger-woods-enemy-list-photos#intro
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
Ben, will a ledger squaring number be forthcoming?

Maybe an 8? Or a 14? Or something else?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
And Ben, I'm highly confident Jerry never had a direct personal conversation with Tiger asking him to play the event. Lots of quotes of this nature out there...

1.23.2012 -- "My place is just to tell him he's welcome. I talked to his agent, Mark Steinberg, at length, and we discussed a number of things, but I think he's very aware that we want him to play, there's no question about that."

1.12.2011 --> "We didn't talk about it," West said of Woods' status for the NTO. "I just wished him well. I told him, 'I'd love to see you get your No. 1 position back. You're a genius. Go find that confidence you had.' He knows I want him to play. "

Sales Rules 1 through 8......1. ask for the order, 2. ask for the order, 3. ask for the order, 4. ask for the order, 5. ask for the order, 6. ask for the order, 7. ask for the order, 8. ask for the order.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
After talking at length with Steiny (also renowned as "Dr. No") I think Jerry had his answer.
You don't ask when you already know the answer.

Just curious: what is Sales Rule number 9?
12.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
Tiger doesn't have to play in any event to square the ledger. But it's also worth noting that Tiger doesn't promote the game. He promotes himself.

Of which, mind you, is perfectly acceptable in this "winning takes care of everything" era we live in today.
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
Actually, starts at Rule 0...tell the truth.

Folks, ben ain't coming with a number...
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
From the interesting fact file is that the head of Tiger's Foundation, Greg McLaughlin, was the tournament director at Riviera when Tiger received his first exemption to LA Open.

Small world huh
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBayhill Bogey
Great catch there Bayhill Bogey.

So in this case the tournament director has actually been been paid back in spades and then some!
12.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
LA Open is another tournament (Like the Hope),
that had a habit of NOT returning calls, or answering letters for sponsor exemptions back in the 90's.
Unless you were an "A" list player, they could care less.
Funny that there were only a few tournaments that were like that.

So, forgive me for not shedding a tear that LA, the Hope,
and Sherwood are on the outside, looking in.

Ben, funny how mad you are about a guy not playing that you loathe. Figured you would be happy any time
Tiger isn't playing. Nothing positive about him, but why isn't he playing where I think he should!
Digsouth my input on OWGR.
The ranking points should be calculated purely from the OWGR rankings of the top 10 players in the field- rounded and grouped perhaps so the actual ranking points don't get silly.
The size of the field doesn't matter much. 30 or 150 players the cream rises to the top. 30 has more cream usually. In Australia this year one of the top ranked players won all 4 events which, note, all had full fields. 4 rounds sorts them out.
Great color there heavy, good to hear from you! And a creative angle of thought on why a hater would be mad about Tiger not playing, hadn't considered it from that perspective ;)
12.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ben's complaining reminds me of the great Woody Allen joke:

โ€œ... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."
<< a creative angle of thought on why a hater would be mad about Tiger not playing, hadn't considered it from that perspective ;) >>

Well, by that logic I should be advocating that because TW is so reprehensible, such a menace to society, that he simply be banished from all tournament golf and go seek eternal privacy on "Privacy."

Look, I fully understand schedules, majors, WGC events and certainly overseas appearance-fee cash-grabs; no player can play them all and every player has the right to pick and choose. Nevertheless, I will continue to maintain that when tournament organizers from a PGA Tour event in your hometown make a concerted effort (i.e. beseeching Steiny at the very least) to seek that you return to the event that provided one or more sponsors exemptions in your amateur years, gracing one of America's finest layouts with your presence isn't too much to ask. To continue to snub such an event is simply bad form in my eyes. (Oh wait... maybe I should work the term "hater" in there someplace.)

This brings us back to the old "mandatory appearance" argument in which the Tour would require ever eligible player to compete in every official event at least once every five or six years. But then again, they're "Independent Contractors" and can't be told were to tee it up, right? But since the Tour sets rules for fines, drugs, playing conditions, eligibility and the like, the idea that they can't set a "minimum appearance" standard doesn't hold water either.

Here's an idea. at TW's Wednesday news conference the first question can be asked by Brandel Chamblee: "Hey, Tiger, how come you never play at Riviera any more?"
12.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
Ben, how many times did/does Tiger need to play Riviera before the ledger is squared?

Clearly 9 isn't enough, so how many is it?
12.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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