Knockdown Shots Vol. 2

The Orlando Sentinel's Steve Elling pens another entertaining "knockdown shots" column.

News item: Tiger Woods says he will skip the PGA Tour's season-opening Mercedes Championships next month and won't begin the 2006 season until the Buick Invitational on Jan. 26. "I haven't had an offseason," Woods explained.

Knockdown shot: Let's recap, shall we? He signed contracts or received appearance fees estimated at $3 million to play in far-flung events in China and Japan, and elected to play in the 36-hole Skins Game and PGA Grand Slam, veritable exhibitions. The Target World Challenge, conducted last week, is Woods' own tournament. If the season is too long, as Woods has complained, whose fault is that?

What kind of hometown homerism is that?

News item: Those attending the LPGA's ADT Championship at Trump International in West Palm Beach are served bottled water featuring the personalized label of overexposed course owner Donald Trump.

Knockdown shot: At least the product, Trump Ice, is a fitting tribute. Like its millionaire namesake, it's completely transparent and lacks any real substance.

Poor Donald.

News item: Augusta National officials, in another attempt to stay ahead of the technology curve, again lengthen the course by stretching several key holes. "Augusta has changed," said club member Arnold Palmer, choosing his words carefully. "It isn't the same as I have known it all the years. Do I like it much? Again, like everything, when you make some changes to something you have known all your life, you have to get a little acclimated to it."

Knockdown shot: Palmer quickly added that he now plays solely from the regular member tees, by the way.

Shouldn't Arnold Palmer be able to say whatever he wants about Augusta National? Well, that tap dance still said a lot.