Leonard Shapiro considers whether they would have played a U.S. Open playoff had Tiger tied Cabrera and Elin went into labor the Monday after.
If there had been a playoff, he would have been in Pittsburgh, likely asleep, when the call came. It has always been assumed that if one of the players doesn't show up at the first tee for an Open playoff, no matter the reason, the player who does is declared the champion.Ouch! I have to stop rolling my eyes when I have my contacts in.
Apparently, that's not necessarily so.
On Wednesday, U.S. Golf Association Executive Director David Fay said it was not that simple, and that the USGA would have faced a dilemma had Woods been unable to play on Monday.
The organization faced the same potential scenario at the U.S. Open in 1999, when Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, was in the final stages of her pregnancy. She also delivered their child on the Monday after that Open. Mickelson missed a playoff by a shot in a tournament won by Payne Stewart, and like Woods, also had said he would leave the Open at the first indication his wife was ready to deliver.
"I really don't know what we'd do," Fay said. "I'll hide behind the fact that it's a hypothetical. But I suspect that [if their opponent didn't show up] Angel [Cabrera] and Payne [Stewart] probably would have said, 'I'm not going to show up for the playoff either.'
Yes, a man who is trying to win his first major, who has worked most of his life to reach that point, is going to pass up the chance to have the trophy handed to him and accept a postponement so some billionaire with 12 majors can be at the hospital when his wife is screaming untoward things as she delivers their child. Right!
When they ask, that's when Angel says, "no habla English!"
"That would have forced our hand. And I can tell you we would not have said, 'We're not going to have an Open champion this year.' The good news is that it didn't happen. And the most important thing is that Sam Alexis is doing fine."
Oh, nice we're already a first name business with Tiger's daughter!
While neither Fay nor anyone else in the USGA was publicly prepared to say what might have happened, it seems likely an 18- or even 36-hole playoff would have been arranged.
36? Is that a new by-law? When Tiger or Phil are having a baby, we'll play a special 36-hole made-for-TV playoff at a future date?
I'm sure NBC would love to come back in two weeks and setup their gear again.