Tough talk from Tim Rosaforte, reporting from Kapalua...
this wasn't the way Tim Finchem designed the FedEx Cup. And this was not what The Golf Channel, Mercedes-Benz or FedEx had in mind when they spent the money, or what the golf fan with a snowdrift outside his window deserves when he turns on the TV for prime-time golf from paradise.
So would Woods, who hasn't been to Maui since 2005. That's the year the tour moved his Target World Challenge to two weeks before Christmas. Mickelson, who hasn't played here since 2001, can be thrown out of this discussion since his problem is not only family, but also 30 mph winds, grainy greens and uphill walks that are part of dealing with the Plantation Course. But Harrington, who is at home in Ireland, and Scott, who is resting up after the Australian circuit, just show that there's so much money in golf today, worldwide, that a ride in a private jet to a limited-field event just isn't worth the inconvenience.
So far, the only suggestion anyone has come up with this week is Steve Stricker's plea to move the event back a week or two (next year it starts January 8th). From John Strege:
"Personally, I think we start too early," Steve Stricker said Tuesday. "I talked to Gary Planos (Kapalua Resort's senior vice president resort operations) and he kind of feels the same way. It's holiday time. Don't get me wrong. I'm excited as hell to be here, but you still have family back home. You've got to take off on the 27th or 28th, right after Christmas, to get over here and make sure you're rested and ready. Personally, I'd like to see it start a week or two weeks later in the season, just to be home through Christmas and the first of the year and be able to spend some time with family and friends."
The merits of his argument notwithstanding, it doesn't seem likely to change, and absenteeism will continue to beleaguer an event that debuted on the PGA Tour in 1953 and probably deserves better.