PGA goes full LIV…Tiger far from out of the woods

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Sundays, of whatever colour, are sadly not Tiger’s thing these days.
Posted on
February 20, 2024
by
Robert Green in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Amid the razzmatazz surrounding the Swifty Bowl…sorry, the Super Bowl in Las Vegas the weekend before last, the fact of Dustin Johnson’s victory in the second LIV Golf tournament of the season, which had concluded in the same city the previous day, may have passed you by. Which is kind of what happened to Jon Rahm that week. “Driving by Phoenix [where the PGA Tour was playing] as often as I had to and knowing I wasn’t going to be playing there, it’s definitely emotional,” said LIV’s most recent high-profile signing. “That’s one of the things I’m going to miss. I’m hoping that in the near future I can be back playing some of those events.” Yes, but who knows how those negotiations will go?

On reflection, Rahm may be glad he gave Phoenix a swerve this year. The weather was shocking but that was nothing compared to the spectator chaos. There is a reason the tournament – real name: the Waste Management Open – goes by the nickname of ‘The Wasted Open’. The par-three 16th is especially famous/notorious. When Tiger Woods made a hole-in-one there in 1997, the skies rained beer, so excited did the fans get. Pretty disgusting, but in good humour. Not so this year. Fans used the slopes of the viewing mounds as mudslides and the overall behaviour was such that at one point on Saturday the gates were closed and sales of alcohol banned. Players were heckled, there was booing of some shots before they had been hit, sporadic fighting broke out and arrests were made. It was LIV which described its product as ‘Golf But Louder’. Given those goings-on in Arizona, the PGA Tour may want to take issue with that. Not!

Speaking of Tiger Woods, he was in Los Angeles last week to play in the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club. He was also there to showcase a new clothing line named Sun Day Red, a rather clumsy pun based on the colour of the golf shirt he would invariably wear on the final day of a tournament. This latest brand project is being undertaken with TaylorMade, his business relationship with Nike having now been nixed. But while Woods seemed exuberant at the launch of his latest foray on the sartorial front, the week ended with him leaving the golf course after playing six holes of the second round due to “illness”. The previous day his round had concluded with an epic shank that he attributed to a severe back spasm.

The truth is that Sundays, of whatever colour, are sadly not Tiger’s thing these days. It was the day after that same tournament three years ago that he crashed his car at high speed, nearly killing himself but unequivocally causing long-term issues as regards his mobility. Since that day, he has played in just six official tournaments – four major championships and two Genesis Invitationals. The record shows three withdrawals, one missed cut and two placings in the 40s. Put another way, he has only twice played all four rounds. Prior to last week he had talked of playing one tournament a month, which in March would presumably be either Bay Hill or the Players Championship. That now has to be in doubt. As for the Masters in April, on one of the hardest-walking courses in the world…well, he made the cut last year but then had to withdraw. As things stand, it looks like he would do very well to improve on that at Augusta this time.

 

You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com

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About Robert Green

Robert Green is a former editor of Golf World and Golf International magazines and the author of four books on golf, including Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius. He has played golf on more than 450 courses around the world, occasionally acceptably.

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