This week’s Sympatico column looks at the start of the golf season without Tiger:
There is life after Tiger Woods. The show must go on. No one is bigger than the game.
Choose your clichÃƒ© wisely. Regardless, professional golf moves into another year whether the game’s best player turns up or not.
Not that Woods’ absence is a big surprise in Hawaii this week, where 28 players have shown up for the SBS Championship, the lead-off event of the 2010 PGA Tour season. Woods hadn’t played in the event for the past four years, choosing to stay home and occupy his time in some fashion, or just stopping by Perkins for a good meal.
Tiger may not be in Maui, but he looms large over the whole tournament, especially given its first-place prize of $1.12-million and an overall purse of $5.6-million. When Tiger first played and won the event in 1997, when it was called the Mercedes Championship, he pocketed $260,000. Within six years the winner would take home $1-million. That’s what is called “the Tiger Effect.”
Now the game faces a period of time without its best player, the only golfer in recent years to transcend the sport and become an immediately recognizable international superstar.