Golf Digest has made what we already know official: Tiger Woods is golf’s richest player. According to the publication, he could make $1-billion by 2013. “Research by Golf Digest revealed that … Woods has earned another $481.8 million in endorsements and appearance fees. Assuming Woods continues on the same earnings trajectory, Golf Digest projects that Woods will reach the $1 billion mark in career earnings by the end of 2010. According to financial experts, Woods’ net worth should surpass $1 billion by 2013, if not sooner.” Just to give you a clear sense of why Woods and Phil Mickelson could afford to skip the opening event in Hawaii, note in the article that while Mickelson may have trailed Woods on the money list last year, he still made $45-million, $39-million of which came from “off course sources.” I don’t think we are talking ponies and college bowl games here folks. More likely Callaway, Ford and other cash. Also striking is Norman, Palmer and Nicklaus, who made little on the course ($15 grand in the case of Palmer), but $20-million, $25-million and $15-million respectively last year other ways. The full list can be found here. For Canadians, even in an off-year, Mike Weir apparently made $5-million, good for 27th on the list.
It took a long time, but the fine folks at Golfobserver.com have finally come to recognize this little golf blog, picking my piece on changes at the Canadian Open and including it in their roundup of golf news. The problem has always been that the National Post, the newspaper I write for, doesn’t make its website accessible to those without subscriptions. By posting some of my columns on this blog, I was hoping to open up a broader readership. But since few golf bloggers actually break any news, and simply just point you to what is worthwhile on the web (a fine practice…), Golfobserver.com didn’t really recognize the blogsphere. Well, apparently they do now, which is pretty cool indeed. My hope would be that they might even pick up on some of my course previews and reviews, like the Doug Carrick design in Scotland that I previewed here a few days back.
I haven’t spent much time commenting on it, but Augusta has been touring writers through the course in recent months to show them the changes. Doug Ferguson at AP wrote a story about it a week or so back and had this to say: “Some of the tees won’t be the same at the 70th Masters in April, and players won’t need a scorecard to notice. The official yardage is 7,445 yards, courtesy of changes to six holes that added about 155 yards. It’s the third time in the last six years that Augusta National has strengthened its golf course — 520 yards since 1999 — each in an attempt to restore the rhythm and shot value the way Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie designed it.” Like several who have commented on this, I don’t see how the current Augusta reflects the vision of Jones and MacKenzie at all. They dreamed of a wide golf course where playing to certain key areas of the fairway would make approaches slightly easier. Instead, this concept has been replaced by a target golf hybrid. Now players are expected to hit tee shot to spot A, then smack an approach to location B and hope like hell they end up below the hole. I’m not saying the tournament will be lacking in drama, but all of the changes could really make this more akin to the US Open than the Masters. I like those late round charges, and I think they are a key component in what makes the tournament interesting to most viewers.