Woods Won't Be In Kentucky; Mahan Backtracks

Apparently Tiger Woods can show up at NFL games, but don’t expect him to rally the troops at Valhalla. Reports say Woods is staying home, but that if Paul Azinger is looking for advice, he can put Tiger on speed dial:

The closest Tiger Woods will get to the Ryder Cup is in front of his television. Despite speculation that Woods planned to show up at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., this week, he said in a monthly newsletter he has no intention of coming. “U.S. captain Paul Azinger has my cell phone number, and he or any U.S. player can call me anytime,” said Woods, who had season-ending knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open.


I’m intrigued — and frankly a little disappointed — in the backtracking Hunter Mahan is making in regards to the Ryder Cup and all the time-sucking elements that come along with making the team. Mahan made remarks earlier in the summer to Golf Magazine saying that players were used by the PGA of America, which makes a fortune running the event. I found Mahan’s comments honest at the time — and still honest now:

“Phil Mickelson and Tiger ” their time is worth money. And for the PGA of America, the Ryder Cup is a moneymaker like no other. They don’t have to pay anything. I think when (Mark) O’Meara said players should get paid for it or some of the money given to their charities, I think (he said that) because the PGA takes so much out of the event that the players don’t really get anything. Is it an honor to play? Yes, it is. But their time is valuable. This is a business.”

Mahan was just getting warmed up saying players might start refusing to play because “the fun is sucked right out of it.”

He said the Europeans take it seriously and hold the event at “a place on the European Tour schedule….The PGA of America could care less about winning it, honestly. They pick a site where they’re going to have the Senior PGA, the PGA and the Ryder Cup, which means less money they have to pay out to get more money. And from what I’ve heard the whole week is extremely long. You’ve got dinners every night ” not little dinners, but huge, massive dinners. I know, as players, that’s the last thing we want to do. We want to prepare ourselves. That’s part of the whole thing: you’re just a slave that week. At some point the players might say, “You know what ” we’re not doing this anymore, because this is ridiculous.”

All of which is fairly accurate. But the reactionary media jumped all over Mahan, and apparently Azinger was disappointed as well, though I don’t think Paul is so thick as to not recognize the truth in what Mahan said. Regardless, Mahan was backpeddling something fierce when asked about the comments:

“The tone of the article was definitely not the way I intended it to be,” he admitted.

“This is a great week. I mean, this is not something I didn’t want to participate in or anything like that. I was trying to make the team, and I’m very excited to be here and ready to play golf and ready to experience everything, because there’s only been like 172 guys who have played in this. So this is an honour for me to be here and an honour to be a part of it.”

Now tell me, how exactly can the “tone” of a Q&A interview be altered by the writer…


My take on the Ryder Cup? Closer than one might expect, but I still think the European team will defeat the Americans. I have a hard time seeing where slow-as-molasses JB Holmes fits in, and I’m not keen on the lack of competitive drive by the likes of Kenny Perry, who skipped several big events this year to be sure he’d make the team (British Open anyone?). I like the chances that Sergio Garcia (who is red hot at the moment), Robert Karlsson, and Hendrik Stenson will take advantage of the added length at Valhalla. This one won’ t be a blowout, but the Europeans will win despite Nick Faldo’s fumbling choice of Ian Poulter.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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