HAPPY 10TH birthday, World Golf Championships. Gee, preteens are so hard to buy for. You probably already own all the typical 10-year-old must-haves—iPod, PlayStation, taser—so I got you something different, something you really need: a passport.
Nothing personal, WGC, but I want you out of the country. You need to see the world. That's what you were named for, after all.
Don't pretend you haven't heard the complaints. Ernie Els, Adam Scott and even Tiger Woods have pointed out that to be true world championships you sometimes have to be held in countries other than the United States.
You don't have to be Alanis Morissette to see the irony in what's going on this week. The WGC-CA Championship is being held in Miami, while the PGA Tour's other stop, for the lesser lights, is going on outside the contiguous 48 in Puerto Rico. Same thing happened last month, when the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship was played in Tucson while the other Tour players took their cuts in Mexico. You can see why we're confused.
And consider this: While the three big WGCs are committed to Tucson, Miami and Akron (Bridgestone Invitational) through 2010, the European tour is global-whipping your butt by playing in China, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. In fact, it's not until this week that the Euro tour actually makes it first stop of 2008 in Europe, at the Madeira Islands Open, in Portugal.
Yes, WGC, we know you've been to England, Ireland and Spain, but those voyages seem like eons ago. And don't tell me about the WGC-World Cup going to, among other countries, China, Barbados and Japan. Everyone knows the World Cup doesn't count. Just look at last year. The two biggest names the U.S. could dredge up to play in the thing were Heath Slocum and Boo Weekley, and Boo really had no idea where he was. (Even Wales dredged up Bradley Dredge!)
Heck, WGC, your minor league sibling, the Nationwide tour, gets around more than you, this year alone making its way to Panama, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Yet you, Mr. $8 Million Purses, are afraid to take a baby step across the border.
I'm not even going to get into the stuff about how you've been hurting the regular tour stops here and abroad because your star-studded fields make them look oh-so-ordinary. Sure, it's nice that Tiger shows you so much love, but by going steady with you, he is in effect dumping three other tournaments from his ever-dwindling schedule.
And I have a question: Do you really think it's right to call yourself a championship? You had only 64 players at the Match Play and will have 77 this week at Doral, this after a mere 82 teed it up last August at Firestone. These aren't championships, they're outings.
I guess you're feeling a little full of yourself because Tiger has won seven of your last 10 events, and 15 of 26 overall.
Well, don't let it go to your head, kid. You're 10 years old, but you're not a perfect 10. Not even close. Now blow out the candles while I get my travel agent on the line for you.
TRUST ME by JIM GORANT
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COMSTOCK IMAGES (CAKE)
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GETTY IMAGES (BOB HOPE)
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ERICK W. RASCO (ROSES)
BETTMANN/CORBIS (PALMER PUTTING)
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