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Woods is not golf's only talking point

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Iain Carter | 19:06 UK time, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Where to start? There is so much to discuss at this febrile time for the game, especially with the world number one continuing to be the water-cooler man of the moment.

But let's leave Tiger Woods for now and consider some of the other significant developments that have occurred in the 10 days in which golf, or at least its best player, has been such a dominant topic of conversation.

From a European point of view, perhaps the most significant news has been the announcement of the 2010 tournament schedule, coming as it did in the wake of revelations on the size of Dubai's gigantic debts.

The stricken Emirate is at the heart of the European Tour's strategy and it was clear to anyone who attended last month's Dubai World Championship that they had done extremely well to keep alive the season ending tournament.

Given the dire economic news that followed we were left to wonder whether Tour chief executive George O'Grady's words had been misplaced when he said he was "extremely confident" the 2010 season would end in the same way.

O'Grady continues to stand by those comments. He says he's been given assurances that the $15m will be there for the DWC and Race to Dubai bonus cash for the top 15 on the money list.

So as it stands at the moment, the 2010 season will be the second running of the Race to Dubai with six new tournaments in a 47 event schedule.

Lee WestwoodBritain's Lee Westwood ended the 2009 season in style

But for English golf fans the coming year is bleak with just one tournament, the PGA Championship in May on Wentworth's revamped West Course (it is getting mixed reviews from those who've seen the changes there by the way - they've gone down well with some, but I'm hearing other players are less than keen).

All this at a time when England can boast no fewer than four players in the world's top 18 - only the US has a greater representation in the upper echelons of the game.

But despite this potentially golden era sponsors could not be found for the European Open, played for the last two years at the London Club in Kent. The event had been propped up by Dubai money, but not any longer.

The British Masters also fails to feature on the 2010 calendar, having not been played since 2008, and a much vaunted replacement tournament to be staged in Northern Ireland failed to materialise.

Another worrying development for the Tour is the news that America's PGA Tour has found a date to stage an event in Malaysia. Tim Finchem seems to flexing his muscles in Asia, a key part of the world for O'Grady's rival organisation.

It's good to see Valderrama back on the schedule for the Andalucia Masters while an autumn date has still to be finalised for the World Matchplay just down the road on the Costa del Sol at Finca Cortesin.

That tournament might have to run to five days and have a Wednesday start to allow leeway for weather delays. There was none when this year's event won by Ross Fisher was thankfully blessed with glorious weather.

Fisher is England's fourth man in the world's top 18 and, speaking of the rankings, are you somewhat uneasy that world ranking points were on offer at Woods' tournament in California last week?

While it is great news for Graeme McDowell that he leapt from 55th to 38th in the world, effectively securing his place in the Masters and WGCs for next year, it seems a rather excessive reward for finishing second in an 18-man event, especially as he was a last minute call up for the absent you-know-who.

And speaking of absentees another disappointing one is Catriona Matthew from the list of nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. What more does a British female golfer have to do for due recognition?

Don't blame the Beeb, but the parochial sports editors who clearly failed to recognise the significance of beating the world's best to win the Women's British Open so soon after giving birth to her second child.

Interestingly, elsewhere on this site you can see who nominated whom and only Scottish publications found room to put forward the name of Matthew.

Still I'm told Sunday's event will be a great night for golf and many top players will be in attendance in Sheffield including the newly crowned European Tour Golfer of the Year Lee Westwood, who thoroughly deserves that accolade after his stunning end to the season.

It's unlikely we will see Woods collecting the Overseas Award, I guess. His situation seems to worsen by the day, and who knows when we will see him play again.

Torrey Pines at the end of January still seems to be the most likely option, but will he really want to make his return to action at such a high profile venue so close to Hollywood and its rat-pack reporters?

The suggestion that his campaign might begin at the start of the PGA Tour season at the SBS Championship at Kapalua has gathered some momentum. There are rumours that he'd agreed to play in Hawaii in exchange from the Tour for a more favourable date for last week's Chevron Challenge.

But they are only rumours. As are so many of the stories surrounding the stricken superstar at the moment.

It could well be that the scale of the crisis that's engulfed him and his family might keep Woods away from golf for much longer than had been first anticipated.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    'ratpack...stricken...crisis' - the guy has been exposed as a total sleaze ball, Iain - why are you continuing to paint him as some sort of victim??

    As I said on your last blog - you're guilty of the biggest misread since Doug Sanders.

  • Comment number 2.

    The golfing gravy train was bound to come off the rails at some point... but regardless of the financial difficulties the game finds itself in it is still in rude health in comparison to much of the economy. Nothing is immune. These guys can still make more money in two seasons playing golf than most of us make in a lifetime of graft. I'm not all that sympathetic...

    Tiger's woes are totally of his own making, but if you think there was excitement ahead of his return from knee surgery this year it will be nothing compared to the buzz his next appearance on tour will create. Love him or loathe him he is good for golf. I for one can't wait for it - what will the crowds make of him, what will their reaction be to him and most importantly what will his reaction be to them now that his bubble has well and truly burst. Unless he ends up in jail that is - and on current form we can't write that off!

    Hopefully the British players can make some headway in the majors - hate to say it but isn't Lee Westwood now the best golfer around not to have won a major? One of them will win a major. And another Ryder Cup coming up with no reason why Europe can't win it back in Wales, and in some style. They have the players to do it, no doubt.

    So don't be downhearted - 2010 could really be a season to remember!

  • Comment number 3.

    I have no problem with McDowell picking up points from the Chevron Challenge. He beat all 16 of the best in the world over four rounds, so he deserves some points. Perhaps the weighting may be a little heavy, but in the end it's probably some justice for a golfer who I think is more top 25 than top 50, going on what I've seen from him.

    Interesting times for the Tiger era - the majors this year suit his game, but his recent indiscretions may affect his golf, and also perhaps wipe some of his psychological thumbprint from the foreheads of his fellow competitors, who I think have fallen into the trap of thinking he was near-flawless. It's a little bit harder to dominate someone psychologically when they look at you and just see tabloid headlines (and compare Woods' year to Mickelson, who took time off to be with his sick wife!).

    Along with that comes a new wave of golfers that seem to be reaching a peak. Westwood is in Tiger-form over the past 6 months. Harrington's late-season revival after swing changes seems to be showing that he may add to his 3 majors. Young players like McIlroy are on the rise. Despite an interrupted season, Mickelson seems to be at the top of his game. Furyk has returned to the winner's circle. And whose to say that forgotten golfers like Ernie Els and Adam Scott won't return to form as well.

    Looking forward to a fascinating 2010!

  • Comment number 4.

    great use of numbers,,, 4 of the top 18 are english,, good observation from the bbc , the British Broadcasting corp, its not the english broadcasting corp so try to be less gingoistic with your comments . so may be you could mention the number of Irish golfers in the top 11 in the world ( top 10 last week before mcilroy got ill) FROM A NATION OF 1/20th the size of population of your beloved england. In terms of tournament winners over the last two seasons Irlenad have the biggest disproportionate number of winners by any country , by miles.
    Ireland have 3 in the top 38 england have 5,, big deal, none have won a major,,,

  • Comment number 5.

    The much publicised events off the course are only the start of Tiger's problems. In addition to the likely scenario that he won't return to competitive golf for some time is the seriously ominous form of more major rivals than he has ever before had to deal with all at one time. They would appear to be eagerly queueing up to profit from the great man's downfall.

    Phil Mickelson ended a difficult year personally with a classy win at the HSBC, where Ernie Els pushed him all the way with a vintage 63 to show he's back in the mix and he means business. Furyk won the Chevron, Adam Scott bounced back from the wilderness with an excellent maiden victory in the Aussie Open, and Westwood, McIlroy and Fisher were absolutely flying towards the end of the year. Harrington is showing some end product form his swing changes I agree and I'm sure I even saw Sergio finally holing a few putts in the Dubai World Championship.

    If Tiger is still world number 1 at the end of next season it may be his best achievement to date. However if he does indeed manage to do that while brushing off his personal issues so easily in the face of his poor children he has set an awful example for, he truly is the soulless, smileless, maniacally driven golf machine that we all fear and respect but ultimately do not love like a Seve or an Arnie.

    I am officially now a Phil and Rory fan.

  • Comment number 6.

    Just a few points to note....

    1. What Tiger does in his personal life is entirely up to him and should not concern any of us. We love him for his golfing ability not his personal life and that shouldn't change. The way he has been hounded of late has been disgraceful and for the Florida police to hold a press conference is utterly laughable and, sickeningly, very American.

    What annoys me is that there are people out there who think he's getting away with something because of who he is yet if you or I had done it then no one would batter an eyelid. He's getting the grief BECAUSE of who he is!

    2. Well done to Lee Westwood

    3. Well done to the ENGLISH, not British, ENGLISH golfers (ref. KKR23) who are in the top 10. Couldn't care less about the Irish one's - this is after all England.

  • Comment number 7.

    R.E. #4 kkr23......

    I believe Iain's comments regarding 4 English players finding themselves in the top 18 were made as a point to illustrate that there will only be one tour event taking place in England in the coming season, and posing the question as to why this number has dwindled?!
    Compare this to 2 events in Wales, 3 in Scotland for example....

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely if Bolt doesnt win the overseas personality then there can only be one other winner

    and that person is Tom Watson

    Watsons effort at the British Open This year was unbelievable

  • Comment number 9.

    Re: #4,6,7

    Yes, the ensuing English vs Irish debate didn't take long to crop up here, surprisingly too, as jaysea profers a vaild theory from the blog. My point (and Iain's too by safe reasoning) is that golfers from these Isles (not counting mainland Europe, let's leave that for Ryder Cup time) are really pushing up the rankings and fairing quite well in most tournaments. We (British and Irish) can watch with something more than hope, we should be watching with confidence, expecting one of the "local lads" to fair well, even, god fordid, win! Although I would prefer more tournaments on these Isles, does the tight scheduling allow for anymore? Is another country/city going to cancel just for us? And surely sponsorship is the overriding factor here. Money talks, especially in golf!

    I won't mind watching on telly as long as we have a British or Irish major winner next year. By the way my top five British and Irish chances for a major in 2010 are...

    1.Ross Fisher
    2.Padraig Harrington
    3.Paul Casey
    4.Ian Poulter
    5.Rory McIlroy

    and Oliver Wilson as an outside chance...

  • Comment number 10.

    Well all these talks of financial difficulties the tour is having is making me think.
    Because of the way the media has handled the situation with Tiger Woods, ok it has affected his personal life greatly but as soon as he starts missing tournaments because of 'rat pack' journalists is when I feel this has been taken to far. Everyone knows that Tiger boosts viewerships and interest in tournaments so instead of scaring him away from the golf course maybe it would be a positive for the tour if he were to come back sooner rather than later. Just the fact that he know doesnt want to play in certain competitions near hollywood purely because he knows that journalists are going to focus on his personal life rather than his golf.
    What I say to journalists is, OK you had your fun, but let him get back to what he does best which is playing golf.

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with #8.
    Long before his indiscretions were aired in public the great Tiger was hacking away across Turnberry while a near sixty year old Tom Watson played with total majesty. Easily the highlight of the year.

  • Comment number 12.

    the title of this article says it all - it's you 'journalists' who keep talking about woods' personal life.
    I don't care about his personal life.
    he's a golfer - the best ever probably.
    he didn't go on 'big brother' or 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' to be famous.
    talk about golf or join some celebrity gossip magazine.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Couldn't care less about the Irish one's - this is after all England."

    Actually, this is a blog on the Internet. And is it now on the EBC not the BBC sports website? It's not summer 2010 yet so it's a bit ealy for the "litte England" comments, don't you think?

  • Comment number 14.

    1. the sports personality award needs to be renamed because it doesn't give the impression that it's going to the BEST sports man or woman.

    2. Tom Watson came second in the Open Championship and therefore should not win the SPOTY award because Stewart Cink should beat him to it.

    Either way Bolt should win the overseas award because he had a phenomenal year. Home award has to go to either Jenson Button, Mark Cavendish or Jessica Ennis. Cannot believe that Ryan Giggs is even in the running for it - it was bad enough for the game that he discredited the PFA award by winning that last season.

    3. BBC HQ is in England and as it's an English company my comments stand. I also stick by original comments about the Irish golfers who I couldn't care less about. Personal choice of course - you lot can do what you like.

    British by birth, English by the grace of god - I'm not going to water myself down just to keep a few Welsh, Scottish and Irish happy.

  • Comment number 15.

    Iain,
    Seems you've culled your content from 606 posters.

    Just one amplification on the PGA Tour's encroachment into Asia: The Malaysia date has still to be finalised, but current favourite is the last weekend of October, which clashes with the new Andalucia event on the European Tour. Why does O'Grady continue to apparently trust Finchem?
    By the way, the Malaysia tournament will be a "Challenge" event, no official money, not an official win, just another limited field exhibition replete with owgr points and a lofty last place prize ($60K has been mooted) as a substitute for appearance money. Terrific.

    One last thought: If the BBC accorded more attention to Ladies' golf, then perhaps Catriona Matthew's achievement would be better acknowledged. As it is, you don't so no recognition. Sad but true.

  • Comment number 16.

    The Great Meloni,

    The name says it all - yours and the BBC - C'mon fella this was a serious topic until the great short sighted got involved here is another acronym that might be more appropiate for you BNP but sorry you wouldn't be interested as they are British too.....no struggling to see where you could ever fit in

    Anyway - The problem is and has been stated on many previous posts that Golf revoves around money and it seems that the organisers will only go to where the money is now and not to the trditional heartlands. Probably just the facts of life now

  • Comment number 17.

    Apologies Great Meloni, I just read my last post and realised what a grave error I made - please accept my apologies as i wrote this in a temper and said some unexusable things

    I meant revolve in the second last line - Apologies again

  • Comment number 18.

    Couldn't disagree more with the people who say what Tiger does behind closed doors is up to him. He's a role model, one of the most famous people in the world, an ambassador for golf. He has a responsibilty firstly to his family and secondly to the sport he represents to behave properly! IMO he has brought the game into disrepute.
    He may be talented but he lacks any class. I've always been uneasy with the idea that his surly behaviour is due to being in 'the zone'. Could it just be he's a bit of a spoilt brat?
    I can't see him ever living this down and I don't think he deserves to.

  • Comment number 19.

    Its completely inappropriate that GMc got points for last week. It was a closed field, and it was clearly not the case that he beat 16 of the best in the world, he was 50 something in the world going in....

    Where does it end, if Toger, Padraig, Lee and Jim arrange a fourball in Isleworth should there be points for that aswell?

  • Comment number 20.

    So I'm proud of being english and I say as much and people directly relate my comments to the BNP? Mmmmmm very strange....the world has gone mad but I guess that's what insecurity does to some people.

    Before you respond, check out KKR23's post and you'll see where this all started. In case you were wondering Iain is actually English and is also proud of his english heritage which is why I commented on the number of English golfers in the top 10 or so.

    Jeez







  • Comment number 21.

    Jockneyboy - I agree that Tiger's first responsibility is with his family's BUT......

    a) nobody but him knows the facts about what has gone on behind the scenes - what happened to innocent before proven guilty

    b) even if he has misbehaved his golfing and personal life shouldn't just stop because he's someone who happened to get extremely good at what he does and may/may not have stepped out of line at home.

    c) I believe Tiger has a strong enough character to get through this, keep playing golf and not give two hoots what people think about him. Why should he? His golf made him big not the general public.

    Problem is that we as humans tend to castigate the great and celebrate the losers like Eddie the Eagle for heavens sake.

  • Comment number 22.

    thegreatmeloni

    The BBC is owned by the licence payers. I assume you would be happy if all the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish were exempt from paying the fee.

  • Comment number 23.

    It shows that all of you out there listen to the paper's such as the sun..etc, which just produce pure rumours. You should be treated innocent until proven guilty. Look at Mohammed Ali, he had various affairs but he is regarded as the best soprtsman of all time. Don't drive our best sportsman of this era away from the game!!

  • Comment number 24.

    thegreatmeloni;

    a. He's admitted he made transgressions, I think we've all got a fair idea that he's guilty of playing away. Maybe not to the extent of some of the reports but he's certainly been up to no good.

    b. When you reach the status he has you have a responsibility to behave appropriately. He's not just another pro-golfer he's a global icon & he would've known full well any dirt on him reflects badly on him personnally and everything he represents - and is paid a kings ransom to represent.

    c. Where does the money in professional sport come from? The general public and companies sponsorship. If the general public aren't interested in a sport there won't be any sponsors.

  • Comment number 25.

    Regarding the European Tour (I use the term very loosely) .... just watch out for it going the same way as Snooker. Earlier this decade the powers-that-be in snooker decided to take the game 'global', but now its generally recognised that the game is in the doldrums with Ronnie O'Sullivan considering quitting to play pool in the USA.
    Sport is a business, and businesses have to look after their customers. For Golf, those 'customers' are based here in the UK more than in any other European nation and certainly more than in the middle-east and far-east. For England to have a pathetic ONE tournament next season, is frankly a scandal.
    I wonder whether the players are really delighted at the prospect of flying 18 hours to play in front of 12 people around each green, and then have the trophy presented to them by the FD of a business no-one has ever heard of.
    Those in snooker thought that the game was on the up, but by taking it away from its spiritual home, it has fallen flat on its face.
    The UK is golf's spiritual home and for the European Tour hiarachy to do what they are doing is an absolute travesty.

  • Comment number 26.

    there has been quite a lot of mention about a certain Cheetah on here. My view is that he has played away from home, and let his family down big time in the process. Yes that is private BUT when you are a major major star, you get the attention. And he is not the clean cut guy he would us all to think.
    He should be, in his position in golf, a role model, and he is not. He has always been surly, bad tempered etc etc - when he is not winning, and it's not good enough to say it's because he is in the 'zone'. Do you see Mickelson, Furyk, Westwood, Els, behaving like that. I remember the masters one year - and a year he won in - when because one shot out of the rough didn't do what he wanted, he nearly took some kids head off with his club that he swung in temper. A bit more grace when not winning would go a long way.
    He is a great great golfer, but to say he is the best ever - how can anyone ever say that as all players have played in different eras with different clubs, balls etc. For example, how would Tiger have fared against Nicklaus & Hogan in their hayday using the equipment they used.
    Is he loved ? - he has an aura about him, a fear, but he's not loved - at least not by me. Now when you mention the likes of Sevvy - he was loved, no question. So were Jack & Arnie - gentleman, great sportsmen.

    English & other BRITISH golfers - really pleased they are high up in the rankings, really excited about westwood, Fisher & McIlroy for the next year. Shame there is only one tournament in England next year, but St Andrews isn't that far away - and before I get browbeaten - I know it has a huge heritage and place in the world of golf, but compared to the likes of Turnberry, Troon etc, it is a course where you can ge away with a lot, and I sincerely hope it doesn't turn into the Tiger one man show it has the past two times the Open has bee tere.

    And now for 'thegreatmaloni', I know I'm a Utd fan, but your comment about Giggs is laughable. I agree he shouldn't be in the shortlist for sorts personality, BUt the reason he won the PFA player of the year IS BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF THE PLAYERS VOTED FOR HIM !!, and i suspect they might know a little bit more than you on the subject. You're not from Scouseland or support Liverpool are you/do you by any chance.

  • Comment number 27.

    To Cumbrian MU fan, ref the Giggs comment.

    God knows how many hundreds of thousands of men fought for Hitler in World War 2 - and they know more about war than I do but that doesn't make it right.

    You and I both know that Giggs didn't deserve that award for a second - and him winning due to his age only served to discredit it.

    ...and that's irrespective of who we support or where we come from

  • Comment number 28.

    Jockneyboy,

    Ok, I accept that the sponsorship thing but I couldn't give two hoots if has he slept around for 20years. If he continues to hit a golf ball like he has done in the past then I'll continue to watch him.

    It just depends on how much he's worried about his image and whether or not he wants to keep playing. I for one hope he does.

    After all, how perfect are we?!

  • Comment number 29.

    (1) I wouldn't count on Dubai stumping up the cash next year. They won't back out until the last moment as they don't want to lose face.

    (2) Limited field events should not count for world ranking points, with the exception of the WGC events, although even those create an element of self-reinforcement of the rankings. I'm sure Woods's event was granted this status because someone wanted to suck up to Tiger.

    (3) Lee Westwood has had a great year but he doesn't seem to win very often. I would accept that winning tournaments now is tougher than it was 20 years ago as the fields have more depth (although this doesn't present an obstacle to Mr Woods) but isn't Lee falling into the same category as the younger generation - Rose, Fisher, Poulter etc - who don't care overly about winning a major as they can become multi-millionaires through consistency whereas in the days of the European "Famous Five", you had to win a major before anyone took much notice of you?

  • Comment number 30.

    Hi all,
    This is my first post so please be gentle with me (you may not want to be after my comments....lol)
    I have read all the comments about this fiasco and believe that Tiger Woods......whilst he is without doubt a fantastic talent and a brilliant golf player we have to recognise a couple of his short comings......I don't mean his golfing ability here or wouldn't question it at all in any respect. The few shots he makes in error shows after all we aren't perfect.
    1). First of all he has a very "short temper" on the course when playing.
    That's okay if you're like me a "hacker" on a municipal course playing off 14 and getting frustrated because you made a shot or a putt you "think" was a disaster.....when you know you could have done better.
    If you play golf regularly you see other golfers frustrated at this level and taking their anger out by smashing a club or taking an uncalled for divot.......but.....hey that's us!!!! We are not on the television in front of half the world behaving like the spoilt brat!!!
    even so wee still look to uphold the traditional etiquette of golf....
    2). Tiger Woods is a World Icon for a sport that he happens to be the very best at......hey fair enough....but you have to accept that when you are in his "privileged position" there are people who will try and intrude in his personal life "find something interesting on him" so to speak.
    He has to accept this as "part of the deal" and he has done everything he can to protect his image ..........hiring minders....he is protected from media intrusion at every event and is totally unapproachable. Yet!!!....he projects a "squeaky clean"...outward appearance.
    3).Jack Nocholas, Seve and Arnold Palmer are true icons of this wonderful sport and deserve their positions in the history of the game. Tell me whether they had minders...(they probably did)tell me whether they had "advisors and other people around them to ensure that only "The right stuff" was heard about. Maybe Im wrong. I believe that the Jacks' of this world and Seves's play with the golfing equipment available at the time represented golf at its very best as a skill.
    I am a bit old fashioned in my view perhaps I believ that the etiquette of golf should be represented both on and off the field of play and I'm afraid Tiger Woods fails in this in both respects.
    He has let his family down.....he has freely admitted this......he has let the sporting golf community down.....he has not admitted this.....and ultimately that will be his undoing.
    He is shying away from playing the game.....the game he loves because he's afraid.....perhaps he's worried about the reception he will get at the next tournement.....hey we can but guess..................I would be devastated as a as a true lover of the wonderful game....if he were to leave it prematurely as I believe also that he could, maybe.....just maybe.....be able to ressurect his carrer in the right way.
    let's face it....he doesn't need the money now he should be playing the game for the good reasons....the right reasons.
    I hope that he manages to "sort out" his personal problems.....like John Daly et al
    I still wish him all the best and hope that he gets his life in order for the "good of the Game"

  • Comment number 31.

    "four players in the world's top 18"

    Who actually talks like this? Just say top 20.

    I wonder who was no 18?

    "Fisher is England's fourth man in the world's top 18"

    Yeah him, that's the one, Fisher. Anyone think he is no 17? ;)

  • Comment number 32.

    great meloni

    i said Watson should win the overseas personality award-not the actual main award.

    he should win it because to TIE FOR THE OPEN at two months short of his 60th birthday was the greatest individual achievement by a sportsman i have ever seen.

  • Comment number 33.

    Thegreatmeloni, very niaive of Woods in this day and age to carry on so many affairs that were so likely to be made public and risk the salacious coverage, loss of endoresments etc. No sympathy for him or any other high profile person who makes their public image part of their $ machine and then bleats about invasion of privacy. He knew the risk that the women he was seeing, the very nature of those people and relationships made it highly likely it would all be exposed. That's the price he pays for the lifestyle and $$$; he could have just setled for being a champion golfer but chose the fame profile and celebrity on a scale matched only by Beckham.

  • Comment number 34.

    some of you guys should have an affair - it sounds like you could do with the excitement. well, it'd beat talking about someone else's private life.

    your wives would probably be happy to get you of the house for a while!

  • Comment number 35.

    kkr23 The sole reason for pointing up the number of English players high in the rankings was to highlight the lack of tournaments in England. To those who think I am representing the EBC rather than BBC please look again at my comments re Catriona Matthew.
    StandfreeFM I only said four in the top 18 rather than top twenty because it was a better stat.
    thegreatmeloni I'm actually half English and half Scottish and like to support both countries. When they play each other Scotland gets my vote.
    Kwini - insightful as ever, good stuff re Malaysia but it must still be a concern to the European Tour. Also remember it was the Beeb who screened Matthew's win at Lytham.
    And as for Woods, MartynH I can see why you think there's been a misread, especially in the previous piece written immediately after the "transgressions" statement. There have been a few earth tremors since then in the world of Woods and the topography has changed somewhat. I'm finding it harder and harder to see how he recovers from this now.

  • Comment number 36.

    Chevron - Graham McDowell did deserve his WR to reduce from 55 to 38. When the 18 participants were announced their average WR was 13.2 - so finishing 2nd was a great effect. This is a big difference to a European Tour event when the field seldom has more than 10 players with WR of less than 100

  • Comment number 37.

    Richard W

    The title of European Tour is actually out-dated already. The top players are global. They don't only play on the European Tour but where ever they please. It's a bit like Barcelona playing in La Liga and them also choosing to play in the FA Cup. As for them being pleased to accept a trophy from an unknown, be sure if the cheque is big enough, they are more than happy to accept it. There is no way the game is going to fall flat by taking it away from these shores. The Americans took it away a long time ago. I bet the players are really not that keen on playing in the inclement weather we get here.

  • Comment number 38.

    It's not down to how many players in the top 10 or top 100 that decides where events are played - it is down to sponsors money.

    Sponsors want to be associated with the best/most historic courses and that is why Scotland has 3 events - where else can you compete with Loch Lomond, Gleneagles and the courses round St Andrews - Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns for the dunhill?

  • Comment number 39.

    Fair enough Iain - any blog on Tiger is going to be quickly overtaken by events (or mistresses).

    Having worked in the golf media for a couple of years between 2003-2005 I know how well he has been protected from any real interaction with journalists let alone the public.

    I hope you - and your fellow hacks - give him a thorough testing at future press conferences. I don't mean by quizzing him about his affairs but by asking him about the damage he has done to the game of golf.

    You know better than I that the financial health of the game has rested on his shoulders for the last 10 years. There can be no doubt that sponsors will head for the exit door in numbers - not just Tiger's own sponsors but those who sponsor tournaments.

    Not good for the game.

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Iain,
    I was aware the Beeb covered Matthew's win on the box. But Ladies Golf has a pretty subterranean profile on the Golf site here. I have an interesting supplemental on Matthew but you'll have to wait for my column!

    The worst thing about the owgr for MatchPlay, Nedbank and Chevron was the points awarded to last place finishers for going through the motions; Leonard, for instance, received more points for sleep-walking through Sherwood than he did for finishing 13th in a recent full-field Tour event. Barmy, and a discredit to the owgr. The compromise answer would be to award points to those who made an artificial cut - say the top half of the field. The possibility of actually losing position might focus the attention.

  • Comment number 41.

    Excellent point kwiniaskagolfer. Doling out points to all & sundry for restricted field events is blatantly unfair & encourages self-perpetuity of rankings.

  • Comment number 42.

    This issue is getting on my nerves, ive supported Tiger since 1997 and ok i will be in favour of him with what im about to say but it is only the truth.

    He is the only athlete male or female to be labelled as the sport there is no 1 and i mean no 1 who has the same dominance as he does.

    The man was raised by parents who have very high morals themselves and such an act to come from Tiger is not like him.

    Has he taken sports enhancing drugs, no, there are many other things which he could of done which would ruin him as a person, sport, and 1 of his main loves golf.

    I think he probably did text a girl maybe talk to a girl at a bar and that is why it has escallated into almost a dozen suspected woman now.

    I think people should stop criticising him, let him play golf and let billions of people what this true talent in which i don't think we will see for a very long time once he's gone, i mean for goodness sake

    He's Tiger Woods

  • Comment number 43.

    I am not sure that having only one event in England next year is something to get too worried about. There are six events in Britain (excluding the Ryder Cup) compared with seven in 2009, so that is plenty for British golf fans to get their teeth into. Over here in Germany we used to have three (Deutsche Bank, BMW International and Linde German Masters - later Mercedes-Benz Championship), now we only have one (BMW International in Munich). And this comes at a time when Germany is bidding to host the Ryder Cup in 2018.

    The PGA TOUR late season event in Malyasia is an interesting one. I see that only the top 25 in the final 2010 Fedex Cup are eligible to play in it. It will be interesting to see how many actually do. It looks more like an exibition thing to me rather than a serious attempt to increase the geographical scope of the PGA TOUR.

  • Comment number 44.

    Most posts seem to have lost sight of the big picture in IC's blog. The local situation is healthy enough with regard to top-20 representation and tournaments in the UK - the "microclimate" is cyclic and anyone wanting to be the St Andrew, St David, St Patrick or St George of UK golf just has to wait a few years for their turn to come around. As far as personal recognition goes, the establishment may choose to reward Faldo for losing the Ryder Cup but the public will always vote for mass sports or Olympic Golds, so forget about Catriona or any other home grown lady golfer.

    No, the real concern has to be the insertion of Finchem and his greenbacks into the Asian scene. The US PGA tour and its buddies in the US TV circus will buy success wherever they can and not rest until we are all engulfed by their vanilla golf brand. All credit to our tour for fighting back with the Race to Dubai, and extending the tour scope as much as they can, but more is needed.

    And perhaps someone could try and change the world ranking system to eliminate (or at least severely reduce) the prize money element. When everything is run by the buck, the inevitable happens and the big earners can stay home and just play a few tournaments. How about a system based on average finish in sanctioned tournaments to give us something to look forward to every week and a ranking based on success on the course not on the payroll?

  • Comment number 45.

    Billtils, the OWGR does not have any prize money element. The points avoided for each event are based on the number of top 200 world rank players and the number of the top 30 on the home tour in the field at that particular event. For example, Gregory Bourdy received 44 point for winning the recent Hong Kong Open on the European Tour. Over the same weekend Stephen Ames won the Children's Mircale Network Classic on the PGA TOUR and was awarded just 24 points, yet he won US$ 846,000 which is a lot more than the € 279,289 won by Bourdy. So forget prize money: it has nothing to do directly with the world ranking. Of course, more prize money encourages the best players to take part, so indirectly it has an effect.

  • Comment number 46.

    golferHH - thank you, I stand corrected! But I remain concerned about the need to avoid a US PGA / media / dollar driven future for golf.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Woods is not golf's only talking point"

    Errm... so why is that the headline of the article then?
    (maybe not your fault, I know, because headline-writers are a separate species).

  • Comment number 48.

    Great retort at 35. I see "thegreatmeloni" has gone to the the otherside.

 

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