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View from the Couch – PGA Betting

The One-Man Stimulus Package

There is a lone African American out there who all are turning to. The ship has gone terribly off course – especially over the past few months – and only he apparently can set it straight.

It wasn’t long ago where everyone was prospering, the banks were lined up, flush with cash to contribute their bit to the cause. Now most are all but insolvent, corporations are falling left and right and things appear to be almost hopeless.

Yet there is this one man who somehow, just by his presence alone, by his standing up and taking charge, makes everyone say, “Hey, we can beat this thing.” Or, “Things aren’t all that bad.”

And that man is of course, Tiger Woods.

Just how diminished had the PGA Tour become? This past weekend, Phil Mickelson won in La La Land topping a killer leaderboard that included the likes of a rejuvenated Freddy Couples, Steve Stricker and Mark Calcavecchia.

So what was the biggest topic of conversation throughout the coverage?

This week’s tournament.

That’s because the talking heads know who butters their bread – and it ain’t Mickelson. It’s Woods – and he’s back.

And just be his simple presence, so is golf. Relegated to the back pages, if even included at all, newspapers now have golf headlines that people might actually read. Websites are packed with all-Tiger all-the-time. Writers (like moi for example) are feeding of the gift that just keeps giving, pumping out the easiest column there is to write in sports.

How lean have these Tigerless-times been at the Golf Channel – or as it is better known – the Channel that Woods Built? They were running a constant onscreen countdown clock ticking down the seconds to his tee-off on Wednesday.

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is being held at the Ritz-Carleton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona. Just last week the organizers were complaining about how the crashing economy was killing their ticket sales.

Not no more, as the one-man stimulus package is in town. They sold out in a day.

The regular guys on the PGA tour had their chance to hog the spotlight for the past eight months was on the shelf fixing that knee and spawning the 2029 Masters Champ, but none have been capable of running with it.

There were great stories – like the last truly dominating golfer, 50-ish Greg Norman, coming within a hair of winning the British Open. Or Vijay Singh winning three times in five weeks to win the FedExCup. Or the emergence of the twenty-somethings – Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim who each won twice – but none were Tiger-esque in doing what they did.

The only one who came close to being even a pretender to the throne was Padraig Hamilton – who won the two majors Tiger missed. But, lets face it, as nice a guy as he is, he will never take hold over here. For one thing his Irish is so thick, unless you are named Seamus O’Donnell, you can’t understand a word he says. But the real truth is, the overriding opinion has it that those wins simply weren’t up to snuff because he didn’t have to beat Tiger to get them.

Thus the Dickensian quandary the entire tour is in. For them, it really is the best of times, and the worst of times.

With Tiger, it’s as good as sports gets – because they have the best athlete in the world playing.

Without him, the perception is the tour is just a bunch of B-leaguers.

The only thing that will change this for one or more of these guys to go out there and beat him – regularly.

So – will that start this week?

Normally it would be asinine to expect anyone in any sport to be competitive after a 250-day layoff and major reconstructive surgery. However the number one seed this week is still Tiger Woods, who has a record of 31-6 and he’s won the thing three times previously. Who would be crazy enough to bet against him? Not him for one.

“Nothing changes from every tournament I enter — it’s to win,” Woods said. “That’s my intent, to go in there and win.”

Will he?

Ridiculous as it is to say, especially when he’s just one of 64 possible winners, probably.

Cheers – Gavin McDougald – AKA Couch

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