Is Tiger Woods' absence good for golf?

Published 05/08/2008 21:48:50

Tiger Woods' knee injury is old news. His performance at Torrey Pines has been lauded from all angles and rightly so. He didn't just appeal to golf fans with his skill, he showed a warrior spirit and raised his stock outside of golf further still. We know Tiger will miss his golf, but how much will the game miss its greatest superstar?


In terms of audience and thus revenue, lesser tournaments are set to suffer. Any tournament that isn't a major is going to be weakened without the man who has been world number one for 500 weeks total. A spokesman for the BMW Championships, one of four FedEx Cup play-offs due to be held in September, stated:


"It's not doomsday, but a rough estimate is that it will cost us £250,000 ($500,000) in ticket sales, concessions and merchandise. The buzz factor is gone a little bit. Anybody who says it's not a big loss, they're looking at it with too much of a 'glass-half-full' mentality"


So ticket sales will inevitably will be down, TV viewing figures too. Even the "Tiger Factor" around the course will be gone - Woods creates an undeniable buzz and is always followed by a massive crowd. They know something spectacular will happen, be it a crushing victory or even a rare implosion.


The Pack


The rest of the players on tour will fancy their chances more without Woods. Sure, he doesn't win everything but his mentality is such that he really puts pressure on his opponents. Only the true champions perform better under pressure. Players such as world number 2 Phil Mickelson must be licking their lips.


Two-time major winner, and close friend of Woods, Mark O'Meara had this to say:


"As big as he is in the game of golf, the game is even bigger. The Tour will survive. I think it will be good for the game and good for him to go away for six months."




Bookmakers may just be breathing a sigh of relief with Woods' absence. He's been heavily backed on every major since his first in 1997. An each way bet on Woods is like free money to a punter.


Ryder Cup


Woods leads the USA Ryder Cup rankings by a street, but has opened the door for another player to enter the fray. Woods' record in the competition is nothing special for such a good player: 7-11-2. Some have questioned whether Woods is really a team player. I think this is nonsense, but what I do believe is that this could galvanise the USA team and bring them together. Without their talisman, they all have to step up to the plate.


14 not out


I have no doubt Woods can bounce back from the injury. If he can muster performances like the one at last months US Open practically on one leg, he won't quit until he has every record worth owning in golf.


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