Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, November 26, 1999

Everyone wins
when Tiger plays

NOT only did the Poipu Bay Resort golf course set up well for Tiger Woods, so did the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

After all, it was delayed a week to accommodate Tiger's world-hopping schedule.


Sure. But you can't blame the PGA of America for doing whatever possible to make sure that Woods, the 1999 PGA champion, played in its event.

First of all, the event is viewed as a reward for the winners of golf's majors. Secondly, it's a made-for-TV event for prime time, mid-week viewing.

And golf on television without Tiger Woods simply wouldn't attract viewership.

Especially in 1999 -- which has been really the Year of the Tiger.

Woods set a winning standard this year that will be difficult to exceed. Perhaps even by Woods himself.

He won 11 tournaments, including 10 of the last 14 events he entered.

"I'm counting 12 (wins)," insists Woods , who believes the World Cup's individual and team titles should be considered as separate events.

But he did win at least two tournaments in less than a week, however way you break it down - the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday and then the PGA Grand Slam on Kauai Wednesday.

He set previously unheard of records in money winnings - $6.6 million on the PGA Tour and $7.68 million worldwide.

Tiger also became only the 11th player to win both the Vardon Trophy and the PGA of America player of the year award in the same year.

What sponsoring group, the PGA of America included, wouldn't go out of its way to make sure Tiger's in its tournament?

The Sony Open in Hawaii people would gladly do the same, if it could.

IT'S unfortunate. But with the way Tiger is dominating golf today, a tournament's success is only judged by whether he's playing or not.

For that reason, the PGA Grand Slam was indeed a rousing success as Woods qualified to play in it for the third year in a row, winning the last two.

Chances are excellent that the Poipu Bay Resort and Kauai Hyatt Regency will host the PGA Grand Slam again in 2000 and beyond.

There's no other golf course with the necessary amenities to host the event on the Garden Island. And the PGA of America knows it.

Jack Nicklaus, paraphrasing Bobby Jones, once said that Tiger plays a game that none of the others are familiar with.

All you have to do is watch Woods, especially with his success at the Poipu Resort layout.

"This golf course sets up well for my game because most of the trouble is about 260, 270 yards out," Woods said.

"When the wind's not blowing, I can carry the bunkers with ease. I can let the driver go. A lot of fairway bunkers weren't in play."

In beating British Open champion Paul Lawrie, 3 and 2, Woods used his sand wedge seven times, a lob wedge and pitching wedge once each on his second shot to 13 greens, not counting par-3s.

Coming in with wedges is a huge advantage.


CUP NOODLES BACK: The Hawaiian Ladies Open is back for its 14th year next Feb. 16-19 at the Kapolei Golf Course and Cup Noodles returns as a title sponsor after a one-year hiatus.

The HLO will be joined by the new LPGA Takefuji Classic at the Kona Country Club later that month on the 2000 LPGA Tour calendar.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

E-mail to Sports Editor

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