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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, November 9, 2000

He is Tiger, so
just let him roar

I am Tiger. Hear me roar. Usually, nobody is bigger than his team or even his league. But, then, nobody is Tiger Woods, either.

So in a push-and-shove battle with the PGA Tour, the tour had better give in. Whatever Tiger wants, Tiger should get.

Let's put it this way. The PGA Tour needs Tiger Woods more than he needs the tour. It's as simple as that.

So if Tiger wants a piece of the TV marketing rights when he's playing in a tournament that's on national television, he should get it.

He's the reason why everybody's watching, even nongolfers, increasing the TV ratings and thereby raising the prize money on the tour to record levels.

And it's clear that the PGA Tour is taking advantage of his image with implied endorsements as befitting the world's most recognized and marketable sports figure today.

If Tiger wants to play anywhere in the world, even if it conflicts with a tournament on the PGA Tour calendar, so be it.

Unlike all the other sports, golf is based on meritocracy. It's based on achievement, nothing else. All of the golfers playing on the tour are independent contractors anyway.

A baseball player making $10 million a year can hit .200 and still get all his money. So can a football player having a bad year.

In golf, shoot over par and don't make the cut, you get zilch. Just ask Chip Beck or Mike Hulbert.

With all the money he's making, obviously money's not the issue with Tiger. He wants freedom to do his thing, manage his own image without any obligations or criticism for not playing in a PGA Tour event.

We already know he's in a league by himself anyway.

All Tiger is doing right now is issuing his own personal bill of rights. And he's got the right to do so.

And you just know that the other golfers on the tour are saying, "Go Tiger, go."

As Nick Price, the first-round leader in the American Express World Championship in Spain, said, "If he can take on the tour and beat the tour, so be it," Price said.

"I never felt I was strong enough to win. What Tiger has tried to do, a lot of guys have tried to do. Let's see what happens."

Like I said, whatever Tiger wants, Tiger should get. He is Tiger. Hear him roar.


WORLD-CLASS IDEA: My good friend Bob Tom, once Mr. Junior Golf in Hawaii, has a visionary idea for the Ala Wai Golf Course that I heartily concur with.

"Keep the golf course there but spend $30 million to make it a world-class golf course so that the PGA Tour can hold tournaments there," he said. "Not only that, it would be a money-making proposition for the State of Hawaii."

The rest of the time, the golf course could command $100 green fees for tourists, especially if it's tied in with the nearby convention center. Local residents would pay $40 and seniors $20, making it a facility that could earn $20 to $30 million in green fees alone annually to the economy.

And, according to Tom, imagine how much revenue a pro shop could generate selling golf apparel and souvenirs. It's a million-dollar business annually at local golf resorts.

"Where else other than taxes can you generate that kind of revenue," said Tom, adding that it's better than turning it into a nonrevenue-producing park while still keeping the aesthetic greenery.

Considering that the state would have to spend $30 million to build a golf course at Sand Island, it's money better spent turning Ala Wai into a world-class golf course.

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