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Dave Reardon

Evening QB

By Dave Reardon

Monday, January 22, 2001

There’s more to the
Tour than Tiger

OK, so he's not Tiger Woods. But what Brad Faxon did at the Sony Open the past four days was definitely Tiger-like.

An eagle a day is pretty impressive, even if Waialae Country Club's par-5s aren't the toughest.

And leading wire-to-wire is no small feat, even without Woods in the field.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that the PGA Tour is about more than Tiger Woods. This past week at Waialae reminded us that there are more than 100 other professional golfers out there who are capable of doing tremendous things of which weekend duffers can only dream.

Still, Woods' influence was seen in the galleries and especially at the ropes lining the players' exits from the 9th and 18th greens -- many children, some younger than 10, waited for autographs, or just to get a look at some of their favorites.

The fact that kids that young even have favorite golfers is a phenomenon brought on largely by Woods -- but it is also being perpetuated by the rest of the Tour players, who are smart enough to know the future of the game when they see it, and to appreciate it.

The last time I helped cover the Sony Open for the Star-Bulletin, it wasn't even the Sony Open. It was the Hawaiian Open, it was 17 years ago, and there were very few children on the course.

I wish they'd bring back the golden pineapple tee markers. You know, those were real pineapples -- Irealized that when Craig Stadler hacked one with his driver after a wild shot.

Other than a curse word every now and then, that's still about as rough as it gets out there.

And maybe that's why it's a good thing that kids are getting into golf.

If you want to talk about role models, maybe the PGA Tour is the place to start.

Pro golfers just seem to get it. For the most part, they realize they are extremely fortunate to do what they do for a very good living, and they treat other people as such.

If a Tour player has ever been charged with murder, as two NFL players have in the past year, we've never heard about it.

If a Tour player has ever choked his coach or his caddie, we don't know about it.

The last major brush with the law involving a prominent golfer was when Notah Begay went to court for driving under the influence of alcohol. He ended up going to jail -- because he reminded the judge that's what should happen, as it was his second offense.

He definitely made mistakes, but you've got to like the integrity.

Golf is a sport where spontaneous team celebration, like the American team's at the Ryder Cup two years ago, is considered bad etiquette.

The debate continues today whether the Americans were out of line or not, whether it's right or wrong to show emotion in a sport where decorum means so much.

They're human beings, not robots. Anyone who has followed John Daly's triumphs and travails the past 10 years knows that.

But golfers hold themselves to a higher standard than almost all other athletes.

"The NBA and the NFL are out of control," Peter Jacobsen said Friday. "The Tour is about relationships.

"The measuring stick here is sportsmanship and integrity."

And is there anything wrong with that, especially considering this generation of children appears to be taking a liking to the game?

Some even say "please" when asking for that autograph.

Dave Reardon, who covered sports in Hawaii from 1977 to 1998,
moved to the the Gainesville Sun, then returned to
the Star-Bulletin in Jan. 2000.
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