Friday, January 06, 2006

Cold in Canada, balmy in Hawaii

Further proof that I need a holiday somewhere warm -- I caught myself drooling this afternoon looking at Kapalua, even though it was sprinkling rain there. How bad could that be? Everything was freezing here in Toronto.

Lots of people are still talking about why Tiger, Phil and Retief are missing from the field, and the scores so far are pretty high. Interesting to note that with all the discussion about protecting par given the distances players hit the ball, Kapalua is holding its own. And in places, it is as wide as a football field. So here's a course that runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that says narrow the fairways and grow the rough. At Kapalua the fairways are wide, but the greens can spell disaster. The wind can howl. Great fun to watch.

Announcer Mark Rolfing told an Hawaiian paper that players who win the Mercedes should be exempt for two years. Why Mark? Because the event is in Hawaii?

Here's Rolfing's logic:

“My suggestion would be rather than give just a one-year exemption into this event for winning a PGA Tour event, you would give a player two years. There is a precedent for that in that if a player wins on the PGA Tour now, he gets a two-year (tour-card) exemption. He gets two years for every tournament except this one. I don’t see any harm at all in giving a player two years. I think that would probably add, in most years, maybe 15 players, 20 maximum, to the field and it would pretty much ensure you the top players, which I think would ease the blow if some guys decided to skip the event.’’

Might work -- but it wouldn't make any difference to Tiger. Or Phil. Or Retief for that matter.

Interestingly, there seems to be a bit of friction between those who are playing in Hawaii and the big guns that aren't. Check out these quotes from Tim Rosaforte's Golf World column:

"I'm not sure why they're not playing," said two-time defending champion Stuart Appleby in a Tuesday news conference. "I guess they don't want to play. I guess they're tired or it's too far just for one week."

"It really hurts the field," said Fred Funk. "You get enough guys not showing up ... It would make a sponsor say, 'Why am I doing this? Why am I putting up all this money?'"

"This is a hard one to dance around," said Bart Bryant.

But Rosaforte suggests Tiger isn't in the field because his father's health is precarious. Let's hope he's wrong on this one, even though it is well known Earl has not been well. He can't even come to the course to watch Tiger play, and it was announced last year that the prostate cancer that had been plaguing him, had returned.

The entire Rosaforte column is here.

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