Thursday, May 10, 2007

International failed to make cut

Depending on how you feel about such things as the fall's "Chase for the Card," last week's Wachovia Championship roughly marked the halfway point of the 2007 PGA Tour season. Which also means that some players who previously registered indifference are now beginning to realize that if they're planning on being part of the season- end playoff series, it's time to start picking up some FedEx Cup points.
So, with things beginning to get interesting - The Players, The Memorial and the U.S. Open are all being held in the next six weeks - here's a look back at some of the interesting things that have transpired on tour thus far.


THE STORY OF THE YEAR: Colorado lost its PGA Tour stop when The International folded after 21 years.


After declining to become part of the FedEx Cup playoff series because they didn't want to compete against the Broncos for viewers, and unable to convince the tour to either make the tournament part of the World Golf Championships or a limited-field event, tournament officials couldn't secure a title sponsor.
Part of the reasoning as to why they couldn't, they said, were tough economic times and declining television ratings - the latter brought on by the absence of Tiger Woods, who hadn't played here since 1999.
HELLO, WASHINGTON? WE HAVE TIGER WOODS ON THE LINE ... Almost a month after The International's departure from the schedule, the tour announced it would be replaced with a new event in Washington, which had lost its tournament at the end of 2006.
The sponsor? Communications giant AT&T, with a big assist from the Tiger Woods Foundation, which means Woods will almost certainly be a regular participant. Also, much to the consternation of a number of players, the tour approved the event being a limited-field tournament.

THERE GOES THAT ARGUMENT, TOO: While International officials will argue that the numbers are favorably skewed and open to interpretation, CBS, the network that televised the tournament, announced that their live coverage from the first three-plus months of the season yielded their highest ratings in five years, up 11 percent from 2006.

HOW DID THEY DO THAT? Somehow, the most exciting tournament of the year managed to do without Woods.
In March, the Honda Classic saw unheralded Mark Wilson win in a four-man playoff that stretched from Sunday evening to Monday morning. This, after Wilson made three clutch putts to stay alive, including a 45-footer for par on the 70th hole of regulation, an 8-foot par save on the 72nd hole and then a 30-footer for par on the first playoff hole.
Oh, yeah, the drama was further heightened by the fact that Boo Weekley, looking for his first tour win, missed a three-foot gimme Sunday on the 72nd hole that would have clinched a victory.
BOO WHO???!!! Prior to the Honda, Weekley's claim to fame was wearing rain gear on the course because of allergies that prevented him from wearing regular pants.
While admitting to shedding a couple of tears after his debacle at the Honda, Weekley didn't drown in his sorrows. Undaunted, he won six weeks later at the Verizon Heritage, chipping in on his final two holes. That also came during a Monday finish.

NEXT ON THE GOLF CHANNEL - WILLIE MAC BREAKS PAR! When another relative unknown, Will MacKenzie, opened the season with a bang, shooting 8-under-par and tying for fourth at the Mercedes Benz Championship, the Golf Channel, beginning its run as the primary carrier for tournament action, jumped all over it. There was coverage of his postround news conferences, and features with MacKenzie surfing; a few tournaments later, there was another piece, this time, the 32-year-old was snowboarding. While MacKenzie is certainly quite funny and entertaining, it all seemed a bit over the top, especially when you look at his results. Since the Mercedes, Willie Mac has played in 12 events and missed the cut five times. His best finish is a tie for 18th.
QUICK! SOMEBODY CALL THE GOLF CHANNEL! Meanwhile, after an abbreviated, sometimes tumultuous career at Oklahoma, Anthony Kim has shown why he should become the 2007 rookie of the year. The 21-year-old had three missed cuts and a tie for 45th in his first four events. In eight tournaments since then, Kim has four top-10 finishes.

By Anthony CottonThe Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 05/10/2007 12:59:57 AM MDT