Get Ready For Tiger!!
pblackwell, Fri, July 3rd, 2009
Whatever else goes on in the summer of 2009 when it comes to sports in Central New York, we already know when - and where - the biggest show will take place. Try Aug. 24, out at Turning Stone's Atunyote course in Verona.
At that spot last year, golfer Notah Begay held the inaugural Skins Game for his foundation that helps support Native American youth activities across the country. Vijay Singh, Camillo Villegas, Mike Weir and Stewart Cink showed up, as did a big crowd, and $180,000 got raised.
Which was nice - except the one guy Notah REALLY wanted as part of the show, his somewhat more famous Stanford University teammate, was recovering from knee surgery and not playing any golf.
Well, the knee is better now - and Tiger Woods is planning on making a stop in Central New York for the second Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge on Aug. 24.
Though the official announcement is not until Monday, Tiger's agent confirmed the date on Friday afternoon, during the AT&T National tournament Tiger hosts near Washington, D.C. - where, by the way, Mr. Woods is leading through 36 holes.
Villegas, the handsome young Colombian who won twice late last year, and Weir, the only Canadian to win a major (the 2003 Masters), are planning to be back. But the presence of arguably the world's most famous athlete turns this into a can't-miss event.
We could recite the resume - four Masters, four PGA Championship titles, three U.S. Open and three British Open victories - plus about 50 other wins on the PGA Tour alone. Not to mention the three U.S. Amateur and three U.S. Junior Amateur titles he won as a blinding golf prodigy.
Yet it really comes down to this - Tiger Woods, to most people, IS golf, in the same indelible manner of Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus. When he plays, the crowds are vast and the TV ratings skyrocket. When he doesn't, it almost feels like a third-tier event.
More fun, for sure, would be if Tiger ever got to play in Turning Stone's actual PGA Tour event, but it placement in the fall after the Tour "Playoffs" makes that close to impossible.
In a way, though, this might be better. When he plays in tournaments, Tiger has a tunnel vision greater than any athlete, in any sport. He rarely smiles, and when anything goes wrong, the language can be a bit salty on occasion.
This will be fun. You will see a lot of that billion-megawatt Tiger smile, maybe some trick shots, and an electricity rarely seen in these parts. Helpful hint - get the tickets quickly.....