by Jeff Skinner
It’s that time of year that millions of golf fans wait for all year. No, it’s not The Masters, no it’s not the U.S. Open nor is it their first round of the year. It’s when Tiger Woods tees it up. For millions of casual golf fans who wouldn’t know Luke Donald from Donald Duck this is a special week as Tiger makes his first appearance of 2012 at The Abu Dhabi Championship.
Woods has elected to bypass the PGA Tour’s tournament at Torrey Pines where he has won six times to play on the rival European Tour and pocket a big check for just showing up. Tiger puts a lot of thought into where and when he plays. He won’t play any course he doesn’t like or go out of his way to play an event that doesn’t fit his schedule. But the two biggest factors in determining if Tiger will play are simple: Majors and money. Of course he’ll play every major he is physically able to and after that it is all about the cash. Hey, Tiger is a golfer but he is a businessman also and Abu Dhabi will pay him millions or so to be in the field. Adding to that is the fact that HSBC and Rolex are both revenue streams for Tiger and his foundation. Like it or hate it, it’s the way of the world and Tiger isn’t the only player that cashes appearance fee checks.
Tiger spoke to the press earlier today and after being asked at least six questions about the forthcoming Hank Haney book he grew more and more annoyed. It’s safe to say he is not thrilled with Haney and there will be no Christmas card going out to the Haney House this year.
Tiger did say that for the first time in a long time he is starting this season healthy, “It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been physically fit,” Woods said. “So I’m looking forward to getting out there and giving it a full season, which I haven’t done in a while.”
“I’m looking forward to this year,” Woods said. “That’s something that I have to say, because I was able to prepare and get fit enough to prepare last year and towards the end of the year. I demonstrated to myself what I can do with implementing what (coach Sean Foley) wants me to do on the golf swing.”
Late in the press conference Tiger revealed something that actually made him sound human and something that many of us have in common with him. He was asked why he loved golf and he said that he had played other sports, “I played baseball, I ran track, and cross country. I liked doing it but I didn’t love doing it. I love golf.” He then reminisced about playing golf with his dad and even says he is now taking his young son on the course and relishes those moments. If I didn’t know better I would think that Tiger sounded like a regular guy. But I know better.