Shipnuck: The Tour is solid for next year, but the economy has to have some glimmers of hope by next summer. That's when the Tour will be negotiating anew. The Tour was foresighted enough to lock into long-term contracts. It's really about 2010 and beyond. They can wait out the bad headlines, but if the economy stinks a year from now, that's a problem.
Anonymous Pro: The economy could affect the Tour more than the Tour lets on. We're fooling ourselves if we think an event is safe because we have a signed contract. If a company has to lay off workers, defaulting on a $12 million golf-tournament sponsorship instead is an easy choice.
Garrity: During the congressional hearings on the Big Three bailout, what if some senator had thought to hammer the automakers for their frivolous involvement in pro golf and courtesy cars and parties and millions in payouts?
Bamberger: Like Dan Jenkins once wrote, there's nothing wrong with golf that a good recession couldn't fix. Fewer tournaments for less money bring out the dog-eat-dog mentality and survival of the fittest. It's good for us.
Garrity: Tim Finchem (below) could wind up as the Alan Greenspan of professional sports and going before Congress to say, Darn, I didn't see this coming.
Bamberger: The only way Finchem goes down in flames is if all the pension money goes down with the stock market because General Motors is trading at $3.
Shipnuck: As long as Tiger is healthy and hungry, the Tour is fine. Ten years from now when he has 25 majors and quits, the Tour may be vulnerable. He makes the Tour somewhat recession-proof. He's the biggest star in the world and moves the needle like nobody else.
Anonymous Pro: There's some validity to that. What we learned when Tiger didn't play the last half of '08 was that nobody watches golf if he's not playing—especially other players. The FedEx Cup wasn't interesting and nobody paid any attention to the Fall Series. Personally, I had football on. Long live Tiger.
Bamberger: There are fewer players for Tiger to beat now than there have been at any time in the last 10 years.