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PGA TOUR CONFIDENTIAL
BEN CRANE
March 07, 2011
What's the state of the Tour? Is Tiger a double-edged sword? Where's your favorite Tour stop? If you were commissioner, what would you change? And how do you feel about armchair rules officials?
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March 07, 2011

Pga Tour Confidential

What's the state of the Tour? Is Tiger a double-edged sword? Where's your favorite Tour stop? If you were commissioner, what would you change? And how do you feel about armchair rules officials?

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Van Sickle: Tiger Woods put golf on the front page and helped quadruple the size of purses, but when he's not playing interest wanes. Has Tiger proved to be a double-edged sword?

Crane: We've been dealing with not having Tiger at every tournament for 12 years. He's the best the game has ever seen, the most recognizable sportsman in the world. Sure, everybody wants him to play. We have more to offer with him. I'd certainly rather watch a tournament with Tiger than one without him.

Henry: Me, too. The better Tiger does, the better it is for guys like me.

Purdy: The energy is simply different at Tiger events. Obviously, everything Finchem negotiated relied heavily on Tiger's exposure on weekends.

Henry: The new demographic that Tiger brought in was big. Golf was cool when I was in high school, but not this cool. Now some of the best athletes go into golf, maybe because the world's most recognizable figure plays our sport.

Van Sickle: Did the Tour get too dependent on Tiger?

Love: You couldn't avoid it, just like there was no way to avoid Michael Jordan becoming the focus of the NBA. He was just that good. You have to promote him. Our problem is that the rest of the world got this perception that golf is Tiger Woods, but it's not. He has to have a field to beat and a platform to play. The PGA Tour is a great platform. It was a few sponsors who got hung up on, "Well, he's not here."

Purdy: Tiger's positives far outweigh the negatives. I wouldn't put it on him as the reason it's harder to find corporate sponsors. There are only so many FORTUNE 500 companies willing and able to sponsor golf.

Love: Tiger bumps the TV ratings, sure, but we have Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas and other great players to watch. You know, there will be a time when Davis Love and Fred Couples and Tiger Woods won't be playing, and there will be new stars. It has always happened that way.

Flesch: I agree. Our Tour will create new stars. It already has. I walk through the locker room, and I don't know half of these young kids.

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