Chris BaldwinThis Week at Feb. 27, 2007

Tiger Woods holding PGA events hostage

Tiger Woods holds the PGA Tour's tournaments hostage with as much force as a guy holding a gun in a bank robbery.

Tiger may not mean anything ominous but it doesn't make his power any less imposing, or make those desperately trying to please him any less skittish. So tournament officials, sponsors and local chamber of commerce types scurry around playing a high-stakes guessing game on what might please Tiger.

And they know all the while that the rules prevent them from doing the one thing that will guarantee their golf event is a success: transferring a ton of money into Tiger's bank account to guarantee his appearance like a sultan in Dubai.

Consider the angst shed by this week's PGA Tour event, the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, in the "Will Tiger or Won't Tiger?" game. Tournament officials held out hope until last Friday that Woods would grace PGA National's revamped Champions Course.

"He was here last year, you know," PGA National Director of Golf Bob Coman said wistfully over wine at a dinner to promote the event. Coman paused. Tiger didn't play the 2006 tournament, he was just here. In town, canoodling with Elin, raging on Charles Barkley or whatever else the world's greatest golfer deigns to do with his free time.

Tiger held a party on his yacht for the lesser players actually golfing for paychecks that week. By all accounts, it was a great bash.

"My caddies came back and told me about it," Coman said, chuckling. "Almost all the caddies ended up being invited."

Golf course officials can only laugh. Here they are wooing Tiger like hormone-crazed teenagers and PGA National's regular-guy caddies end up getting face time. It's refreshing to think of Tiger remembering the little guys. As long as your tournament isn't dying for him to make it big time.

Coman ticks off reasons he believes the Honda will become a regular Tiger stop: It's close to Jupiter Island where Woods spends more and more time, Jack Nicklaus is involved, etc., etc. ...

Tiger isn't coming this week though. And if he's serious about helping the Tour, he should remove the angst and promise to play every tournament stop once every five years.

Enough with the hostage situations.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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