To say it's been a bad few months for Tiger Woods would be a slight understatement. As bad a beating as he's taken from the media and sponsors, the subsidiary impact of his mess is about to really hit hard with another group – the PGA.
The PGA Tour kicked off on January 4, 2010 with the SBS Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii. What you didn’t hear about it? Exactly. By the way, Geoff Ogilvy won the tournament for the second straight year at 22 under. Regardless, the victory didn’t get much coverage except on golf outlets because a certain individual wasn't there. This wasn’t particularly troubling since he rarely plays the tournament. As the weeks pass, however, this is going to become a bigger problem.
Catch a Tiger by its tale…and watch the PGA weep! This pretty much sums up the situation. Tiger has a bushel of personal problems and nobody knows when he'll be returning to the tour. Until then, the PGA is going to have some serious problems. Statistics have shown that television viewership drops roughly 50 percent when Woods doesn't play. That's a huge issue for tournaments already facing issues in a tough economy.
Take the San Diego Open at Torrey Pines in the last week of January. This is a tournament Tiger traditionally has always played at. All indications are that he won't this year. Torrey Pines is a tremendous golf course. The promoters are having serious issues finding a major sponsor for the tournament. The tournament was once known as the Buick Open, a Tiger sponsor. That's all gone by the wayside. With a smaller television audience and no Woods, it's simply proving to be difficult to attract sponsors per radio reports out here in San Diego. The tournament appears as though it'll go on with a group of secondary sponsors. This is a sign of things to come with future PGA events.
Any way you slice it, the PGA is in for a brutal year. A combination of a Tiger gone missing with a sour economic environment is a toxic mix. The PGA will survive. A drop in win purses may have players realizing how important Tiger is to the tour.