Friday, June 20, 2008

Woods Injury Reactions

Wow, the planet is in a mess over Tiger Woods' injury. I talked about it some on The 19th Hole Golf Show this week (shameless plug), but had not really gotten around to reading all of the reactions.

As you saw in other posts, I did read the reactions of columnists who thought this injury would signal an even more limited schedule for Woods and their lack of consultation about the PGA Tour's rules and regulations.

We got reaction from Camp Tiger, too. Steve Williams spoke with ESPN about when he found out that the season was over:

When the golf cart departed the seventh green at Torrey Pines on Monday afternoon, carrying Tiger Woods, Steve Williams and both of their wives to the U.S. Open trophy presentation, the caddie knew his season was over.

"I kind of had a premonition that might be it," Williams told Wednesday night. "I had an inclination that a certain surgery might be required. And then Tiger told me, 'We're done for the year.'"
Steve Elling reports that Hank Haney is convinced that Tiger will come back better than ever:
"He's going to better than ever," said swing coach Hank Haney of his star pupil. "Think about it. His knee hasn't been right for a long, long time and he's won, what, 10 of his last 13 tournaments, with two seconds and a fifth?

"After they finally get this fixed, how can anybody think he won't play better than he ever has?"
As I mentioned on the 19th Hole, it's hard to argue with that. He only failed to win twice this year and apparently has had a bad knee since just before last year's PGA Championship. In effect, he won two majors and finished 2nd in another with one good knee.

Here are the staggering results since the PGA Championship:

  • PGA Championship - WIN
  • Deutsche Bank Championship - 2nd
  • BMW Championship - WIN
  • Tour Championship - WIN
  • Buick Invitational - WIN
  • Accenture Match Play - WIN
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational - WIN
  • CA Championship - 5th
  • the Masters - 2nd
  • US Open - WIN
But just in case you think that Tiger may not be ranked #1 when he returns next season, John Antonini at Golf Digest eases your mind:

Based on this information we know what Woods' point total and average will be at the end of the year. He will have 469.5 points. The U.S. Open win will be worth 82.61 points, the Masters runner-up will be worth 43.698 points, the T-5 at Doral will get him 12.689 and the win at Southern Hills in the 2007 PGA will get him 34.78. The win at the 2006 PGA in Medinah will be worth nothing.

On Dec. 31 Woods will have a points average of 11.73. He will have lost almost half his ranking points. (This is unofficial, my math might be very slightly off as I cannot be sure of rounded figures.)

Phil Mickelson is currently second in the world with an average of 10.214 points. If Mickelson does not play again in 2008 he will have an average of 6.627. Of course, Mickelson will play again. Probably 10 more times. In order to pass Woods with an average of 11.74 points, Mickelson would have to earn 575 ranking points in those 10 events. That's not an easy task. In fact, it's a Woodsian task. In his last 10 events, seven of them victories, Woods earned 586 points. And that does not include the incremental loss on the sliding scale.

So it's safe to say, Tiger Woods will top the ranking at the end of 2008. How much longer he stays there can only be determined by how long he goes into 2009 without playing.

My guess: He'll be back for the 2009 Buick Invitational--as the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

And on when Haney found out the news:
Haney said Woods seemed intent on gutting out the Open and seeing if he could finish the year, but the knee worsened over each of the five tournament days. Ice and painkillers got him to the finish line, but on Monday night, a few hours after Woods hoisted his third U.S. Open trophy, Haney's phone rang on the way to the airport.

"He said, 'We're done for the year,'" Haney said.
Then we heard from the PGA Tour - initially and more measured after the fact.

First, The Commish:
"For an athlete as talented and competitive as Tiger Woods, taking the rest of the season off must have been an incredibly difficult, yet necessary decision, one that we understand and support completely. The fact that he needs additional surgery only makes his performance and victory at last week's U.S. Open all the more impressive. First and foremost, our concern -- as it would be for any of our players facing surgery or illness -- is for Tiger's health and overall well-being, both on and off the golf course. We wish him the best toward a speedy recovery."
Then Ty Votaw tried to turn those Ponte Vedra, Comcast, NBC, and CBS frowns upside down by playing up the other guys on Tour:
"We see a vast amount of potential for something that's drastically different than doom and gloom," Votaw said Thursday, one day after Woods said he was out for the year and needed surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"There's no question it's a negative, you can't sugarcoat that, and there will be some negative fallout," Votaw said.

"But, look, Tiger doesn't play every tournament, he usually plays 17 or 18 and we have 47 events. Tiger's impact to these events won't be felt as much. What you hope is that other players are going to get a bigger share of the TV audience, the media's interest and the fans' imagination."

Votaw suggested that some of the players who won while Woods was sidelined for the two-month period after the Masters -- Adam Scott, Anthony Kim, Sergio Garcia and Mickelson -- represent a mix of branded stars and a rookie with an upside who offer an appealing alternative to Woods while he is sidelined.

"If this is prologue to what we have ahead of us, we'll see other players and their story lines come to the fore," he said.
Well, since ratings dip between 33% and 50% when he isn't in the field, I doubt that will be true. But, sure. Votaw has to say those things. He can't tell everyone to push the panic button. Besides, the Tour is locked in TV contracts with all of the networks and the sponsors are almost all sewn up in long-term deals. The Tour is bulletproof financially because of Woods.

But, according to Darren Rovell at CNBC, the folks at Nike, GM, Accenture, and PepsiCo (owners of Gatorade) are going to be losing some big bucks because of the injury:
In order to get an estimate as to how much would be lost, I called Eric Wright of Joyce Julius & Associates, a firm that breaks down logos on the field of play and translates it into equivalent television advertising time.

Assuming that Woods would play in nine more tournaments, and conservatively betting that Woods would win four of them, Wright estimated that lack of having Tiger’s swooshes out on the course would result in $65 million to $75 million worth of lost exposure.

Since Buick is on Woods’ bag and occasionally gets into the shot while he’s playing, Wright said Buick will lose out on $5 million to $10 million of exposure.

Finally, since doing a deal with Gatorade, Woods has been chugging it out on the course. The shots where Woods actually has drink in hand are rare, but Wright says Gatorade will miss out on about $2 million in exposure with Woods being off the course.

And, just in case you're not completely sure of how much golf relies on Tiger Woods, he can't play in either the AT&T National or Chevron World Challenges - the two events in which he is official host and his charity the beneficiary. Wow.

Then, last, but not least are the quacks who legitimately think Tiger is lying of faking...not named Retief Goosen. I'm not linking to that crap.

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