SBD/Issue 94/Leagues & Governing Bodies

PGA Tour Now Truly Heads Into Life Without Tiger At Torrey Pines

Woods Notably Absent From
Farmers Insurance Open Today
Tiger Woods traditionally begins his PGA Tour schedule at the Torrey Pines event presently named the Farmers Insurance Open, which tees off today, and "now is the time to start keeping score" as to how his absence will impact the Tour, according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. This is the "first tournament on network television" for the '10 season, and "now is the time to start measuring TV ratings, which traditionally spike when Woods is in contention." Woods missed last year's event at Torrey Pines due to his knee injury, and the '09 final round earned a 2.0 rating. That was "down from a 4.2 in 2008 when Woods won by eight shots over Stewart Cink." Woods' absence "will continue to capture attention if he's not at the Match Play Championship or another World Golf Championship at Doral the second week of March, or at Bay Hill" (AP, 1/26). In San Diego, Tim Sullivan wrote the void Woods has "left has brought the PGA Tour's systemic problems into sharper focus." Without Woods around to "make it matter, the whole West Coast swing hangs on the lip of irrelevance." Phil Mickelson is making his '10 PGA Tour debut this weekend, but he is among just "five of the world's top 30 players" competing in the event. Meanwhile, Sullivan noted what is "worse" is that fellow golfers "are a collective shrug in the search for answers" in generating interest without Woods. Rocco Mediate said, "I don't know how you fix that situation." Brandt Snedeker added, "I don't think there is a solution" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/27).

TICKETS, SPONSORSHIPS DOWN: USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy reports Woods' absence is "taking a toll on tournament sales." Farmers Insurance Open Tournament Dir Tom Wilson said that ticket and sponsorship sales are "down 15%-20% at Torrey Pines from the last time Woods played" in '08, though sales are "about even" with '09. McCarthy notes other tournaments Woods "normally plays will have a harder time selling tickets and attracting sponsors" without his presence, and if "recent history is a guide, TV ratings will be sliced in half for those events." CBS Sports Senior VP/Programming Rob Correa: "There'll probably be a ratings dip in the Tiger events. But we're confident established stars like Phil Mickelson and new ones like Anthony Kim will pick up the slack" (USA TODAY, 1/28).

PHIL-OSOPHY:'s Cameron Morfit wrote to "say that all eyes will be on" Mickelson this weekend "would be an understatement." Mickelson is the "Pitt to Tiger's Clooney, and seldom has golf needed him more." Golf Channel is "promoting its next month or so as 'Five weeks of Phil,' because the game is desperate for a story other than the one the tabloids and mainstream news outlets have feasted on for months" (, 1/26). Golf Channel's Charlie Rymer said the two events played in Hawaii earlier this month and last weekend's Bob Hope Classic "were a little subdued." Rymer: "All of that is going to change this week because (Mickelson) is teeing it up in San Diego. Make no mistake about it, the Phil-fanatics will be out in force. The energy level will be high" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 1/26). In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. writes golf "needs sunshine, and that's what Mickelson brings this week" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/28). Golf World's John Hawkins, on Mickelson: "He needs to be playing and he needs to be front and center because he is basically all we've got right now in terms of mainstream pull" ("The 19th Hole," Golf Channel, 1/27).

Mickelson (l), Woods Top The Bloomberg
BusinessWeek 2010 Power 100 Ranking
POWER PLAY: Tiger Woods, Mickelson and Cavaliers F LeBron James top the Bloomberg BusinessWeek 2010 Power 100 ranking of the most powerful athletes in sports. Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow and Managing Dir Karla Swatek and CSE Sports & Entertainment to determine the list. Based on CSE's data, Woods' Power 100 ranking would have ranked No. 1 even if the rumors of his infidelity had surfaced earlier last year (Bloomberg BusinessWeek). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Adam Fusfeld noted "unlike previous Power 100s, this year's would focus only on athletes -- not owners, agents, commissioners or coaches" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/27).

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