Tiger Withdraws From Next Week's AT&T National, But Strong Crowds Still Expected
Tiger Woods yesterday announced that he would be "unable to return to defend his title" at next week's PGA Tour AT&T National due to a "strained left elbow that bothered him at last week’s U.S. Open," according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. Though he still plans to "travel from his Florida home and support the event -- which is both run by and supports the Tiger Woods Foundation -- this marks the third time in the past six years he won’t be able to play, leaving the field without its marquee attraction." Tournament Dir and Tiger Woods Foundation President Greg McLaughlin: "The interest that he brings, certainly that’s unmatched. But I would say our ticket sales have been strong. The fans of golf come out because it’s a big event, a big event in the area, and they’ll come out to support it. You probably lose the [casual] sports fan that might not be a real golf fan that just decides to maybe not come out. Their interest and curiosity is to see Tiger.” Svrluga notes 48,611 fans came to Congressional Country Club last year to "see Woods close out his victory in the final round." There were 43,936 fans on Sunday at Congressional in '09, but only 29,867 in '08, the "only other time the event was at Congressional and Woods didn’t play" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/20). McLaughlin said, "Any time you have Tiger in the field, it certainly adds to it a lot. But we have a very nice field this year and we look forward to a great AT&T National" (AP, 6/19). CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, "The AT&T is his tournament, literally his tournament. He puts it on, it’s actually his deal, he promotes it, it’s to his charity. It’s very important for him to be there." Gottlieb said if Woods had withdrawn from another tournament, it would be "not that big of a deal” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 6/19).