With Tiger Woods announcing his return from back surgery and Michelle Wie winning the U.S. Women's Open, the last week has given golf a "much-needed positive infusion," according to Trey Iles of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Since Woods' surgery in March, golf has "languished as far as interest goes." Martin Kaymer, who won the U.S. Open, "generates little interest with the American sports fan." While Woods' return "will draw viewers," he likely "won't contend" at this week's PGA Tour Quicken Loans National. Iles: "Doesn't matter though. You want to know what he's doing no matter if he's playing in a major or is on a golf outing with his buddies." Golf "relies heavily on its big names to generate interest and Tiger Woods IS the big name." Meanwhile, Wie "certainly has the potential" to be the LPGA's "best player for years to come." Like Woods, women's golf "needs Wie to be successful, very successful, Venus and Serena Williams successful." Women's golf is a "stepchild sport in America," and there are "many reasons but the primary one is it hasn't had a dominant bigger-than-life American player in some time." Wie "is that and more." She is a "marketers dream with a big smile and engaging personality" (NOLA.com, 6/23).
NOT OUT OF THE WOODS: In Atlanta, Steve Hummer wrote it has "become almost impossible to imagine a healthy, thriving PGA Tour" without Woods. The 14-time major winner "may be unwisely rushing back to play this week at an event that benefits his foundation," but at "this point, it’s not about him as much as it is the current health of the Tour." Hummer: "Just get him out there, somehow, if only to get someone to notice." His "reflected glow remains golf’s brightest spotlight" (AJC.com, 6/23). In Orlando, David Whitley wrote under the header, "Tiger Woods Returns To Save Golf From The World Cup" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/23).
WIE DID IT! In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes Wie's win at Pinehurst No. 2 continued the U.S.' "resurgence in women's golf." Led by Wie and No. 1-ranked Stacy Lewis, "Americans have captured 9 of 15 events this year, including both majors," while three of the five multiple winners on the LPGA Tour this year are Americans. Meanwhile, the PGA Tour has been "stuck in a rut this year, its tournament results a few bright lights shy of a marquee." Phil Mickelson has "failed to record a top-10 finish, Rory McIlroy has not posted a victory." But the women have "staged stirring duels, with Lexi Thompson holding off Wie in the first major and Wie holding off Lewis in the second" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/24).