Woods’ re-emergence will help Tour Championship




Tiger Woods is close to a long-awaited return to Atlanta.

After a two-year absence Woods will, in all likelihood, be in town for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club next month. Golf’s biggest draw leads the FedEx Cup point standings heading into this week’s PGA Championship. After missing the tour’s playoff finale in 2010-11, Woods’ re-emergence will be a hit with fans and tournament officials.

“No question we do not have a blind eye from that reality,” said Rob Johnston, Tour Championship general chairman, of Woods’ return. “He is a marquee player of extraordinary significance.”

The Tour Championship will be held Sept. 20-23 for the 12th time at East Lake.

Woods is showing signs of returning to the form that once made him a staple at the top of leaderboards, money lists and world rankings. He has three wins this season, tops on the PGA Tour, and with a world ranking of No. 2 is close to regaining his top spot.

There is still work to do with the final major this week preceding one regular-season event and three playoff events. However, Woods’ position atop the standings makes it a foregone conclusion he will return to East Lake as one of the top 30 in points.

It’s not just the return of Woods that has Johnston excited about this year’s tournament. He can list the well-known names of those currently in position to make the field with ease – Masters champion Bubba Watson, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, British Open champion Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

Currently 17 of the top 20 in the world rankings are in the top 30 in FedEx Cup points. Only Lee Westwood (No. 4), Adam Scott (No. 7) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 16) are not in position.

“Right now, the top 30 is extraordinary,” Johnston said.

In Woods’ last appearance at the Tour Championship in 2009, he finished second but won the overall playoff title and the $10 million prize.

According to Johnston, the strength of the field and the fact that the Tour Championship is not competing for local interest and dollars against the PGA Championship, held last year at the Atlanta Athletic Club, are the two biggest factors for an increase in ticket demand. A limited number of tickets for the event remain.

Last year’s tournament winner Bill Haas, who also captured the playoff title, is currently on the bubble. He is 26th on the point list and can’t afford to drop more than four spots in the playoff events, the Barclays (Aug. 23-26), the Deutsche Bank Championship (Aug. 31-Sept. 3) and the BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9).

The finishing touches for the tournament are being put on East Lake, which again endured a dry, hot summer. Johnston said the well-watered fairways and greens are nearly tournament ready and the construction of grandstands and hospitality tents are three to four weeks away from completion. All 1,350 volunteer positions have been filled.

Proceeds from the Tour Championship will again, in part, go to support the East Lake Foundation and the Drew Charter School. The approval for a high school was recently granted and Johnston hopes a capital campaign will begin within the year. The Drew Charter School currently is home to kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

- Chris Vivlamore, AJC Sports

17 comments Add your comment

Chesty LaRue

August 8th, 2012
11:30 am

How can I meet Tiger?

Tigertamer

August 9th, 2012
11:09 am

The AJC CLAIMS it is trying to “reinvent” itself with new management and direction.

BUT…you still can’t give fair coverage to the OTHER emerging young true STARS of golf! Granted several are not American players but several are and they are all playing fantastic golf this year!

Talk about them and get OVER AND OFF this TIGER bandwagon…A** Kissing tour! He’s YESTERDAYs news, he is DONE and has played his best golf. From the start he was nothing more than a media darling anyway.

Golf has plenty of great talent that are winning tours, take any of the top 3 or 4 from most any of this years tournaments and they are playing LIGHTYEARS above Tiger, he missed the cut and barely made the cut on many of the tournaments this year. Forget him as most have and move on!

frmtheblchrs

August 9th, 2012
11:46 am

While Tiger still moves the meter,his day as a elite golfer are over too many injuries.I still enjoy watching him golf but the days of ” who’s got second” are over.

Who Cares

August 9th, 2012
12:08 pm

Let’s face facts- the Tour Championship is simply awkward in the ATL. Golf events have never been well supported here- remember Sugarloaf?- and when the Tour Championship comes to town our interest has turned to football and playoff baseball. I went to the TC two years ago and it was like attending a corporate outing. Fans and players alike lacked any enthusiasm for the event. In all fairness, this event should be moved to a venue in FL or SoCal where it will stand a better chance of gaining support. Tiger or no Tiger it’s not going to happen in ATL.

Paddy

August 9th, 2012
12:40 pm

Chesty LaRue…….go to the strip clubs every night during the tourny, thats how! If you see John Daly’s bus there,you get what is behind door # 2

Paddy

August 9th, 2012
12:43 pm

Who Cares…….The AT&T at Sugarloaf was a poor venue. The course was not spectator friendly. You had to be a mountain goat to get around that place. I know, I went 2 tmes.

5150 UOAD

August 9th, 2012
12:49 pm

I would love to be Tiger’s caddy!!!!

Happy Trails

August 9th, 2012
1:00 pm

Who cares!!!!

Happy Trails

August 9th, 2012
1:03 pm

I love East Lake! Could care less about Tiger!!!

charlie_400

August 9th, 2012
1:39 pm

Tigertamer = Wrong. Not a single one of your young guns has as many top 10’s or top 3’s as Tiger. Not a single player on tour has as many wins this year. Just because you do not want Tiger to be the best does not make it so. Hate on Princess.

RUgolf

August 9th, 2012
7:31 pm

Charlie 400 you are an idiot….sports is about playing with character and good sportsmanship your man has neither, but he sure as hell can putt.

RUgolf

August 9th, 2012
7:37 pm

Tiger tamer summed it up nicely.

Dee

August 9th, 2012
11:49 pm

Tiger Woods is not doing that bad as some sport writers are saying he is making the cut and is not that far down in the field. Some writers just want a story but believe me if Tiger was not playing there would not be a TV audience he draws the crowd and some of the writers wouldn’t have a job. He brings in the money so Tiger haters need to think before they speak.

Tigertamer

August 10th, 2012
4:35 pm

WOW! Dee…You are soooo correct and of course it’s MY error! There was NO Golf at all prior to 1996 when Tiger came on the scene in the Greater Milwaukee Open!

Bobby Jones – Jack Nicklaus – Ben Hogan – Walter Hagen – Gary Player – Tom Watson – Harry Vardon – Gene Sarazen – Sam Snead – Arnold Palmer -Nick Faldo -Lee Trevino -Byron Nelson
and Ben Crenshaw were actually Pro Hockey players who practiced with clubs during the warmer months so as to not lose the “feel” of the stick!!!

Thank You again for bringing to my attention that without TIGER there is NO GOLF!!!

BobbyDawg

August 12th, 2012
7:27 am

Woods could bust out of this slump and go on a winning streak at any time, but we all know golf is a mind game that requires deep heavy concentration, and untill Tiger gets the girls up at the Waffle House off his mind he’s gonna keep playing bad.

Tigertamer

August 13th, 2012
9:37 am

HEY DEE…

TIGER WHO? TIGER WHERE? Tiger in top 5 yesterday…NOT!…Top 10…NOT!!!…

TIGER is officially DONE and fading into whatever hole he emerged from!

Wisemule

August 15th, 2012
2:57 pm

Tigertamer:

What’s your problem man.
If you don’t like Woods say so. How long you been suffering with this problem with Woods.
You haven’t been sleeping well for how long? Ten or eleven years now?
You’re a real hater. Easy to see you’ve had a problem with Woods from the beginning.