Welcome to East Lake!

Gentlemen, start your bateaux! We hope you enjoy another year at East Lake, whose waters have been refreshed by seasonal rains. Blushingly, we welcome the imposing figure of Tiger Woods back into the field. To say he has been missed is to say that we have no appreciation for the 71 percent increase his presence has meant to Tour events.

Look at the PGA Tour roll out all those percentages it has in its book. It can bounce the Tour Championship around from one date to another, to avoid NFL kickoffs, tight major league pennant races, Georgia and Georgia Tech football weekends — and let me warn all ye outlanders that when you dally around with Bulldog and Yellow Jacket conflicts, you have trouble, my friend — and in the long run, only the presence of Tiger Woods can make a real difference.

Sorry, but such is the economic tightrope the Tour Championship walks. And frankly, in this part of the sporting world, it isn’t likely to change. Then this week, the rainmaker goes on a drunk. The course is wet and heavy. Practice time is limited.

Wednesday the sun shone brightly, but weather forecasts for each following date are dreary. So the luckless commissioner can’t get a break, but as he took to the podium to make his annual State of the Tour address, Tim Finchem spoke of television ratings being up, and generally, the future was as bright as the shining sun. (And it was shining at the time.)

It was then that the subject of Woods was introduced.

“Yes,” he said, “Tiger drives ratings.”

So that pretty well covered the meat of where the Tour gets its transfusions. In all these years the Tour Championship has played East Lake, Woods has won only once. Another year, he took his leave, and for whatever reason, few knew at the time.

So in his news conference, the matter came in for review.

 “In 2006, when you didn’t play here, what kept you away?” he was asked.  He said he couldn’t remember. “The year 2006,” it was repeated. “Yeah, I’m sorry.” Then, “I don’t know. You’d have to research that, I’m sorry.”

Well, maybe we can be of help. At first, word was that he needed some rest. Later, though, it came through in print. He had played in the HSBC Championship, a European Tour event in China č for a sizable appearance fee, we learned — and he lost by two strokes to Y.E. Yang, a Korean whose identity was more brilliantly established in the recent PGA Championship. Tiger again was his victim.

 Oh, well, to each his own. But could you imagine Roger Federer taking Wimbledon week off for a fat fee? The Tour Championship is like the PGA Tour, where its health is vested in the presence of its stars. This is the sport’s World Series, its Super Bowl, and now its … for lack of a better term … FedEx Cup Championship.

 Like it or not.

13 comments Add your comment

Boz

September 24th, 2009
1:06 am

We used to play East Lake with Spalding FIRST FLIGHT 90 compression balls. Or sometimes we would find a Spalding DOT. The only time you would find a Titelist would be one that had a smile in the balata cover. Always used a ping Anser putter, cause that’s what Watson used. McGregor Wing T woods were the order of the day and I would ditch the Driver and just go with the 2 and 4 woods. Hell, I paid a months rent for what you pay for a box of ProV1s now-a-days. HA! I bet Tiger don’t drive a Buick neither.

Ed-Covington

September 24th, 2009
1:11 am

Heard Stewart Cink raving about the course on the radio this afternoon. Seems the drainage system is doing a remarkable job, especially the “suction” systems on the greens. Here’s to a great tournament.

reebok

September 24th, 2009
7:46 am

i wish i thought the weather was going to give us a break…ah well…yellow jackets at bobby dodd, georgia between the hedges and the tour championship at east lake…are we officially the center of the sporting universe this weekend???

Buzzfan®

September 24th, 2009
11:23 am

The renovations made last year at East Lake are paying huge dividends!

That, and having Ralph Kepple….one of the best supers in the business!

dap01

September 24th, 2009
2:25 pm

Remember: Coach Paul Johnson is one the greatest coaches of all time!

AllBald

September 24th, 2009
8:19 pm

If Tiger drives the ratings and the purses then it should be Tigers tourney to win. Everyone has their time but Tigers time has gone on and on. That is the way it is…..Go Tiger, Go Yellow Jackets and go Arizona State. The dogs do not have the team this year!

Shaneneeee Faneneeeeeee

September 24th, 2009
9:02 pm

Phil Mickelson will never be in the same sentence with Tiger Woods as the games greats. Tiger has a shot to win almost everytime he tees it up while Mickelson misses cuts and plays bad more times than a so called “rival” of Woods. For exaample Tiger shoots a 3 under 67 today while Mickelson is down at the bottom shooting a 73.

East Lake Bound

September 24th, 2009
9:34 pm

I’m excited to be going to East Lake tomorrow! And another thing, AllBald, you can kiss it!

Game Warden

September 25th, 2009
7:13 am

Furman, what was the point in this article? Go to bed!!!! Go tell the AJC to let Steve Hummer cover East Lake!! One thing’s for sure is that no matter how much money Tiger has he’ll never mail it in like your boy Phil & some of these others…..Get your warm milk & get back under the covers!!!

garcia

September 26th, 2009
6:58 am

Thank you Mr Bisher. Folks like Game Warden will never see what is written nor hear what is said.

Selah.

Boz

September 26th, 2009
10:10 am

We used to play East Lake No. 2 because the Number 1 course was a goat track. Sometimes I’d play a Penfold Hart and Gold would play a Slazenger. He had a stange caddie , but would always come back to Manuel’s Tavern for a drink with us.

Bisher Drinking Game

September 27th, 2009
8:46 pm

Since he was in town you could not resist your dig at Tiger. 2006, Furman? You carrying a grudge over his skipping the event in 2006 to make a buck in China?

What makes you more upset, that he was doing what every other capitalist with unbelievable talent would do or the fact that he was doing it in China? The only thing this thing was missing was an ACORN reference.

Get over it, Furman. Despite the prayers you’ve lifted up and incense burned on your homemade shrine to Bobby Jones, Tiger here and is going to be here for a while.

Tee Hamburg

February 8th, 2010
11:28 am

Kann ich so nur zustimmen