On Golf | Is Woods overrated? Come on, be serious

Posted: September 11, 2007

Not to personalize it, but to the guy who leaves those angry, anonymous voice mails accusing me of glorifying Tiger Woods, what do you say now?

He showed you nothing with that 63 on Sunday to come from behind and win the BMW Championship?

You weren't impressed by that PGA Championship last month, his 13th title in a major?

You still think he's an overrated prima donna, even though in his last four tournaments, he has finished first, first, tied for second, and first?

It means nothing to you that he spotted the field a tournament by skipping the Barclays, the first of the four FedEx Cup competitions, and still heads into this week's Tour Championship ranked No. 1 in points?

Well, fella, all I can say is, like it or not, it's time to drink the Tiger Woods Kool-Aid and admit to yourself once and for all that we are privileged to be witnessing the single most stunning domination of the game by any golfer in history.

Some of us are old enough to have watched Jack Nicklaus in his prime. He was dominating, he was overpowering, and he was awesome, but he didn't own the game as Woods does. The only thing Nicklaus still has on Woods is longevity.

Now, the only way for Woods to properly cap this season is by winning the inaugural FedEx Cup. That brings us to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the culmination of months of hype and buildup, currently mired in controversy and calamity.

As the playoffs were about to begin, there was the realization by many players, fans and reporters alike that the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup was going to be paid as an annuity, collectable when the victor turned 45. Only in the pampered world of the PGA Tour could this be sufficient cause for outrage.

Then, of course, there was Woods' effectively thumbing his nose at PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem by blowing off the Barclays. Ernie Els did the thumbing the next week, taking a breather during Week 2's Deutsche Bank Championship, followed by Phil Mickelson's ducking out of last week's BMW so he could see his kids back to school in Southern California.

Oh, and don't forget Mickelson's giving Finchem the back of his hand, making vague, ominous comments about the commissioner's having failed to take action on a few of Lefty's suggestions. If there are any shrinks out there, tell me, is this the equivalent of taking your ball and going home with it?

Finally, just when you thought the old adage of anything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong had played out, there came word from Atlanta that heat, drought and bad karma had left the greens at East Lake burned to a crisp.

We kid you not. The course will be closed to fans for the Tuesday and Wednesday practice rounds. Wednesday's pro-am has been canceled. The players will not be allowed to putt on the greens until the start of the tournament on Thursday.

But that's a glass-half-empty view of the situation. The more positive view is that the players will be permitted to walk the course Tuesday and Wednesday, they can hit drives at the par 4s and par 5s, and, of course, the range will be open.

On Golf | How They Can Win

   Only five of the 30 golfers left have a chance to win the FedExCup this weekend at the Tour Championship, at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Here's what is needed for each golfer to take home the $10 million payoff.

If Woods wins the tournament.

If Phil Mickelson wins, Woods could catch him by finishing solo in second.

If Stricker wins.

If Stricker finishes second alone, he would win as long as Woods finishes fourth or worse, and Mickelson third or worse.

If Mickelson wins and Woods finishes third or worse.

Sabbatini needs to win, with Mickelson finishing in a tie for second or worse, Stricker finishing third or worse, and Woods finishing in a tie for 13th or worse.

Choi needs to win, with Mickelson finishing third or worse, Stricker fourth or worse, and Woods 22d or worse.

Source: PGA Tour

Contact staff writer Joe Logan

at 215-854-5604 or jlogan@phillynews.com. Read

his recent work at http://go.philly.com/joelogan.

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