My fault! No sooner does ol Ty jinx Tiger Woods by writing about his insane earning power than the brother breaks the news that he's shuttin' it down...for the rest of the season! No Tiger for the rest of '08 - no British Open, no PGA Championship, no Ryder Cup, no Fedex title. Essentially for the PGA that means no golf audience outside of the same hardcore crew that watched it before Tiger stepped inside the ropes 13 years ago and made it must see TV.
Now as TV network executives and PGA tour officials head for the ledges outside the windows of their plush corner offices, much is being made of the fabled 'Tiger Effect' - the economic engine driven solely by his Tigerness that affects the cheddar of TV networks, PGA tour sponsors, PGA tour purses, caddy lifestyles, yada, yada, yada. In layman's terms, he's the PGA's Golden Goose and now that he's on the shelf for a few, the PGA's gonna get a long hard look at what life will be like AT - After Tiger...
Welcome to the Ghost of Christmas Future, golf fans. It's gonna be pretty vanilla shake regular for a while and you'll need to get out your retro PGA score cards out as other names 'emerge' for the networks to rally behind. They will no doubt pull out all the stops to concoct 'compelling stories' about other Top 10 players in a transparent effort to attract viewers to their dry broadcasts. Get ready to hear a lot about 'Lefty' Phil Mickelson, 'Dour' Vijay Singh, 'Awesome Aussie' Adam Scott and 'Brash' Sergio Garcia - a collection of guys who have benefited greatly from the rapid expansion of PGA Tour purses since Tiger went pro.
The tour players have to be cheering this news as it's the best of both worlds for them. Tiger's out of the way so they now have their best chances of winning the most prestigious tournaments, but Tiger will be back so tour purses will remain at their current insane levels or continue to increase as anticipation builds for Tiger's return. Sergio Garcia already started this trend when he thanked Tiger for not being there the week he won the Player's Championship. Ol Ty has to believe that, ironically, the level of competition will go up now that these guys see a chance to fill the vacuum, win some tournaments and increase their endorsement potential.
Meanwhile, don't cry too much for Tiger. That brother will be back and if not? He has $800 million, a mansion, a yacht, a private jet, a beautiful daughter, a Swedish model wife and his final win was epic (not necessarily in that order, y'all). Who y'all need to be cryin' for is his caddy Steve Williams. Just yesterday ol Ty was fiendin' for his job. Today? Hell, I'm still fiendin' for it.
Caddies normally earn about 10% of the purses won by the players they caddy for so that means that this year he'll have to make due with a little less than $600,000 vs. the little more than $1 million he earned last year. Caddying. Damn. And that's just up front money. Now that Tiger's laid up, you have to know the cars and jet won't go to waste (I'm figurin' that Tiger will do most of his rehab on his yacht in the Caribbean...).
Alls I know, y'all is that Stevie better watch his back when ol Ty's in town cuz I'm not above pullin' a Tanya Harding on him with a 9-iron when he's not lookin'. A brother's gotta eat you know.