tiger’s big boost
although most will focus this week on tiger woods playing in the frys.com open
at cordevalle gc (above), the attention should be placed as much on the impact
his appearance will have on the event. for years critics of top-tier tour players
have said the game’s best should play events they normally don’t attend in order
to generate enthusiasm for tournaments that struggle to draw fans and have to
work extra hard to retain sponsors. so what exactly has the “tiger effect” been?
for starters, ticket sales soared. according to tournament director ian knight,
sales are up more than 40 percent over last year, most of the boost coming after
tiger’s announcement that he would play. volunteers also flocked to offer their
services and sponsors were suddenly willing to part with their cash. “it was interesting how many of the people our sales staff had been calling were now calling
us,” knight told the los angeles times. woods’ appearance this week in san martin, calif., (see The Big Read) is all the evidence we need to call on other top players to follow suit. true, not everyone moves the needle as woods does. but ask
the folks at the John deere classic how important steve stricker is to their event.
we know the players are busy and are under no obligation to do so, but given the
impact woods has had on the frys before he even hits a shot, we can’t think of a
better use of time. —E.M.J.
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