Speaking of hype, Tiger Woods’ comeback in the Accenture World Matchplay in Arizona this Wednesday has been billed like nothing before. The man had a knee operation for Christ sake. He’s been out of action eight months. The global economy has collapsed around us in the meantime, and yet you’d swear Eldrick T’s return to the pro tour was all the world has been waiting for.
TV executives will say that’s exactly how it is. His non-participation since hobbling to victory in last summer’s US Open has seen a dramatic fall-off in golf audiences Stateside, and by extension advertising revenues. If Tiger and his prematurely-propelled heir apparent Rory McIlroy both win their first two rounds, they’ll meet on Friday around tea-time, our time. It would make for fascinating viewing alright. In between all the ad’s Sky Sports will have stockpiled.
Timing is everything in golf, or so they tell me. (Which is maybe why Sunday mornings don’t suit you? – Ed.) Well take Tiger to tell the world that he was ready to resume where he left off within minutes of Phil Mickelson posting a first-round 63 at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles last Thursday. The announcement, made via Woods’ website, ensured he’d command headline attention the next morning at the expense of his old adversary, who went on to win the tournament at the weekend.
“It’s great,” Mickelson insists, “we need him”. Money is all that matters.