WHO NEEDS THE TOUR?
Tiger does, and despite his reservations, he realizes it
Tiger Woods holds the hammer in his sport like no other athlete
in history. He's the reason pro golf has boomed. He knows it, the
PGA Tour knows it, and he knows the Tour knows it.
Last week Woods got into the Tour's kitchen and took a few
swings. In a story in Golf World he hinted at feeling
unappreciated by the Tour. He questioned being required, like all
Tour players, to appear in a minimum number of tournaments a
year--currently 15--and complained about the hefty rights fees the
Tour extracted for his prime-time exhibitions against David Duval
and Sergio Garcia. Most pointedly, he objected to the way the
Tour allows companies with which he doesn't have endorsement
deals to use his image, of which he and his agency, IMG, are
highly protective. The unexpected broadside raised the specter of
Tiger jumping ship, perhaps even starting his own tour.
Could he do it? Certainly, and it's that implied threat that
gives him a supersized bargaining chip. Woods won $9.2 million
this year on the Tour, but he could make much more as a free
agent, playing for enormous appearance fees in foreign
tournaments and exhibitions. He'd still be able to play in the
four majors, which aren't run by the Tour, and as many as seven
Tour events through sponsor exemptions.
November 20, 2000
Realistically, though, Woods will never drop out, because, riches
aside, he wants to be the best player in the history of the game.
For that, he needs the Tour.
Membership in the Tour gives his career historical context. It
provides Woods with a yardstick against which to measure his game
and offers fans the best gauge of how good he is, compared with
his contemporaries and to those who came before him. A guy who's
talked so much about breaking golf's greatest records can't
So why the saber rattling? The take here is that Woods is
demanding respect more than laying down a blueprint for
revolution. Hypersensitive to issues of fairness and
exploitation, he wants the right to approve the use of his
likeness, and he deserves it. After each of his nine victories
this year, Mercedes has run newspaper ads congratulating him on
qualifying for January's Mercedes Championships. That's
particularly galling for Buick, one of the 11 companies paying
Woods a total of $54 million this year in endorsement fees. Tiger
also is likely paying back the Tour for having denied his father,
Earl, the use of a cart to follow his son during the exhibition
Last week represented a fledgling but effective power play, and
given his singular position in the sport, the Tour should respond
by exploring a set of Tiger Rules that loosen the restrictions on
where and when he can play and address his other concerns. As for
Woods, he must be careful. His legacy is based not only on what
he does with his clubs but also on how deftly he wields his
hammer. --Jaime Diaz
Golfers Who Have Taken On the PGA Tour
Greg Norman, 1994. Tour squelched his idea of global events for
elite players and then came up with the World Golf
Championships, which are global events for elite players.
Seve Ballesteros, 1985. Tour suspended him for following season
after he failed to meet its 15-tournament minimum, which he
staunchly and futilely opposed.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, 1983. Power trio
opposed (in vain) Tour's entry into course design, viewing it as
competition for their lucrative side businesses.
Democrats and Republicans obsessing over a few hundred votes in
the Florida recount have nothing on Red Sox fans: In 1999 Pedro
Martinez lost the American League MVP award to Ivan Rodriguez by
13 points (252 to 239), which reminds us that sports fans are
uniquely prepared for the kind of photo finish the presidential
race produced. Here are some other recent tight elections in
RACE: The 1984 college football national championship.
Result: BYU beats out Washington 1,160-1,140 in the AP poll.
Recount: The Huskies lose by the smallest margin to an undisputed
national champion since the AP became a postbowl poll in 1968.
The Nader-like spoiler is Florida, which picks up 1,092 points
despite being on probation. "My biggest disappointment of all
comes from the writers who voted for Florida," says Washington
coach Don James. "I don't think you should vote for a team that
got where it is with an absolute violation of the rules."
RACE: The 1985 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting. Result: Former
White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox fails to gain admission in
his 15th and final year of eligibility. Recount: Fox is named on
295 of 395 ballots, two short of the 75% required for election.
Detroit sportswriter Joe Falls votes for Fox, but his ballot
misses the deadline by a day. Philadelphia columnist Bill Conlin,
who voted for Fox for several years, feels Nellie has no chance
and leaves him off his ballot. Fox is posthumously inducted by
the Veterans' Committee in 1997.
RACE: The 1985 Heisman.
Result: Auburn running back Bo Jackson beats Iowa quarterback
Chuck Long 1,509-1,464. Recount: Two weeks after losing the
closest Heisman vote ever, Long wins the Maxwell Award as the
nation's outstanding college player and disappointedly notes,
"It's the next best thing to the Heisman Trophy."
RACE: The 2006 World Cup site selection. Result: Germany beats
South Africa 12-11. Recount: New Zealand's Charles Dempsey--who'd
been instructed by his bosses at the Oceania Football
Confederation to vote for South Africa--abstains, citing
"intolerable pressure" from the bidding nations. FIFA placates
South Africa by suggesting it's at the top of the list for the
ELECTION WINNERS AND LOSERS
Here's a quick look at some of the sports-related voting results
from Nov. 7.
Vote: Maricopa County, Ariz., okays a referendum that will
provide $229 million toward a new stadium for the Cardinals.
What it means: Football-starved San Antonio, which was ready to
swoop down and pluck up the Cards, will set its sights on the
Saints or the Vikings.
Vote: Harris County, Texas, approves money for a new $256 million
arena for downtown Houston. What It means: Las Vegas, covetous of
the Rockets, craps out.
Vote: Former Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne (left), a Republican,
wins a whopping 82% of the vote in Nebraska's Third Congressional
District. What It means: Osborne's opponent, Roland Reynolds, was
right when he said, "I thought this race was about agriculture.
It isn't. It's about football."
Vote: Republicans Steve Largent and J.C. Watts of Oklahoma
easily win reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives. What
it means: Football Hall of Famer Largent and former Oklahoma
quarterback Watts will be calling even more signals in the
conservative wing of the party.
Vote: Patsy Mink, the Democratic incumbent, defeats former NFLer
Russ Francis in Hawaii's Second Congressional District. What it
means: House Republican touch football squad still needs a
decent tight end. Ditka in 2002?
Bonfire, One Year Later
There won't be a bonfire this year at Texas A&M, but there will
be a flame. At 2:42 a.m. on Saturday, the university will hold a
candlelight ceremony to remember the 11 A&M students and one
alumnus who died a year ago when the 40-foot-high log structure
they were building collapsed. Support for the remembrance is
virtually unanimous; thousands of Aggies are expected to attend.
Not all are in agreement, however, about the administration's
decision to cancel the bonfire this year.
In June, A&M president Ray Bowen announced that the tradition,
which dates to 1909, would be put on hold until 2002 while the
school redesigns the event. A student group called Keep The Fire
Burning began planning an off-campus fire. "People told us, 'This
will help my life go forward and help put the [tragedy] behind
me,'" says Will Clark, a founding member of the group. "The
students need closure."
University administrators, predictably, weren't happy about the
possibility of an unauthorized bonfire and warned of disciplinary
action. That didn't dissuade the group, nor did the opposition of
the student senate and friends and families of the victims.
However, a delay in securing insurance left Keep The Fire Burning
without adequate time to build, and on Oct. 27, the group
canceled its bonfire. For now, at least, candles will have to do.
Would you favor or oppose a ban on the music played before each
player's at bat during a baseball game?
--Based on 797 responses; poll conducted by International
Last week Major League Baseball executive vice president Sandy
Alderson suggested that in hopes of shortening games, the
commissioner's office would try to convince teams to cut down the
length of the music that's used to introduce hitters in most
stadiums. Each player usually selects his pre-at-bat tune (e.g.,
A's outfielder Terrence Long likes to have DMX blasting before
his plate appearances, while Yankees second baseman Chuck
Knoblauch has Eminem trumpet his arrival). Alderson says the
songs drag out games by causing a player to wait for his name to
be announced and the musical snippet to be played before he steps
into the box.
Problem is, player music, like dot racing and T-shirt cannons, is
now part of the routine at ballparks. Of the 797 respondents who
expressed an opinion on the matter in an SI-commissioned poll,
56% opposed banning such music. The numbers also suggest that the
tunes help broaden the game's appeal beyond the traditional fan
base: Women opposed a ban more than men did. Message to baseball:
If you want to grow the game, keep the music playing.
In a cable car fire in the Austrian Alps, Sandra Schmitt, 19, of
Germany. She won the dual moguls title at the 1999 freestyle
skiing world championships and finished second in the event in
last season's World Cup standings. Her parents were also among
the more than 155 people who died in the disaster near the town
By the Heat, Wes Lockard, who played mascot Burnie. Team owner
Mickey Arison cited the "constant threat of a lawsuit" stemming
from the antics of Lockard, who once dragged the wife of a
Puerto Rico Supreme Court justice on court during a game,
sparking a suit that cost the team $50,000. Lockard's salary was
a reported $100,000. His replacement will earn $200 a game.
Jazz center Olden Polynice, with impersonating a police officer.
Prosecutors say that during a traffic dispute with a West Valley
City, Utah, couple, the 7-foot Polynice flashed an honorary
police badge, which the LAPD had given him. "I'm not going to
defend myself because there's nothing to defend," says Polynice,
who contends that the badge was merely visible when he opened
By AT&T Broadband, a breach-of-contract suit against NASCAR
Busch Series driver Mike Borkowski, seeking the return of nearly
$600,000 in sponsor money. AT&T says he "operated his car in a
reckless manner, thereby endangering the safety of other
drivers" and bringing unwanted criticism to the AT&T car.
By Simon & Schuster, Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in
Pursuit of a Dream, a kids' book about MJ's childhood, written
by his mother, Deloris, and sister Roslyn. First line: "Michael
loved to play basketball."
Joe Souza, 66, has spent four decades working boxers' corners. He
was David Tua's cutman in last week's heavyweight title bout.
How many fights do you work a year?
Hell, I don't know. At least a couple hundred. Maybe more.
How did you get started as a cutman?
I have a passion for blood. My life's ambition was to be a
Seriously. I boxed as a kid, and like a premonition, I knew I'd
end up in boxing my whole life. I just didn't know what it would
be specifically. I started in the early 1960s as a cutman.
How did you learn the job?
I did a lot of reading. I read several articles about Whitey
Binstein, a cutman in the 1930s. He was one of the greatest. I
listened to other people, and I watched TV.
How much money does a cutman make?
A good one can make up to $85,000 for a championship fight.
What's in your ringside kit?
Enswell, a piece of cold metal to keep the swelling down.
Aquaphor to stop the bleeding. Vaseline to help the glove slide
off a fighter's body. Albolene, a facial cream that women use as
a skin cleanser. It keeps the pores open, and I want a guy to
What about Q-tips?
I make my own swabs. I make 'em big so that they'll absorb a lot.
What else do you use?
I can't tell you that. I'd go to jail because a lot of the stuff
I have, the doctor is supposed to have.
Then where do you get it?
I have no problem getting my stuff. I'm a retired Air Force guy.
I know where to go.
What's the worst injury you've had to deal with?
Arturo Gatti had an eye injury that was open bad enough I could
stick my small finger in it. James Leija got head-butted in the
forehead, and I could see his skull. Cuts can go that deep.
What part of the face bleeds the most?
Around the eyes. But one of the worst places to get a cut is in
the mouth because a fighter can choke on the blood.
Has your training ever helped you outside the ring?
When my son was a baby, he fell against the TV and split his
forehead. My wife was very upset, but I cleaned him up, put
pressure on the wound and took him to the hospital. They said,
"You've done everything," and they sent us home. --Anna Holmes
Howard Cosell is returning to television. Last week brought news
that comedian Fred Willard would play the sportscaster in ABC's
upcoming telepic about the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis
match. Now we hear that TNT has begun preproduction on a movie
about the early days of Monday Night Football, with actor John
Turturro portraying Cosell (right). The film is an adaptation of
the 1988 book Monday Night Mayhem, by Marc Gunther and Bill
Carter. "The story is mostly about Cosell," says Gunther. "How he
made the show, America's love-hate affair with him, and how, at
the end, he turned his back on sports and walked away a bitter
man." Shooting begins in January....
The NFL likes to think of itself as one big happy family. Some
players are apparently taking that literally. Dolphins defensive
end Jason Taylor recently proposed to girlfriend Katina Thomas,
sister of Miami linebacker Zach Thomas. Vikings defensive tackle
John Randle is engaged to Candace Powers, sister-in-law of
Minnesota quarterback Todd Bouman....
Call it Titanic news: Singer Celine Dion is
reportedly part of an investment group looking to buy the
Canadiens. Dion and husband-manager Rene Angelil have joined with
the producers of Cirque du Soleil and a Montreal French-language
TV network to prepare a bid for the storied hockey franchise....
Count Spike Lee among the critics of the Will Smith-Matt Damon
golf movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance. During a panel held at
Harvard last week on Lee's new film, Bamboozled, Lee noted that
Vance--which he dubbed Driving Mr. Damon--is set in the South in
the 1930s, a time when blacks were being attacked and lynched.
"With all that going on," said Lee, "why are you f---ing trying
to teach Matt Damon a golf swing?"...
Irritable skater Tonya Harding has reunited with her boyfriend,
Darren Silver. To refresh your memory, he's the guy Harding beat
up earlier this year; among other things, she smashed his nose
with a hubcap. Harding says that since the incident she has
stopped drinking and undergone anger-management treatment. Now,
she says, she enjoys being "the woman at home."
Age of Toni Stadler, who, while strapped to an adult jumpmaster's
chest, sky jumped from 10,000 feet above Melkbosstrand, South
Increase in the price of a Wrigley Field bleacher seat next
year, to $20; the hike is more than the cost of a bleacher
ticket in 1987.
Player payroll of the Portland Trail Blazers this season, $51.5
million over the NBA salary cap.
Career four-point plays by the Pacers' Reggie Miller, the NBA's
alltime leader in the category.
Cornea transplants funded by Sri Lanka's national cricket board
for blind Bangladeshis, so that recipients could watch the first
test match Bangladesh has participated in.
This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse
A Celtics charter flight was delayed for two hours in Toronto
because of smoke emanating from steaks sizzling in the galley.
They Said It
Cubs general manager, on his negotiations with agent Adam Katz
over a contract extension for Sammy Sosa: "I've talked to Adam
almost as often as my wife, and I'm not making any more