First, I must credit my brother Steve for my interest in this topic. He gave me this theory long before I read this article. I know that his conculsion was his own and not influenced by the Detroit News article referenced herein. I know this because there is no way he saw this article on the internet because he never uses a computer. So there.
Why is Tiger playing at Augusta? Why not the Buick or TPC of Tampa Bay?
This article, by Jery Green of the Detroit News, explains why, and hits it dead center. First, he explaing how Augusta National – where the Masters is played – runs its operation:
Augusta is the ideal venue for the return of Woods because the pompous muck mucks who run the Masters insist on genteel behavior from the crowds and from the media. Patrons are required to stroll from hole to hole — running is forbidden. Squawkers are apt to have their admission tickets confiscated and get booted from the grounds.
Beyond that the members of Augusta National don’t give much of a hoot about negative publicity.
Augusta National controls and limits the number of media personages receiving credentials. We the media are essentially censored. It is the only major tournament that forbids inside-the-ropes access to working journalists. Post-match press conferences are orchestrated by Augusta National officials, acting as masters of ceremony.
Woods might be harangued by persistent questioners, but in all likelihood he will opt to refuse answers to any questions other than those about his golf game. And if the interrogator persists she, or he, would be in danger of being stripped of press credentials.
Even CBS, which pays for the right to televise the Masters, has been warned and threatened for certain harsh criticisms in its commentaries.
The author goes on to say that Tiger has the right to play just as everyone else has the right to judge him, and that anything he did is a private matter. Whether you agree or not, Tiger IS going to play this week. He’s going to be in a very controlled environment where he is completely protected from distractions.
Interestingly enough is the very fact that Tiger IS playing. This is a golf and country club that has traditionally excluded blacks and women, stripped the press credentials of a renowned golf commentator (Gary McCord, in 1994, for saying that the greens on the 17th green looked like they had been stipped with bikini wax – click here
for the story), and only allows people to get its tourney tix by essentially inheriting them from a dead relative (not for sale to the general public, sorry).
Don’t think for a second that they would have any hesitiation on telling the world’s most infamous infadel to stay home if they thought he was bad for business. Soooooo, the logical conclusion is that he is NOT bad for business, and the truth is that he is GREAT for business, and ratings, and everything else Augusta National and CBS like.
So, Tiger flexes his fame muscle (not his infamous muscle) and gets the warm fuzzy blanket of Augusta. Why he showed up with 90 – yes, 90 – bodyguards is beyond me. Maybe its a smokescreen, made to look like Tiger has to protect himself instead of AG doing it for him. . . after all, genteel Southerners may frown upon such shenanigans as that . . .
And, in turn, Augusta National gets two things: one, an enormous payday from CBS, which will be making more money that the law allows with the attention Tiger has brought to the 2010 Masters.
The other thing? The satisfaction of knowing that they call the shots, and that to play ball with Augusta National, you have to play be their rules. It’s good to be the king, wouldn’t you say, fellas? Now go pee on the azalea bushes and mark your territory.