Rain at Riviera
Posted: 19th February 2009
I am in Los Angeles this week for the Northern Trust Open at the stunning Riviera Country Club, and apart from the bucketful of rains, the other thing in abundance seems to be speculation about Tiger Woods' imminent comeback to professional golf after a nine-month layoff because of a knee surgery.
Everyone wants to know which will be that blessed tournament, the television ratings of which are sure to crash through the roof?
For long, it was being thought that Tiger will possibly be back with the Dubai Desert Classic. After all, he was not just the defending champion, but a trip to the Middle East makes sense given his business commitments in the region. But Tiger skipped it.
I don't think he is going to play the Accenture Matchplay, even though he is the defending champion and Accenture happens to be one of his big sponsors. The fact that he will have to play at least seven rounds in five days - if he reaches the final - will surely not be the most ideal start considering he would like to ease into tournament play.
Doral Golf Resort & Spa, host venue of the WGC-CA Championship in Florida, looks like his best bet. Tiger has won the tournament five times in last seven years, including at Doral in 2007. More importantly, even if he plays badly - which seems impossible given we are talking about Tiger - he can still put in four rounds of competition golf since there is no cut at Doral.
And I am sure he will make another appearance before teeing up at the Masters. That should be Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill, a tournament he has won five times already.
Both tournaments are in Florida, so if Tiger starts missing his newborn son, he can just fly in and out every day. Now that seems like the best plan of action, but of course, as I said before, we are talking about Tiger Woods here. The man excels in thinking differently from the rest of us, so I won't be surprised if he decides to do something completely different.
The other golfer making a big splash here is the 17-year-old Japanese Ryo Ishikawa. Everyone wants to know more about him and the 100 odd Japanese journalists, who have gathered here to cover his PGA Tour debut, are adding to the frenzy.
I am looking forward to a tough test at the 'Hogan's Alley', which is how the course is referred to following the legendary Ben Hogan's two LA Open and one US Open win at the course within a span of couple of years. The Met department has predicted better weather for the next few days, so let's see if the sun shines on me this week.
The former European Tour golfer and ISM founder looks into the world of golf, life on the world's fairways and the fortunes of his stable.
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