With all due respect to Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods is still the biggest drawing card in golf, and it isn’t particularly close.
Woods’ brand might not be what it was before the infamous Thanksgiving 2009 incident, but it still holds a lot of weight in the sport. It’s still the case that tournaments with Woods see increased attendance, and his name is still a bir player overseas.
So, the desire for most tournament directors and organizers is to lure Woods to their tournament for the publicity it brings. For instance, in 2011 Woods participated in the Australian Open and the tournament was even televised in the United States. This year, he didn’t and the tournament hardly made waves.
One course owner clearly feels differently, however.
Clive Palmer, owner of the Palmer Coolum Resort that has annually hosted the Australian PGA Championship, says he would rather not have Woods’ participation — despite the tournament reaching out to Woods, McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, among others.
“Tiger Woods isn’t the No 1 golfer in the world any more,” Palmer told The Australian. “We don’t want to look backwards; we want to look forwards. So why would you get Tiger Woods here? I would prefer to have Peter Senior than Tiger Woods. I am sure Peter Senior could beat Tiger Woods on a good day. I am sure he could.
“Tiger Woods has improved a lot but he’s an emotional wreck, and he’s not a good example for kids, anyway.”
For the record, Peter Senior is a 53-year-old golfer now on the Champions Tour who won four European Tour titles over the course of his career.
Palmer has made golf headlines recently without bashing Woods. He caused controversy by putting a 26-foot-tall robotic dinosaur on his course, a prime reason the Australian PGA is seeking a new home.