Thursday, February 08, 2007

No Tiger? No More International

The end of modified Stableford scoring as we’ve come to know it came officially Thursday morning in Denver when The International was removed from the 2007 PGA Tour schedule.

Officially, the cause of death was the lack of a title sponsor.

Unofficially, it was the lack of Tiger Woods.

For 21 years, The International was played at Castle Pines, a glorious-looking layout framed by the Rocky Mountains. They counted points, not strokes, in the tournament, giving it a quirky charm between the inevitable lightning delays that interrupted play.

But with a Fourth of July weekend date, no title sponsor and no likelihood Woods would come back after last playing the event in 1999, tournament founder Jack Vickers decided he’d had enough and called the whole thing off.

Golf tournaments are expensive to run, approaching $8 million annually. That’s why a title sponsor is imperative.

If Woods were a regular at The International, this wouldn’t have happened. Potential title sponsors may have been forced to wait in line to make their case to tournament officials.

Asked by an Associated Press reporter if Woods’ presence would have changed things, Vickers said, “I’d have to say, yeah, if he shows, everything changes. But I also know in fairness to him, he can’t be everywhere. He can’t be everything to everybody.”

Vickers went on to say his tournament could have lived without Tiger from time to time. Three appearances in six years would have been OK, Vickers said.

But there were no promises.

And now there’s no International.