Thursday, July 03, 2008

Big stars skipping Tiger's event, but why?

Tiger Woods isn’t the only star missing from the AT&T National this weekend at Congressional Country Club in Washington.

There’s no Phil Mickelson. No Adam Scott. No Vijay Singh. No Sergio Garcia. No Ernie Els.

Shall I continue?

In an event hosted by Tiger – who won’t be on the property at Congressional because flying causes his newly repaired left knee to swell – and is played on a superior course that will host the U.S. Open in three years, only five of the top 20 players in the current world rankings have bothered to show up.

It should remind us again how fortunate the Wachovia Championship has been to draw the star-stacked fields it has each year.

Tiger offered a modest defense of the field during a conference call this week when he said players make their own schedules based on many things and he understands they can’t play all the time. Tiger is the ultimate example of picking your spots, but he operates in a different universe.

What does the paucity of big names at Congressional mean?

I don’t think it’s guys dissing Tiger. If he asked a favor, I’m guessing most players would say sure.

The U.S. Open was three weeks ago, guys have had time to rest and the British Open is still two weeks away. This seems the perfect week to play. They can’t complain about the course and it’s the Fourth of July in Washington. Sure, it’s hot but it’s hot almost everywhere in July.

In fairness, some guys are ailing. Scott, for example, is still dealing with the hand he caught in a car door last month.

The edge has been dulled on this season now that Tiger is on the shelf, and it doesn’t help when what seems to be a big event winds up as a week off on too many stars’ schedules.

It is, unfortunately, the way of the world on the PGA Tour.

The question this week: Did Steve Stricker bring the fireworks?