Tiger degrades Wyndham

by Jim Longworth

Once upon a time there was a star athlete who went to all of the frat parties with all of the most popular girls. Year after year, a less popular girl kept asking the big star to her party, but he turned her down for the more popular girls.

Then after a while, the star player started playing really badly, so as punishment for his sorry play, the boy’s frat brothers told him he would have to attend the less popular party if he wanted to stay on the team and keep coming to the popular parties. So the has-been star called up the unpopular girl who he had snubbed for many years, and told her he would do her a favor and attend her party after all.

The unpopular girl and her girlfriends were orgasmic over the news, so they went all out to make the popular boy feel like a big star again. The less popular boys who had faithfully attended the less popular party all these years felt hurt and demeaned. The girls who had been snubbed all those years didn’t realize that their dream date was only coming to their party because he was forced to. Maybe they were just in denial, or maybe the orgasm was worth the humiliation. No matter. The degradation was done.

Thus is the fabled saga of the Wyndham Championship and the has-been star athlete it had always coveted.

Sure, the presence of Tiger Woods will draw larger crowds and more media attention to the Wyndham, but at what cost to the integrity of the City, the event and its organizers? From the 1940’s through the 1980’s, The Wyndham (aka The Greater Greensboro Open) was a premiere, prestigious event that attracted golf’s top professionals: Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Gary Player, Billy Casper, Chi Chi Rodriquez, Ray Floyd, Tom Weiskopf, Lanny Wadkins, and of course, regional favorite Sam Snead, who won the tournament a record eight times. In fact it was Snead who encouraged the big stars to join him in Greensboro.

But about the time Slammin’ Sammy got long in the tooth, the Wyndham got short on big stars. Just try and name the guys who have won Wyndham over the past ten years. Do the names Brandt Snedeker, Arjun Abwal, or Camillo Villegas ring a bell? The Wyndham desperately needed Tiger during its post-Snead era, but Woods thought he was too good for Greensboro.

At one time, Tiger was the greatest, most dominant player in the world, and it would have been a wonderful gesture for him to honor Snead and the other old pros by attending the Wyndham every year, and bringing along his top flight fellow players. He could have even asked Arnie, Jack, Lee and Chi Chi to join him in Greensboro for an annual pro-am event to benefit a local charity. None of that happened because Tiger didn’t give a shit about the Wyndham.

Wyndham organizer Mark Brazil told the media, “It’s really neat that he (Tiger) is coming… at the end of the day he doesn’t have to come.” But Brazil is mistaken. Tiger HAS to play in Greensboro, and he has to win the tournament if he’s going to rack up enough points to compete in the FedEx Cup championship. In other words, the has-been athlete has to attend the less popular party, or else his frat bothers won’t let him back on the team.

For most of his life, everything has come easy to Tiger Woods: his talent, his recognition, his success as an amateur, his multi million dollar deal with Nike before he ever swung a pro club, his success as a pro, and his sex with strangers, the latter of which caused him to lose his wife and his golfing mojo.

Following a series of scandals, Tiger told reporters on February 19, 2009, “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to … I felt I was entitled.”

Well, thanks to the fawning Wyndham, Tiger is getting away with something again. He’s getting away with making us locals look stupid for honoring his snubs over the past 20 years.

The Wyndham has a proud tradition. It’s just too bad it had to lose that pride over an arrogant frat boy like Tiger Woods. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).