Tiger Woods. Not pictured: Al Cowlings. (NBC Sports)
Welcome to the new season of Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Jonathan Wall take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing email@example.com, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @jonathanrwall. Today we touch the third rail of golf media: is Tiger Woods -- gasp -- overexposed?
Busbee: So Tiger Woods withdrew from the WGC Sunday, taking a cart from the 12th at Doral right to his car. And from there, things got weird: a full-fledged OJ Simpson-style low-speed blimp chase. Here's my question: when is enough, enough? I know that we're as guilty as anyone of hyping Tiger to the skies, but when we're now viewing his departure from those same skies, at the expense of other players' shots, has Woods mania gone too far?
Wall: Wait, so you're telling me the blimp following Tiger Woods around at Doral wasn't part of the weekly coverage? And here I thought tracking the guy's every move was part of the plan. Honestly, nothing surprises me anymore when it come to Mr. Woods. Following the hydrant mishap in 2009, it seems like the entire world has a bead on him, so the fact that a blimp decided to follow him to his car and out of the parking lot doesn't shock me. Heck, I'm still waiting for Perkins to sponsor a blimp that does nothing but sit over Tiger's house and track his every move. I feel like we do that already. This is what happens when you're the most talked about golfer on the planet, right?
Busbee: Yeah, and that's what people who say "enough with the Tiger Woods coverage!" just aren't getting. Woods is NOT just any other golfer. Woods is an institution unto himself. And, like it or not for the people who hate him, the fact that he's not winning makes him that much more interesting. There are only three golfers who really inspire emotion in either the positive or negative direction: Rory, who inspires admiration (have you heard anybody really hate him?), Phil and Tiger. And the more people hate on Tiger, the more popular he gets. Expect Bubba Watson to drive the General Lee through a Denny's any day now.
Seriously, do you see any golfer now playing with the ability to get anywhere close to Woods' level of popularity?
Wall: I don't think a player exists at the moment. If you want a glimpse of how Tiger-centric the golf world is at the moment, just look at what happened at the Honda Classic. Rory McIlroy, a kid I think could get close to Woods' level of popularity, won the tournament and became the second youngest player in the history of the sport to take over of the No. 1 ranking, and the big story of the day ended up being Tiger's final round 62. I think that sums things up perfectly: Nobody moves the needle like Tiger Woods. Despite there being a number of incredible talents out there at the moment, this is going this is going to remain his domain for the foreseeable future. I'm guessing a lot of people won't like that answer.
Busbee: HOW MUCH DID TIGER PAY YOU, FELLA?
All right, your turn. More Tiger? Less Tiger? Just enough Tiger? Make your call.
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- Tiger Woods