Most golf fans thought Tiger Woods had a good chance of making the Ryder Cup team this year. While he obviously hasn't been the same guy in 2010, the push from others to take his spot as one of Corey Pavin's picks was unlikely because the pool of talent was pretty shallow. Tiger made the most sense.
But was the decision to pick him as much business as it was talent? Jim McKenzie, the director of golf at Celtic Manor, the host course for the Ryder Cup, spoke with the L.A. Times and mentioned that the moment Tiger was announced as a member of the United States team, ticket sales went through the roof.
"We were behind budget," McKenzie says, "and then they picked Tiger and it sold out overnight."
If any question remains as to who still drives the bus in golf, McKenzie's testimonial should end that. Ticket prices are $880 (with clubhouse access) and $660, giving access to all six days. For discussion, if all tickets sold at $880, that would generate $39.6 million. That's a nice payday for PGA and European golf charities, especially since the players don't get paid.
Pavin answered that this wasn't the reason he picked Tiger, but of course he's going to say that. The discussions that go on behind (soundproof) closed doors will never be revealed to us, but I'm sure Corey got an email or two from someone letting him know that the Ryder Cup needed to unload some tickets, and the names "Tiger" and "Woods" usually do wonders for sales.
Also, you can't blame anyone for making a move like this. Tiger is good for the game of golf no matter if he is the good guy or bad guy, and having him on this team is a move that will steal eyes away from the NFL and college football for a weekend and put them on golf for one last time in 2010.