"It's not how you start, but how you finish." So states a PGA Tour promotional ad that aired this past weekend on NBC touting the iconic water-laden three-hole finish at the TPC Sawgrass and The Players Championship.
The accompanying highlights package has the requisite glory and gory shots but is void of arguably the most memorable stroke on any of the three holes: the 60-foot snaking birdie putt that Tiger Woods holed on the way to his 2001 victory, the one that NBC announcer Gary Koch kept repeating was "better than most" until it dropped in.
The simple explanation for this is that the Tour doesn't know if Woods, still on hiatus as he deals with personal issues, will compete in this year's Players May 6-9. "That's it," said the Tour's Ty Votaw, executive vice president communications and international affairs. Votaw also cited a "respect for privacy," that some of Woods's sponsors -- at least, those that have stuck with him -- have been inclined to exhibit on behalf of the No. 1 player in the world.
Not that the Tour is out of step here. Woods is conspicuously absent from Masters Tournament promos on CBS, too.
-- Dave Shedloski