Missing Links: Phoenix Open 'transcends golfers,' even Tiger Woods
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The Waste Management Phoenix Open isn't just another tournament, with or without Tiger Woods, Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley writes. "Our PGA Tour stop transcends golfers and galleries. It's more than vodka, vanity and the clickety-clack of high heels on a cart path. It's a tournament that overcomes anarchy and alcohol issues. It's a tournament Tiger Woods couldn't diminish with his 13-year absence, a hiatus that comes to an end this year."
Twenty victories has generally been the benchmark for greatness in golf, but with today's depth, is it time to re-evaluate? Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson suggests that it is. "There was a time when 10 victories was good, but not even close to great. The PGA Tour awards a lifetime exemption for 20 wins. Four active players on the PGA Tour have at least 20 victories — Woods, Phil Mickelson (42), Vijay Singh (34) and Love. But there are 33 others from previous eras who are in the 20-win club. Maybe it's time to lower the bar."
Billy Horschel's goal in the wake of consecutive victories and a FedEx Cup championship to close the 2014 season is to stabilize his performances. "I'm trying to see how great of a player I can be, reach my level and potential as a player and I've got to keep getting better," he said in this story by Gary Smits of the Florida Times-Union. "One of the things I want to be is a little more consistent this year."
Farmers Insurance Open tournament director Peter Ripa was thrilled with the early-morning text he received from Tiger Woods' agent Mark Steinberg. Woods, who has won the tournament seven times, was going to play the Farmers. "The commitment comes at a critical time because Ripa said the Farmers and most other tournaments sell about 60 percent of their tickets in the last two weeks leading up to the event," Tod Leonard writes in the U-T San Diego. "We're 26 days out today, and the closer you get to the event the more the masses talk about (Woods),' Ripa said, as opposed to the smaller group that would see it in golf-related material.'"