Most people assume that if you pay Tiger Woods appearance money it guarantees success for any tournament. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as was proved in the 2002 New Zealand Open at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club. Woods reportedly agreed to participate in this tournament as a favor to his caddy Steve Williams. At a conservative 6577 yards the Paraparaumu links course should have been a breeze for a golfer of Woods world class standing. The people came to see the great man, but it soon became apparent that they would never get close to him. There were even grumblings from club members who were denied access to certain areas of the club if Tiger happened to be there. These minders, or body guards put an aggressive ring of steel around Tiger. Allegedly the steel was the guns these guys were carrying, what was Tiger expecting from the known well behaved people of New Zealand ? It may be that Tiger himself was not aware of the activities of these guys, I will leave that thought for your own deliberation.
As far as the paying public were concerned Tiger never really turned up to contest, he was just on a paid vacation. Happy to show a few glimpses of his ability and smile away while walking down the fairways. What concerned the members of this club was the appearance money they paid this man to compete, he was lucky to make the cut. How could this be, granted the weather did not assist but surely the worlds best golfer could easily master the interesting 6577 yard links layout.
There were rumors of nightly goings on at the mansion he was renting, but nothing that could be confirmed. History now has given a clue to what was happening there and maybe the energy used at night severely hampered Tigers effort out on the course.
The people of New Zealand and club members felt let down by the great mans performance on the course. The club itself, once all the counting had been done was left with a huge debt. The organizers and outside management consultants all left with their cut, but the club had nothing. Tiger Woods did not need to win the tournament to make a profit on his trip, the appearance money took care of that detail. Allegedly he took home more money than the worthy winner Craig Parry of Australia.
Even today the club is struggling to pay the interest off the bank loan let alone pay off the debt. Tiger will never return, but it would be helpful if Steve Williams could be persuaded to organize a benefit tournament of some kind. It would be sad to see this famous links course turned into a housing estate sometime in the future, there are some people already having designs on exactly that kind of project.
Young gun Brad Kennedy shoots down the old hand Craig Parry in a play off for the title. Kennedy had faltered over the closing stages as the wiley old fox Parry closed him down. Congratulations to Brad and lets hope this not the last we see of him contending in the final stages of an important tournament.
The leading amateur was Jake Higgins of Aussie with a final total of +4. I feel sorry for NZ amateur Peter Lee who would have made the cut but was disqualified for non conforming grooves in his wedges. You have to ask who was his management team and what were they thinking. Better luck next time around Peter.
Aussie Brad Kennedy leads the field after day three of the New Zealand open at Clearwater in Christchurch. Sadly he is the highest ranked player left in the tournament with a world ranking of 144. The organizers need to find a way of attracting some of the worlds top players to N.Z. to give the tournament some kudos and gain worldwide media attention. Good luck to Brad Kennedy I hope he gets his win, it does not look like we can get a Kiwi winner. Brad usually has his best results when chasing the the field, he is not used to leading starting the final round, saying
“Most of my good finishes this year were coming from behind,” Kennedy said.
“I’ve just got to go out and attack whether I’m four or five ahead or one behind, two behind. If I don’t I can let everyone back in.”
The Hong Kong open is being lead by Spains Alvaro Quiros who had a superb third round, unlike Rory McIlroy who struggled and finds himself three shots behind the leader. Although he fell behind Rory said he could still challenge strongly in the final round. It should be a thrilling finish to the tournament. Rory admitted he was lackluster but issued this statement.
“I didn’t have anything out there. Mentally I’m not up to it and little things were starting to agitate me,” McIlroy said. “But I’m not out of it, still just three shots behind. If I can get off to a decent start, I will be able to put some pressure on the leaders.”
I have heard an amazing story regarding John Daly and his meltdown in Aussie. Apparently the trouble started when he hit a wrong ball, which went into the lake. A course marshal who standing there let Daly hit the errant ball, before pointing to Johns ball not too far away. The wrong ball had been left there from a wayward shot off the practice fairway earlier. The question is, why did the marshal not guide John to the correct ball.
A sad and dejected Michael Campbell tamely limped out of the New Zealand Open yesterday. In this form it is hard to see him seriously competing in any tournament, I cant see that the new coach has made any improvements to his game. i know my form goes up and down like a yo-yo but a professional should be a little more consistent. The brightest light on the course was Aussie Aaron Cox who was dressed in bright green plus fours. A tribute he said was for 100 years of PGA Australia, so he was attired in the style of the old days. He mentioned names like Hogan, Jones and Hagen. He could also have mentioned Payne Stewart who was always immaculately dress on the course in his plus fours and white cap and played the game with a great big smile on his face.
“It’s the PGA’s centenary year, that’s 100 years of Australian golf, so I thought I’d dress in the tradition of Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.”
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Craig Parry struggled around the course but managed to birdie the last three holes to tie the lead. Craig is a former winner of this event a statistic that he believes could help him to win the title again
The only advantage I’ve got over the other guys is I have already won a New Zealand Open so the pressure is on them versus me,”