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Tiger Always Wins; Golf Might as Well Give Up

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Tiger Always Wins; Golf Might as Well Give Up

Tiger Always Wins; Golf Might as Well Give Up

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And another sports great says he aims to win every tournament he enters this year. And so far he's making good on that promise. Golfer Tiger Woods says he's playing better than ever, which brings us to this exclusive report from commentator Frank Deford.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

FRANK DEFORD: This is a very important announcement, so please, everybody, turn off your cell phones. The three American Grand Slam golf tournaments - the Masters, the United States Open and the PGA - have just announced that for this year and for the immediate future, they have all been cancelled.

Speaking for the three tournaments, Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National, said that it just all seemed pointless to play the tournaments inasmuch as it was a foregone conclusion that Tiger Woods would win them all this year and for, as Payne said, as far as the eye could see.

This action follows on the heels of two PGA Tour decisions. Just last week, as surely you know, it cancelled all those tournaments which Woods was not scheduled to play in because nobody cared about those. Then, yesterday, the PGA announced the cessation of all the tournaments Woods was scheduled to play in because it was obvious he was going to win all of them by several strokes and what was the point?

As one tournament executive said, Golf is getting to be like the Harlem Globetrotters beating up on the Stooges, but at least that's fun to watch. Tiger winning is like watching global warming.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

Please now, please turn off your cell phones until this commentary is over. Then you can call your friends with the news. Thank you.

At least for now, the British Open is still planning to be held this July at Royal Birkdale. There are two reasons for what is now being called the Huckabee holdout of golf.

First, the Scots are hoping that their chubby favorite, Colin Montgomerie, might yet just once catch lightning in a bottle and actually not choke and finally win a major. And secondly, because the dollar is so weak and the pound so strong, there is some talk that even Woods may not be able to afford to leave the United States to play in Great Britain.

The news of the cancellation of so many golf tournaments comes on the heels of a front-page New York Times article which reported that the number of American golfers is plummeting. The reasons given are that golf is too expensive and takes up too much time. Fourteen and a half million otherwise decent American men admitted that they have never seen their wives and children in daylight hours during golf season.

Another reason cited is that cell phones are banned on many U.S. courses, and 6.3 million American men admitted that they simply could not go without cell phones for that long a time.

But the largest reason cited for the alarming decline in golf participation was that Woods was so good that he was discouraging all golfers. Seventy-eight percent of golfers cited the so-called Woods Perfection Depression Syndrome for giving up the game themselves.

(Soundbite of cell phone ringing)

Please, please keep your cell phones off when golf is being discussed.

Woods himself could not be reached for comment. He was in seclusion, working on improving his game and how better to hold up trophies high and kiss them for the photographers.

Thank you for listening. You can now turn your cell phones back on.

MONTAGNE: Frank Deford joins us from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVEN INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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