Byron Nelson recap: Scott Verplank wins — where were Tiger, Ernie, and others?

mulligan, 01 May 2007, Comments Off on Byron Nelson recap: Scott Verplank wins — where were Tiger, Ernie, and others?
Categories: tiger, tourneys

Did anyone catch the Byron Nelson Classic this past weekend? It was a touching finish with local boy (from Dallas) Scott Verplank catching Luke Donald and winning what Scott considers his “5th Major.” Verplank needed to sink a 1 and a half footer on 18 to seal the deal, and he was so nervous, he nearly missed it.

Two other big stories: The greens were overriden with poiana, which left huge brown patches on the green. Then, there were the no-shows by 8 of the Top 10 players in the world, including No. 1 Tiger Woods.

Ron Sirak writes: “The biggest name, of course, among those missing this week is Tiger Woods, whose loyalty to Nelson was expressed in eight appearances at Byron’s tournament. But Woods, who will likely play next week at the Wachovia Championship, will join top-15 players Jim Furyk, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Retief Goosen, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, an ailing Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson in skipping the tournament.”

OK, it’s hard to single out Tiger from this list of the top players, all of whom who did not feel obliged to honor Byron Nelson the year of his death by attending his tournament. Tiger was probably getting some much needed R’n’R, while catching some of the NBA playoffs. This is a nonstory, I don’t think it is a big deal.

Ron Sirak (among other golf writers), however, is taking Tiger to task:

“The more complicated answer — and probably the correct one — is that very few of today’s millionaires appreciate the fact that it was guys like Nelson, who struggled to make ends meet, who made today’s PGA Tour possible.

“There is a sense of entitlement among contemporary players that is totally out of proportion with both their achievement and their sacrifice. That sense of entitlement tends to view the world through me-colored lenses. Just as last year the one PGA Tour event all players should have been tripping over each other to enter was in New Orleans, the one must-make tournament this year should have been the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. And it had nothing to do with prize money or scheduling. It had everything to do with what was right.”


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