- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

It's probably just as well that Tiger's not coming to this week's Kemper Open. With our luck here in Washington, he would have shot two 78s, missed the cut and never been the same again.
Oh, yes, and probably would have hit Steve Spurrier with an errant ball, ending his Redskins coaching career before a game is played.
Let's face it, Washington may be the cradle of liberty, but it's hardly been the cradle of success if you are a professional sports star. Jaromir Jagr, the best player in the NHL, comes to Washington and can't even make the playoffs. Michael Jordan, the best player in the history of the NBA, decides to make a comeback in Washington, and winds up undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
And baseball has refused to come to Washington for 30 years, so why should Tiger be any different?
I guess it would have been nice, though, to have the biggest star in all of sports play in the Kemper. Tournament officials, who work so hard under difficult scheduling circumstances it falls so close to the U.S. Open deserved it.
Maybe someday Tiger will grace us with his presence perhaps when there is an IMAX premiere about him at the Smithsonian, or if he is called to testify before Congress for some cause (such as supermodels facing media harassment or something like that). If so, he can fulfill two commitments at once on his busy schedule. That's what the beautiful people do.
But could you imagine the traffic to get to the Kemper if Tiger was playing? You would have had to helicopter people into TPC at Avenel. And with the rain and the mud that seems to be a staple at Kemper, it would have been like Woodstock.
Golfstock, three days of peace, love and Tiger.
In our minds, we know it is tough to blame Tiger for passing on the Kemper, given his problems at the time he had to decide at the Memorial. On Wednesday, he had said there was a "50-50" chance that he might play at Kemper, and I'm sure that at that time it was true. If he was considering playing, should he have kept it a secret or spoken his mind about what his plans really were?
Let's face it, getting prepared for the U.S. Open is important, and at the time he had to decide Friday afternoon he felt playing in the Kemper wasn't the best way to do that. It's perfectly understandable but still a little aggravating, isn't it? There is still this feeling, fair or not, that we were strung along, and there will probably be a few more Washington golf fans rooting for Tiger to fall on his face at the Open.
Many of us were trying to figure out what was the best Memorial scenario for Tiger to decide to play at the Kemper whether to root for him to tank it as he did the first two rounds, or for him to play well. If he played poorly, some figured he would want to play in the Kemper because he didn't want to go into the Open on a sour note. If he played well, then he would feel so good about his game that he would want to keep playing right up to the Open.
But who knows for sure why he opted to pass, or if he would have played if he had done well in those first two Memorial rounds. His Swedish meatball might have just said, "Honey, I don't want to go to Washington. They have all those icky politicians there," to which Tiger would have replied, "Whatever you say, dear," as any man in his place would have done.
Still, there are options. We might not be able to get Tiger, but there are still people out there to invite that would enhance the stature of the Kemper like John Collinson.
Collinson is the British golf lunatic who donned a diving suit and fished more than 1,100 golf balls from a pond at a golf course in Leicester, England, a place where diving for golf balls is apparently illegal. Collinson had been sentenced to six months in jail for his diving expeditions, but last week had that term overturned, to the pleasure of an entire nation that had made Collinson a national hero.
Why not invite Collinson to the Kemper, and have him dive for balls in the pond on the 17th hole at Avenel? We didn't get the Tiger, but we can get the British Bullhead, a bottom-feeding golf fanatic with a true love and devotion for the game.


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