Daily Herald
For me, it's still all about Tiger
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 9/8/2010 12:00 AM

What a lonely place Cog Hill Golf and Country Club was Tuesday morning.

There were a lot of people everywhere and nobody anywhere.

Tiger Woods hadn't arrived at the course yet.

No wonder Western Golf Association officials were frightened that Woods wouldn't qualify for this week's BMW Championship.

No wonder PGA Tour officials, regardless of what they say, must be worried about an eventual and inevitable future without Woods.

No wonder players wonder how their incomes will be impacted when Woods' career is finished.

Without Woods on the grounds, the scheduled main events in the interview room Tuesday were Matt Kuchar and Charley Hoffman.

These are two outstanding golfers, winners of the first two events in the Tour's season-ending playoffs.

Sorry, but I didn't stick around to hear them or wait for Woods to show up.

Listening to Cog Hill's grass grow would be more entertaining than Kuchar and Hoffman. Heck, staring at Woods' empty parking space in the players' lot would be.

Let's face it, without Tiger Woods the PGA Tour is just golf. With him it's show business - for better and worse.

Woods used to be an "it" guy as one of the world's best athletes. Now he is as one of the world's most naughty athletes.

A year ago golf fans could debate whether to pull for or against the overwhelmingly dominant Woods. A year later it's whether to pull for or against him because he has been overwhelmingly scandalous.

Two media items were eye-popping this week alone, both out of New York of course, both from tabloid newspapers via USSportspages.com.

First came the headline, "Tiger Woods' former mistress Rachel Uchitel buys luxury pad on Park Ave., TMZ reports."

The story was that Uchitel - "said to have collected $10 million in hush money from the links legend" - paid $2 million for the new digs.

Then there was this headline: "Tiger Woods headed to hometown of 'Infidelity Analyst.' "

The gist of this one was that if Woods were named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team - which he was Tuesday - he would compete in the Wales neighborhood of the author of "Having an Affair: A Handbook for the Other Woman."

Such nonstop media treatment is harsh, but Woods would have a difficult time arguing that it's undeserved.

Regardless, I know that this smut shouldn't interest me. Well, what can I say? You caught me. I'm a dirty old man who peeks at anything anywhere involving Woods' days of hanky-panky.

If, say, Kuchar or Hoffman had a score of extramarital scores the way Woods did, it would be no big deal. But we're talking about one of the planet's most famous people turning infamous.

As in the past, of foremost interest this week in the BMW will be how Woods fares against a field full of Kuchars, Hoffmans and Phil Mickelson.

The fresh twist is the context of Woods' recently finalized divorce, his attempt to end a slump and his quest for his first title of the year.

Tiger Woods will start energizing Cog Hill in Wednesday's pro-am, partly now because his race back up toward the top of golf will feel a bit racy.

Excuse me for being fascinated by the circumstances.

mimrem@dailyherald.com